Engineering Comes Home

Engineering Comes Home is an innovative, EPSRC-funded research project that turns the traditional process of infrastructure design on its head. Read our Overview Slides and scroll down to learn about the aims and methods of the project. Visit our Videos page ( to learn about three workshops run in collaboration with iilabLeathermarket JMB and the Decima Street Tenants and Residents Association.

What is bottom-up infrastructure?

The project starts with household needs and looks outward to design technologies and infrastructure. It puts people and their everyday needs and desires first. It acknowledges complex patterns of resource consumption in households, arising from interactions with socio-technical systems.

The objectives of the project are to:

-Demonstrate a new paradigm for infrastructure design starting from the home, looking out towards provision systems that meet household demands.

-Integrate thinking about water, energy, food, waste and data at the domestic scale to support user-led innovation and co-design of technologies and infrastructure.

-Test design methods to connect homes to communities, technologies and infrastructure. This can enhance positive interactions between data, water, energy, food and waste systems.

The project deliverables will be:

-A toolkit for co-design of technology and infrastructure to meet household needs;

-Evaluation of co-design methods, including ethnographic research requirements;

-Designs for systems and technologies for infrastructure services in a London community;

-Development of quick-win information-based technologies identified in the co-design workshops;

-Detailed requirements for new systems to meet technology gaps.

Diagram showing tools useful in human-centred engineering design, including co-desing methods, rapic appraisal checklist and small scale prototypes

This project will work with a case study community of London social housing residents. Participants will be recruited through the UCL Engineering Exchange in partnership with the Just Space network. Research will contribute to developing a Community Sustainability Plan, or other outputs supporting community engagement with local urban regeneration planning.

The UCL project team comprises Dr Sarah Bell, Director of the Engineering Exchange; Dr Aiduan Borrion, Senior Research Associate in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering and Dr Charlotte Johnson, Research Associate in the Bartlett School of Environment, Energy and Resources. Project partners include Dr Kat Austen and iilab, and Dr Robert Comber, Lecturer in Computer Mediated Communication based at Open Lab, Newcastle University.

A diagram showing a link between households, wellbeing, infrastructure and the natural environment

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