With the onset of summer most would agree there’s few places better to live, work and visit than the fine city of York. As if evidence was needed, The Times recently declared York the UK’s best place to live, describing it as ‘a mini metropolis with a rich history and grand ambitions to be one of the best-connected hubs in Europe, with cool cafes, destination restaurants and innovative companies’.

And there’s been a raft of other evidence too. In April, the Thriving Place Index praised York for high levels of local wellbeing and in May the Vibrant Economy Index described York as a standout city in the north of England and one of the top 20 most vibrant places nationally.

Asessments like these provide useful insights into how York is performing economically, socially and environmentally compared to other cities. Yet as well as celebrating city strengths they also highlight particular challenges requiring  our ongoing attention if we are to secure York’s place as a successful city of the future.

For instance, whilst York’s economic performance is good, the city is rated the most unequal in the north of England and the ninth most unequal in the UK.[1] And in 2017, men in York earned 21% more than women, compared to 16.8% nationally.

Disparities in health are also evident with a 13 year gap in healthy life expectancy between adjacent areas of York[2] and a relatively high rate of poor mental health. And in terms of York’s environment we are all aware of the city’s vulnerability to flooding, concerns about air quality and the ongoing challenge to reduce, reuse and recycle our city’s waste.

It’s well understood that effectively tackling such challenges requires combined effort. So in 2016, organisations began forming around a vision for York as a leading sustainable, resilient and collaborative ‘One Planet’[3] city with a vibrant inclusive economy, strong community and healthy environment.

From the outset One Planet York has sought to tell York’s story towards a more sustainable and resilient future by showcasing great examples of city leadership, like Portakabin’s zero waste factory, First’s fully electric park and ride service and Energise’s rainwater harvesting.  York’s VCSE has also been a key source of local innovation, so we’ve featured Planet Southbank’s repair cafe, Edible York’s community growing, St Nick’s Eco homes and Eco therapy, York Bike Belle’s community Walk & Cycle Festival and Spark:York amongst others.

Joining all these actions together helps build a stronger sense of city purpose and a broader platform on which to share, engage and collaborate. Creating this space has led to new conversations and ideas – like Good Food York, a new VCSE group aiming to put York on the map as a sustainable food city and York Food Poverty Aliance, working to give people the skills and confidence to challenge food poverty in their area.

York is full of amazing organisations actively creating the future they want to see, so if your organisation is one of them why not help us tell York’s story by telling us what you’re up to. You could join others by publicly supporting the One Planet York vision via our online directory, or connect up wider city actions with your own by using the free One Planet York logo.


Ned Hoste, Chair of One Planet York


Paradise Found:  How one place can work for everybody.

12 June 2018As part of York Festival of Ideas we’ll be collaborating with York Health & Wellbeing Board exploring what it means to be a ‘healthy city’. Hear from ‘the town the found a potent cure for illness’ and join workshops on topics like healthy work and wellbeing by design. See here for more details and FREE booking.

www.york.gov.uk/oneplanetyork / Twitter / Facebook.

To keep up to date with OPY news and events email:oneplanetyork@york.gov.uk.

[1] Centre for Cities 2018

[2] Public Health England. Data relates  to females

[3] In the UK we typically use the resources of three planets when we’ve only got one. This is not sustainable