ClairCity final newsletter February 2021 - Page 4

Influencing local decision making

Following the release of our policy packages for each city and region , our partners found various ways to connect with key actors to influence their decision making
In the last edition we explained how , in Bristol , the project team presented their report to the Bristol Climate Change Advisory Committee - appointed by the current Local Government to inform their work in this area , and sent their report to 80 local Councillors and MPs .
In the Aveiro Region , their report was translated into Portuguese and emailed to the Intermunicipal Community of Aveiro region ( CIRA ) and government representatives . Given the Lockdown restrictions in place during that time it was not possible to present in person .
The University of Aveiro team have since been working with representatives from 77 municipalities from the central region of Portugal , and the Comissão de Coordenação e Desenvolvimento regional do centro ( CCDR-Centro ) – the regional authority for air quality management , under the auspice of the “ Melhor Ar no Centro ” project . Incorporated in the framework of this project , ClairCity ’ s methodology and results were disseminated through professional training on air quality matters to stakeholders from involved municipalities . With this new undertanding the municipalities went on to co-produce an inventory of the current urban planning strategies that aim to achieve better air quality . ClairCity outcomes also supported the air quality analysis over the region .
Similar to Aveiro , Sosnowiec had their report translated into their local language and sent it to over 30 governmental departments , government representatives and lobbying groups . The Mayor of Sosnowiec then decided to discuss the policy package during the joint meeting of the Mayor and all his deputies . The Chairman of the City Council obliged all members of the Council to familiarise themselves with the contents of the Package and in August 2020 the document was discussed in detail by 2 committees of : City Development and Municipal Economy and Communication . Members of the ClairCity team were invited by the Chairman to participate in the meetings .
All of Sosnowiec ’ s Local partners were encouraged to use ClairCity ’ s results and recommendations for future strategic decision making . In response , for the first time , an assessment of transport needs was conducted and the results will be used by local bus company PKM and The Municipal Utility Company that is in charge of the city ’ s self-service bike rental system .
Ljubljana ’ s report was presented by the project team in September to the City ’ s Environment Department . With great delight it was agreed at the meeting that the team would participate in the design of a new environmental protection program and circular economy strategy for the City .
While it is not always clear what role a research project has on the subsequent decisions of leaders and ctitizens , it is promising to see that ClairCity is having a visible impact of the policy landscape of many of its partner cities . In the words of Sosnowiec , ClairCity , for the very first time allowed the city to hear the residents ’ voice and to learn about their needs and expectations . “ The consultations with the citizens and stakeholders had been limited to simple “ yes ” or “ no ” kind of questionnaires before with little or no room for further contribution ,” explains Edyta Wykurz . “ The citizens ’ engagement in the ClairCity project , their will to participate in dialogue and the process of decisionmaking are all valuable exercises we will use again ”.
Covid-19 Recovery
All partners had to rethink their dissemination activities in light of COVID Pandemic and understandably this has become a priority for decision makers . Yet , despite this , these issues still want ( and need ) to be discussed . Perhaps it is even because of the growing evidence linking air pollution , health impacts and viral risks that these conversations are gaining traction . Either way , for these six cities and regions , there now exists policy packages for each of them . Not only are the policies contained within ambitious , they address multiple interrelated development issues and crucially have the backing of citizens .
Not to be complacent , there is still need to amplify the voices of citizens in favour of greener solutions as cities report vocal push back to initiatives that take away road space from cars or limits their access to some areas . Large-scale projects such as ClairCity must continue to work with European cities to raise awareness , give space for citizen ’ s opinions and put pressure on decision makers to prioritise and act on the climate and ecological emergencies .