Sustainable Cities™

Bristol involves citizens in sustainable urban development

The city of Bristol in southwest England has an innovative approach to sustainable urban development and citizen involvement, for example via social media and interactive websites. That meant that on 14 June 2013 the city beat Brussels, Glasgow and Ljubljana in contention for the title of European Green Capital 2015.

Bristol webside ø

In order to create a greener future for Bristol, the city has concentrated on including a powerful communications strategy, which involves residents and local companies in the city's green development.  In addition, Bristol is well advanced in terms of air and sound pollution, energy planning, waste separation and a green transport network, which includes CO2-free, hydrogen boats.

Pioneer in the fields of social media and Internet communication

Bristol has wide experience in communicating and interacting with its residents on social media and the Internet. For example, they have planned live lab conferences via social media and interactive websites in conjunction with George Ferguson's (Mayor of Bristol for Architecture) decision to make the city a "Laboratory for Change". The conferences will invite the people of Bristol to participate actively in the city's development.

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Future Bristol is one of the many interactive websites, which will encourage people to get involved and understand what it means to be a "low carbon city". The site provides an opportunity to vote for or against potential projects in the city. This will give a picture of what solutions the people of Bristol would like to see in the future.

Finally, part of the city's application to become European Green Capital consisted of a YouTube video, in which residents were stopped on the street and thanked for their efforts with a song.

Green projects in the city

Every year Bristol, which is currently the greenest city in the United Kingdom, organises an annual series of events, where the people of the city can encounter new green solutions and ideas through the medium of art and entertainment.  During Bristol's ​​The BIG Green Week traffic is blocked from the city centre. This makes it a favourite event for many residents. Bristol Green Doors is an event, in which all interested parties have a chance to visit private homes, which were built in accordance with environmental standards or which contain green and sustainable solutions. Other initiatives in Bristol include a festival of nature, in which interactive exhibitions or activities promote awareness of natural history, biodiversity and environmental protection, while FeedBristol focuses on urban gardens and organic food.

With a focus on innovation and green economy, the city has initiated the Bristol Pound, a local unit of currency, which is available both on paper and electronically. By encouraging people to use this local form of payment (e.g. via mobile phone), the city gives residents a collective sense of their own city, thus strengthening the local economy. Another example of the city's work on citizen involvement and participation in a green future consists of network events such as Green Mingle, in which anyone interested in green initiatives can come along and discuss their ideas.

About the European Green Capitalprize

In 2006, Mr. Jüri Ratas, the former Mayor of Tallinn in Estonia, founded the award for the greenest capital city in Europe. Ratas conceived the prize as a celebration of the efforts made by cities committed to environmental and sustainable development. The prize also aims to promote the best solutions within 12 sustainable areas: climate change; transport; green urban areas; nature and biodiversity; air quality; quality of the acoustic environment; waste management; water consumption; waste water treatment; environmental innovation & sustainable employment; environmental management; and energy.


Friday, September 20, 2013 / By Nina Kirstine Busk

Last updated Monday, April 14, 2014