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EPSRC Reference: EP/P002021/1
Title: From Citizen to Co-innovator, from City Council to Facilitator: Integrating Urban Systems to Provide Better Outcomes for People (BOP)
Principal Investigator: Bryson, Professor J
Other Investigators:
Sadler, Professor J Rogers, Professor CDF Hunt, Dr D V L
Scott, Professor AJ Tight, Professor M Lee, Dr PW
Mohan, Professor J Braithwaite, Mr PA Birgisson, Professor B
Proverbs, Professor D Nabney, Professor IT Freer, Professor M
Coaffee, Professor J Christian, Dr J
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
AMEY ART Business Loans Atkins Global (UK)
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Birmingham City Council Birmingham Education Partnership (BEP)
Birmingham Science City Centre for Sustainable Healthcare Centro Public Transport
Energy Systems Catapult Fraunhofer Institut (Multiple, Grouped) Futures Network West Midlands (FNWM)
Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust Localise West Midlands Midlands Environmental Business Company
Natural England Networkfour Redpill Group Ltd
Regional Economic Application Laboratory Sustainability West Midlands West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA)
Department: Management
Organisation: University of Birmingham
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 01 June 2016 Ends: 30 November 2017 Value (£): 403,478
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Urban & Land Management
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Construction Creative Industries
Energy Environment
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Mar 2016 Urban Living Interview Announced
24 Feb 2016 Urban Living Meeting Sift Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The Urban Living Birmingham (ULB) Consortium brings together the expertise of four universities; national and international academic institutions; and very many local, regional and national organisations. The core academic team, led by the University of Birmingham with Birmingham City University, Aston University and the University of Warwick, have world-leading track records in cities, engineering, services and social sciences; a portfolio of pioneering inter-disciplinary research; and a deep understanding of Birmingham and the West Midlands. On 20th November 2015 a meeting of 39 representatives from across Greater Birmingham's public, private and third sectors was held to discuss the Urban Living Partnership Pilot Call. Taking a city focus within the context of the region, this group noted that the appetite for innovation in the development and delivery of urban services was high in Birmingham, but the degree of success and ability to integrate these innovations into mainstream strategies and policies varied greatly. Therein lies the paradox and it became evident that there is a missed opportunity for Birmingham, and British cities more generally, to co-innovate by effectively drawing upon end-users.

As the largest city in the UK outside London, with one of the most diverse and youthful populations anywhere in the UK, the City of Birmingham has the potential to set a new agenda for 21st century urban living. Like most great cities, Birmingham is experiencing disruptive change brought about in part by global economic forces combined with reductions in national and local public expenditure. Since the late 1960s, Birmingham has performed poorly on all economic indicators. In addition, in 2014 a review of the city's governance and the organisational capabilities of the city council noted that Birmingham had problems that were so significant that they were of national importance. This project identifies the diverse and interdependent challenges facing the City of Birmingham by the application of a rigorous diagnostic process based on the analysis of datasets informed by end-users and representatives from the public, private and third sectors. The focus is on the identification of opportunities for innovation in integrated and city-wide solutions that cut across traditional policy silos and that have the potential to transform the city into a prosperous, healthy and vibrant living place. The Urban Living Birmingham consortium aims to identify improvements to urban services by combining top-down urban governance with bottom-up lay and expert knowledge to provide an environment that emphasizes and encourages innovations that generate a step change in urban service provision. It will do this by bringing together, developing and applying end-user and open innovation processes (from business disciplines) and participatory and cooperative design principles (from urban design disciplines) to selected urban services and systems to co-create a resilient Birmingham that provides 'better outcomes for people'. Most transformational service innovations occur when service providers go beyond listening to consumers to co-innovating with consumers. This user-centric approach to innovation reflects a process of end-user innovation in which users can modify existing products and services, but also service providers can learn from this process.

Urban Living Birmingham will contribute towards the transformation of Birmingham into a city that is a regional asset and a global beacon for urban service innovation; a city with an exceptionally rich quality of urban living, increased social cohesion, reduced deprivation, increased connectivity and productivity, and a healthy urban population.
Key Findings
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.bham.ac.uk