Tag: Smolyan

Smolyan Joins ‘Partnership for Adaptation to Climate Change’

Smolyan is about to sign the contract for project “Partnership for Adaptation to Climate Change” which has been approved by the Environment Protection and Climate Change Programme of the EEA Financial Mechanism. In this project Smolyan has formed a partnership with 3 other Bulgarian municipalities – Asenovgrad, Svilengrad and Krushari, the Pleiades Bulgaria Ltd – a company working as a strategic engineering consultant in various areas where energy efficiency occupies a leading place in the activities and a partner from the donor state – NTNU, the University for Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway, with the Faculty for Architecture and Design. 

The project addresses the requirement for continuous training, improvement and increase of the capacity of the local authorities to develop and implement plans and programs for adaptation to climate change and to introduce specific measures, leading to direct reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, as a direct link to EU targets for Climate Neutral Europe and for climate-adapted cities and communities. Sustainable municipal energy planning and management is undoubtedly the most adequate approach that local authorities can take in order to make optimal use of available resources, attract private funding and avoid common mistakes, thus supporting the effective implementation of European policies and engaging local communities in active energy and climate action. The project will provide for the full understanding of the functions and roles of municipalities in relation to energy: the municipality as an energy consumer, as a producer and supplier of energy, as a regulator and investor in the local energy sector, as a motivator. 

Smolyan is the lead partner and has included two demonstration buildings (preselected in Demonstration Areas of the +CityxChange project) for installing additional renewable energy units for production of electricity, located on the roof of the building of the city Sports Hall and combined installation for production of electricity and heat from renewable energy unit (PVt), on the roof of the building of the city Swimming Pool. The produced energy will be used at the place of production (for own needs), which will reduce the energy consumption of the specific building, thus increasing its energy independence. Alongside these installations, a pilot intelligent energy-monitoring system will be introduced. The Smart Center for intelligent energy monitoring and management will combine individual management modules in a complex Web-based environment. 

For the city of Smolyan this project provides for progressing towards its aim to achieve innovation at the building level, leading to the energy transformation with the innovative Positive Energy Districts concept. The knowledge and skills needed for planning and design, implementation and monitoring, as well as the replication and integration of positive energy regions are increasing and the local authorities play a key role in this process. The partnership with NTNU, with its exceptional knowledge and contribution to the initiative and the concept of creating Positive Energy Areas in Europe, will help for spreading the knowledge and good practice among the Bulgarian partners in this project, to get acquainted with the concept of PED and what is needed to achieve this goal. 

The project also brings together two Bulgarian Municipalities that are follower cities in two different Horizon 2020, SCC projects – Smolyan in the +CityxChange project and Asenovgrad in the SmartEnCity project. Smolyan has also become a member of the city-based network established under SmartEnCity project (smartencitynetwork.eu) which comprises of more than 60 cities all around Europe which are conscious about their sustainability and work together towards carbon neutrality in the long run. 

+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. 

+CityxChange Newsletter – December 2020

+CityxChange‘s fifth newsletter has been distributed in December 2020. 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 three months from our project, focusing on how +CityxChange has adopted to a new digital format of events and interactions among project partners.   

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

+CityxChange Second Consortium Meeting, 23-25 October 2019, Limerick

From the 23rd-25th of October, 2019, 70 representatives of the project partners, and additional local stakeholders of +CityxChange project were gathered in Limerick, as part of our second consortium meeting. Taking advantage of this face-to-face interaction, we dived into key challenges that had arise during the first year of the project implementation and and developed joint outcomes which help us to move from the development phase to the deployment phase for the second year of +CityxChange.  In total, we organised 8 in-depth workshops, each with a moderator, a problem owner, a clearly defined problem statement and an intended outcome. 

Four sessions of 2 parallel workshops each were kicked-off, covering different topics such as: 

  1. Glossary / Pictionary workshop: The aim of this workshop was to develop a common understanding and definitions of central project terms, discussing contested definitions, aligning different usage of terms across project and laying foundation for citizen-friendly definitions and visual descriptions. 
  2. Monitoring and Evaluation workshop: The development of a standardised framework for the M&E, development of a data collation, management and analysis methodology, development of an interactive web based dashboard, and providing an early-warning scoring system were the main issues to work upon
  3. Privacy and Smart City Data Model Structure:  The challenges discussed in this workshop, were related to IT architecture and data, open data portals, APIs, data protection impact assessment, informed consent, the Data Management Plan, and open research data.
  4. Exploring and sharing ways towards citizen-led energy transitions (Storytelling Workshop): The workshop aimed at exploring ways of creating a better understanding of the experiences, challenges, failures and successes of similar projects in engaging citizens as well as fostering interactive and progressive exchanges between external participants and the +CityxChange team.
  5. Common Energy Market: During the workshop, the participants reviewed status and learning points from the first year, what to expect in year 2, and how to improve learning between Lighthouse and Follower Cities. In addition, important new knowledge was discussed of how to organize a local energy market so it stimulates the PEB process, principles for the flexibility markets and community grid, as well as replication and investment / financial models and joint funding opportunities.
  6. CommunityxChange: The workshop included, amongst others, an overview of learnings from the first year, how to transition from the development to the deployment phase, as well as first experiences with monitoring and evaluation, and opportunities for investment, scaling and replication.  
  7. City Modelling: Current modeling on building level is not sufficient, and needs to be able to easier and faster work on community/neighborhood level for better scale-up into a neighborhood. This is needed to be addressed to any community for its operational performance. 
  8. Transport / Mobility: The workshop worked on different approaches to transport and mobility in Europe, depending on size, geographies, etc. The project is trying to define the basic topics firsts and then have breakout discussions.

