Resilient People need Resilient Ecosystems in Smart Cities (RESPiRES)

Lead Research Organisation: Bath Spa University
Department Name: School of Sciences

Abstract

Smart and sustainable cities require functional and resilient ecosystems to support the health and well-being of their human population. However, this can only be achieved by understanding how people interact with and perceive these ecosystems. blue-spaces, such as wetlands, ponds, lakes and rivers, play a key role in the urban ecosystem and for human health in cities. Understanding the factors that favour healthy ecosystems will facilitate the design of governance systems that improve the provision of highly beneficial services for people. Therefore, we propose to directly address the call topic 'resilience and environmental sustainability' through multi-stakeholder engagement and social-ecological systems investigation in different economic contexts (emerging vs. established economy). By eliciting place-based values and applying a standardised analytical framework in both Mexico City and Bristol, we will co-construct a suite of indicators for each city that facilitate purposeful monitoring of social-ecological resilience by local communities, and propose the best technologies available to the Smart City in order to do this. Through RESPiRES we will entrain a network of stakeholders and foster relationships for a sustained impact beyond project completion.

The proposed research also supports the topics 'politics of the smart city and urban economies' and 'digital social innovation' by assessing present-day public access to urban blue-spaces by different sections of the urban populace (considering wealth, education, health, age and gender and their intersectionality) as well as access to technology. This applied interdisciplinary research will result in evidence-based recommendations for environmental monitoring in Smart Cities and influence both short- and long-term policies for urban resilience.

Planned Impact

RESPiRES is aiming to create positive impacts at local, national and international scales through knowledge exchange with relevant stakeholders. The three key developmental outputs from the project are (1) A better understanding of the drivers of ecosystem resilience in urban blue-spaces (2) A better understanding of how people perceive, value and interact with urban blue-spaces and their associated habitats and (3) A better knowledge of the capacity and willingness of local communities to engage with technologies of the Smart City in order to monitor social-ecological resilience. Potential wider outcomes from the project are (1) Increased awareness and understanding of social-ecological linkages for sustainable and Smart Cities, better connecting people with nature and encouraging participatory governance, and allowing the development of Smart City policies that are more holistic and appropriate for society and the environment (2) Increased awareness of the potential of citizen participation for blue-space monitoring in Smart Cities giving local organisations and government guidance to provide more targeted support to community based monitoring initiatives (3) Evidence-based recommendations for building resilience in Smart Cities resulting in ecosystems and communities that are better able to cope, adapt to, and recover from disturbance and change.

Outputs from RESPiRES will be translated into outcomes through engagement with stakeholders (members of the public, community groups, non-governmental organisations and local governments) both throughout the research and once the research is complete. Stakeholders will be engaged at the beginning of the research (particularly in WP1b) as a part of the co-construction process, which will facilitate the co-production of knowledge. This will identify how stakeholders value blue-spaces (positively and negatively) and potential indicators that could be monitored to assess social-ecological resilience. In addition, potential end-users of the information will form the RESPiRES Steering Group who will be consulted biannually and contribute additional expertise and professional networks to the project. At the end of the research, recommended measures to boost and monitor social-ecological resilience will be summarised in policy briefs designed for regional and national policy planners to be handed out during WP3 dissemination activities and circulated through social media and professional networks. Non-technical summaries published as part of each work package summary report will be openly and freely available, in addition to detailed information through a project website to be hosted by BSU. The website will take the form of an e-zine to offer bulletins to interested parties regarding project updates, workshop outcomes and feedback to engaged citizens. For end-users without access or use of digital outputs, arts-led communication will be developed. Findings of the markets analyses carried out during WP2a will benefit commercial enterprises by providing in depth data on the current and future end-user requirements for smart technologies. Further beneficiaries of RESPiRES outputs will be regional Health and Wellbeing Boards (e.g. Bristol Health and Wellbeing board) who will receive specific information regarding public perceptions of blue-spaces, but also access issues or other factors that could have a negative effect on human wellbeing.

Finally, international dissemination through conference presentations and peer-reviewed open access publications will contribute to advance research on resilience in the context of Smart Cities and socio-ecological systems and will have indirect influence upon Smart City policy, and more generally on urban environmental management within regions outside of Mexico and the UK and the immediate cities of Bristol and Mexico City.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Participatory video research 
Description Participatory Video research for elucidating societal perspectives. Initially intended in person, but applied a novel approach as a consequence of the pandemic to use the Miro (https://miro.com/) platform to facilitate online workshops. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2021 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The PV process has generating public perceptions of blue-spaces (ponds, rivers, lakes and streams) to inform management decisions, which will be incorporated into the final RESPiRES outputs. The participants in the process learn new skills in the film production process e.g. storyboards, editing. 
URL https://miro.com/
 
