Bristol has joined a global challenge to find ideas to help build and strengthen its local communities.
And residents and community groups have just one week left to put forward their ideas and proposals to enhance community cohesion.
Along with Oakland in America and Da Nang in Vietnam, Bristol is part of the ‘Social Cohesion Challenge’. The challenge aims to gather innovative solutions from around the world to help cities address barriers they experience to building cohesive, thriving city communities.
There are already a wealth of activities taking place in the city, including supper clubs which give communities a taste of other cultures, projects in local primary schools which encourage children to consider what they would do in different social situations and festivals and events to celebrate everything from Black History Month to International Women’s Day.
The Dundry View area in South Bristol held a whole month of events in 2015 to promote and celebrate diversity in the area. The programme aimed to encourage as many local residents and visitors to participate in events they might not otherwise attend.
Bristol is now inviting proposals from local people, as well as social entrepreneurs, designers and non-government organisations, which offer creative and engaging ways to increase trust within communities. The ideas will be evaluated by a panel of international experts as well as local people. The best new, innovative idea may then be piloted in a local neighbourhood with the aim that it can become sustainable and learnings shared with other cities in the 100RC network.
Bristol’s involvement in the challenge comes as part of its membership of the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) global network pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.
Bristol’s challenge focuses on improving community resilience and local unity. The city is remarkably diverse, with residents from 180 countries who speak 91 languages and practice at least 45 religions. However an average of 40% of residents – including both long-term Bristolians and recent arrivals – cite social cohesion as a problem.
George Ferguson, Mayor of Bristol, said: “Bristol, as a mighty small global city has long reflected its trading history in its multicultural population. It's very much part of what makes the city such a vibrant and interesting place to live. Typically some people and neighbourhoods, often those experiencing rapid changes in population, have faced a breakdown in trust.
“As a member of 100 Resilient Cities, we are using the Social Cohesion Challenge to find creative and engaging ways for communities and cultures to embrace difference and diversity and identify shared values to help build trust and mutual respect.
“By encouraging people to gain a sense of shared space with their neighbours, communities can build resilience and address any threatened intolerance or social tension. This can only benefit our local neighbourhoods as well as Bristol’s citywide community.”
Sarah Toy, Strategic Resilience Officer at Bristol City Council, said: “The Social Cohesion Challenge is a really exciting and unusual way to bring actionable, creative solutions from thought leaders in many different sectors. Among all our participants’ contributions, we believe we can find inspiration for how to tackle some of these cities’ most intractable social challenges.”
The challenge is being co-ordinated by Citymart in partnership with 100RC. The deadline for applications is February 4 2016. To find out more about Bristol’s challenge and how to apply see www.bit.ly/BristolSocCoh.
Notes to Editors
- Bristol is one of three UK cities in the Rockefeller 100RC network. As part of its membership Bristol receives funding for a Chief Resilience Officer, resources for drafting a resilience strategy, access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges.
- During the COP Climate Change conference in Paris in early December, Bristol announced it is committing 16% of its 2015/16 budget to resilience work.
- About 100 Resilient Cities, Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation
100 Resilient Cities - Pioneered by The Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) helps cities around the world become more resilient to the physical, social, and economic challenges that are a growing part of the 21st century. 100RC provides this assistance through: funding for a Chief Resilience Officer in each member city who will lead the resilience efforts; resources for drafting a resilience strategy; access to private sector, public sector, academic, and NGO resilience tools; and membership in a global network of peer cities to share best practices and challenges. 100RC currently has 67 member cities. For more information, visit: www.100ResilientCities.org.
- About Citymart
Citymart transforms the way cities solve problems, connecting them with new ideas through open challenges to entrepreneurs and citizens. Our method has helped more than 50 cities around the world from San Francisco to London and Barcelona to Rio de Janeiro find proven solutions. Citymart partners with cities to rethink their spending habits so they focus on what problems they need to solve instead of what things they want to buy. Cities will spend money in better ways, create new opportunities for local businesses, and find the best solutions to local problems. Ultimately, we help cities improve the quality of life for all citizens. For more information, visit: www.citymart.com.