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How Do We Build Healthier Cities?

Festival of the Future City
Illustration of some of the Festival of the Future City themes

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A series of keynotes and panel discussions explore how we can build healthier cities.

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The programme

09:30 – 10:00: Michael Marmot: How Can Marmot Cities Help Create a Fairer, Healthier Society?

In this special pre-recorded interview, Marmot looks at the progress of Marmot cities and regions and what needs to happen next.

In 2010, The Marmot Review into health inequalities in England, Fair Society, Healthy Lives, was published. It proposed an evidence-based strategy to address the social determinants of health.

The mission of The UCL Institute of Health Equity, which Marmot leads, is ‘nothing less than a fairer, healthier society’. One of the outcomes of this is the Marmot cities network of local authorities in England. Participating cities and regions include: Coventry, Stoke, Newcastle, Gateshead, Bristol and Somerset, Cheshire and Merseyside and Cumbria and Lancashire. In 2021, the Marmot report for Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, Build Back Fairer in Greater Manchester: Health Equity and Dignified Lives, put forward bold and ambitious recommendations on how to reduce health inequities and build back fairer from the Covid-19 pandemic for future generations, arguing that ‘equity of health and wellbeing must be at the heart of government and business strategy rather narrow economic goals’.

10:00 – 10:30: Gabriel Scally: What Does the Pandemic Mean for the Future of Cities?

The extraordinary level of government intervention in response to Covid-19 offers a unique opportunity for national and local governments to substantially shift city governance for long-term health. However, the political and economic pressures to continue with business as usual are significant. Gabriel Scally discusses how city decision-makers can use this unique moment in history to re-shape our cities for long-term health.

11:15 – 12:15: Panel Discussion: How Can We Bridge the Gap Between the Public and Decision-Makers in Urban Planning?

Panellists debate the changes needed to significantly improve health equity.

Longstanding urban health inequalities have been highlighted by the disproportionate impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on different communities. This session will explore how city leaders can work with those they serve to plan the urban environments and deliver health benefits for all.

What are the needs and goals of different groups? How can a balance be struck? What kinds of collaboration are needed between decision-makers and citizens in order for health inequalities to be addressed in future transport planning?

With Kelvin Blake, Leila Gamaz, Victoria Ofovbe, Sian Peake-Jones and Jo White. Chaired by Andy Gibson.

13:00 – 14:00: Panel Discussion: Long-Term Health in Lean Times: What Can UK Cities Really Do For Themselves?

Panellists debate how cities can take control of their destiny and help citizens have healthier and longer lives.

The hollowing out of the state in England has left a highly concentrated nexus of power in London and local elected bodies that lack adequate power and resources to drive their progress and prosperity. What can cities do to improve public health in relation to the non-communicable disease and health inequalities linked to quality of urban environments? What powers do they currently have to facilitate creative approaches to incorporating health outcomes in mainstream policy making? What does central government need to do to support the integration of health outcomes into successful place-based initiatives?

With Kate Ardern, Rokhsana Fiaz, Julia Goldsworthy and Matthew Taylor. Chaired by Sarah Ayres.

14:45-15:45: Panel Discussion: Healthy Places and the Future of Private Sector Involvement

Panellists discuss the role of the private sector in building and maintaining healthy cities.

There is an old saying, ‘you can’t have healthy high streets without healthy back streets’. The traditional role of the private sector in creating prosperity and quality of life in local communities is no longer a feature in many areas. Most recognise that the building of genuine partnership between communities, their leaders and private enterprise should be a way forward for the regeneration of cities, and yet the dynamic is often lopsided.

The private sector is often vilified for profit-seeking and having little interest in the societal outcomes from its activities, yet many individuals working within the private sector would be horrified to think of themselves in this way. There is an emerging zeitgeist of ‘responsible capitalism’, yet many see this, even within the industry, as business-as-usual corporate greenwash.

Is long-term health incompatible with short-term business? What does a healthy private sector look like and how likely is it really that things will change radically in the near future? Does it even need to, or is it national government that needs to change?

With Krista Bondy, Matt Griffith, Toby Lloyd and Alexandra Notay. Chaired by Daniel Black.

Supported by

Kate Arden

Kate Ardern is an Honorary Professor at Salford University and a Visiting Professor at Chester University. She is a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Longevity strategic advisory board, the Chief Medical Officer’s advisory roundtable on public health research, and is a member of General Advisory Council of the Kings Fund. In addition to her substantive post as Director of Public Health for Wigan where she also is the Borough’s Chief Emergency Planning Officer, she is the Greater Manchester Combined Authority Lead DPH for Health Protection and Emergency Planning. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, she has been a core member of the Greater Manchester Strategic Coordinating Groupand is a senior officer adviser in attendance at the Mayor of Greater Manchester’s Emergency Committee. In recognition of her contribution to pandemic response, the Financial Times magazine named her as one of their 18 international Women of the Year 2020.

