PSI seminar on low-carbon homes, 7 January

1pm-2pm, Wednesday 7th January 2015
Location: Room M206, University of Westminster, 35 Marylebone Road, London

For the next PSI seminar Dan Greenwood, Alina Congreve and Duncan Bowie will be discussing their recent work on low-carbon homes. The project addresses the vital need to assess the impacts of important recent developments in low/zero-carbon housing policy following the Housing Standards Review. Through a series of in-depth case studies, the research analyses the challenges, tensions and opportunities arising for the housing sector following significant policy changes. These include the removal of the Merton Rule, which mandated onsite energy generation in larger developments and the Code for Sustainable Homes (CSH).

Supporters of these tools argued they drove reductions in costs of sustainable construction, improving industry skills, and reducing the uncertainty that resulted from ad-hoc changes to the Building Regulations. Critics argued that these tools were not effective at ‘steering’ the industry towards sustainable outcomes and created perverse incentives. The project will analyse the impacts of the Review for designers, developers and assessors. The research includes (i) interviews with key stakeholders in the Review, to gain a picture of the national policy debate and (ii) a series of case studies with further interviews assessing new and proposed housing developments in three English cities. This work will inform debate across the sector about the role of compulsory and voluntary codes.

Dr Dan Greenwood is a Senior Lecturer in Politics at the Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR), University of Westminster. He holds a PhD in political theory/ political economy from University of Westminster and his research and teaching focus on the interface between governance, policy-making and sustainable development. His current research projects focus on sustainable housing in England and planning for on-site wind energy in Germany.

Duncan Bowie is a Senior Lecturer in Spatial Planning at the Department of Urban Development and Regeneration. He has extensive experience of spatial planning and housing strategy practice, having worked for the Mayor of London, the Association of London Government, the Housing Corporation, the London Docklands Development Corporation and the London boroughs of Newham and Lambeth.  He joined the University of Westminster in September 2010, and has published in professional journals on spatial planning and housing issues and published a book on planning and housing in London under the Mayoralty of Ken Livingstone (People, Planning and Homes in a World City Routledge 2010). He undertakes research consultancy for the London Assembly Housing and Planning committees. He is also a member of the TCPA policy council and recently coordinated a research network for the Regional Studies Association on the governance and spatial planning of London, Paris and Berlin.

Dr Alina Congreve is a Principal Lecturer in Sustainable Planning at the University of Hertfordshire. She has recently been working with Professor Damian Pitt from Virginia Commonwealth University studying cities that are leaders and innovators in local climate change planning. Her other recent projects have included: work with Parsons Brinkerhoff for WRAP about resource efficiency in construction; and with Dr Iain Cross on a project to scope how ecosystem services could be applied in the planning process. She is course director of the new MSc in Sustainable Planning at Hertfordshire and takes an active interest in developing partnerships with local stakeholders including Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation and the Building Research Establishment.

A sandwich lunch will be provided, and the talk will be followed by an opportunity for informal discussion. All are welcome; please RSVP to Bridget Elliott ( to indicate your attendance.