SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit

Roadmap for a Sustainable City

Brighton and Hove aspires to be a resource-efficient, One Planet, Zero Carbon City. How we get there is uncertain and fraught with challenges. Over the last 3-years SPRU researchers Dr Florian Kern, Dr Rachael Durrant, Professor Gordon MacKerron and Dr Jake Barnes have been exploring the agency of  local initiatives to achieve progress within the project, ARTS – Accelerating and Rescaling Transitions to Sustainability.

Yet, there is much to be hopefully about. In 2014 Brighton and Hove was named CIVITAS city of the year for policies and actions that seek to promote sustainable transport. In 2015 Brighton and Hove became the first city in the country to be awarded the Soil Association’s silver award for sustainable food. These achievements and others, are to a significant extent the result of a range of local projects, initiatives and organisations. Within the city there are currently over 100 initiatives that are exploring what it means to be more environmentally sustainable, and how to get there.

On 22 November 2016 they shared key findings from the project with local stakeholders and discussed ways in which to continue moving forwards.

The ARTS project started from the premise that realising the potential benefits of long-term transformative change (towards sustainability) requires an understanding of local initiatives and the local governance context in which they act. The research was particularly interested in understanding the conditions and mechanisms for accelerating transitions to sustainable low-carbon societies in city-regions.

A key finding from the project was the degree to which, despite the sometimes rapid growth of initiative supporters or users, what has really led to a shift towards more sustainable practices has been the institutionalisation of practices within city policies or infrastructure. For example, infrastructure improvement works along Lewes Road through segregated cycle lanes that were introduced have resulted in 34% increase in cyclists, daily.

Alongside key findings, a Roadmap for a Sustainable City, Brighton and Hove was presented, having been collaboratively constructed with local stakeholders during the spring 2016. The roadmap was created for the benefit of people involved in local initiatives in Brighton and Hove who are striving to create a more sustainable and low carbon future, as well as those organisations and people seeking to support and govern change within the city. Its purpose is to inform about the context in which initiatives are working and to help develop future strategies. It also includes a set of actions, collectively derived and agreed to progress the sustainability ambitions of the city-region.

View the event presentation

View the Roadmap for a Sustainable city

Summary visualisation of the the ARTS project final event by Graphic artists, Temujen and Maia.

ARTS visual notes