Search for courses or information

Conferences and workshops

Nature Inspired Solutions for the Built Environment

Jack Clough interviewed by Emily Hughes from BBC.

Speakers from around the world attending

The University of East London is hosting an online event investigating Nature Inspired Solutions for the Built Environment

What is happening?

In this closed conference, academics and industrialists will give short 15-20 minutes talks on their research and how it contributes or can potentially contribute to development of next generation of ground intervention.

The University of East London provost, Professor Hassan Abdalla, will open the sessions and the main convenors are Dr Arya Assadi-Langroudi and Dr Sohrab Donyavi, from UEL.


Dr Arya Assadi-Langroudi writes:

As engineers, our relationship with the ground is usually one-way and with a single objective in focus: the ground exists and we will improve it and/or exploit it to provide whatever functional service we seek, such as a strong, foundation on which to set our buildings and structures or a subsurface space for burial of wastes.

In this, the ground has been historically undervalued and overexploited, degraded and blighted by this narrow-minded approach to engineering design.

Conventional ground engineering methods and materials disrupt the soils’ biogeochemical cycles which are reliant on soils’ intertwining pore network and driven by interaction of the living organisms – flora and fauna – a perspective commonly overlooked by engineers.

In making provision for an engineered crust that satisfies the demands of cities and the built environment, this meeting exchanges ideas on prospects of development and deployment of nature inspired less-intrusive technologies and materials.

Talks will centre on making cities more sustainable, resilient and adaptable, all contributing to enhanced societal wellbeing. We will discuss how mathematicians, artists and architects are inspired by nature, and how ground engineering research is making provision for an engineered ground in symbiosis with natural ground systems.


Keynote speakers will come from South Africa, USA, Taiwan, Canada, from universities across the UK and from the UEL’s Sustainability Research Institute.


  • 11 February: 9am-6.20pm
  • 12 February: 10pm-1.40pm

Thursday, 11 February 2021 9:00 to Friday, 12 February 2021 13:30