The Challenge

Many neighbourhoods have traffic and congestion problems. Heavitree, lies on one of the most accessible routes from the city centre to the northbound M5 motorway and eastbound A30 trunk road. This route results in a high level of traffic which has long been a concern to local residents, especially as it makes up one of the hot spots in Exeter where levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) are above government objectives (see LAQM Annual Status Report 2015).

Global City Futures were invited by the ward councillor to work with the community to understand the challenges they faced in terms of transport and congestion and identify opportunities for change.

Our Solution

Global City Futures used their innovative process to guide community leaders through a series of defined steps that support them in:

  • Conducting, listening and engagement activities to identify perceived issues
  • Sharing data to understand the causes and impact of congestion on the community
  • Defining distinct challenges to be addressed
  • Identifying pathways to solutions that reflect the communities’ priorities
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We orchestrated a project team that included the University of Exeter and Exeter City Council, to create a programme of activities to bring together community members and take a data-driven approach to tackle the issues that would help make the neighbourhood an even better place to live.

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Illustration of Heavitree, Exeter
Illustration of Heavitree, Exeter with logos of the University of Exeter, Exeter City Futures and Exeter City Council

The Result

More than 200 local residents engaged with the process and were empowered to undertake their own research by collecting and analysing data, and were receptive to considering creative solutions to these challenges.

A series of facilitated workshops helped residents to prioritise the issues raised and determine underlying causes. This group is continuing to co-create practical solutions to reduce local congestion.

“The project has introduced the notion that change is possible. The most common phrase we heard before was ‘you’ll never do anything about that’. Now people are asking ‘I wonder what we can do about that?’ It’s a really important change because it creates a space where things can grow.”

Jo Spinks, Heavitree (Exeter) resident

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A photgraph of a community engagement event in a Heavitree Park with gazebo

Project Lead, Partners & Stakeholders

Global City Futures's Logo
Exeter City Futures' Logo
The University of Exeter's logo
Exeter City Council's Logo