Sarah Ayres

Sarah Ayres is Professor of Public Policy and Governance at University of Bristol. Her research is centred on the governance of place, space and territory. This work has been at the frontier of understanding the complexities of sub-national governance in the UK by exploring the inter-play between formal and informal structures, processes and outcomes. She has been involved in six Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) funded projects, three as Principal Investigator. She has been academic advisor to three successive UK Governments on English devolution and is regularly invited to provide written and oral evidence to government consultations and House of Commons inquiries.

Daniel Black

Daniel Black is a research director with 20 years of professional experience in a wide range of knowledge domains linked to urban planning and corporate governance. His focus over the last decade has been on bringing social and environmental costs into key points of decision-making to improve urban and planetary health. He is currently Programme Director of TRUUD, a five-year research programme led by University of Bristol, which aims to tackle root causes of unhealthy urban development, and co-leading WASTE FEW ULL, a three-year international consortium seeking to improve food-energy-water inefficiencies. He qualified in economics, then urban design/planning, with an original focus on environmental and sustainability assessment mechanisms. He is a Visiting Research Fellow at the University of Reading (Henley Business School – Real Estate and Planning).

Kelvin Blake

Kelvin Blake is a Bristolian born and bred. Until 2018 he worked for BT in senior board level roles where he was responsible for the delivery of large and complex customer and internal projects and programmes. He is passionate about progressing disabled people’s issues having become disabled in 2006 following a serious motorcycle accident and sustaining a spinal cord injury. He takes an active role in Bristol’s community and is currently a Non-Executive Director of BrisDoc out of hours GP care service, Non-Executive Director of North Bristol NHS Trust and a Trustee at Second Step, a homeless and mental health charity. Formerly he has been a trustee of the Spinal Injuries Association and The Vassall Centre Trust. He was a Non-Executive Director of University Hospital Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and a former City Councillor responsible for regeneration and development.

Krista Bondy

Krista Bondy is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Management, University of Bath. Since 2000, she has been actively engaged in research, teaching and consulting on a variety of areas within the corporate social responsibility/ sustainability domain. Her research interests fall broadly within international management and organisational behaviour, focusing on corporate social responsibility, business ethics, environmental management and power dynamics within and between individuals and organisations.

Rokhsana Fiaz

Rokhsana Fiaz was elected the Mayor of Newham in May 2018 and is the lead member for Inclusive Economy and Housing Delivery. Since her election, she has been leading a transformative and radical agenda in Newham, reflecting a series of manifesto commitments to address inequality and poverty. She is leading one the most ambitious genuinely affordable housing programmes in London through a number of significant regeneration schemes. In response to Covid-19, she has led the council’s development of its ‘Towards a Better Newham’ strategy and action plan, and Newham has become the first council in the country to make the health, happiness and wellbeing of its residents the key indicator of economic success. She is the co-chair of London’s only Enterprise Zone in the Royal Docks and is a member of the Mayor of London’s LEAP Board. She was awarded an OBE in 2019 for services to Black and Minority Ethnic Communities in the UK.

Image credit: Andrew Baker
Leila Gamaz

Leila Gamaz has worked, lived and volunteered in and around Easton / St Judes, which borders the Frome Gateway (one of the TRUUD case study areas), in Bristol for over ten years. In the last few years, she has worked for the local charity Up Our Street, and set up a Pan-African catering business that employs refugee women.

Andy Gibson

Andy Gibson is Associate Professor in Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) at UWE Bristol and has a social sciences background. His research interests focus on public involvement in health research. He is the academic lead for People in Health West of England, a UWE-led collaborative initiative on PPI in research. He also leads the UWE patient and public involvement team based in the School of Health and Social Wellbeing.

Julia Goldsworthy

Julia Goldsworthy is acting Chair of the TRUUD External Advisory Board, and has spent the last four years working as Director of Strategy and Economy for the West Midlands Combined Authority where she has playedd a leading role in navigating its formative milestones. A former MP, Treasury Special Adviser in the 2010 Coalition Government and latterly a senior adviser at PwC, she has two decades experience developing and implementing policy at a senior level, spanning a broad range of subjects across central, local and regional government, though often with an inclusive growth, place-based focus. She has served on the UK2070 Commission on addressing city and regional inequalities and has also supported the Covid Recovery Commission, which has examined how businesses and places can support one another to promote economic recovery and innovation across the country.

