Demo Project 3: Engage

Accelerate the future: Co-create positive energy blocks and facilitate adaptive co-management of cities based on open innovation.

Vision (DP03) in a nutshell

The positive energy block (PEB) co-creation process leverages citizens’ collective intelligence by aggregating different skills, local knowledge and direct observations. These processes benefit greatly from integrated approaches as physical events capture the complexity and diversity of community interactions while digital tools improve archival, transparency and visualization of complex data and interactions. 

Problem addressed & specific objective

One of the core challenges faced in the wide-scale roll-out of Positive Energy Blocks is the physical / spatial constraints of continuity between adjacent buildings and distributed energy resources available within the local energy system. With appropriate financial investment, it would technically be possible to create positive energy blocks (PEBs). However, PEBs cannot be achieved through external investment or government initiatives alone. Citizens must be provided with the tools and incentives to take responsibility for their own communities, invest in local solutions for local needs and have the ability to exploit these investments for their own benefits. 

DP03 has designed a participatory framework that enables communities to become more engaged in efficient use of energy in their daily lives, and facilitates the emergence of innovative local organizations and businesses within these communities.  The framework includes types of actors to engage within each activity, proposed timelines and formats for engagement, which any city can adapt and exploit for their own purposes. These activities are supported by a participatory platform that  includes learning days, workshops and community open critiques, which occur locally and, ideally, within the public space they address. The platform enables both face-to-face meetings and digital and social media mediated resources and conversations.

Related +CityxChange solutions

Citizen participatory guidebook:

Citizen participation enables more efficient energy behavior that fosters the creation of PEBs. It provides local stakeholders with the sense of ownership that is critical for managing the change towards living and doing business in a positive energy city. A successful approach requires digital tools and physical engagement strategies, designed and implemented in a holistic and integrated way. While digital tools enable citizen participation beyond limitations of location and time, physical strategies like community meetings, co-design events and consultation processes provide higher quality community interactions and more sophisticated responses. Successful citizen participation in the digital age recognizes the importance of an integrated approach and understands the strengths and weaknesses of physical and digital experiences.

Learning Framework:

The Framework for DPEB Learning and Education developed is a research-informed model comprising a set of principles, accompanied by a  portfolio of learning activities, including descriptions and links to original and existing content, adapted for different age groups, backgrounds and types of situations.

Positive Energy Champions Framework:

The Positive Energy Champions Framework contains guidance on how to initiate a Positive Energy Champion Network. A Positive Energy Champion Network will comprise a network of local influencers who can help translate the ideas, plans and innovations associated with +CityxChange implementation and the clean energy transition into local knowledge and actions. 

CityxChange learnings:

  • Political support is needed for novel approach – communication is a vital aspect to successful replication;
  • Communication between the city officials and the citizens must be a long-term and regular commitment;
  • Digital tools have strong capacity to engage large numbers of participants, e.g. use of crowdsource mapping app by Positive Energy Champions;
  • General challenges such as the fight against climate change and the energy crisis are often too abstract for the population, they need to be adjusted to the local contexts;
  • Use the physical spaces to host smart city events and couple the topic.