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Melanie Jans-Singh

Melanie Jans-Singh

Final year PhD student

CDT in Future Infrastructure and Built Environment

Topic: Energy Models and Digital twins for Urban Integrated Agriculture

Supervisor: Dr. Ruchi Choudhary


I am interested in the sustainability of integrating nature with infrastructure, in particular methods to quantify considerations of the food-water-energy nexus into the built environment. My PhD research focused on the combined performance of hydroponic greenhouses within disused urban spaces.

This research stems from an extensive collaboration with Growing Underground, a hydroponic farm in derelict tunnels in London, where we set up a monitoring network to track the effect of crops on the built environment, and vice versa: how the built environment could be harnessed to create efficient urban growing spaces. The large amount of data collected has grown into an interest in digital twins, for which we are developing a prototype for Growing Underground (GU), linking data collection, data analysis and data models into one platform for bespoke use by GU operators and researchers. My research interests also span building energy modelling and I have developed a co-simulation methodology to model the co-benefits of installing a greenhouse in disused building spaces.

My work was funded by the Centre for Doctoral Training in Future Infrastructure and the Built Environment (FIBE). Prior to Cambridge, I pursued an MEng in Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College, where I did my masters year at ETH Zurich. My Masters research project was in hydrology, investigating the impact of snow on drought through water isotope tracing in the Alps.

Courses I regularly teach are Machine Tools, Structural Design and Environmental Sustainability and Business, and I supervise Bachelor projects in French.

More detail about the work I have carried out with collaborators can be found in the following conference papers.

Key Publications