Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

TruLife – Pre-Columbian Tropical Urban Life

TruLife applies lessons from the study of long-term urban traditions, exemplified by pre-Columbian Maya tropical cities, to present-day sustainable urban design.

2016 - 2018
Karsten Lambers
Arts & Humanites Research Council, UK Arts & Humanites Research Council, UK
  • University of Kent, UK
  • University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • University College London, UK
Urban landscape of the Terminal Classic Maya center of Uxmal (Image by K. Lambers)

TruLife is an AHRC-funded international research network that, through a series of interdisciplinary workshops, investigates how lessons from tropical urban archaeology can be applied to present-day urban design.

Facing the challenge of increasing urbanisation, strategies for future city development are not considering the long urban past. Archaeologists of ancient cities recognise that long-term urban processes can teach us about diverse human-environment interactions. Thus, TruLife’s core research question is: Can studying the diversity of long-term urban traditions, exemplified by pre-Columbian Maya tropical cities, effectively inform designing for sustainable urban futures?

Under AHRC’s Cross-Council Enquiry Highlight Notice, TruLife creates a humanities led network of researchers that incorporates the environmental and social sciences. They will convene in three workshops dedicated to pivotal concerns ubiquitous to building sustainable cities:

  1. Food Security
  2. Decay and Waste Management
  3. Spatial Practice

TruLife’s workshops establish concrete foundations for comparative frames of reference, associated terms, data, and analysis relevant to pertinent topics, which will be widely disseminated. The Digital Archaeology research group will contribute their expertise in spatial analysis and host the workshop on spatial practice.

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