Tag: communityxchange

Follower Cities Publish Report on Community Participation and Playground Results

The +CityxChange Follower Cities (FCs), Alba Iulia, Písek, Smolyan, Sestao, and Võru, recently published the Report on community participation and playground results, in collaboration with partners from Space Engagers, Colaborativa and Officinae Verdi.

One of the core objectives of the +CityxChange project is to activate local stakeholder knowledge and resources towards the creation of Distributed Positive Energy Blocks (DPEBs). In this report, the FCs outline how they have adapted and applied principles of CommunityxChange throughout the project, based on the experiences and lessons learned from Lighthouse Cities, Limerick and Trondheim, and their own background.

Key lessons and recommendations from the municipalities’ experiences in community participation and engagement initiatives are as follows:

  1. Informative sessions: Organizing informative sessions on various topics, such as community, city, sustainability measures, renewable energy, and localizing SDGs, is crucial for citizen education and awareness.
  2. Continuous communication & transparency: Maintaining open and continuous communication with citizens, along with transparency in decision-making processes, helps build credibility and trust. Sharing open data further enhances transparency and enables others to replicate successful initiatives.
  3. Face-to-face activities: Proactive engagement through face-to-face activities, narrative tours, and gamification demonstrates a genuine interest by the municipality in connecting with citizens and fostering meaningful interactions.
  4. Stakeholder diversity: Involving a diverse range of stakeholders, such as private companies, universities, residents, youth organisations and community groups, is essential for facilitating effective and sustainable change within the community.
  5. Feedback & improvement: Collecting feedback from citizens after each community collaboration and co-creation event is important to continuously improve the quality and impact of such activities.
  6. Centralizing open calendars: Consideration should be given to utilizing an online tool for sharing calendars, future community participation initiatives, and engagement plans. This can help streamline communication and ensure accessibility to information for all stakeholders.
  7. Local heritage & culture: Recognizing and valuing the cultural heritage and traditions of a community can foster a sense of pride and ownership among residents, making them more likely to support and actively participate in sustainability efforts. By integrating local heritage and culture, municipalities can leverage traditional knowledge, practices, and architectural styles that align with sustainable principles. This approach not only preserves the unique identity of the community but also showcases the compatibility between cultural heritage and climate action.

By implementing these lessons and recommendations, municipalities can enhance their community engagement strategies, foster citizen participation, and drive positive change within their communities.

Check out the full deliverable to learn about what each city has been doing in further detail and as always, pay a visit to our Knowledge Base for complete access to project results.

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 (smolyan.bg) for original news available in Bulgarian.

+CityxChange at High-level Conference on Citizen Engagement in EU Missions

Helena Fitzgerald of University of Limerick and CommunityxChange Work Package Lead is attending the High-level Conference on Citizen Engagement in EU Missions taking place on 21 March 2022 in Paris. She will share the CommunityxChange approach to citizen engagement developed through +CityxChange and implemented with +CityxChange lighthouse cities Limerick (Ireland) and Trondheim (Norway); and the municipalities of Alba Iulia (Romania); Pisek (Czech Republic); Võru (Estonia); Smolyan (Bulgaria): and Sestao (Spain).

Early results of CommunityxChange implementation indicate that the integrated operation of the six CommunityxChange frameworks can create a platform for continuing collaboration with the potential to support citizen engagement in co-design, co-implementation and co-assessment of #EUMissions.

CommunityxChange informs the operation of the Citizen Innovation Lab initiated through the +CityxChange project in Limerick. The Citizen Innovation Lab is a member of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL) who have a stand at the event.

Here is a brief introduction to the CommunityxChange frameworks which can be downloaded from the +CityxChange knowledge base.

D3.1: Framework for Bold City Vision, Guidelines, and Incentive Schemes (SDG City Transition Framework) describes a process to create a city vision and to identify goals which place the clean energy transition within the cities’ overarching planning and management processes, all located within a broader UN SDG sustainable development frame. This deliverable, authored by Trondheim Kommune with input from Limerick City and County Council, has been selected for the EU H2020 Innovation Radar Platform. It is structured as six processes including, Standardisation, Policy Development, Innovation Partnerships, Organisational Development, Citizen Engagement and Project Development, to connect the global goals of the SDGs to local policy development placing emphasis on citizen engagement, citizen driven open innovation and business development. 

D3.2: Delivery of the Citizen Participation Playbook describes how municipalities can engage with communities to enable the transformation towards PEBs, PEDs and positive energy cities. It acts as a roadmap for meaningful engagement and contains best practice guidance on citizen engagement; a catalogue of physical and online engagement tools; and four participatory processes including Co-design of Urban Interventions, Collaborative Legislation, Participatory Budgeting, and Citizen Proposals. 

– D3.3: Framework for Innovation Playgrounds is a spatial and socio-economic framework where physical and virtual places and innovation activities are assembled into a coherent whole described as an Innovation Playground, where Journeys comprising Observation, Sensemaking, Co-Creation, and Prototyping, enable collaboration and empower citizens to innovate to address challenges that matter to them.

D3.4: Framework for DPEB Learning and Education – includes a set of principles and a dynamic portfolio of activities which integrates youth learning programmes at different age levels with active ageing society programmes.

D3.5: Framework for a Positive Energy Champion Network is a campaign to initiate a network of people who can help translate the ideas, plans and innovations associated with PEBS and PEDs into local knowledge and actions. The Champions are viewed as co-innovators who explore, ideate, design and diffuse the changes in behaviour needed to enable the transformation towards living, working and doing business in a positive energy city. This campaign includes four campaign formats – Be the Change; Build Capacity for Change; Prototype the Change and Amplify the Change, and a step-by-step guide to implement a campaign. 

D3.6: Framework for DPEB Innovation Labs is a framework for the implementation of dedicated centres for digital innovation within a city, located physically and conceptually within the +CityxChange Innovation Playground and where its operation can become manifest. A DPEB Innovation Lab comprises a programme of engagement activities and events, and a network of virtual and physical locations connected to a citizen observatory system where citizens can make observations on local environments using mobile digital devices. The DPEB Innovation Lab enables new collaborations between government, academia, business, and civil society to meet the innovation agenda of a city which can be defined through its Bold City Vision process. The DPEB Innovation Lab is a point of intersection of the CommunityxChange frameworks and describes a physical space for innovation and co-creation, connected to a digital space promoting sustainable digitalisation and lowering the threshold to participation.

The CommunityxChange frameworks were developed by +CityxChange partners including University of Limerick (CommunityxChange Lead); Colaborativa.eu, Space Engagers, Officinae Verdi and ISOCARP, collaborating closely with +CityxChange lighthouse cities Limerick (Ireland) and Trondheim (Norway); and with the municipalities of Alba Iulia (Romania); Pisek (Czech Republic); Võru (Estonia); Smolyan (Bulgaria): and Sestao (Spain). The Norwegian University of Science and Technology are the overall co-ordinator of the +CityxChange project.