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Exeter City Futures held the first in a series of quarterly events on 8th March, bringing together startups, academics, businesses and citizens in an atmosphere that resulted in many interesting and inspiring insights being shared.

Spring Connect was held at CoLab in Exeter with presentations given to a packed out room and networking taking place in the breakout space. Many thanks to all who came, shared, and participated, and to the CoLab for hosting the event.


Themes and Insights

Seven speakers presented insights into the challenges Exeter faces, ranging from using the River Exe for commuting to considering how Civic Sociology can help tackle the problems of urbanisation.

Talks ran for five minutes each and inspired lots of lively conversation following the session. All were in the scope of making Exeter Energy Independent and Congestion free and each offered a unique perspective on the challenges we face.

The central theme that emerged was “what we have makes us strong”, with all talks focusing on using and developing existing resources and infrastructure in ways that could help us transition towards our goal.

Some of the highlighted resources included the River Exe, transport networks that can be enhanced by mobility as a service solutions, and improving the energy efficiency of existing buildings. This reminds us that it’s not only about harnessing new solutions, but reimagining and making the most of old ones.

For full list of speakers see below, presentations are available on our Slideshare.


Peter Cleasby
Better use of land and help reduce energy use

Eric Lybeck
What is Civic Sociology?

Neil Brown – Simply Connect
Transport for the low-carbon digital economy

Nick Bromley
“Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving.” Quote: Albert Einstein

Giles Booth
Exeter’s greatest assets: The River Exe and Ship Canal

Olly Frankland – RegenSW
A smart and flexible energy system

Francis Clark
Exeter Forest project


Summer Connect

Our next Connect event will be held on June 21st, location to be confirmed closer to the time. We look forward to hearing more insights and engaging in more conversation.

Until then the discussions can keep going in our Ideas Board, an online space where anyone can share their insights and thoughts about the challenges that face the Exeter region becoming more sustainable.


Sign up to our Ideas Board