Member in the Spotlight: Bristol, Europe’s Green Capital in 2015, unveils city toolkit


George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, said: “As part of our year as the European Green Capital we pledged to make it easy for other cities to emulate our successes and learn from our challenges. I am delighted that the Bristol 2015 team and partners have created this invaluable online resource full of straightforward advice, based on our direct experience, which we will share with others at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris”.

The European Green Capital Award is given each year by the European Comission to a city which is leading the way environmentally friendly urban living and which can thus act as a role-model to inspire other cities. The aim is the sharing of concrete examples of what a European Green Capital can look like for further progress in other cities. In 2014, Copenhagen won the award, followed by Bristol in 2015. Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director General of the European Commission, said: “One of the reasons Bristol was chosen as this year’s European Green Capital was because we believed the city could inspire change far beyond its city walls. Bristol has done this by creating an invaluable repository of initiatives on how to tackle many of the sustainability challenges faced by cities across Europe and the rest of the world with the Bristol Method. This toolkit will provide a powerful legacy of the city's experiences as Green Capital of Europe.”

How to create sustainable mobility? The 'Bristol Method'

The Bristol Method is made up of a series of modules, or chapters. Each one is presented as an easy-to-digest ‘how to’ guide on a particular topic, which use Bristol’s experiences as a case study. The modules contain generic advice and recommendations that each reader can tailor to their own circumstances. Within the theme Transport, four different modules can be found, explaining the most relevant aspects:

Still in 2014, 9 out of 10 cars were occupied by a single person only, contributing to congestion, a major issue for Bristol – and a very costly one as well. To tackle this situation, promotion for mode change was performed by the Local Sustainable Transport Fund. Additionally, joint travel plans with neighboring authorities were carried out as well as several Parking Schemes in many areas, implementing city-wide 20mph (32km/h). These measurements were accompanied by investments in walking and cycling infrastructure.

In Bristol, a special learning could be achieved by including four neighbouring municipalities of Bristol. A strong network forms the basis for a much cleaner and smarter transport system. Therefore, Mayor George Ferguson has a message to all cities and said in an interview with Polis for 'Thinking Cities': “It is important to work together as city regions to tackle poor transport” (read here the full interview with George Ferguson about the measures in Bristol).

Besides Transport, there are six other themes, providing material and toolkits for cities that are interested in making a change:
  • Transforming the CityThis theme is meant to help thinking about how to set a vision for the future of your city, unlock funding to achieve it, and then measure success.
  • European Green CapitalIn this theme you can learn more about how Bristol won the bid and chose to celebrate the year in the spotlight.
  • Economy: This module shows how Bristol is promoting the green economy, chamioning  a local currency and getting small businesses involved  in sustainability.
  • EnergyBristol City Council is pioneering projects to generate renewable energy, insulate people’s homes and set up a municipal energy company.
  • ResourcesThis section contaisn information about promoting reuse and reducing food waste, increasing recycling rates and putting  on sustainable events.
  • Food and natureThis themes help to understand how Bristol has protected green spaces and worked hard to be a more sustainable food city.

Further reading: