Category: Cities

Flashback to see CxC progress from the city of Smolyan

Firstly, at the beginning of June, members of the +CxC team held their 3rd self-facilitated Climate Fresk in the co-creation space Sky Hub Smolyan with the participation of ninth-graders from PGI “Karl Marx”. The primary mission of the initiative was to familiarize children and adults with the causes of climate change. The understandable language in which the cause-and-effect relationships were described in the workshop kept students’ interest and made it easier for them to learn the connection between human activities and climate change. Students learned new concepts, discussed measures to combat climate change and gave their suggestions on which of them should be implemented in their city to make it more sustainable.

Secondly, over the two day course, 6-7 June, an energy efficiency expert from the Municipality of Smolyan held open lessons for ninth graders in the “Ivan Vazov” high school, Smolyan. The class focused on the tools provided by the Horizon Energy Box, a set of different modules were used to demonstrate different types of RES and how to use them together. The initiative aimed to gain interests in young people about using green energy through practical experiments that showed how different RES like solar panels, fuel cells, salt-water cells, etc., work. During the lessons, students learned the principles behind the demonstrated RES and had chances to perform experiments in a controlled environment.

Thirdly, from 20-26 June, Smolyan city organized a campaign to improve garbage collection. The survey was conducted through an online tool provided by Space Engagers, partners in the +CxC project, that enables the city and residents to experiment and work together to improve the urban space. As a result, citizens can express their opinion on where additional containers for household waste and containers for separate collection need to be placed. The municipality also received feedback where other containers such as park bins, public composters and construction waste receptacles are most needed. 65 responses were received and the survey showed increasing of interests in improving the waste management, the use of public compost bins, collecting plastic bottles and recycling bins. Some suggestions included: promotions of civic control, placement of waste receptacles based on the number of residents in the area, video surveillance on critical regions, fines for violators, information campaign about disposing electrical and electronic equipment and construction waste, introducing a collecting specific time.

Fourthly, The +CxC team from the Municipality of Smolyan facilitated the 4th Climate Fresk workshop, this time together with the youth organization “Young Innovators for Youth Development” YIYD. The event aimed to introduce wide audiences to climate change’s causes and consequences, and discussed possible solutions and the role each of us plays in preserving the environment. The participants showed great initiatives in giving specific measures and solutions implemented in the city by partnership between local government, civil society and business. Some ideas included adapting the urban environment for bicycle transportation, using electric scooters, replacing heating appliances, using rainwater, reforesting and cleaning green spaces, etc.

Fifthly, Smolyan city was facing many challenges in setting the Bold City Vision 2050. One of which was development a sustainable city environment. So that, on 13 and 20 July, the municipality asked children aged 6-12 – who joined the initiative “Summer Vacation in the Museum” by the Regional historical museum “Stoyo Shishkov” – to imagine how their city will be in the future. By using LEGO sets, the children played with building future Smolyan as their thoughts. They had options to work in a team or independently and created everything which they thought necessary, such as buildings, vehicles, equipment, robots, etc. After making mock-ups, each participant explained what they had created and where they placed it in the future city model.

LatelyOn 23 and 28 of June and 21 of July, experts from the +CxC team of the municipality organized demonstrations of the kit aimed at children aged 7-12 as part of Summer Programs organized by the Regional Library “Nikolay Vranchev” and the Regional History Museum “Stoyo Shishko. The Municipality acquired Horizon Energy Box to acknowledge students and the Next Generation Smart Citizen about RES. The Renewable Energy Box provided demonstration of how fuel cell technology interacting with renewable energy sources and creating an entirely sustainable power grid. There was a range of fuel cells to compare: PEM hydrogen fuel cell, the salt water fuel cell and a direct ethanol fuel cell. The box gave experiments and demonstrations about energy principles and had plenty of space for creativity. 

There are a lot of learning and interactive activities currently happening in Smoyan. You can take a look at  ОБЩИНА СМОЛЯН :: ПРОЕКТИ :: CITYXCHANGE ( for original news available in Bulgarian.

Successful Matchmaking Story from The city of Sestao



We are very excited to announce that the city of Sestao has signed a contract with the European Energy Efficiency Fund (EEEF), officially joining the the EEEF´s Technical Assistance (TA) program. The contact between the two was a result of the Smart Cities Marketplace Matchmaking activities.

