Issue date: 22 February 2013
Today sees the launch of a new website called Future Bristol aimed at exploring and communicating possible low carbon futures for Bristol, as part of the city's public engagement strategy for the 2015 European Green Capital bid.
The Future Bristol project has come about through collaboration between the Green Capital Partnership and Dr Rose Bailey, a research fellow in the Institute for Sustainability Health and Environment at UWE Bristol.
Dr Bailey explains, “Visitors to the website are encouraged to explore two alternative futures for the city, through interactive images. Moving around the site reveals information about features of the two pictures, with the ability to vote and comment on them. The aim is to engage and raise awareness about what a low carbon future means for the city, and find out how the Bristol public feel about two different potential futures: which features are desirable and which we want to avoid.
“The intention is that this website will start a public discussion about how Bristol can become a low carbon city, helping to shape the future we would like by providing valuable evidence to inform local policy.”
The two scenarios are the result of a four year EPSRC funded PhD research project undertaken by Rose during the period 2008-2012, supported by Bristol City Council and The Centre for Sustainable Energy.
This research aimed to explore how the Bristol city region might achieve its 2050 carbon reduction target of 80%, to help close the gap between 'where we are now' and 'where we need to be'.
To do this, 140 local, influential people in businesses, charities, local councils, and universities were asked 'what would you like Bristol to look like in 2050 if it was a low carbon city, and how do we make it happen?'
Through a three-stage consultation process, the two different possible futures in the pictures were described, called 'X' and 'Y', and the steps that might achieve these scenarios were then mapped out by working backwards to the present. More information about the research can be found on the UWE website here: 'An exploration of the low carbon futures for the Bristol region'.
The Future Bristol project forms a key part of on-going and future research at UWE Bristol on carbon management and climate change.
Rose was the 2012 recipient of the Institution of Environmental Sciences John Rose Award, which aims to help postgraduate researchers communicate their work to the general public. Together with funding from Bristol City Council she was able to commission the visualisations of her PhD results from local artist Andy Council. The website was created thanks to a grant from the Bristol Green Capital Partnership's Community Challenge Fund.