Tag: Pisek

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.

Consortium Meeting in Písek to kick off final year for +CxC

From November 10-11 we held a consortium meeting in Písek, Czechia to plan for the final year of the project. It was a great opportunity to catch up and in some cases meet for the first time in person! We were able to discuss hurdles and achievements, as well as future steps for the project.

The program was structured around specific challenges and needs of the 7 project cities, which were discussed in workshops and interactive discussion-based sessions. For the FCs—Alba Iulia, RO; Písek, CZ; Sestao, ES; Võru, EE; and Smolyan, BG—the focus was on their journey and needs, and for the LHCs—Trondheim, NO and Limerick, IE—it was on what we have learned from the demonstration phase, and plans for moving forward towards replication. We also discussed how to best extract all the knowledge (and associated processes) that we have tested and created throughout the last 4 years, and then make this information accessible.

As part of the program, the LHCs each presented on how to make the last year count. First LHC Trondheim led a session titled ‘How to make a PEB?’ (see our recent news post about Trondheim’s successes here), followed by a presentation from LHC Limerick about forming Energy Communities (for more about what Limerick is up to, check out the recordings of their recent symposium and read our news post about it here). 

We also held a successful storytelling workshop about the role of citizen engagement in the project, discussing how to engage hard-to-reach citizens, how to communicate complexity, how to know when to involve different stakeholders in extended projects, and how to make participatory processes valuable for vulnerable citizens in the short term. This was followed by a demo of the Mobee app by Trondheim Kommune, a real-time assistant that supports mobility in the city of Trondheim.

After several other sessions and important discussions, it became even more apparent that the cities have had differing challenges and successes, which need to be understood and recognized for the value they bring to the table. We are learning from our ‘failures’ and finding meaningful ways to bridge the gaps in our intended impacts. A next step for the +CxC project is to record the stories of the various lessons learned, describing how and why certain ambitions were or were not met. The challenge is to effectively extract and package our learnings for widescale impact and a just energy transition beyond the parameters of our project. 

A huge thank you to our wonderful hosts in Písek for sharing their beautiful city with us. Feeling inspired and looking forward to this last year!

4th +CityxChange Consortium Meeting

October 18-27th, 2021

On the 18th of October, the +CityxChange project kicked off its fourth consortium meeting. This time, the consortium meeting will be held over 1.5 weeks with a series of smaller sessions to share project updates and hearing the challenges and key learnings from each city. The meeting brings together all project partners including Lighthouse and Follower Cities.  

The project is heading into its fourth year of the five-year project and focusing on the finalization and replication phase. With over 69 deliverables submitted and a significant number of milestones achieved, the project team is proud of the ongoing dedication and commitment, especially under extra-ordinary conditions over the last year and a half. 

Over the 1.5 weeks, the project partners across Europe were immersed in fruitful sessions online, each one led by Follower and Lighthouse Cities. The results and outcomes shared by the cities included news on deployment, citizen engagement and replication efforts within their respective demonstration areas, Positive Energy Blocks and Districts. Furthermore, some sessions included an interactive storytelling workshop surrounding topics of Youth Engagement, Sustainable Energy Transition, E-Mobility and generally disseminating the activation of various projects in an engaging way.

This moment also became an opportunity for cross-learning and exchange throughout the sessions, where city partners and other project members discussed common challenges faced as well as commended each other for their success. Despite the challenges and barriers posed by the global health pandemic, the project team celebrated the various achievements of the FCs and LHCs and reflected on how to move toward the future in a positive, smart and inclusive way.

+CityxChange Participates in Sustainable Places 2021 in Rome

The involvement of citizens and energy communities (energy citizenship) is seen as a key pillar in the energy transition. Citizens interact with the technical energy systems; they are both subject and object of social innovation in the energy society and are emerging economic actors in the energy markets. However, how to design and optimize energy policies that enable all citizens to take an active role in accelerating the energy transition, is still unclear. Also, the assessment of the potential impacts of energy citizenship and how to design and optimize energy policies that enable all citizens to take an active role in accelerating the energy transition, are still under defined.