“It was exciting when we, the Smart Cities Marketplace matchmaking team, had our first conversations with Sestao. We noticed that the city has huge ambitions when it comes to implementing clean energy solutions, and we were confident that we could connect Sestao with the right investor”, Jorge Rodrigues de Almeida from the Smart Cities Marketplace team stated.

Sestao Berri is a public entity comprised of 50% Basque Government and 50% City of Sestao and is focused on urban regeneration, especially related to housing projects, promoting social, environmental and economic advancement in the region. As part of its involvement within the H2020 +CityxChange project, in which it is working towards developing Positive Energy Blocks in the city, it submitted a concept note during a Smart Cities Marketplace call for projects to participate in one of its events. The project was reviewed and sent to different investors from the Investor Network raising interest among several of them, and thus various meetings were scheduled, one being with EEEF. Since then, multiple projects within the city were considered, and different urban interventions ended up getting approved for entering the Technical Assistance programme, such as the creation of energy communities, buildings’ energy retrofit, modernization of street lighting, installation of electric vehicle charging stations and a digital sustainability platform, resulting in a higher total investment than the one presented in the initial concept note.

“We had a wealth of ideas in Sestao on how to reduce our emissions. The support and advice we received from the Smart Cities Marketplace matchmakers were essential in getting the European Energy Efficiency Fund on board”, Andy Bäcker explained.

In this sense, the European Energy Efficiency Fund (EEEF) is helping to finance the assessment of the technical, economic, and legal viability of these city improvements and help prepare the public tenders under an ESCO model that will be released in the Spring of 2023. It is, conservatively estimated, that this project will contribute to reducing 2.4% of Sestao´s CO2 emission (not accounting for the emissions from the industrial sector) and be the equivalent of having 647 citizens of Sestao living completely carbon neutral.

We are very happy to announce that the city of Trondheim has finished its Bold City Vision!

We are very happy to announce that the city of Trondheim has finished its Bold City Vision!  

Led by Astrid Haugslett and Kelly Riedesel, Vision for Sustainable Urban Transition – Bold City Vision – is Trondheim’s guide to becoming an energy positive city by 2050. The team also included Silja Rønningsen, Bjørn Ove Berthelsen, Tom Jensen, Leendert Wienhofen, Dirk Ahlers, Marit T. Myrstad, Jens, Vida, Cole Grabinsky, Klaus Livik, Kristian Mjøen Morten Wolden Courtney Killion, Annemie Wyckmans Kristian Dahlberg Hauge Øyvind S. Tanum Samah Elsaadi, Agata Krause, Henriette Louise Krogness and many more.

In order to create an energy positive city, there are many aspects that need to be considered. The vision is energy specific, but strongly connected to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This elevates the work by involving other sectors relevant for the multi-level, multi-disciplinary and multi-angle sustainable transformation.

Linking the SDGs to the Norwegian context, the BCV is a framework for Sustainable Societal Development. As a result of Trondheim’s role as a Lighthouse city and commitment to Sustainable Value Creation (SVC), Trondheim Municipality received 3rd place as Rising Innovative City in the 2021 European Capital of Innovation Awards. SCV is comprised of four pillars; potential, readiness, opportunity, and impact, and the BCV is directly connected to the second pillar, readiness. This is demonstrated within this deliverable, together with practical examples serving as guidance, as shown in the illustration below. 

There are two guidelines presented in the deliverable; “Guidelines on sustainable value creation” and “Guidelines to create an energy positive city by 2050”. They are both a result of the four pillars of SVC, built around the logic that they represent, but the guideline for LHC Trondheims BCV has some additional prerequisites and future recommendations based on lessons learned. “Guidelines to create an energy positive city by 2050” is accompanied by a visualisation of the Trondheim BCV integrating activities, actions, and measures over the time span, and displaying relations between crucial steps and actions. The guidelines will be useful for other cities and regions when exploring or expanding their scope and possibilities on achieving the SDGs and becoming an energy positive city. 

For more details about Bold City Vision story and guideline to create an energy positive city by 2050, check out Deliverable 5.7 in the +CxC Knowledge Base . 

