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D for division or dream?
  1. J C Coulson1,
  2. T Trayers2
  1. 1Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  2. 2Academic Unit of Primary Health Care, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK
  1. Correspondence to:
 MsJ C Coulson
 Department of Exercise and Health Sciences, Centre for Sport, Exercise and Health, University of Bristol, Tyndall Avenue, Bristol BS8 1TP, UK; jo.coulson{at}

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The Dings Bristol, comprising just 120 houses and in the 19th most deprived Super Output Area in England,1 is being regenerated.2 Through Civitas-Vivaldi funding,3 its seven streets are being “home-zoned”, a design concept that prioritises non-motorised road-users through imaginative engineering features.4

Adjacent to this, a developer is building a new residential complex (photo 1), with dwellings priced £207 000–307 000 upwards. Although they have aimed to blend the communities, the new build’s likely socioeconomic market is commuting professionals, affluent, young families and buy-to-let investors. Marketers have painted a picture of sumptuous, cosmopolitan living.5

Only 25 feet (7.6 m) separate the show home patio (photo 2) and existing resident’s backyard (photo 3), which are on opposite sides of the street. The Dings residents are witnessing huge transformations in their direct built environment and have contrasting, evolving opinions about the developments.

In terms of integrating these two communities, will this juxtaposition of mixed tenure, microcommunities reduce or further exacerbate Bristol’s health inequalities? Will the ‘D’ of The Dings eventually stand for social Division or social Dream?

Photo 1

Giant “D” of The Dings home zone “gateway”, new complex in the background.

Photo 2

The new development’s show home patio.

Photo 3

Existing end-of-terrace property in The Dings, opposite the new development.


We thank the residents of The Dings, who have participated in and supported this study.



  • Funding: The case study, examining the effects of urban environmental change on residents of The Dings’ physical activity and quality of life, is funded by the British Heart Foundation ( This includes JCC’s salary. The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily those of any funding body.

  • Competing interests: None.

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