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Future of Cities

Too often, journalism focuses on problems, not solutions.

That’s why the Bristol Cable has always prioritised solutions journalism. And now with new funding from the European Journalism Centre, we will be able to investigate solutions to our city’s problems over the next year.

Bristol faces the same challenges as other cities: housing insecurity, food and fuel poverty, and unequal access to healthcare, education and transport networks. With more and more people living in cities, we need to find solutions for sustainable development. And perhaps more importantly, they need to be shared.

How can we develop cities fit for the future?

This is the question we will try to answer. The Future of Cities series will clearly set out problems our city is facing, uncover solutions from other cities and amplify grassroots solutions being pioneered closer to home, putting the people working on these solutions at the heart of the stories. To explore these solutions we will engage with experts and local communities, so there will be ways for you to get involved.

Below are the three topics that we will be focusing on, starting with how we organise space – from housing to the built environment and access to nature.

Want more solutions for Bristol?

Reporting on solutions to Bristol’s biggest problems is expensive.

We won funding to explore how to make this important work viable for a local paper like the Cable! But to keep doing it, we need funding that won’t run out: monthly-paying membership.

Becoming a member, and encouraging others to join, means we can continue investigating solutions for Bristol into the future.

Find out more

Solutions relating to food, energy and climate resillience.

Bristol’s flood defences are being pushed to their limit. What is the city’s long-term plan, and will it be enough?

The council is searching for an extra £100 million to fund future flood defences to protect low-lying areas of the city. While residents call for greater action, the Cable looks across the North Sea to Rotterdam for inspiration.

Urban growers are quietly laying the ground for a food revolution. Can it become a reality?

Growing fruit and veg close to home is better for our health – and could help keep us fed when climate change disrupts supply chains. Could doing more of it provide a secure, affordable, and sustainable way of meeting Bristol's needs?

Cities of the future must prioritise the health of people and the planet

Preventing ill-health from poor-quality urban environments, and promoting fairness, are at the heart of a project Bristol is helping to lead.

Illustration of solar panels feeding energy into community microgrids (credit: @laurence_ware_design)

Future of Cities

People power: how can community electricity grids help tackle the energy crisis?

A small-scale ‘microgrid’ scheme in Lawrence Weston is helping a group of Bristol homeowners take power into their own hands – but how can we supercharge community energy projects to benefit everyone?

Why Bristol needs to build a sustainable food system – before disaster strikes

Solutions related to public transport

Trams, or an underground? As Bristol weighs its public transport options, can it learn from across the Channel?

Bristol is notorious for its congestion and poor public transport, and has been hit by a worsening bus crisis. As it looks to a new mass transit system to solve its problems, cities such as Rennes and Bordeaux can offer valuable lessons.

Car-free utopia or burning bollards: how can Bristol build a truly ‘liveable’ neighbourhood?

Bristol is about to restrict traffic in its first liveable neighbourhood pilot. What can the city learn from the success story of Milan's 'open squares' initiative, and the cautionary tale of Oxford's low-traffic neighbourhoods?

Taking back control: is bus franchising the route out of Bristol’s public transport chaos?

Metro Mayor Dan Norris says he is open to Bristol taking greater public control over its bus services, but he is currently lagging behind other regional leaders who are pushing ahead with reforms in an attempt to improve vital bus services.

Solutions relating to housing, the built environment and access to nature

Image of members of Redcliffe Residents' Action Group at Portwall Lane car park (credit: Alexander Turner)

Future of Cities

Bristol’s car parks take up land the size of 150 football pitches. What if they could be replaced by housing?

Across the Bristol area, hundreds of acres of space is occupied by off-street car parks. What impact could building new homes on them have on the housing crisis, and on making the city more liveable?

Small developments, big ideas: how Bristol’s community groups took housing into their own hands

Lessons from Lille, as Bristol explores rent controls to tackle its housing affordability crisis

As Bristol prepares to ask the government for extra powers to bring in rent controls, the Cable investigates what can be learned from across the channel in France, and in Scotland where reform is already in motion.

Rethinking regeneration: Could co-design help transform Bristol’s housing estates?

It’s crunch time for many of the city's post-war housing estates. Could its crop of radical co-design projects provide a model for delivering regeneration at scale?

‘Our future lies in sustainable cities’

To mark the launch of our Future of Cities series, Dr Sean Fox argues why cities like Bristol have limited powers and cash, but need to lead the way in finding a sustainable future.

How ambitious and creative tree planting projects could help keep Bristol cool during heatwaves

Green infrastructure could help make Bristol more resilient to climate change, improving the lives of its residents. What can the city learn from Milan?

‘The company needs to be held accountable’: Bristol passengers speak out about bus misery

Amid calls for Bristol’s struggling bus services to be franchised, passengers share their stories of failing to get to work and education on time, while some are left with no choice but to walk, get a cab or drive. 

Interactive: Where can you afford to rent in Bristol?

Over the last 12 months we've been keeping track of properties on Bristol's rental market. Can you find somewhere to live within your means?

Reporting that finds solutions to our biggest problems is time consuming and expensive. 

The Future of Cities project is funded by the European Journalism Centre’s Solutions Journalism Accelerator, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

We’ve been awarded funding to explore how to make this important work viable for a local paper like the Cable! But to continue this work, we need more readers to become members. 

Becoming a member, and encouraging others to join, will give us the time and space to investigate solutions that could transform Bristol.

Support our work, become a member.

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