With the urban ecosystems: people and planet theme we will explore issues and opportunities around increasing urbanisation and its effects on people and ecosystems, such as the role cities can take in improving climate resilience, mitigating biodiversity loss and pollution and increasing natural capital and designing future cities that work for people and planet.

Multidisciplinary research is needed to understand and address the key challenges for this theme, which include: zero pollution infrastructure systems; blue-green cities; whole systems approaches to urban and natural environments; environmental-, technological-, and policy-based solutions to create sustainable urban ecosystems; circularity of resources and tackling pollution; indoor environments; transport; water quality, ecology and health.

Theme Champions

This theme is led by Dr Ana Mijic (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering) and Dr Will Pearse (Department of Life Sciences).


How built environments can transition towards zero pollution

Imperial's Centre for Systems Engineering and Innovation (CSEI) has a focus on net zero pollution infrastructure as part of it's 10 year strategy to 2030. In March 2021 the Centre launched its report 'A research agenda on systems approaches to infrastructure'.  The report sets out the CSEI’s vision for the next ten years and the critical role of civil engineers in protecting and managing the natural environment. Central to this vision is a commitment to creating a sustainable built environment that works with the natural environment to achieve net a zero pollution infrastructure vision, and also focuses on the crucial role of civil engineers in reaching this goal. 

Water management

Dr Ana Mijic from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and her colleagues are working on the development of novel approaches to systems analysis of water management. Her research will inform regulators and industry about the role and value of people, cities, natural capital and technological innovations in defining water security and sustainable development under future uncertainties. Dr Mijic is one of the lead researchers on Community Water Management for a Liveable London (CAMELLIA), a £5m grant from the Natural Environment Research Council. As part of a NERC-funded Innovation Academic Placement, Dr Mijic has produced a report in collaboration with the Environment Agency and the Royal Academy of Engineering on a systems-based approach to catchment water management