The workshop aims at presenting and discussing the methods, strategies and expected impacts for citizen engagement applied in six different research and innovation projects in the area of Positive Energy districts. The workshop aims at finding a common definition of energy citizenship and explore how important citizen engagement really is for the success of new energy concepts. Also discussed will be the question of how to assess and compare the impact of citizen engagement strategies across projects. The six participating projects are: ATELIER, +CityxChange, ENERGE , MakingCity, mySmartLife and Pocityf. Check the Sustainable Places website for the exact date and time and for registration: https://www.sustainableplaces.eu/

Rediscovering the abandoned urban spaces in Smolyan – “the heart of Rhodope mountains“

Event objectives:

The purpose of the initiative is for the youth of the municipality to express their position for the creation of the surrounding environment through photos. Through the event we found out about possible solutions in the direction of improving and ennobling public abandoned spaces and dangerous buildings in the regional town of Smolyan. The collected ideas are to be reviewed, analysed and further developed as integrated part in BCV 2050. „PhotoVoice“ is an opportunity for the youth to identify, present and emphasize on the way they see and perceive a sustainable urban environment. What was expected to be built as a result from the event is a long-term vision of how the young people imagine their town and its development.

Key direction followed was the emphasise on the sustainable cities development. 


Participants in the event:

The target group of the event was identified to be students from high school. Two groups from different schools were invited to participate in the event. 


Abandoned spaces:

Second level of water cascade

Public space around Varna Free University

Green public space – Raykovo, Smolyan

Underpass – Raykovo, Smolyna

Public space around the Regional Historical Museum

Abandoned high-rise building

Ruins of a destroyed residential building


Event program:

The event has been conducted in two stages – photo contest and open gallery with a workshop. 

The aim and the task of the contest was for the youth to discover and photograph abandoned public spaces and buildings that have made strong impression on them, and those that could be ennobled to create a better sustainable surrounding environment.

The second stage was an open gallery and a workshop that included all the photographs. The concept behind it was that more people from the wider or immediate community get familiar with how the young people see as opportunities in our town. The open gallery included a workshop that aimed to generate fresh creative ideas and opinions for the development of a sustainable new vision of the urban spaces in our town.


Open gallery and workshop program: 

Getting familiar with the work of +CityxChange project;

Discussion: „The role of the youth in the development, protection and the maintenance of the urban environment. “;

Grouping by teams and setting the task;

Distribution of materials (tracing paper, sticky notes, pencils, pens, markers)

Delivering the task;


Results from the event:

The set objectives have been met. A positive result has been achieved and many fresh ideas and opinions have been gathered. Apart from the target group set, other citizens took part in the event, as well. These have been people from the immediate and the wider community of the different identified spaces. The event received big interest and positive feedback. The students engaged well with the places since the identified ones were spaces of their everyday life. They have been giving quite relevant notes in terms of the lack of pavilions, lack of urban fountains for refill water, lack of lighting at many urban spaces, lack of bins and lack of maintenance in general. The idea of sustainable city was introduced under the form of „green city “concept. Most of the ideas and opinions gathered, suggest bringing more “green life” (trees, flowers, more green urban spaces, etc.) into the town. 

The discussion conducted managed to get them engaged and to hear how they feel about taking part in the development of the urban environment. Many students did not know that they could be able to contribute to this development through different tools (NGOs, youth organizations, etc.). 

The ideas and thoughts are currently being further developed so they are included in the BCV 2050. 


BCV integration:

The main issue the municipality has been facing in the past couple of years is the human migration to bigger cities. Most of the students leave our town once they graduate with the tendency of not coming back. The town is not as attractive to young people. One of the issues that lead to the lack of interest in the town is that it is clearly lacking open urban spaces for people to engage and communicate. One of the aspects that BCV would aim to touch upon is related to the development of such spaces that could make our town more attractive not only to the locals but to people from other parts of the country, as well. 

The ideas and opinions are being further developed into small design interventions that are to be suggested to the local authorities and potentially executed. The concept of regenerating urban spaces is to be integrated in the BCV as one of the key aspects the strategy would touch upon.


First New European Bauhaus prizes launched Highlighting inspiring examples that are beautiful, sustainable and inclusive

Applications are now open for the first New European Bauhaus prizes across 10 categories – from ‘products and lifestyle’, to ‘reinvented places to meet and share’ – all themed around the core pillars of the initiative: sustainability, quality of experience, and inclusion.

Following the launch of the initiative’s co-design phase in January, the ‘New European Bauhaus prizes’ will celebrate excellent examples to help inspire the project launched by President Ursula von der Leyen last year.