Title RESPiRES Rapid Assessment 
Description The Rapid Assessment (RA) tool, was developed using ArcGIS Survey123, and is based upon published and standard survey methods. Suitable for citizen science, the form takes about 15 minutes to complete and gathers data about ecological quality, access and amenity to blue-spaces in urban areas. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2019 
Provided To Others? No  
Impact The data has been used to inform analysis in a manuscript currently under review in Applied Geography 
URL https://arcg.is/Sq5HL
 
Title The Blue Spaces and You! Online GIS survey 
Description This study forms part of RESPiRES, a research project looking at the health and resilience of urban blue spaces. Through this research, we are trying to understand the value of blue spaces for wildlife and for people, with the aim of developing a way of monitoring the health of these spaces in the future. Blue spaces are areas with waterbodies such as ponds, lakes, streams and rivers. In this questionnaire we would like you to think of up to three blue spaces near where you live and answer a few questions about them. The questionnaire is split into sections so you can identify and answer questions about one place at a time. You don't need to just think about the spaces you feel positively about; negative aspects are equally interesting to us. 
Type Of Material Improvements to research infrastructure 
Year Produced 2020 
Provided To Others? Yes  
Impact The survey is open until the end of March 2021. Development of the survey was undertaken by two student volunteers (Bath Spa University of the University of Bath), who continue to engage with RESPIRES. The results will contribute to a paper, and reported back to Bristol City Council 
URL https://arcg.is/1auDqC
 
Description Bristol Natural History Consortium 
Organisation Bristol Natural History Consortium
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution BSU invited to be a part of the BNHC as a result of the RESPiRES work
Collaborator Contribution BSU invited to be a part of the BNHC as a result of the RESPiRES work
Impact No outcomes yet
Start Year 2021
 
Description ECOSUR 
Organisation El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR)
Country Mexico 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Coordination of the RESPiRES team, which includes ECOSUR. Intellectual input into the framing of WP1b for the development of social indicators.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual input into the design of participatory survey approaches in WP1b to develop social indicators for resilience.
Impact No formal outputs yet, but manuscripts in review or preparation.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Earthwatch Institute 
Organisation Earthwatch Institute
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Provided guidance and oversight to the research undertaken by Earthwatch, and the work undertaken by Earthwatch was founded upon an extensive review of literature carried out by multiple partners
Collaborator Contribution Earthwatch undertook a review of tool and techniques currently being used by citizen science programmes that are focused on freshwater environment. They will also be involved a future stage of the research which will consider how the technological landscape of a smart city might influence how the natural environment is monitored.
Impact An Excel database has been created which lists the various tools and techniques extracted from 300+ peer review literature. Disciplines include citizen science, chemistry, ecology, community based monitoring, social sciences
Start Year 2020
 
Description Knowle West Media Centre (KWMC) 
Organisation Knowle West Media Centre
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Dr. Sarah Hobbs engaged with KWMC for RESPiRES public engagement activities (participatory video workshops) which began January 2020
Collaborator Contribution KWMC bring local knowledge and outreach to the project as well as technical advice for developing the participatory videos
Impact Participatory video workshops (ongoing)
Start Year 2020
 
Description Scotland's Rural University College 
Organisation Scotland's Rural College
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Provided intellectual input and assistance (PDRA) to WP1b, which regards the generation of social resilience indicators from engagement with bluespaces.
Collaborator Contribution Intellectual oversight of the development of social engagement aspects of RESPiRES. Development of the participatory approaches used for the development of indicators, contributions to the development of two manuscripts (one submitted, one in review). Mentor to RESPiRES PDRA. Ongoing adviser to semi-structured interview process and community organisation engagement in WP2.
Impact No outputs yet. Collaboration is multi-disciplinary. Environmental economic, social sciences, ecology.
Start Year 2019
 
Description UAM 
Organisation Autonomous University of Mexico City
Country Mexico 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Project oversight. Co-development of research approaches.
Collaborator Contribution UAM host an RA and PDRA, as well as a CO-I. Undertaken and led the social aspects of the research in Mexico City. Have provided intellectual input to the development of outputs in preparation - manuscripts and project reports.
Impact Screening of participatory videos. Conference talks. Contribution to draft manuscripts in review or preparation.
Start Year 2019
 
Description UNAM 
Organisation National Autonomous University of Mexico
Country Mexico 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Project coordination and oversight. Provided intellectual advise on the development of approaches to ecological studies in Mexico City
Collaborator Contribution Field and laboratory-based analysis of ecology and intellectual input into the study design. In-kind contributions refer to addition PhD student who has been working on the project.
Impact No outputs yet, in preparation or review.
Start Year 2019
 
