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About East Bristol

The East Bristol Liveable Neighbourhood pilot is located in the inner east of Bristol with geographical coverage 1.7 sq. km. It has approximately 6000 properties and businesses within the area.

This pilot is embedded in the Bristol City Council’s vision for the East Bristol Liveable Neighbourhood scheme (EBLN) which seeks to empower local communities to transform their neighbourhoods into places that provide better access to green and play space, more seamless and convenient connections to local amenities using sustainable forms of travel, and more space for social and community activity.

Liveable Neighbourhoods are areas of a city where improvements are designed in partnership with local communities to achieve a better balance between how streets are used for vehicles and people. 

In June 2021 Bristol’s Citizens’ Assembly called for our neighbourhoods to be reimagined so that they are people-centred and more ‘liveable’, meaning they are safe, healthy, inclusive, and attractive places where everyone can breathe clean air, have access to better quality green and play space, and feel a part of a community.

Rolling out two Liveable Neighbourhood pilot projects are Mayoral priorities for Bristol, with the East Bristol Liveable Neighbourhood being the first scheme to be piloted in the city.  The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has provided funding to use an area-wide approach to develop a Low Traffic Neighbourhood (Liveable Neighbourhood), rather than just design linear infrastructure for route improvements.

The project area covers parts of five wards of Bristol: Lawrence Hill, Easton, St George West, St George Central and St George Troopers Hill, south of Church Road and north of the River Avon. Recently, in January 2024, Bristol Administration approved to advertise the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) for the full EBLN scheme. It is due to begin late January. 

Identified challenges

  • A climate and ecological emergency articulated by local and national plans require widespread citizen participation to deliver the set goals of social-ecological transformation in the city. The pilot’s work within the EBLN is supporting BCC’s ambition of becoming Carbon Neutral by 2030. 
  • LN schemes offer a promising pathway for community-led urban transformation beyond the pilot’s area of intervention if they are recognized and accepted by local communities and municipalities. However, Liveable Neighbourhoods have been controversial in some areas of the country where they have been introduced rapidly. The most successful schemes of this nature are delivered in partnership with and at the pace of the local community.
  • As the pilot starts, the EBLN team has already been working with the community and other stakeholders for two years and realised the “Co-Discovery” and “Co-Design” stages of their process. They intend to use the GREENGAGE methodology on COs to re-engage with the community, to re-iterate the first stages and to deliver the “Trial” stage using the GREEN Engine and toolbox. 
  • At the time when their GREENGAGE CO Activation was supposed to happen, the pilot owners couldn’t start the re-engagement due to Barton house evacuation, that is at the heart of the pilot area and “communication shutdown” in East Bristol, demanded by BCC.

  • Bristol City Council will face changes due to the municipal governance shift from a mayor to a committee system. The change in governance structure will be effective from May 2024. The EBLN programme is required to reflect timescales associated with the Pre-Election Period (PEP) which runs from March, as well as the formation of the new Committee System. 

Bristol’s Citizen Observatory

The pilot project seeks feedback and input from the local community to help design a re-imagined streetscape that realises the vision set through the Citizen Assembly.   The Liveable Neighbourhoods Team envisions at least two GREENGAGE Citizen Observatories.

The first CO will give the possibility to re-engage with the local community, especially with those members of the local community who were concerned about the scheme and its trial interventions. Through means of engagement that go beyond data collection, the pilot owners will seek to discover issues of shared concern (around journeys, traffic displacement, perception of and actual safety, air quality/pollution, opportunities for increased green infrastructure etc) amongst participants and support them to envision their neighbourhoods together. Grounding the CO in issues that still matter to the people is important for rebuilding trust in BCC and ensuring participation of historically underrepresented groups as well as supporting the co-design of forthcoming interventions that will be part of the second CO. 

The second CO will consider the learnings from the 1st CO as well as the issues that need to be addressed to successfully deliver the 1st phase of the “trial” stage of the EBLN scheme as well as the metrics to evaluate GREENGAGE COs (as in WP6). Ensuring a representative participation, the pilot owners will attempt to monitor and explore the effects of the interventions performed by the EBLN scheme, in other words validate whether those interventions are delivering positive effects in line with policy objectives for a more equitable city, and just transition towards becoming climate neutral by 2030. This should inspire local authorities to adopt and adapt the scheme to the contexts of their neighbourhoods considering policy demands for climate mitigation.

Who we are?

The Citizen Observatories (COs) in Bristol will demand the involvement of different societal groups from beginning to end. People will not only contribute gathering data with devices or answering to surveys, but they will also help co-designing the hypothesis and associated experiments/campaigns to allow their validation or rebuttal.  

We are looking for: 

  • residents most affected or concerned by EBLN the trial scheme,  
  • historically underrepresented or marginalized groups such as families and young people or diverse ethnic communities, 
  • members of community anchor organisations.

What will we do?

Analyse and visualise impact of road closures on mobility patterns (journey quality)

The system will use historical mobility data and road closure data and analyse mobility patterns before and after road closures. It will also compare traffic flow, travel times, and congestion levels before and after road closures as well as identify any significant changes in mobility patterns and potential causes. It will visualise and report the results to stakeholders and decision-makers.

Possible steps:  

  • User opens visualisation tool  
  • User loads data for visualisation  
  • User selects analysis mode (mobility patterns, traffic flow, congestion levels etc)
  • User downloads / exports analysis information (images, spreadsheets etc)

Air quality/ Environment monitoring 

Monitor and visualise air quality of the neighbourhood at different times (e.g. at different times of the day, for different congestion levels etc).  

Monitor environment and identify safety / threat levels  

Analyse threat levels of various neighbourhoods and visualise for further analyses and input to policy-making.

Mobility Pattern Analysis to determine accessibility to shops, schools, services, and other local amenities  

Use techniques such as GPS tracking and to determine routes that citizens take to local amenities and identify improvements. Categorise routes by mode of transport and analyse alternative travel modes.

Why?

  • By partnering with local communities and especially empowering people from marginalised groups such as children and families in East Bristol to meaningfully participate in the co-creation of EBLN, the pilot expects to increase trust in the scheme and insights on the effects of interventions (e.g., removing cut through routes for non-local vehicle traffic) on local people’s everyday lives.  
  • By preparing, testing, and evaluating the community-led performance of mitigation policies through EBLN, the pilot owners will gain understanding of success criteria of LN projects that will be shared through a Handbook for LN. Learnings will feed into of the city-wide scheme of Liveable Neighbourhoods and inform future plans, policies and strategies in the context of LN that are already planned for South Bristol. 
  • By engaging citizens and community anchor organisations not only through data collection but in various ways in urban planning processes, local interventions will become more responsive to concerns and visions expressed by local communities. This is expected to strengthen BCC’s aspirations of enabling co-creation of liveable neighbourhoods together with the local population and should lead towards manifested long-term citizen participation modes as integral part of municipal governance, e.g., through Citizen Assemblies which democratise urban planning and politicise citizen engagement. 
GREENGAGE Citizen Observatory Journey