More than half of the global population live in cities, which are major concentrations of vulnerability to climate change. Cities are also major emitters of greenhouse gasses. Consequently they are key to mitigating global climate change and reducing the impacts of climate change on people and infrastructure. This role is being increasingly recognised through the policy and planning measures of individual cities and their collective action in the global climate debate.
Alistair is a member of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, having worked on the Tyndall Cities programme conducting urban integrated assessment of climate change adaptation and mitigation in London.
Alistair's work with the Tyndall Cities programme led to the EPSRC ARCADIA project, examining and modelling urban climate impacts, and the FP7 RAMSES project, conducting cost assessments for urban climate adaptation options. These projects have led to collaborations in London, Shanghai, Antwerp, Bilbao, and Newcastle with city decision-makers, industrial stakeholders, and NGO organisations. Alistair is interested in developing tools that can be used by urban decision-makers to understand mitigation and adaptation strategies in cities, the conflicts and trade-offs between competing climate change-related objectives, and transitions to sustainable futures.
Alistair joined the School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences in 1998 as an undergraduate in Geographic Information Science. Since 2004 he has worked as a researcher applying GIS to a number of diverse applications, including land-use change, climate simulations, urban classification, transport modelling, and risk assessment. During this work he has been a member of a number of multi-disciplinary projects, both widening his experience of working with researchers from other disciplines and broadening his understanding of a diverse number of application areas.
The focus of Alistair's research is the provision of tools and models to aid decision-makers. Currently, he is developing spatial analytical tools within GIS for integrated spatial modelling and assessment of climate change impacts and socio-economic/land-use change. This work has involved both the development of spatial interfaces to climate change outputs (e.g., EARWIG) and also spatially-explicit models of city infrastructure for predictive land-use modelling and climate change impact assessment (e.g., Tyndall Cities programme).
Recent work has developed these concepts further to include the direct and indirect impacts of climate events on city systems in the form of heatwaves or flood events. In ARCADIA, Alistair has examined the impact of extreme temperatures on railway networks and the knock-on effects these disruptions can have on the wider urban economy. This work has been further developed in RAMSES, including new climate hazards (e.g. extreme rainfall and air quality) in order to better understand the true costs of future climate change to urban areas.
Alistair has presented his work widely at national and international conferences and symposia, and facilitated and moderated at events such as the ICLEI Open European Day in Bonn and the 2015 ECCA conference in Copenhagen. He has also contributed to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching, delivering lectures on GIS, spatial modelling, and climate change in urban areas. Alistair has also delivered a number of courses to local governments and consultancies involved in climate change adaptation and mitigation efforts.
- Pregnolato M, Ford A, Robson C, Glenis V, Barr S, Dawson RJ. Assessing urban strategies for reducing the impacts of extreme weather on infrastructure networks. Royal Society Open Science 2016, 3(5), 160023.
- Dunn S, Wilkinson S, Ford A. Spatial Structure and Evolution of Infrastructure Networks. Sustainable Cities and Society 2016, 27, 23-31.
- Ford A, Pregnolato M, Jenkins K, Barr S, Dawson R. Assessing the need for infrastructure adaptation by simulating impacts of extreme weather events on urban transport infrastructure. In: GISRUK 2015. 2015, Leeds, UK.
- Ford A, Barr S, Dawson R, James P. Transport Accessibility Analysis Using GIS: Assessing Sustainable Transport in London. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information 2015, 4(1), 124-149.
- Heidrich O, Ford A, Alderson D, Dawson R, Manning D. UK climate change strategies in cities and the LAYERS of cobalt supplies. In: International Society of Industrial Ecology-Taking Stock. 2015, Surrey, UK.
- Ford A, Jenkins K, Dawson R, Pregnolato M, Barr S, Hall J. Simulating impacts of extreme weather events on urban transport infrastructure in the UK. In: ISNGI 2014. 2014, Vienna, Austria.
- Walsh CL, Dawson RJ, Ford AC, Barr SL, Hall JW, Batty M. Assessing flood risk in London under climate and land use change. In: International Conference on Flood Resilience Experiences in Asia and Europe. 2013, Exeter, UK.
- Jenkins K, Glenis V, Ford A, Hall J. A Probabilistic Risk-Based Approach to Addressing Impacts of Climate Change on Cities: The Tyndall Centre’s Urban Integrated Assessment Framework. UGEC Viewpoints 2012, 8, 8-11.
- Walsh CL, Ford AC, Barr SL, Dawson RJ. A spatio-temporal modelling framework for the integrated assessment of cities. In: Earth Systems Engineering 2012: A technical symposium on systems engineering for sustainable adaptation to global change. 2012, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Centre for Earth Systems Engineering Research, Newcastle University.
- Barr SL, Holderness T, Alderson D, Robson C, Ford A. An open source relational database schema and system for the analysis of large scale spatially interdependent infrastructure networks. In: 4th Open Source GIS Conference (OSGIS), 2012. 2012, University of Nottingham: Nottingham Geospatial Institute.
- Alderson D, Robson C, Holderness T, Barr SL, Ford A. An open source spatial database schema and interface for the storage, representation and analysis of interdependent infrastructure networks. In: ITRC Early Career Researchers Conference: Infrastructure Delivery in an Uncertain Future. 2012, Clare College, Cambridge, UK: Infrastructure Transitions Research Consortium UK (ITRC).
Role on Tyndall Council
School of Engineering, Cassie Building University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne Newcastle NE1 7RU UK