Our vision is of healthy, liveable cities where people want to live and work.

These city regions include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands, Liverpool City Region, the West of England, Tees Valley and Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Our vision is of healthy, liveable cities where people want to live and work. Cities that are unpolluted, well-planned, powered by sustainable energy and clean technologies. And cities that have warm energy-efficient homes, workplaces and public buildings and low-carbon transport.

But UK cities are far from a blank canvas. Mayors and their teams are grappling with complex challenges, none of which can be fixed in isolation. With the proven solutions that Ashden winners offer, we aim to help city regions find answers to challenges like congestion, sustainable energy and poor-quality housing.

We’re also supporting city regions in embedding sustainability into all their plans. Guaranteeing clean air, energy efficient homes, uncongested streets and low carbon business opportunities are not just environmental goals. They are essential features for city regions aiming to attract new residents and investment, to ensure they are fit for the future and resilient in the face of climate change.

Ashden Winner Demand Logic is working in cities like London to reduce the energy use of commercial buildings

What we are doing

Local and combined authorities are operating with constrained finances and staffing. So sustainability is always an agenda that has to prove its worth, despite clear and varied benefits. Ashden’s city programme will support sustainability officers and cabinet leads from the metro mayoral city regions, as well as working with London. This network will be a means of sharing experience and developing new approaches to energy, housing and transport challenges. Still in its early stages, it aims to provide city regions with a valuable resource of peer support and access to the solutions that Ashden winners can offer.

Alongside that we also engage with national decision makers and with formal policy processes, such as London’s environment strategy. See our response here.

If you’re interested in learning more and potentially joining the network then please get in touch with:

Activity so far

On January 18th our Ashden After Work event asked; Is devolution a new frontier for sustainability? Attendees heard from Andrew Carter, chief executive of the Centre for Cities, and Polly Billington, director of the UK100 network. Discussion at the event was a great way to kick off Ashden’s sustainable cities programme and included attendees from the West Midlands and West of England city regions, as well as Client Earth, RTPI and IPPR.

Our support programme for Ashden winners includes alumni events, and our December 5th  meeting explored the smart cities agenda in depth. CSE provided context on the potential of smart technology for environmental benefit, and we heard from the Greater London Authority about their plans. With many of our winners working in this space, this is an agenda that our programme will be focusing on as well.

Discussing future cities and their transport systems via a visioning exercise at the same alumni event led to the fantastic visual output at the top of the page. We hope to share this visioning approach with city regions to help develop their plans.


Faye Scott, UK policy and research manager, set out our thinking on why cities matter from a sustainability point of view in an article for the Creating Sustainable Cities journal in November 2017

Faye also contributed to an ENDS Report article on metro mayors as potential local environmental heroes (£).

Nottingham City Council won an Ashden Award in 2017 for their integrated transport system and workplace parking levy