Our City Our Health

A public engagement project working with UK artists and Bristol-based community organisations to engage citizens on issues around healthy urban development.

This public engagement project, funded by the Wellcome Trust, has been working with UK artists and Bristol-based community organisations to creatively engage the public on issues around healthy urban development. The project seeks to understand, and inspire debate on several questions: what does healthy urban development mean to you? What is your role in the decision making process? What changes can you make to make cities healthier? It does this by bringing together art, economics and health science into the same space, using a range of creative consultation methods to engage a wide range of city users, both digital and face-to-face.

Activities encourage citizens to take an active role in urban decision making for improved human and planetary health, allowing the public not only to voice their opinion but also to physically ‘shape our city’. To engage with different audiences, SCU have been heading to schools, festivals and community groups to either discuss one or multiple aspects of urban development and how it impacts on our health. The project focuses specifically on geographical areas currently marginalised from participation in city-wide decision-making, As there are many different learning styles and ways of understanding systemic issues, we are employing a mixture or digital, sculptural, street and craft art, most of which will be co-designed with the public. One key consultation is the online city priorities game, Shape Our City.

Based on SCU’s engagement, and to ensure the legacy of this project, students from UWE Bristol will follow up with active citizens from the project to co-create real-world changes to the urban landscape based on their local needs (e.g. bike racks, green roofs). All art work will be donated to community groups, schools or science centres.

This project is linked to the UPSTREAM project – and the public’s opinion will go on to inform city developers and partners UPSTREAM are interviewing and influence future research on designing cities for people and planetary health. The Project Lead is Ruth Larbey, Sophie Laggan is the Project Coordinator, and Margarida Sardo is Project Evaluator.

Follow us on Twitter: @ShapeOurCity

Have your say: bit.ly/shapeourcity