Category: Cities

+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 Annemie.Wyckmans@ntnu.no, klaus.livik@powel.no, marit.myrstad@trondheim.kommune.no. 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.

Smart Cities celebrate the European Mobility Week with the hashtag #WeMoveSmart

#WeMoveSmart is the new social media campaign launched on occasion of the European Mobility Week (16 – 22 September 2020) by the cities involved in EU-funded smart cities projects. The goal? Inviting citizens to share pictures, videos or short stories on their sustainable way to move around.

On the occasion of the next EU Mobility Week, taking place from the 16th to the 22nd of September, 17 smart cities projects launch a virtual flash mob #WeMoveSmart to raise the issue of sustainable mobility in cities. The transport sector is one of the main causes of air pollution in urban areas and shifting to green mobility is fundamental to guarantee a good quality of life to cities’ inhabitants.
 
The European Mobility week, whose theme this year is “Zero-emission mobility for all”, is the perfect occasion to raise awareness on this important topic. That’s why the smart cities launch an appeal: “Show us your green way to move around. Take pictures, videos and write short stories on your urban green routes and share them on social media during the EU Mobility Week along with the hashtag #WeMoveSmart”. Feet, bike, e-vehicles, but also public transport are the many ways to reduce emissions and traffic congestions.
 

 
The 17 Smart City projects are funded by the European Commission through the Horizon 2020 programme and help implement a wide variety of smart mobility solutions in more than 100 cities, in addition to working on other urban energy areas. “Cities are at the frontline of the energy transition and the push towards more sustainable urban mobility is strongly supported by the European Commission. With this campaign as part of the Mobility Week, the projects are sharing their smart solutions for cities, private industry and citizens to be inspired by,” says Jens Bartholmes, Policy Officer in the European Commission and its focal point for the large Smart City projects.
 
During the European Mobility Week the smart cities projects will also share cards featuring the innovative solutions that they are implementing to ensure the transition to a more sustainable future for urban transport, to reduce car-use and transport emissions. Solutions include the creation of public electric transport infrastructures, development of vehicle to grid technologies, public smart lamp post to charge electric vehicles, smart traffic prediction systems, solar-powered e-ink displays in multimodal hubs and much more.
 
So, what are you waiting for? Share your #WeMoveSmart pictures, videos and stories on your social media channels.
From the +CityxChange project, we are supporting this campaign. +CityxChange brings the two aspiring Lighthouse Cities Trondheim (NO) and Limerick (IE) together with their distinguished Follower Cities Alba Iulia (RO), Pisek (CZ), Võru (EST), Smolyan (BG) and Sestao (ES), to underline their ambition to achieve sustainable urban ecosystems that have zero emissions and establish a 100% renewable energy city-region by 2050.
The Horizon 2020 European Lighthouse projects which launched #WeMoveSmart are:
  • Atelier
  • +CityxChange
  • GrowSmarter
  • IRIS
  • MAKING-CITY
  • MAtchUP
  • mySMARTLife
  • POCITYF
  • REMOURBAN
  • REPLICATE
  • RUGGEDISED
  • Sharing Cities
  • SmartEnCity
  • Smarter Together
  • SPARCS
  • STARDUST
  • Triangulum
In addition, they were supported by the European projects ASTRABAT and DRIVEMODE, developing a new Lithium Battery for electric vehicles and integrated modular distributed drivetrain for electric and hybrid vehicles, respectively. These projects received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and Innovation programme. Their goal is to design and implement a number of smart urban solutions to make cities more sustainable and inclusive.

City Engage Week to focus on Local Renewable Energy in Limerick

City Engage Week will take place from 14-18 September 2020 and is focused on the theme of local renewable energy, culminating on Culture Night where the highlights of the week will be on display. 

Limerick City and County Council wants to hear your opinions and ideas about co-creating a sustainable low carbon future for Limerick City Centre. The outcome of the City Engage week of activities will enable communities to share their vision of Limerick with the Council and project partners so that people can play an active role in determining how their community will develop into the future. 

City Engage – Local Renewable Energy follows on from the hugely successful City Engage – Georgian Limerick Laneways which is working with local businesses and community groups to revitalise some of Limerick Georgian Neighbourhood Laneways. The results of these collaborations are due to be unveiled shortly. The City Engage series is part of +CityxChange.

