Architects, urban designers and city planners from as far reaching as Brazil, Germany and Bulgaria have arrived in Bristol for the 9th annual Academy of Urbanism Congress, where they are here to discuss the city’s moves towards a greener agenda, with the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone forming a key part of these efforts.

Steven Bee, Chairman of The Academy of Urbanism, introduced the Congress this afternoon (22nd May) at the Arnolfini, where he spoke of the reasons for choosing Bristol as the host of this year’s conference. “Bristol was an obvious choice” he said. “It is one of the most exciting cities in the UK and I have been very impressed with what George Ferguson, one of the founders of the Academy, has done in the city both as an architect and as Mayor. It is a beautiful city with a wonderful history and a great future.”

Barra Mac Ruairi, Strategic Director of Place at Bristol City Council, then went on to highlight the ambitious developments within the Enterprise Zone that make it one of the largest place projects in the country. It was described as ‘an opportunity to create a business gateway to the West’, whilst the upcoming Bristol Arena will serve as ‘a major cultural anchor’ for the city when it is completed in 2017.

As focus shifted onto the city’s green agenda, the Director of Bristol Green Capital 2015 Kris Donaldson outlined the reasons why the prestigious honour was awarded to Bristol, citing four key areas:

Leading the way in waste: Bristol was the first city to start regular curbside collections and waste has been reduced by 29% in recent years.
Energy efficient: Bristol has the lowest energy output per house of any city in the UK.
Healthy city: Bristol has the highest cycling rate in the UK with more cyclists than Birmingham and Manchester combined.
£400m in transport: The £400m investment in the MetroBus and MetroWest schemes will vastly improve the city’s travel infrastructure.

The conference runs until Saturday and will host speeches from a number of key figures from the urbanism industry, with a special workshop on the Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone taking place tomorrow afternoon.