Researchers are embarking on a 12-month project which engages the people of Glasgow in the design and implementation of policies, initiatives and strategies aimed at transitioning to a net-zero carbon economy in a way that is fair and equitable for all members of society.

Glasgow Caledonian University’s Mary Robinson Centre for Climate Justice (MRCJJ) will analyse existing published data and literature to better understand the challenges preventing people from actively participating in decision-making processes related to climate policies and actions.

Through partnerships with organisations such as Glasgow City Council and the Village Storytelling Centre, the project will then engage with communities to co-create narratives of a just transition.

Glasgow City Council’s Centre for Civic Innovation will then assess the data collected by the MRCCJ and the stories gathered by the Village Storytelling Centre, and experiment with, and refine, various approaches to participatory democracy. The aim is to create a model where citizens actively participate in decision-making alongside policymakers and practitioners, particularly regarding initiatives for transitioning to a more environmentally sustainable society.

Key outcomes hoped to be achieved by the project include:

  • Citizens understand how climate action and the transition towards a greener future relates to them and can improve their lives by addressing the issues they care about
  • The power of storytelling is tested as a tool to engage people on issues relating to climate justice and as a model for participatory democracy
  • A system for fair and equal public participation which can be scaled up across the city to deliver a just transition and potentially applied in other cities is co-designed with communities
  • Glasgow City Council has a consistent and effective mechanism to engage with communities through policymaking and decision-making processes which staff can access.

Professor Tahseen Jafry, Director of the Mary Robinson Centre for Climate Justice, said: “Glasgow has faced significant challenges due to its history of industrialisation, leading to issues such as unemployment and environmental degradation. Now, with the added pressures of the climate crisis, COVID-19 pandemic, and rising living costs, the city is at a critical juncture.

“The city has committed to transitioning to a net-zero carbon economy, but this must be done in a way that benefits everyone. Public participation is key to ensuring that policies are fair and inclusive, yet many citizens feel disconnected from decision-making processes. This project aims to change that by empowering people to shape their own future.”

Professor Jafry will be assisted by Dr Sennan Mattar and PhD students Sage Kuhens and Jasmin Rainero.