There is a full calendar of events for City Engage – Local Renewable Energy, where participants can:

  • map solar energy potential in the Georgian core 
  • build their own energy monitor 
  • learn about local energy communities 
  • explore the potential of river turbine for a sustainable energy future 

Also included in the programme are events with a broader focus, which ask citizens what kind of city they want to live in over the next 30 years and how to meet the challenges posed by climate change.

All events will take place online or fully Covid compliant, for full details check limerick.ie/CityxChange.

Calendar of Events – City Engage – Local Renewal Energy 

Monday, 14 September:

Tuesday, 15 September:

Wednesday, 16 September:

Thursday, 17 September

Friday, 18 September:

+CityxChange project solutions and frameworks in the EU Horizon 2020 Innovation Radars

The Innovation Radar is the European Commission’s data-driven method focused on the identification of high potential innovations and the key innovators behind them in EU-funded Research and Innovation projects. It is based on a methodology developed by the Joint Research Centre. The data gathered by this method is used to categorise EU-funded innovations in terms of market maturity and disruptive potential, based on indicator systems developed by the Joint Research Centre. It supports innovators by suggesting a range of targeted actions to assist them in fulfilling their potential in the market. Based on their maturity level there are four different classifications of Innovation Radar:

(1) Exploring – Innovations actively exploring value creation opportunities;

(2) Tech Ready – Progressing on technology development process (e.g. pilots, prototypes, demonstration)

(3) Business Ready – Putting concrete market-oriented ideas together (e.g. market studies, business plans, end-user engagement)

(4) Market Ready – Outperforming in innovation management and innovation readiness. Considered “Ready for market”

IOTA has been recognised as key innovator in the +CityxChange project to bring Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) innovation in the Energy Trading Marketplace. This innovative solution is being developed within the project’s framework by our consortium partners, IOTA, Powel AS and ABB AS. It has been assessed by the JRC’s Market Creation Potential indicator framework as having a “Noteworthy” level of Market Creation Potential. Only innovations that are showing multiple signals of market creation potential are assigned a value under this indicator system.

Furthermore, our Bold City Vision Framework, developed by Trondheim Commune, has also been recognised as an important innovation across EU programmes in 2019.

Both solutions are in a Business Ready stage. 

Re-Imagine Limerick’s Georgian Laneways: Green Museum II

As part of +CityxChange project, Limerick city is hoping to create a new community to drive innovation and fight climate change by working towards a positive energy city!

Limerick Mental Health Association is one of five community groups selected for this pilot programme and have partnered with the Hunt Museum and GBM to work on the ‘’Green Museum II’’ collaborative project to re-design and upgrade Jesuit Lane in Limerick City. Limerick’s Community Led Open Innovation Project will focus on the Georgian Neighbourhood and develop solutions for Laneways and Citizen Sensing supports. The Green Museum II project aims at bringing the Museum to the laneway, with CO2 absorbing plants -as a service to the environment.

Using images from the Hunt Museum Collection and the Limerick City Museum, makers from LMHA Women’s and Community Groups will hold workshops with a professional designer to create a recycled metal repoussé trellises to hang in Jesuit Lane. These trellises, interwoven with plants that diminish C02, are aesthetically pleasing and of benefit to the environment. The lane will be maintained by the community, which should reduce anti-social behaviour while encouraging locals and tourists to make use of  the lane.

The Mural Competition Design Brief

‘To create a destination mural as part of the Green Urban Museum (GUM II) laneways project on Jesuit Lane in the heart of Georgian Limerick in the heart of Limerick City.

The mural which will be chosen through an open submission competition process. Artists will be asked to reflect on the significance of Georgian Architecture when designing a mural for a building on Jesuit Lane. Jesuit Lane lies within the heart of Georgian Limerick once a thriving part of the city this mural will be an important element of the overall design for greening & reimagining this urban laneway.

Taking the theme of Evolving Limerick as inspiration, the mural should illustrate the Georgian heritage of the building and complement the overall laneway design. The final mural will be integral to the overall design and act as a welcoming and intriguing focal point to encourage the public to use the laneway and reconnect the people of Limerick to these shared spaces by creating an enjoyable and safe shortcut through the city.

