Doing Things Differently? The Promise & Pitfalls of Co-Productive Urban Climate Policy Development in Greater Manchester, UK

Ryan Bellinson
Ryan Bellinson
PhD student
Environment, infrastructure and sustainability
Ryan's research investigates the concept of co-production in an urban climate policy development process in Greater Manchester.

Supervised by Professor Beth Perry, Dr Aidan While and Professor TP May.

Cities have been developing policies to address climate change for the last three decades. Despite their efforts, urban areas currently account for over 70% of global carbon emissions, and the climate crisis continues to worsen. If society is to avoid the dangers of the current climate change trajectory and achieve the ambitions set out in the landmark 2016 Paris Agreement, cities and urban areas need to find new methods for developing climate policy that can support meaningful climate action.

My research seeks to evaluate how an innovative urban governance approach is applied, understood, and might be used to develop socially just and impactful climate policy. To this end, the project investigates the concept of co-production as it has been applied to an urban climate policy development process in Greater Manchester.

I employed an embedded research approach during the study through a unique partnership established with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s Environment Team supported by Mistra Urban Futures. I designed and facilitated co-productive policy development pathways used throughout the development process of Greater Manchester’s 5-Year Environment Plan. I collected extensive qualitative data through my embedded research position using a variety of methods.

I am focused on progressing knowledge through this research to support local governments develop rigours climate policies by giving citizens and communities a louder, more inclusive voice in decision-making. Additionally, this research attempts to create an impact in Greater Manchester by testing new climate policy development approaches that bring together policymakers and the public in creative, collaborative partnerships.

I earned a BSc in Environmental Studies from the University of Oregon in 2015. During my undergraduate studies, I worked at different levels of government. I was a constituent affairs coordinator with United States Senator Jeff Merkley in his Southern Oregon field office. I also was a land-use and air quality policy fellow in the State of Oregon Governor's Natural Resource Policy Office.

I completed my M.Sc. in Urban Studies from the University of Amsterdam in 2017. My masters thesis evaluated the impacts and effects that sustainable city networks have on their city members. I particularly investigated the now-dissolved 100 Resilient Cities network supported by the Rockefeller Foundation.

Growing up in Southern Oregon's rural mountains, I am drawn to the dynamism, energy, and diversity of urban life. I spent much of my youth outdoors in nature, where I first cultivated my fascination with the environment and climate change. My research brings together my passion for exploring urban areas' cultural magnetism with the endless wonder of the natural world.