Description University of Huddersfield 
Organisation University of Huddersfield
Department School of Applied Sciences Huddersfield
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Freshwater ecological research was undertaken by Bath Spa University around Bristol, and invertebrate samples sent to University of Huddersfield for analysis.
Collaborator Contribution Invertebrate identification across 36 sites in Bristol. Guidance on the development of WP1a, which contained the ecological component of the study. Further contributions made in the design and development of a manuscript submitted to Applied Geography, and research related to ecosystem functioning and the decomposition of organic matter.
Impact Several publications in draft, which are not yet recorded in ResearchFish. Collaboration is not multi-disciplinary, being largely ecological.
Start Year 2019
 
Description Bristol - Participatory video screening 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Participants and some family members attended the online screening of the 4 films. The activity included film presentations by participants and a final open discussion
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.respires.org/news-and-outputs-1
 
Description British Ecological Society Annual Meeting 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Other audiences
Results and Impact Approximately 100 delegates (academics, researchers and professional practitioners) attended a talk entitled 'Social and ecological systems thinking for blue-spaces in Smart Cities: RESPiRES'. This talk generated discussion and possible new collaborations.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description British Ecological Society Festival of Ecology 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The British Ecological Society is the largest scientific society for ecologists in Europe. The Festival of Ecology took the place of the BES Annual Meeting and was entirely online due to the ongoing pandemic. Normally attended by 1000+ participants from academia and industry. Presentation as part of the Lightning Talk series.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://relationalthinkingblog.com/2020/12/15/people-and-nature-at-the-festival-of-ecology/
 
Description Communicate 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Delegate. Participated in a number of workshops and talks over the two days.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Ecosystem Services Partnership Latin American and Caribbean Regional Conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Two presentations in the Ecosystem Services Partnership Latin American and Caribbean Regional Conference (25th and 27th November) called "Transcending the study of ecosystem services towards transdiscipline and incidence".
The conference took place in Mexico City in virtual form. The presentations were made by RESPiRES Mexico team members in the thematic session called "Integrating ecological urban infrastructure, ecosystem services and land planning":
Values and perceptions towards urban blue-spaces and their ecosystem services in Mexico City.
Urban blue-spaces in Mexico City: quality, accessibility and ecosystem services.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL https://www.esplatinamerica2020.org/
 
Description FUTURES 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact FUTURES2020 was one of just two UK based projects that were part of the European Researchers' Night 2020, amongst 51 projects across 30 European countries. Each year, the events showcase the diversity of European research and its impact on citizens' daily lives, as well as stimulating interest in research careers - particularly among young people. In 2019, it attracted 1.6 million visitors across 400 cities in Europe and beyond. The FUTURES2020 Festival of Discovery took research directly to the people in their homes with digital activities, science shows, games, quizzes, competitions, and exhibitions, with opportunities for people of all ages to explore the past and discuss the research that is shaping our future with researchers.
RESPiRES presented at the 'Curiosity Carousel', which was a virtual conference, allowing members of the public to move between stations and meet researchers in short, 10 minutes moments. In this specific event, there were 36 attendees.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
URL http://www.bristol.ac.uk/public-engagement/engagement-opportunities/futures/
 
Description Participatory mapping / relational values workshops 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Relational Values/Bluespaces participatory mapping exercise
Objective: to explore how participants use and value their local blue spaces. This activity gathers information on: which bluespaces people visit/use, how they are valued (positively or negatively) by participants in relation to their home (also tells us which blue spaces are 'ignored' near them); whether their perceptions of those spaces are largely positive or
negative or a balance of the two; what people do in their local blue spaces; ways in which they value bluespaces according to relational values framework.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Participatory video workshop 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact A series of workshops intended to support general members of the public to make, take and edit videos of their experiences and values of blue-spaces in Bristol.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020
 
Description Pond conservation in the anthropocene 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Recently, the idea of smart cities has become a highly fashionable and well-used term. However, as it has been heavily promoted by business and entrepreneurs such that there is a danger that the smart city movement has become detached from what it means to develop sustainably. RESPiRES (Resilient People, Resilient Ecosystems in Smart Cities), is a new project led by Bath Spa University in collaboration with other UK and Mexican institutions that seeks to understand the factors that contribute to social-ecological
resilience in smart cities. With a focus on blue spaces, RESPiRES is a parallel study which will be carried out in contrasting socioeconomic circumstances in Mexico City and the Bristol. Funded by the ESRC Newton Fund, over the next 2 years we will carry out a series of investigations of functional integrity using multiple taxa (phytoplankton, invertebrates and plants) alongside social valuations of blue spaces, before establishing a suite of indicators that reflect social and ecological thinking; indicators which could be
adopted by local governance or community based monitoring initiatives. This presentation will introduce the project and outline how this is hoped to be achieved.

Presented to approximately 25 delegates, both academic and professional practitioners.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Poster presentation at BES Multiple Values of Nature Conference 2020 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Academic poster presenting findings of a systematic review conducted to inform RESPiRES research activities. Displayed over the two days of the conference and presented during a specific poster session, which gave the opportunity for discussion of the project with other researchers and professionals.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2020