As the President said: “With the New European Bauhaus we want to make the European Green Deal tangible and ‘palpable’. We want to add a cultural dimension to the economic and technological transformation.” 

For each of the 10 categories there will also be a specific ‘New European Bauhaus Rising Stars’ strand, open to under-30s. The idea is to support and encourage the younger generation to continue developing new ideas and exciting concepts.

The creation of the prizes was announced by Commissioners Ferreira and Gabriel during last week’s New European Bauhaus Conference.

The application period is open until 31 May 2021. Both EU and non-EU nationals can apply, as long as their concepts, ideas and projects are actually developed or physically located in the EU.

An evaluation committee will first assess the eligibility of all entries. There will then be an online public vote, open to all New European Bauhaus newsletter subscribers. A jury made up of New European Bauhaus official partner organisations will then assess the three projects with the most votes under each category and strand, before the prizes are awarded. Winners will receive cash prizes as well as support to spread the message about their project.

Sign up for the newsletter (link below) so you do not miss the opportunity to see the entries and decide on your favourites! Do not hesitate to share the link with your colleagues, networks and friends so that we ensure the widest possible participation.

Check out the New European Bauhaus prizes web page (link below) for more information on the different categories.

Beautiful | Sustainable | Together

The New European Bauhaus Conference brought together leading thinkers and practitioners from around the world to share their visions and have a conversation on the way forward for the New European Bauhaus. Over 5,800 people from more than 85 countries registered for the virtual event.

The conference was opened by President von der Leyen, European Parliament President David Sassoli, and the Prime Minister of Portugal António Costa on behalf of the Council Presidency.

Other speakers included politician and philanthropist Michael Bloomberg, grassroots activist and founder of Slum Dwellers International Sheela Patel, climate scientist John Schellnhuber, architect Shigeru Ban, and other members of the high-level roundtable of experts for the initiative. They discussed issues like how to make the New European Bauhaus a driver for hope and change, and how the project can act as a bridge between art and technology in a global world.

·         New European Bauhaus 2021 prizes

·         Sign up for the New European Bauhaus newsletter

·         New European Bauhaus Conference

Javier Burón: CROSSROADS EUROPE Dialogue | Virtual strategies for citizen participation

April 14, 2021

CROSSROADS EUROPE Dialogue: Virtual strategies for citizen participation


Crossroads Europe aims at fostering cross-cutting dialogue about the EU, the challenges facing it and its future through a series of offline events dedicated to main forms of organized civil society and policy makers. Javier Burón (Collaborative) was invited to present + CityxChange Citizen Participation Playbook together with Andrés Pereira de Lucena Decidim’s coordinator. The session was followed by a dialogue of the two participants about digital citizen participation under the context of participatory democracy in the European Union.

Andy Bäcker: Sestao as an Example of Concrete Actions in Circular Economy

Andy Bäcker presented Sestao’s urban regeneration project through the European + CityxChange program to create smart cities. With this, the European Union has proposed that by 2025 there will be 100 districts that produce more energy than they consume. In the program, the Basque city is the only Spanish representative.

In Sestao they have proposed that already in 2023 a series of buildings in the city produce more energy than they consume. And, for this, they have launched a project called Red de Calor . With this project, this series of buildings will be heated with two biomass boilers and a third auxiliary gas boiler. Some of them, those already connected, have gone from a very poor energy rating to a maximum.

The intention of the Biscayan municipality is to increase the number of buildings connected to this heat network and with other renewable sources, such as photovoltaic panels, take advantage of the residual heat from the AcelorMittal steel plant, or thermal solar panels with which the heat of the summer to take advantage of it during the cold months.

Other options contemplated in Sestao are the creation of solar gardens to take advantage of the electricity they produce to power the buildings that are entering the project. In addition, the use of vegetation allows the decontamination of the soil.

Within the European project, other objectives are pursued, apart from energy efficiency, such as involving citizens, sensorization or monitoring of water, energy or air quality consumption, sustainable mobility, or the installation of chargers. electric vehicles.

Finally, in Sestao , commitments have been signed such as: carbon neutrality by 2050, strategies to make the city more sustainable, the Covenant of Mayors to reduce CO 2 by 2030, or the Urban Agenda, now in the process of being drawn up, and the creation of energy communities for self-consumption.

Six innovative ‘Energy Positive’ projects to start in Limerick City this summer

Businesses, Community Groups and Students among those funded by the +CityxChange project.

