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Exploring our relationships with blue spaces and water, to create healthy, resilient cities.

RESPiRES stands for Resilient People, Resilient Ecosystems in Smart Cities.  In early 2020 KWMC worked with researchers and Bristol residents to explore how people interact with and experience ‘blue space’ sites in South Bristol (Crox Bottom) and East Bristol (the River Frome), using easily available technologies to tell their stories.

At the same time, researchers and local people in Mexico City were exploring their own spaces.


‘Smart’ and sustainable cities need functional and resilient ecosystems to support the health and well-being of the people who live there. However, this can only be achieved by understanding how people interact with and perceive these ecosystems.

Blue spaces in particular (ponds, lakes, rivers and streams) play a key role in the urban ecosystem and for human health in cities by cleaning water, providing a sense of place and supporting a diverse set of flora and fauna.

The RESPiRES research team aimed to explore the social and ecological systems in two different contexts: the emerging economy of Mexico City and the established economy of Bristol.

The project

Through a series of workshops, KWMC worked with Bristol residents to explore their chosen sites and document their experiences there through film-making, using technology they already had available on their mobile phones.

Field Workshops – During the first workshops we undertook walks in each location and monitored activity through human sensing (using our five senses) and drawing on digital tools such as the Hush City app, taking field notes and photographs and completing a participatory mapping exercise.

Ideation Workshops – The next phase involved activities where participants could devise stories for their short films and gather inspiration from each other. These workshops included a storyboarding exercise and an introduction to basic film-making techniques.

Editing Workshops – Participants took part in an introductory workshop into editing footage, using free open-source editing software. They began to edit footage they had gathered in their personal research time. KWMC offered additional support through drop-in sessions to assist with learning.

Screening event – The project culminated in a screening event that was successfully transferred online due to COVID-19 restrictions. Joined by researchers from the UK and Mexico City, participants showcased the amazing films they had made. We also used the space to reflect on and celebrate the project.

Participants’ experiences

“Working with KWMC was good fun and introduced me to some super people, both at the centre and other participants in the project.”

“The video that I produced has been seen in local, national and international places, and encouraged people to ask about Manor Woods Valley – the location that featured in the video.” 

For more information about RESPiRES, visit the project website here.


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