‘The challenge’ is city-based innovation competition to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Organised by UN-Habitat, technologists, businesses, and investors are invited to develop, test and scale cutting-edge solutions.
Bristol has been selected alongside Bogota in Colombia, Curitiba in Brazil, and Makindye Ssabagabo in Uganda. The focus of the Climate Smart Cities Challenge is to design a project at neighbourhood level that will showcase how cities can co-create new ideas together with innovators that make cities more sustainable and climate smart.
Team Thriving Places was announced as Bristol’s winning team for the international Climate Smart Cities Challenge on the 28th September in a celebratory online event. Zoe Metcalfe, director at engineering consultants Atkins, a member of the Thriving Places team, said Bristol was well-placed to benefit from winning the global competition given its proactive approach to achieving net zero targets.
The initiative presented the opportunity to invite global innovators and technologists to work on one of the city’s key challenges: developing an economic model for affordable, energy-efficient homes. This challenge was identified by Bristol City Council, Bristol One City and Bristol Housing Festival as one that if solved, could give significant momentum to the city’s priority to tackle the climate and ecological crises and the housing crisis. It will focus on developing brownfield sites in the city that have been considered unviable, and yet may hold the key to unlocking hundreds of energy-efficient, carbon neutral, affordable homes.
At the heart of the winning team is EDAROTH (Everybody Deserves A Roof Over Their Head), a wholly owned subsidiary of Atkins that provides energy efficient homes using carbon neutral, modern methods of construction. The core team also includes Igloo Regeneration, a leading UK responsible real estate business which funds, delivers and animates great places and the Bristol-based, award winning housing association Brighter Places, which delivers better places and inclusive homes. The team will work with the city, investors, and other partners to demonstrate new pathways and capabilities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while also contributing to nature restoration, social justice, health, security, employment, and other societal benefits.
45 finalists were chosen in January 2022, and now the winning teams will share up to 400,000 euro to develop their ideas in a planning phase to build towards demonstrating their solutions in the cities in 2023, with the ultimate aim of creating solutions that will create better futures in cities around the world.
Bristol was the first U.K. authority to declare a climate emergency and have since declared ecological emergency in response to the local decline of wildlife, a sign of Mayor Marvin Rees’s commitment to see Bristol lead the way in this space.
The winner’s announcement comes a few weeks before L&G Modular homes officially launch their Bristol development Bonnington Walk in Lockleaze, which was awarded an Excellent rating under the Building with Nature certifcation, and a few months after the Mayor chose to protect wildlife site Novers Hill from planned development. As the built environment is responsible for 25% of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, the Climate Smart Cities Challenge is an important piece of Bristol’s puzzle and one that will continue to create the momentum needed to reach its ambitious goals.
Stay updated on the Climate Smart Cities Challenge here.