Access and Active in a Time of a Pandemic: Tales of Two Cities podcast

The Pandemic impacted people and cities in different ways. Sarah contributed to this Brigstow Institute Collaborative Fellowship project which considers how the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted longstanding issues around access to and enjoyment of urban spaces. Focusing on access to and uptake of access leisure (running, wlaking, cycling), it take a comparative approach based on the study of stories from Bristol and its twin city Bordeaux.


Dr Melanie Chalder and Dr Polly Gallis interviewed runners, cyclists and walkers from both cities alongside those advocating for active leisure. Through these interviews, they were able to capture personal reflections on the leisure experience in pandemic-stricken cities.


The result is a collection of four fifteen-minute podcasts, produced in partnership with Knowle West Media Centre, incorporating voices and perspectives from Bristol and Bordeaux during and after periods of lockdown. These podcasts are in English and French and are currently available with English subtitles on our YouTube channel.


  1. The first podcast, Ways and Means, we start by discussing the immediate impact of the first national lockdowns in March 2020.

  2. Podcast 2, Space and Place, explores the contrasting experiences of lockdown, what this meant in terms of the types of exercise permitted, where people could exercise and how far from home.

  3. The third episode, Healthy and Happy Communities?, explores the impact lockdowns in Bristol and Bordeaux had upon exercise habits, the extent to which individuals were able to stay healthy (physically and mentally) and the role that community plays in good physical and mental health.

  4. And, in our last episode, Tomorrow’s World, we ask: As we enter the third year of the pandemic, what are the lessons both cities have or haven’t learned? What are the challenges for maintaining and increasing uptake in active leisure and transport as we learn to live with the pandemic and perhaps begin to imagine a world beyond it?


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