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, Sheffield City Region, 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.

Find out about our upcoming events

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.

Nottingham City Council won an Ashden Award in 2017

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. It provides city regions with a valuable resource of peer support and access to experts and the solutions that Ashden winners offer.

The network held an inaugural meeting in May 2018 and looked in depth at city region energy plans, with input from BEIS. It was also an opportunity for city region representatives to share approaches to identifying what added value city regions can offer on sustainability, as opposed to the work that individual cities already have underway.
With the group meeting three times a year, future meetings will focus on how to embed low carbon in local industrial strategies, as well as the knotty questions of how to finance low carbon infrastructure.

Other activity

Alongside the network, Ashden also engages with national decision makers and with formal policy processes, such as London’s environment strategy. We also run a lively events programme called Ashden After Work. Each of these evening events explores a key challenge facing the low carbon agenda in cities, with input from expert contributors and audiences.

Previous events have explored the question of whether devolution is a new frontier for sustainability and the thorny question of whether planning and new development can work for, not against, sustainability. Future ones will focus on how cities can finance their green ambitions in cities, and how cities can encourage meaningful shifts to active travel. Details of all these events, including speakers and how you can attend, can be found on our events page as they become available, and you can also get in touch with the staff below.

Our support programme for Ashden winners includes alumni events which focus on the connections between our winners and cities. Discussing future cities and their transport systems via a visioning exercise at one of these events led to the fantastic visual output at the top of the page. We also share winner experiences and approaches with cities that want to learn from them, through practical study tours. A ‘Seeing is believing’ tour planned for Nottingham, will allow attendees to understand what four of our award winners offer cities struggling with congestion and poor air quality.

Ashden’s cities programme also approaches issues from new angles. We’re working in the West Midlands to better understand the co-benefits of action on climate change, and to strengthen the case for it in the process. This involves a wide range of stakeholders, beyond the usual suspects, as well as a creative approach to exploring the issues, led by an award winning playwright. Details of this are also on our events page.

Get in touch

If you’re interested in learning more about our work and being involved in the city region network then please get in touch with:

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