EXETER has been shortlisted for the prestigious European City of the Year award.
The city has been shortlisted by The Academy of Urbanism alongside Amersfoort in the Netherlands and Estepona in Spain.
The Urbanism Awards are a platform for recognising the best, most enduring or most improved urban environments, to build a strong evidence base for high quality, innovative and sustainable urban living.
The Academy’s supporting statement for Exeter’s nomination said: “Exeter is one of the great university cities in the UK. It is a great place to live, work and enjoy as a destination.
“Indeed, Exeter has been named one of the 20 best places in the country to live by the 'Sunday Times', labelling it the Capital of Devon, ‘a glorious gateway to the west’.
“As an historic south coast port, connected to the tidal harbour at Topsham by a canal and the River Exe, the city has enjoyed economic success since the medieval ages. Thankfully, much remains of the city defences and significant buildings from that era, particularly a splendid cathedral.
“The post-war planning of the centre respected some that remained from the past and as the economic centre of the West Country, the city has attracted shoppers, businesses and visitors from a wide hinterland. In addition to the M5 motorway, the A38 and the A30, the city is well connected by rail and has its own airport.”
It adds: “In recent years the economic success of the city has been underpinned by a sensitively planned new mixed-use shopping area, Princesshay, incorporating remnants of the historic fabric; a rapidly expanding university; ‘shared-space’ interventions in the shopping district, and has taken advantage of its location alongside the M5 motorway to expand business districts around the access points.
“The provision of well-located sites encouraged the Met Office to relocate to Exeter in early 2004. It is one of the largest employers in the area, together with the University of Exeter, Devon County Council and the Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust.”
Council Leader Phil Bialyk said: “We are delighted with this nomination and recognition of what we all know as residents – that Exeter is a great place to live, work in and visit and has a great quality of life.
“Exeter continues to change and evolve, but at the heart of the city remains the communities that it serves, alongside a thriving and vibrant city centre.
“We are a city rich with heritage and a city of culture, which has health and wellbeing and quality of life at its centre. I couldn’t be more pleased that we have been recognised by the prestigious Academy of Urbanism in this way.”
Past winners of the European City award include Trieste in Italy, Porto in Portugal, Leipzig in Germany, Bilbao in Spain, Copenhagen in Denmark, San Sebastián in Spain, Rotterdam in Netherlands and Marseille in France.