The world’s most sustainable data center is now operational at Trondheim !!

Since August 2021, Trondheim Municipality has partnered with Green Edge Compute to develop a sustainable data centre at Sluppen. The construction and installation go as planned, and the new data center will rely on renewable energy and reduce close to 40 percent of energy consumption than traditional data centers. While the municipality continues digital transformation and is developing into a smart city, this new facility can reuse surplus heat to supply it to Statkraft Varme. Moreover, the energy will sell in a local market through a solution Volue developed for Trønderenergi. All that, this will become a very energy-efficient data center. Next step, The new data center is tested and measured by SINTEF with sustainability measurement before the operation to customers. And results will publish at Datasenterdagen Event on June the 15th.

Click here to the news source or this link for more event information. 

Võru Bold City Vision was approved

Sustainable City of Võru: Vision 2050 

On the 19th January 2022 meeting of the Võru City Council the vision document “Sustainable Võru 2050”, or the Bold City Vision as per CityxChange, was adopted. Vision 2050 is designed with co-funding from Horizon 2020 programme and principles and methodology created in the +CityxChange project. The vision describes how Võru as a municipality and centre of a larger region can assists achieving climate neutrality by 2050 and help to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals. In this context one possible long-term development scenario was developed that aims for a reasonable balance between the natural environment and urban activities and developing a cohesive community. The vision is compliant with the existing Development Plan of the City of Võru for 2017-2035 and takes into account the economic, social, cultural and natural environment.

More information on the approval of Võru’s Bold City Vision can be found here

+CityxChange Newsletter – April 2021

+CityxChange‘s sixth newsletter has been distributed in April 2021. Please, feel welcome to read the newsletter online here and distribute it to your network. This month’s newsletter contains the most important news and updates of the last four months from our project, focusing on how +CityxChange is entering its project implementation phase. A series of online events have been happening in our Lighthouse and Follower Cities, pushing in this way, for more co-creative solutions with their citizens. 

Further, we want to invite you to subscribe to the newsletters to not miss any project updates. 

Placemaking through Stories – Localising Citizen Engagement

On the 20th of October 2020, ISOCARP Institute hosted the 3rd +CityxChange Stoyreliing Workshop in a digital format, as part of our annual consortium meeting.  The aim of the workshop was to understand and reflect on storytelling as a tool for citizen engagement and communication. The event lasted around two and a half hours with discussions and presentations from other Smart City projects in the Basque Country – a place where the consortium meeting would have been celebrated in case Covid-19 travel restrictions did not apply. The main objectives of our third Storytelling Workshops were:

  • Understanding the structure of effective storytelling for citizen engagement;
  • Creating a story using urban heritage as a starting point;
  • Developing a communication strategy with a clear goal along with an effective language (depending on the audience)
  • Learning how to express and communicate urban transformations through stories;
  • Analysing different cases and building upon other urban transformations. 

The session started with a video from Iñaki Peña, journalist and resident in the city of Sestao, Spain (Follower City in +CityxChange). The video (about 11 minutes long) tells the story of changes and developments in Sestao, with a focus on La Casa del Arco (The Arch’s House). Iñaki tells us about the developments and transformations that this building has been through, by using his past experiences, his youth and what he remembers of La Casa del Arco. The later used to be a building with a strong industrial history, that is now being restored with the combined efforts of the Sestao Municipality, the Basque Government and the European Community. 

‘La Casa del Arco, – Iñaki reflects – is the beginning of a progressive restoration of the city’. Iñaki foresees that this development will bring new possibilities to the city, such as, the restoration of nature and the river that was until nowadays used for industrial purposes. Having Iñaki’s story as the kick-off of this workshop, participants were asked to reflect on the structure, the line of narrative and the communication elements that were used.

The session continued with the intervention of three lighthouse cities. Firstly, Jordán Guardo from the Municipality of Bilbao reflected on the ATELIER experience giving examples of positive urban developments and citizen engagement practices. The project focuses on a river area close to the industrial city of Bilbao, concretely, Zorrotzaurre. Zorrotzaurre was a very industrialised small island. Building efforts, using top-down and bottom-up approaches, the ATELIER project achieved a combination of arts, culture and economic development in the zone.

