This projcet is supported by a Brigstow Institute Collaborative Fellowship.
Bristol and Bordeaux reflect profound inequalities that are entrenched geographically, economically, socially, and culturally. Many of these inequalities originate in the cities’ parallel and sometimes shared histories of empire, trade and (de)industrialisation. They are played out daily through issues of access, ownership and governance. The current pandemic has entrenched and amplified many structural inequalities, particularly those associated with health, wellbeing, social connectedness and digital literacy. It has, however, also led to some dramatic and positive re-shaping of the urban environment and surrounding spaces through infrastructural reconfigurations, the reduction of road, rail and air traffic, and a massive increase in active leisure. This shift is evidenced by the greater visibility of walking, running, and cycling; activities which have also benefitted from a plethora of lockdown-related online publicity and challenges. Focussing on urban space and how it has been re-purposed through active
leisure by a range of constituencies within an international, comparative context renders this project seeks to:
1. interrogate the extent to which individuals and community groups have experienced greater access to both cities’ streets, throughfares, and green spaces during the pandemic
2. compare, contrast and understand differences and commonalities of the Bristol and Bordeaux experiences of the pandemic in relation to active leisure
3. establish the extent to which the uptake in active leisure reflects the cultural and social diversity of both cities
4. establish whether access has been gained uniformly across the city, and if not, to understand who remains excluded and why
5. evaluate the role played and challenges faced by community groups in the promotion of active leisure across each city during the pandemic.
This project, supported by a Brigstow Institute Collaborative Fellowship, considers how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted longstanding issues around access to and enjoyment of urban spaces. Focusing on access to and uptake of access leisure (running, wlaking, cycling), it take a comparative approach based on the study of stories from Bristol and its twin city Bordeaux.