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The Martin Centre for Architectural and Urban Studies

- the research arm of the Department of Architecture

Studying at Cambridge

Edward Barsley

Graduate Student



Project Title: 'Retrofitting Resilience'

Abstract: The UK floods of December 2013 – January 2014 highlighted the country’s inherent vulnerability to flooding and its limited capacity for adaptation to this threat. This study sets out to explore how an existing community (Yalding, UK) can be retrofitted and adapted to be flood resilient to both current and future climate conditions whilst also achieving high quality place-making. As well as considering the role of building level adaptation, the project will research the multi functional benefits of employing a wider and more integrated approach to flood resilience. The study uses a mixed methods research methodology that includes; semi– structured interviews, household and business surveys, GIS mapping, multi-criteria assessment multi-stakeholder workshops and iterative design testing. This process is used to gather both qualitative and quantitative data on the performance of physical assets in Yalding, the knock on socio-economic factors resulting from the floods and enable the development of spatial propositions for adaptation and resilience to this threat.


Ed Barsley is a specialist in environmental design in architecture. He is currently undertaking a PhD researching flood resilient architecture and masterplanning at the University of Cambridge within the Centre for Risk in the Built Environment (CURBE). In 2012 he worked for BACA Architects on the TSB funded Climate Adaptive Neighbourhoods (CAN) project, which explored future proofing a development in Norwich for overheating and flood risk and won the 2014 RIBA Presidents Medal for Research in Practice. Prior to this he completed an MPhil in Environmental Design in Architecture at Cambridge where he received a distinction for his work on strategies for resilience to flooding in coastal settlements. During his career, he has lived and worked in both China, Denmark, India and the UK. He is currently president of Architecture Sans Frontiers in Cambridge and has experience at a variety of scales from master planning to 1:1 building construction.

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