Six innovative ‘energy positive’ projects are to begin in Limerick City this summer following an open call for novel energy ideas in the heart of Limerick’s Georgian Neighbourhood.

The +CityxChange (Positive City Exchange) project is working to develop areas of “positive energy” in Limerick City which produce more energy than they consume.

Limerick City and County Council is a lead partner on the +CityxChange along with the city of Trondheim in Norway and is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme.

Take Control of Your Energy was the open innovation call stream to fund projects that test ideas to reduce the amount of energy used in the city, and increase the energy generated from innovative sources. The teams will demonstrate different possibilities for changing the way we use energy in the city.

One of the funded projects, Greening the Smart Grid, a collaboration between the Urban Coop, Community Power and Clean Tech Energy will be using a solar powered microgrid to extend the growing season on local allotments.

Bill Kelly of the project team said: “We are really excited to raise awareness in Limerick of the tools we all have at our disposal to enable everyone to join in the decarbonisation of society.”

St Michael’s Rowing Club (SMRC) is another group which received funding to progress the installation of PV Panels and batteries on the roof of the club. They want to experiment with using solar power to charge their launches and training events on the river.

Andrew O’Connell of SMRC said: “We’re looking forward to installing the new PV Panels and making a move away from petrol usage to clean energy in our club. St. Michael’s excels at responding to the big challenges, and this is going to be really positive for the club and the city.”

Clean Air Enthusiast Alan Bell has been funded to develop air quality monitors to attach to vehicles and bicycles in the City Centre, to build up a detailed picture of the air quality in the city throughout the day.

Alan said: “We want to help Limerick people to understand more about the way air quality in the city is affected by things like transport and home heating, giving them the power to make informed decisions for the future.”

As part of the Open Innovation Call, +CityxChange leaders from Limerick City and County Council, University of Limerick, Colaborativa, Smart MPower, and Space Engagers will be working with the project teams to develop their ideas for implementation over the summer.

Project TitleSynopsis
Greening the Smart GridTo energise the citizenry of Limerick City to become actively involved in the energy transition and food production in the Georgian district and its environs – short projects and hands-on growing food in an EMS-enabled microgrid.
PowerGenerationPowerGeneration is a public participatory ‘Maker’ workshop which aims to foster public engagement and empowered community climate actions related to energy production and consumption. The workshop demonstrates and facilitates participatory small-scale 12V power generation to ‘make power’ together.
Georgian Heat ExchangeTo recover waste heat from the café/ restaurant on the ground floor for use in the café and the apartments above.
Solar CarportTo install a solar charged carport to generate clean, renewable energy. This energy can then be used to charge electric vehicles parked inside while any excess generation can be used elsewhere on site.
Mapping the Air Quality MicroclimateTo map localised air quality levels in and around the Georgian Quarter. We would like to provide visibility of how air quality varies in areas of high chimney density and weather conditions to encourage people to make different, healthier, fuel choices.
Petrol to PV: Decarbonising the Shannon RiverTo install PV Panels and battery storage on the roof of the rowing club. The energy gathered will be used by the club directly and for charging lithium ion batteries. The stored energy will then be used in training launches and events on the River Shannon, decarbonising an important Limerick amenity and reducing petrol use.

Students from Colegio Kueto visit the District Heating of Txabarri

6th grade students from Colegio Kueto visit the District Heating of Txabarri

On March 22, a score of students from the sixth grade year of the Kueto public school in Sestao visited the facilities of the District Heating, or neighborhood heating promoted by Sestao Berri in the lower area of Sestao, within the framework of the European energy rehabilitation project EU-GUGLE . This community infrastructure distributes heating and sanitary hot water to four hundred homes in the neighborhood

The schoolchildren, belonging to two classes of that Primary school year, received an initial explanation about this infrastructure outside the facilities, where the neighborhood heating boiler room is located, on the ground floor of the Plaza de Vicente Díez. After the presentation, the schoolchildren took turns entering the interior, where experts from the Tecman company, the design engineering responsible for the development of the District Heating, explained in detail the operation of the facility to the schoolchildren. The students were able to see up close and understand the operation of the biomass and gas boilers, the biomass silo, the discharge area, the management computer system and other elements that make up this neighborhood heating. The schoolchildren were very interested in the visit, which was reflected in numerous questions on his part. Tecman has made a video in which he explains how this infrastructure works.