Connected Places Podcast Episode 32: Bristol’s Road to Net Zero with Marvin Rees

In this instalment of our City Leader’s dialogues, “The net zero road to COP26 and beyond”, we speak to Marvin Rees, Mayor of Bristol; the largest city in the south west of England and a hotbed of innovation, creativity and discovery going back centuries.

Before the industrial revolution catapulted cities like Manchester and Liverpool to prominence, Bristol was Britain’s third most prosperous city and throughout the 19th and 20th Centuries it remained a key trading gateway to the wider world. To this day Bristol remains a uniquely global city with cosmopolitan connectivity and dynamism in its DNA. In more recent years its innovation and technology economy has shaped what’s come to be known as Silicon Gorge – comprising the wider regional economies of Bristol, Swindon, Gloucester and Bath, now ranked as the fifth largest high-tech region in Europe. Behind London, Bristol is now the fourth most popular city for startups in the UK.

Yet this globally-minded city also has a reputation as a progressive city where activism on the legacy of colonialism and slavery through to social justice, urban sustainability and tackling climate change have shaped its civic culture. So in this fourth episode in our City Leaders dialogues that we’ve been holding in the run up to the COP 26 Climate Change Summit in Glasgow this November, Prof. Greg Clark speaks to Mayor Marvin Rees. He asked him how Bristol is positioning itself for the monumental changes ahead; both the challenge of achieving net zero, and the opportunities that innovation and digitisation are bringing to the city? And what does a fair and just transition to net zero look like for a city with some of the highest levels in England of both wealth and deprivation?

This conversation was recorded live as part of our City Leaders Dialogue and you can watch the full video here.

Music on this episode is by Blue Dot Sessions and Phill Ward Music (

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Show notes

To read more about the UK Cities Climate Investment Commission, founded by the Connected Places Catapult, London Councils and Core Cities, click here.

To learn more about the work of the Coalition for Urban Transitions, click here.

You can also register for our Innovation Places Summit on 23rd September, as well as our Active Travel Summit on 29th September.

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