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The University of Southampton
Public Policy|Southampton

Southampton Climate Assembly

Project Members

Project Lead:

Dr Matt Ryan, Associate Professor in Governance and Public Policy at the University of Southampton


Project Members:

Dr Zohreh Khoban, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Southampton 

Dr Katy Tabero, Research Fellow at the University of Southampton

Charlotte Campbell-Nieves, PhD Student in Economic Geography / Senior Policy Associate in Public Policy at the University of Southampton

Dr Jack Pink, Research Fellow at University of Southampton

Marco Meloni, Research Fellow at the University of Southampton



Southampton City Council


Sortiton Foundation




Citizen’s Assemblies have been used as effective contributions to the democratic process. Perhaps the most famous example is Ireland’s Citizens’ Assembly which contributed to many seismic decisions including legalising abortion. But such assemblies originated in British Columbia, and have been used across the world to make important decisions from Canberra to Cambridge, and have set climate agendas from Paris to Poznan. The format is maturing and has been applied to questions around Climate Change and Climate Policy in the UK since 2020. Citizens assemblies try to give everyone an equal chance of invitation to take part and allow citizens a safe space to learn about and contribute to policymaking. Now, a new variant is being developed in the City of Southampton encouraging many kinds of conversation from people from all walks of life embedding the assembly and its message within the fabric of the city itself. Assembly members will be supported to produce outputs to be shared across the city. All this will be done in preparation for citizens to contribute to the City Council’s Climate and Green policies. Southampton’s Climate Assembly is a contribution to local discussions outside the regular political timeline. The project itself is not led by any political parties. Instead, it emerges from a partnership within the City between the University of Southampton led by the Rebooting Democracy Research Group, and the City Council’s Leadership and civil servants. Assembly members will be drawn from across Southampton ensuring diversity of opinion and experience.

Anticipated policy impacts

The assembly is specifically designed to allow ordinary people to affect policy, giving them the space to learn about and contribute to solving collective problems. The designers are working with policy officers to ensure the outputs of the Assembly will affect key policy decisions and that there is a transparent process for monitoring progress on implementation. Also by sharing knowledge from research and knowledge of practices and needs in the city we anticipate we can improve the practice of democratic decision making in between and across the timelines of formal elections and consultations in the city.


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