Solar Panels on Housing

How Local Authorities Can Learn and Share Sustainable Best Practices

  • Unit(s) of assessment: Architecture, Built Environment and Planning
  • Research theme: Sustainable Futures
  • School: School of Architecture, Design and the Built Environment


In the context of sustainable “Smart Cities”, many local authorities need to innovate in the areas of low-carbon transport, the built environment and ICT systems in order to better integrate city functions. Cities need to learn from one another to accelerate innovation, but there are currently no methodologies available to local authorities.

Addressing the Challenge

Working with local authorities, we are developing management methods and processes for inter-city learning. It would be prohibitively expensive for individual cities to pilot and learn each new innovation, so it is easier to share good practices. Through EU funding, we are working with cities to develop leadership methods and management models to enhance the sharing of best practices. The methodology is being tested in five EU cities.


Professor Marjan Sarshar researches in the EU funded Remourban project on smart cities. In particular she is developing organisational models for communities engagement and for cities to learn best practice from each other.She leads the cross university low carbon research group and is actively engaged with Nottingham City Council to transform the city into a smarter future. From a teaching perspective, Professor Sarshar contributes to final year dissertations.

Making a Difference

In the UK, NTU is leading the development of the methodologies. The city of Oxford has piloted the methods, and representatives will be visiting Nottingham in 2017 with their councillor, who is the Head of Sustainability. The purpose is to learn from Nottingham on how to invest and scale-up the low-carbon retrofitting of their housing stock. Houses are responsible for 20 to 25% of a city’s carbon emissions and the aim is to reduce that by 80% before 2050. Nottingham is expected to meet that target much earlier thanks to its ongoing innovations.

Still need help?

+44 (0)115 941 8418