The project started with six-weeks’ listening and engagement activities, talking with people at various events and places around Heavitree.
Dr Lindsey Anderson from the University of Exeter, along with colleagues Kerry Deacon from Exeter City Futures and Dawn Rivers from Exeter City Council, engaged with more than 250 residents and listened to what they loved about Heavitree as well as their views on traffic and congestion on their streets.
More than 200 residents also completed a travel behaviour survey to capture current commuting practice and identify opportunities for influencing behaviour change.
A series of facilitated workshops helped residents to prioritise the issues raised and determine underlying causes. This was followed by a challenge definition process which generated two Challenge Questions:
- How can we motivate and incentivise parents and staff who currently drive to school to use alternative modes of travel?
- How can we enable and encourage the use of sustainable and attractive alternative modes of transport to reduce the number of cars driving through Heavitree?
Jo Spinks, Heavitree (Exeter) resident, and Founder, Interwoven Productions CIC, said: “The project has introduced the notion that change is possible. The most common phrase we heard before was ‘you’ll never do anything about that’. Now people are asking ‘I wonder what we can do about that?’ It’s a really important change because it creates a space where things can grow.”
Lucinda Murley, Undergraduate Geography student, University of Exeter, added: “My main aim is to see how theory enters the real world. Much of my knowledge is based on a theoretical understanding on people engagement with the environment and society. With my long term plan to go onto carbon consultancy, seeing real world application would be highly beneficial.”