European collaborative project visits UCLan Cyprus

European collaborative project visits UCLan Cyprus Banner Image

Future visions for Nicosia after input from local authorities and residents at the City-zen Roadshow

City-zen Roadshow travels to Pyla Campus as part of Nicosia event

A European collaborative project which invites people to share ideas of how they’d like to change or improve their city to make it a more sustainable and a better place to live and work has visited the University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) Cyprus Campus.

The City-zen Roadshow, which is a €22million European Union (EU) funded project that brings internationally celebrated experts in architecture, technology and environmental sustainability together with local residents to explore new living ideas, recently visited Nicosia, the capital of Cyprus. 

As part of the trip, the contingent visited UCLan’s Campus in Pyla where they met Rector Professor Panikkos Poutziouris and took part in a lively discussion about sustainability. During the visit, the academics, students and graduates were given a tour of the town, which is one of the only mixed Greek and Turkish Cypriots villages in the country, and they discussed possible sustainable development strategies with the town’s mayor.

UCLan’s Maryam Al-Irhayim and Rainer Townend, from Grenfell-Baines School of Architecture, were part of the group of international environmental experts involved in the City-zen Roadshows. Maryam said: “In many of the networking events or in the bi-communal workshops, whenever we mentioned UCLan there was a warm welcoming spirit by the Cypriot people as they were already familiar with UCLan’s Cyprus Campus.”

In cities, everything is about people. They need to start doing things differently. Radical solutions are required to achieve the needed change, and those must come from the people who live in the place.

The City-zen Roadshow was led by UCLan’s Professor of Architecture Craig Martin and his team* spent their time working with mayors, local authorities, embassies (British High Commission, Ambasciata d’Italia & The Kingdom of the Netherlands), United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP), local residents, and market players. In Nicosia, the Roadshow started with a fun-shop-walk to place people in the heart of the process to create a healthier, happier, and energy efficient city. This walk invited all Nicosia’s stakeholders to get involved, no matter what their expertise, background or which side of the UN green line buffer zone they lived. Energy transition role playing games and fun-shops, workshops on energy and urban design, continued on different locations throughout the week. The most symbolic of which being the UN Peacekeeping Headquarters and barracks within the buffer zone.

Professor Martin said: “In cities, everything is about people. They need to start doing things differently. Radical solutions are required to achieve the needed change, and those must come from the people who live in the place. We show the city clearly what the question is, and what the potential answers are. Possible solutions are not about rebuilding the city, but rather seeing what can be done with existing technology.”

In the case of Nicosia, understanding the local circumstances combined with a system analysis resulted in the insight that the suburban parts of the city are designed as a heat-trap. Old Nicosia is the more sustainable place and displays a variety of traditional climate control strategies. Solutions lie with modern interpretations of climate control strategies, retrofit opportunities, saying goodbye to cars in favour of making space for green mobility, and effecting an energy strategy.

Professor Martin added: “If Nicosia actually applied all basic ideas of the City-zen Roadshow, it is actually possible to become carbon neutral by 2050.”

Previously Preston, Belfast, Izmir, Dubrovnik, Menorca, Sevilla and Roeselare have hosted City-zen Roadshows.

Rachel Atkinson | 04 June 2019