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Barriers to a better Bristol: Diagnosing city strategic sustainability challenges using systems, co-production and interdisciplinary approaches

Prestwood, Emily; Calvert, Thomas; Clayton, William; Longhurst, James; Manchester, Helen; Parkhurst, Graham; Rosenberg, Ges; Taylor, Colin; Townsend, Ian


Emily Prestwood

Thomas Calvert
Researcher in Transport & Urban Planning

Helen Manchester

Ges Rosenberg

Colin Taylor

Ian Townsend


As European Green Capital 2015 and one of the Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities, Bristol can legitimately claim to be on the “frontline” of urban sustainability, continually challenging itself to transform into a place where citizens and organisations work together to create wellbeing. Yet the development pathway to achieving this transformation, remains characterised by continuing inequalities in social inclusion, health outcomes and access to transport, despite aspirational goals envisioned by the city’s leaders. The Urban ID (Integrated Diagnostic) project aims to address this, with the intention that the approach will be replicable in different contexts to assist in developing policy strategies at all levels. The project partnership of local authorities, partnerships, businesses, citizens,
and universities is creating a “diagnostic approach” to identify and address the challenges and barriers
faced in achieving a strategic sustainability vision. The diagnostic approach is being developed through
participatory research using systems, co-creation and learning approaches between a diverse range of
stakeholders, in combination with the examination of relevant information including city data, expert
opinion, and policy documents. A common shortcoming of projects addressing sustainability in a
holistic way is that individual issues are investigated without consideration of the interdependencies
between them and with a ‘business-as-usual’ mindset. To address these shortcomings, Urban ID
focusses on several local case studies as well as a city-wide sustainability community case study. These
are examined through the ‘lenses’ of mobility and accessibility, carbon neutrality, health and happiness,
and equality and inclusion. As a result, all issues in a case study area are examined, to better understand
the links between them. This paper provides an overview of the Urban ID concept and development of
the diagnostic approach, and reports the initial findings and outcomes from a first-round of engagement
activities in the Bristol Green Capital Partnership (BGCP) sustainability community case study,
co-produced with BGCP CIC

Presentation Conference Type Conference Paper (unpublished)
Start Date Jun 27, 2017
Publication Date Oct 5, 2017
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Pages 285-296
APA6 Citation Prestwood, E., Calvert, T., Clayton, W., Longhurst, J., Manchester, H., Parkhurst, G., …Townsend, I. (2017, June). Barriers to a better Bristol: Diagnosing city strategic sustainability challenges using systems, co-production and interdisciplinary approaches. Paper presented at Wessex 9th International Conference on Sustainable Development and Planning
Keywords sustainability, systems, co-production, carbon neutral, mobility, accessibility, health,
happiness, inclusion
Publisher URL
Additional Information Title of Conference or Conference Proceedings : Sustainable Development and Planning IX, 226, 2017, WIT Press