Leeds was the generous and trusting host for the second in the Delightful City series on Saturday 27th June 2020. The event was also live-streamed on Facebook and was recorded with the video being uploaded onto this page and also on YouTube. It was another inspirational evening listening to the dreams and hopes of people chosen from the Leeds community to open up a conversation about what would delight them as Leeds emerges from the Covid-19 lockdown.

It was ably hosted by Ed Carlisle who introduced us to the panel of three citizens with Anj Handa starting the evening, being followed by Liz Wright and concluding the presentations was Jack Simpson. It was challenging and inspiring to hear their different vision for their home city and there were many cross-overs from the Liverpool event the week before.

You can watch the seminar here:

The discussion was expertly hosted by Ed Carlisle from Together for Peace and Repair Cafe Leeds, and Gerry Proctor, who along with Ed managed to tie threads between our first event and between the two cities of Liverpool and Leeds.
Anj Handa, the founder of Inspiring Women Changemakers, kicked off the event with a discussion about the importance of rewilding the city and the possibility of adding a series of owl sculptures across the city to supplement the cities existing owl trail. It kicked off a discussion about the importance of nature in our cities and how it has environmental benefits but also health and wellbeing benefits for citizens as it brings us closer to nature. That sounds pretty delightful to us.
Our next speaker, Elizabeth Wright, a Paralympic medalist and disability consultant, talked about the importance of accessibility in our cities and how we might create safe spaces. Elizabeth also discussed how this could extend to festivals and venues so that people with disabilities can enjoy performances safely. The idea was floated for drive-in (or cycle and walk-in) music venues where people could enjoy performances socially distant from fellow audience members.
Jack Simpson, an Entrepreneur and researcher, rounded off the evening’s inspirations with a discussion that asked us to consider what the city is for and how economics and culture might work hand in hand to help citizens of cities flourish. ‘Individuals flourish when communities flourish,’ Jack said, winning the most quotable moment of the night award. He suggested that the delightful city might be one that goes beyond the idea of wealth creation and asks if projects and decisions at the civic leadership level are going to make peoples’ lives better. Could we all make all of our decisions on this basis? Jack also discussed the idea that the delightful city could ask for citizens’ input in decision-making and create a platform for them to share their preferences, and also to make beautiful and cherished things.

It was a fantastic evening of thought-provoking discussion that ended with the question to all of us – ‘well, what are we waiting for?’ In the coming weeks we’re planning on extending the series, first in Manchester and then to other cities across the north. We are building a community of enquiry around the question – ‘What would it take for the city to delight us?’ We want the challenge to our city leaders and our citizens to go beyond a merely functional city, although we want that too, to how can cities inspire and delight the people that live in them and what role will we all play in this? Care to join us?

You can find out more about the Liverpool stage of the Trans-Pennine conversation HERE and follow the whole process on our seminar page HERE where we have gathered everything we have published about the project of re-imagining our cities post-Covid. We have published both videos on our YouTube channel HERE.

Some comments were left on the Feedback Form:

  • It was inspiring! Something has been started with these conversations. They must continue.
  • Let’s keep having the conversations, exploring and creating together.
  • Can we connect to others on the call in some way?
  • Thanks for organising – not signing up to your emails as I am in Leeds not Liverpool
  • Great event, lots to think about
  • Thanks once again.