Matt Griffith

Matt Griffith is Director of Policy at Business West. He is a specialist in economic policy and has a long history of economic and business research and lobby work. He has previously worked as an advisor to government, including writing reports for the Prime Minister on improving England’s economic performance, reports on improving city growth and several recent high-profile housing reports.

Toby Lloyd

Toby Lloyd is an independent housing policy consultant and Chair of the No Place Left Behind Commission for the Create Streets Foundation. He was formerly a special adviser to the PM, and Head of Housing Development at Shelter and has worked on housing issues in the public, private and third sectors for over ten years. He is the co-author of Rethinking the Economics of Land and Housing.

Michael Marmot

Michael Marmot is Professor of Epidemiology at University College London, Director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity, and Past President of the World Medical Association. He has led research groups on health inequalities for over 40 years and is the author of The Health Gap: The Challenge of an Unequal World (Bloomsbury: 2015) and Status Syndrome: How Your Place on the Social Gradient Directly Affects Your Health (Bloomsbury: 2004). He holds the Harvard Lown Professorship for 2014-2017 and is the recipient of the Prince Mahidol Award for Public Health 2015. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from 18 universities.

Alex Notay

Alexandra Notay is Placemaking and Investment Director at PfP Capital. She is an internationally recognised expert on Build to Rent, placemaking and sustainable urban development. She has 16 years’ strategic advisory experience to public and private sector clients in the UK, US, Europe and Australia. She is a published author and editor of over 30 books and reports on real estate.

Image credit: Tom Campbell
Victoria Ofovbe

Victoria Ofovbe is a writer, artist and lifelong Manchester resident. She has worked extensively in arts and media-based engagement across the city, co-creating a platform for underrepresented communities to highlight some of the social and economic issues affecting them. She has also been involved in a number of participant-led projects centred around local history and heritage and is currently working as an engagement coordinator for Manchester International Festival.

Sian Peake-Jones

Sian Peake-Jones is a GMCA Fellow (Healthier Urban Development) at the University of Manchester. Her research looks at the link between mental health and productivity in Greater Manchester, investigating themes including devolution, governance and policy networks. Her professional background is working in, and advising on, economic development strategy and policy. Her experience has involved extensive short- and long-term consultancy to UK and devolved governments, local government and associated partnerships including as Director at the independent think-tank The Centre for Local Economic Strategies, as a HM Government Neighbourhood Renewal Advisor and with universities including Middlesex and Salford. She has helped establish several community enterprises including one concerned with mental health and suicide prevention, now a successful international operation.

Gabriel Scally

Gabriel Scally is Visiting Professor of Public Health in the University of Bristol. Previously, he was Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Healthy Urban Environments at UWE Bristol, President of the Royal Society of Medicine’s Public Health Section, Regional Director of Public Health in England, Chief Administrative Medical Officer and Director of Public Health in the Eastern Health and Social Services Board, and a member of the Governing Council of the World Federation of Public Health Association. He has co-authored the standard textbook on public health in the UK.

Matthew Taylor

Matthew Taylor is Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation. He has led the RSA for 15 years and during that time he has transformed the organisation into a global institution, with 30,000 fellows and a high-profile and influential research programme. Before that he was Chief Adviser on Political Strategy to Prime Minister Tony Blair, and he also ran the Institute for Public Policy Research for four years. He is a widely known commentator on policy, politics and public service reform and regularly appears on national media programmes. He was also commissioned by the Conservative Government in 2016 to carry out an independent review into modern employment practices.

Jo White

Jo White is a Research Fellow in Public Involvement at UWE Bristol. Her PhD was in Social Anthropology and for the last 20 years she has worked as a qualitative research specialist, often overseas (Southeast Asia, South Asia, East and West Africa and Southern Europe), conducting applied studies in areas including livelihoods, HIV, sexual health, pregnancy and embodiment, and cultural notions of health/wellbeing. Since joining UWE’s Public Involvement team in 2015 she has trained community members as researchers within ‘co-production’ projects which promote lay public involvement in health-related studies.

Booking Information

Please note: this event has moved online and is now free thanks to support from sponsors.

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Festival of the Future City

Festival of the Future City takes place every two years in Bristol. This year – due to the pandemic – the festival brings together live on-stage, live online and pre-recorded events. Check the project page for details and follow #FutureCity21 on Twitter.

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