Secondly, David Grisaleña from the Municipality of Vitoria Gasteiz. David presented the SmartEnCity: Coronación District. The objective of this lighthouse project was to develop a systemic approach for sustainable, smart and resource-efficient urban environments in Europe. David explained how through citizen engagement, they could develop strategies to replicate Energy retrofitting buildings. The example given by David was located in Eulogio Serdán Street. Some of the discussions that came up during the presentation were related to how the housing property system works in Spain and the challenges that appeared during the communication of more technical developments with house owners in the building.

The last speaker, Marta Zabaleta, joined to present the REPLICATE project. Particularly on the Donostia/San  Sebastián citizen engagement process. Shortly, Marta presented the objectives of the project, and how they used to top-down and bottom-up approach for citizen engagement. Marta explained their interaction with the citizens since the very beginning of the project. ‘It is crucial – she said – to have the common understanding and collaboration with the residents before and during the execution of the project.’

After the discussions, participants had the chance to come up with their own story based on a building – like Iñaki Peña – a public space or neighbourhood in their area that would reflect urban transformations. The exercise divided the participants into 3 main groups, the participants had to explain their urban development story and jointly discuss the structure and communication points. By the end of the breakout sessions, each group had to choose a representative from their group to present their story to the whole group of participants.

The storytelling workshop finished with a short interaction session, commenting on each other stories and reflecting on the usage of storytelling as a tool to tell stories of places for further citizen engagement.

+CityxChange presentation: Growth and replication of PED sites in urban environments

On the 27th of October, ‘Smart Cities and Communities Positive Energy Districts Workshop’ was held, as part of the Sustainable Places 2020 digital event. The workshop aimed at presenting and discussing different tools and approaches of how to improve the collaboration between the different people, businesses and organisations in a smart city community when deploying innovative energy concepts like Positive Energy Districts. +CityxChange (H2020) together with MAKING-CITY (H2020), POCITYF (H2020), ENERGE (Interreg NWE), ATELIER (H2020), mySMARTLife (H2020), showcased their project solutions in a two hours workshop.

The workshop looked at different themes from different SCC1 projects around the concepts of PEBs and other novel urban energy approaches. Presentations were around collaboration, schools, secondary benefits and payback times PED-readiness, regulatory and acceptance barriers, innovation, energy systems, and replication.

Our project manager, Dr Dirk Ahlers from NTNU, presented the topic on ‘Growth and replication of PED sites in urban environments’, using insights from +CityxChange. The project is developing and deploying Positive Energy Blocks and Districts (PEB/PED) and scaling these out as part of the European Clean Energy Transition in cities. As the main objective, designing PEDs which are intrinsically scalable up and well embedded in the spatial, economic, technical, environmental and social context (starting from the idea of plus local generation), is of prime importance. The presentation included the work that is being done in some of the Demonstration Areas of our project – Powerhouse Brattøra, Trondheim; Gardens International, Limerick; Calle Txabarri, Sestao; Lysgården – Sluppen, Trondheim – and how starting from these hubs we can scale it up to achieve PEDs. Further on, +CityxChange replication/upscaling plan, as well as our ambition to build replicable solutions that work in all 7 cities and beyond, were discussed.

The session gave a chance to interact with the other present projects and understand their viewpoints and similarities between the projects.

Invitation – Action Cluster meeting and launch of the new initiative on regulatory frameworks

Launch of a new Smart Cities Marketplace Initiative on Regulatory Frameworks in the Integrated Planning, Policy and Regulation Action Cluster of the Smart Cities Marketplace

Online meeting – 21 October 2020 – 14:00-16:00

Cities need an adequate set of framework conditions in the field of regulations to fulfil their climate and energy ambitions. We, therefore, launch a new initiative on regulatory frameworks, which will be jointly led by NTNU, City of Trondheim and Powel. The Initiative will identify and support concrete changes for the regulatory framework to become an enabler towards climate-neutral cities, rather than a barrier. The enclosed plan sets out our ambitions for the coming years. The Initiative will be based on the experiences of +CityxChange and other SCC01 Lighthouse projects, and further developed together with Smart Cities Marketplace experts and practitioners.

