Engaging Citizens in Strategy and Policy for the Future of the Region

Citizen engagement in strategy and policy development can differ substantially at the regional and even local levels. 

This project is concerned with assessing the opportunities and challenges for citizen engagement in strategy development in cities – focusing on Birmingham and the West Midlands, but drawing on experience elsewhere, including internationally.

This project focuses on exploring what citizens engagement means; what are the factors that enable public participation in strategy and policy development and what are the benefits and challenges of co-designing policy and methods for engaging citizens - what works well and what doesn't.

Further, this project will identify citizen engagement initiatives recently or currently ongoing in the West Midlands, the methods used, the recruitment process, the themes addressed and the groups included. Specially focusing on identifying gaps and groups misrepresented and analysis of the challenges in giving voice to specific sub-groups of citizens.


Research Theme 5

Regional Society and  Communities


There are three main objectives:

  1. To produce a review of citizens engagement approaches and assessment of their relative merits including advantages/ disadvantages of greater involvement of local residents and citizens in local and regional strategy and policy development and analysis of the benefits and challenges of co-designing policy and the pros and cons of utilising ‘experts by experience’.
  2. To review the methodologies used for citizen engagement, including analysis of the type of citizen engagements initiatives in WM and elsewhere in the UK and internationally; analysis of the methods of citizen engagement used in UK and elsewhere and categorization of groups and subgroups of citizens.
  3. To produce an action research – implement citizen engagement on a specific topic of relevance to this project and WMREDI work more generally.

Research Team

Dr Magda Cepeda-Zorrilla - Magda has a background in Sustainable Transport. Her main areas of expertise are transport planning and policy and travel behaviour. Magda's current lines of research are the study of the factors influencing individuals’ travel choices and the impact of transport infrastructure in Economic Growth. 

Dr Sara Hassan - Sara has a background in Urban Transport Planning. Her research focuses on urban and transport planning by developing innovative policy evaluation models and policy reform issues, policy analysis and how it impacts poor and marginalised communities, community development and urban planning.

Ben Brittain - Ben has a background in Global Cooperation and Security. He has experience developing policy strategies and interventions in the built environment, sustainable energy and sustainability. In addition, he has additional experience of using research to enhance interventions to yield greater service outcomes.

Dr Abigail Taylor - Abigail has a background in Geography and French. She has investigated how policy affects individual lives and how it can be made more effective. She is particularly interested in international comparisons of employment support policy; regional and local labour markets and skills, and funding strategies.



Civic Engagement, Universities and Inclusive Growth: Responding to COVID-19
John Goddard, City-REDI Blog, September 2020

Has COVID-19 Changed the Terrain of Engagement?
Liam O'Farrell, City-REDI Blog, September 2020

USE-IT! Community Day – Celebrating Community Research Together!
Liam O'Farrell, City-REDI Blog, November 2018 

Policy Briefings


Project lead contact details: 

Dr Magda Cepeda-Zorrilla

Project support contact details: 

Matthew Patterson, Administrative Assistant, City-REDI / WMREDI 

WMREDI is funded by Research England and the WMREDI partnership

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