Jan 19, 2014

City Innovation

In George Ferguson, Bristol’s 

first elected mayor is also its 


Nine English cities said no to having an elected mayor. Bristol voters said yes. The man they picked for the job, architect George Ferguson, wants Bristol to be a model medium-sized city for Britain and all the world — and a place known for fun. Photo Bristol City Council

BRISTOL, England  Build a freshwater surfing lagoon. Use vacant buildings as temporary sites for startup companies. Buy and prepare food in bulk for poor communities. Start an annual “clean-up day” on which citizens clear the streets of litter.
These are just a few of the suggestions that have been submitted to “George’s Ideas Lab,” set up by George Ferguson, the new mayor of Bristol. Citizens can go to a website to suggest ways of improving the city. They can also rate or comment on ideas others have already sent in. More than 300 ideas have rolled in since November.
"I'm up for trying new things and in this difficult financial climate we must get creative about what we do and how we do it,” Ferguson said at the site’s launch. “We all have light-bulb moments from time to time. Please share yours to help us solve our problems and enhance the city, however ‘off the wall’."
The Ideas Lab is characteristic of Ferguson, who speaks often of the importance of doing things differently. Which is fitting, because for Bristol, having a mayor at all is a rather radical new idea.
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