Safeguarding the health, quality of life and wellbeing of 8.6 million Londoners, as well as those of future generations, is of utmost importance to the Mayor’s Office in London. In order to tackle these challenges and build a sustainable future for the UK capital, there is a clear need for innovative projects and ideas using state of the art technologies, clever designs and bottom up approaches.
From 13-24 April 2015, seventeen of us PhD students with an interest in environment, entrepreneurship, new technologies and climate change met for the London Environmental Challenge. The goal of this two week course was to provide new input into London’s focus areas of waste management, low carbon growth, greening London and cleaning London’s air.
During the first week of the challenge we listened to a series of talks illustrating the problems that the city of London faces in order to create a sustainable future. We visited a variety of interesting locations, including Siemens Crystal, City Hall, the Future Cities Catapult and the Old Ford Water Recycling Plant where we gained an insight into London’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy. These thoroughly enjoyable and diverse talks covered five themes: creating a sustainable future, maximizing low carbon growth, greening London, smart London and the built environment.
During this first part of the week we also had intense brainstorming exercises to come up and select the best ideas for our own projects with the help of our coaches. For each idea we considered both its novelty and its potential environmental, social and economic impact. On top of the ideas produced during the brainstorming session, Peter George, Meridian water’s Programme Director, assigned us five further open problems that the Enfield Council is currently dealing with and for which innovative and alternative solutions are urgently needed.