The winning artist will receive a bursary of €500, (to include a contract for mural and one maintenance visit of the mural for a period within 6 months). The chosen artist must be available to complete the mural before Culture Night 18th September 2020.’

Key dates for mural competition:

Submissions open: July 17th, 2020

Deadline for submissions: August 18th

Wall preparations & installation to begin: September 1st, 2020

Launch of mural & GUM II project: Culture Night: Friday, September 18th, 2020

EUSEW 2020 Webinar: Creating a joint vision for Positive Energy Districts

+CityxChange and other H2020 Smart City projects related to the Positive Energy District (PED) concept, were part of the EUSEW webinar ‘Creating a Joint Vision for PEDs’. PEDs (Positive Energy Districts) are an important concept in both the EC’s Smart Cities & Communities (SCC) programmes and the Strategic Energy Technology Plan (SET plan). In the EC’s SCC Lighthouse programme, which has set PEDs as a formal standard in its recent calls, over 420 Million Euro are invested in 47 Lighthouse Cities and 67 Fellow Cities.

Two main lines of action are currently ongoing in this context: the refinement of the PED definition in order to arrive at a commonly accepted standard for PED implementation and the building of PEDs in on-the-ground projects such as under the EC SCC Lighthouse scheme. Given the current developments, a third factor is brought into the discussion: How can PEDs contribute to increased robustness against shocks and at the same time present specific opportunities for post-COVID recovery (Green Deal)?

Session Agenda:

  • Pitch 1: Definitions and approaches: an overview – Han Vandevyvere, SCIS consortium (Vito)
  • Pitch 2: The PED Framework – a joint PED vision – Christoph Gollner, FFG (Österreichische Forschungsförderungsgesellschaft mbH)
  • Pitch 3: Challenges of the local context – Rudy Rooth, Atelier Local Coordinator Amsterdam (DNVGL)
  • Pitch 4: Reality check in current EIP SCC Lighthouse Cities – 2 field cases +CityxChange, Powel  and  MAKING-CITY, Oulu (Marit Teigen Myrstad +CityxChange, Samuli Rinne MAKING-CITY)
  • Discussion 1: Elaborating on the PED definition and certification work, feedback to the SET plan
  • Discussion 2: Addressing challenges and barriers to building PEDs on the ground: recommendations, next steps, feedback to the related EU policy and regulatory frameworks
  • Wrap up: Reporting from the discussion groups

During their presentation, Marit Teigen Myrstad (Trondheim Municipality) and Klaus Livik (Powel) provided territorial-grounded insights from our project. They focused on regulations of the energy market and how these barriers could be overcome in order to become PED enablers. Interesting conclusion were drawn from the second discussion round , ‘Addressing challenges and barriers to building PEDs on the ground: recommendations, next steps, feedback to the related EU policy and regulatory frameworks’, where +CityxChange representatives were moderators in. ‘The discussion group addressed among others:

  • The importance of experimenting regulations in current EU projects, the circumstance that the economic incentive is not in place for building owners – who expect a much more simplified regulation which they could understand and make use of – as the most urgent regulatory bottlenecks that need to be overcome to speed up the development of PEDs.
  • The need for PED supporting regulation and policy is clear, but current ongoing regulation work would need more coordination and time. However, it is challenging to address all the policy making processes in an integrated and holistic manner.
  • Some investors don’t see the long-term benefits of investing in PEDs. Therefore, regulation plays a very important role and could help to overcome this. Based on the feedback from the EIP-SCC matchmaking event, quite some investors are interested in making long term investments on infrastructures, PEDs included. In addition, both regulation and new innovative financing mechanisms and procurement are considered important in facilitating the breakthrough of PEDs.’

All in all, the sessions were designed to give an in-depth understanding of what the current challenges to build PEDs are, and brainstorm on possible actions and recommendations on future developments. The main target stakeholders were those involved in PED development, but also representatives from local authorities which could get more insights on their future policy developments.

 

Read the full recap of the Webinar here. 

Find the recording of the Webinar here.