This Smart Cities Marketplace Initiative will support the transition towards climate-neutral cities laid out in the European Green Deal, by helping to develop the regulatory framework conditions required for cities to fulfil their climate and energy ambitions. It aims at providing an overview of the most persistent problems with regulations and proposes changes focused on best practices in cities, industry, research and societal stakeholders that engage in transdisciplinary demonstration and innovation activities. This will be executed in order to deliver results that support the transition towards climate-neutral cities. The Initiative is based on the experiences of +CityxChange and other SCC01 Lighthouse projects.

It will be launched online on 21 October 2020 between 14h-16h. To this launch, we kindly invite experts from European, national and local authorities, industry and social entrepreneurs, financial sector, NGOs, research organisations, academia, and civic organisations. 

During the launch, the Initiative will be briefly presented, followed by a workshop to map priorities, needs and capacities. You are kindly requested to share your reflections on the following questions with us:

  • Q1: What are, in your opinion, the most relevant elements in the Initiative?
  • Q2: Are any elements missing in the Initiative that should be included?
  • Q3: What is your personal capacity and interest to contribute to this Initiative?

Please send your answers at your earliest convenience to,, This information will be used for preparing the event.


Download the Invitation Letter. 

Check out the workshop agenda. 

Limerick City Engage Week 2 – Renewable Energy

Limerick City and County Council in collaboration with +CityxChange partners hosted a full engagement week of nine online webinars and workshops from the 14 to the 19 September on the theme of renewable energy. The target for this engagement week was owners and occupiers of buildings in the Georgian neighbourhood of Limerick but also professionals and those with an interest in sustainable development.  One hundred and ninety-five citizens attended and participated in events throughout the week, taking the opportunity to learn about the +CityxChange project and share their vision for a low carbon future for Limerick. Attendees got the opportunity to explore the potential and the challenges of installing renewables and creating positive energy districts in Limerick’s Georgian Quarter.

Feedback from the project partners and attendees overall was very positive. The week raised awareness of the project and generated much interest on social media.  Particular highlights included mapping and auditing events that demonstrated the IES digital model of buildings in Limerick’s Georgian District.  Property owners and occupiers in the demonstration area were able to interact with the digital visualisation of the district and model their own energy usage as well as the potential to install solar renewables on their properties. 

An event, hosted by Gkinetic and the ESB on the proposed tidal river turbine for the river Shannon, generated huge interest.  This event has already led to further engagement at the proposed turbine location with local representatives.

Colaborativa hosted a ‘Do it together’ workshop in which attendees got the opportunity to build their own home energy monitor. Much credit goes to the host here for guiding people through a DIT project in a completely online forum. Planning for a follow-up event to track the progress of participants with the energy monitors is underway and will form part of the Energy Champions campaign. Limerick City and County Council hosted an event on creating a Bold City Vision for Limerick. The session introduced the UN Sustainable Development goals to participants and challenged them to use the SDGs as a framework for their vision of a sustainable Limerick.

Considering the COVID situation in Ireland and all over Europe, it is probable that engagement activities will remain online for the foreseeable future. Given this reality there were some valuable lessons to be learned from the week for hosts and organiser alike. The online nature City Engage week led to the generation of some valuable video content that was shared on social media and can now be used as part of ongoing engagement processes, located in the Citizen’s Observatory Virtual Platform

Key outcomes of the week included,

  • Building on the success of previous engage weeks and expanding not just the reach of the project but also the development of an energy community that will drive the project’s implementation.
  • A group of citizens was identified who are very interested in the project and have the potential to become Energy Champions in Limerick.
  • The contributions of participants during the week signposted possible themes for future engagement, highlighting basic project concepts where further engagement is required for example around energy communities and prosumers.
  • The week emphasised the need for a simple and understandable roadmap for property owners as to how they can engage with the project and navigate the financial, regulatory challenges and behavioural change involved.

All in all City Engage week 2 has added to LCCC’s and partners understanding of the requirements of the implementation phase of the project. It boosted awareness, participation and relationships with key communities of interest and enhanced the skills of partners in terms of planning meaningful and interesting online content for project stakeholders.