Got big ideas to improve Preston? The City-zen Roadshow wants to hear them

International experts will help bring your ideas to life.

People are being invited to share their ideas on how they’d like to change or improve Preston to make it a more sustainable and even better city to live and work in.

The City-zen Roadshow is coming to Preston for five days from 12 to 16 November and is open to anyone who is interested in coming together and creating a healthier, happier and more energy efficient Preston.

The €22million European Union (EU) funded project is set to visit 10 cities in 10 countries by 2019. It aims to bring internationally celebrated experts in architecture, technology and environmental sustainability together with local residents to explore new ideas and possibilities.

The project will initially focus on Broadgate and expand from there. Ideas may be around making better use of buildings, streets and recreational areas, improving low carbon transport links and connecting neighbourhoods more easily. In turn, it is hoped that the plans will include ways of refining energy use and reducing Preston’s carbon footprint.

The project is led by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) Professor of Architecture Craig Martin. The team has already helped the people of Belfast, Izmir, Dubrovnik, Menorca, Sevilla and Roeselare, in Belgium, to re-imagine their cities.

Professor Martin said: “We come in with a blank page, where no idea is a bad idea and take it from there. We want to help translate and visualise a community’s ideas into real plans and proposals that can be taken forward. It’s about saying what you would change to improve lifestyles and finding innovative and exciting ways to do it.”

“As part of the plans, we’ll look at where the demand for energy in Preston comes from and what potential sources of renewable energy are available to meet that demand. The ideal would be to make Preston a city that runs on clean energy.”

Along with the expert Professors, Master students from UCLan and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in The Netherlands will facilitate design fun-shops throughout the week. ‘Serious games’ explaining a city’s path to zero energy and Carbon Crunching fun-shops will also take place to bring stakeholders together to have fun whilst gathering aspirations and ideas.

The Roadshow will take place in Preston City Council’s Chambers Room on Monday 12 and Friday 16 November, it will be at Gujarat Hindu Society on 13 and 14 and in UCLan’s Harrington Social Space on 15 November. The Final outcomes will be presented to the city in the heart of the city, in Preston City Council at Friday 16 November.

Professor Martin added: “People can come for an hour, a day or even the full week, whatever they can spare. We appreciate your busy schedules and we promise not to give you any homework. But what we do ask is that you bring your experiences, passion, openness and energy.”

For more details on how to co-create design ideas for a healthier, happier and more energy efficient Preston contact Craig by email (

  • The Project

    A city operating entirely on clean energy. In theory, it's possible. But in real life? How to integrate new solutions in existing buildings, systems and people's lives? What are the technical, economic or social barriers? And how to overcome these? That's what we've learned by doing in 20 projects in Grenoble and Amsterdam.

  • Our Activities

  • Achieved Impacts

    • 20 innovations in Grenoble & Amsterdam
    • 35,000 tonnes CO2 saved per year
    • 76,000 m² renovated residential buildings
    • 10,000 dwellings connected to a Smart Grid