In addition to the parallel workshops, we held the 2nd General Assembly, and organised PEB Walks of the Limerick demo areas and demo sites. On the final day, we organised an excursion to the ESB Ardnacrusha Hydroelectric Power Station, as well as the Cliffs of Moher.

For more information on our workshops check our report on Intra-Project Collaboration Including Study Visits and Peer-to-Peer Workshops

Exploring and sharing ways towards citizen-led energy transitions

During our second +CityxChange Consortium Meeting in Limerick, we organised a storytelling workshop with the objective to exchange knowledge and best practices internally and externally on how to involve citizens effectively. The workshop was facilitated by Limerick County and City Council and ISOCARP Institute and took place in the Fab Lab Limerick – a collaborative space to engage, produce, and co-create.

The workshop was attended by 31 project representatives, three international speakers (online) as well as local residents from the demonstration areas of Limerick. The workshop aimed at exploring ways of creating a better understanding of the experiences, challenges, failures and successes of similar projects in engaging citizens as well as fostering interactive and progressive exchanges between external participants and the +CityxChange team. As overarching problem statements, three key questions were formulated:

  1. What techniques/tools/approaches are effective to inform citizens about energy-related concepts, projects, and necessary technical/financial details?
  2. How can effective collaboration between a representative group of the society and projects/cities be achieved? Which methods work; which do not? How to reach out to those who are usually not involved?
  3. How do behavioural changes evolve? What does it take to reach a community-driven process in which citizens take the leading role and become proactive prosumers?

With this starting point, the first part of the workshop was dedicated to learning from other projects and individuals working on similar challenges. Muriël Pels, advisor for international cooperation and EU funding affairs (H2020) at Municipality Utrecht and project partner of +CityxChange’s sister project IRIS presented the approach, challenges and successes in generating support from the residents in IRIS’ demonstration area in Utrecht. Ariane Lelieveld, one of the initiators of Blijstroom in Rotterdam, presented the motivation, and ups and downs of the solely community-run project in Rotterdam. Lastly, John W. Lee, the community representative of Tallaght, a community outside of Dublin, shared his story how to collectively transform their community into a more sustainable and energy-neutral one.

Afterwards, the three external speakers discussed the three above-mentioned questions with smaller groups, accompanied by a collaborative brainstorming on best practices, learned lessons, and promising approaches. A compilation of the results and a detailed overview will be published on our project website soon. If you have questions or comments, please contact us.

Tartu and Trondheim to share experiences as two Lighthouse Cities

Representatives from the City of Tartu visited Trondheim from 4th to 5th September. The first day was sharing experiences of the cities, while the second day focused on the experiences as being European Lighthouse Cities, together with the +CityxChange coordinator at NTNU. This part shared experiences from the two Smart City EU projects SmartenCity, Tartu, and +CityxChange, Trondheim and NTNU. Approaches of both projects were discussed and linked to larger city challenges.

Also the SFI ZEN was present and presented their work with zero emission neighborhoods in Norway.
We look forward to keeping contact and to continue to share from our ongoing work for better sustainable cities.



+CityxChange in the 55th ISOCARP World Planning Congress in Jakarta/Bogor, Indonesia

+CityxChange was present in the 55th World Planning Congress in Jakarta/Bogor, Indonesia which was held by one of our partner organisations, ISOCARP. 

The main topic of the World Planning Congress was ‘Beyond the Metropolis’. In five intensive days, from the 9th-13th of September 2019, topics related to a rapid urbanisation as a result of a globalising economy in metropolitan areas have been treated. Divided in seven different tracks, where ‘Smart futures and sustainability’ was one of them, issues related to urban planning and development strategies to promote liveability, well-being, sustainability, innovation and responsive governance for their dwellers, were tackled. 

+CityxChange attracted the attention of many academics and professionals working in the field, while being represented in the ISOCARP booth with its own stand alone banner. In addition to this, an introduction to +CityxChange was given by the project manager of our partner organisation, Tjark Gall, during the plennary session of ISOCARP Institute. 

Powerhouse Brattørkaia official opening

Powerhouse Brattørkaia, one of our demonstration areas which is also the biggest new energy-block in Norway, has officially been launched on the 30th of August, 2019.

On the 30th of August, +CityxChange, celebrated the official opening of Powerhouse Brattørkaia (Trondhein) which is the biggest new positive energy block in Norway. It will generate more energy in its operational phase than it consumes through the production of building materials, construction, operation and disposal of the building. For Powerhouse Brattørkaia, form follows environment, while optimal use of solar energy determines the building’s exciting and iconic architecture. Solar energy, other sources of renewable energy, and an extremely low energy consumption ensure that this becomes an energy-positive building.

The official opening attracted participants from private, public, university and research organisations. Several partners in this huge project, such as +CityxChange, ZEN, IOTA, Trønder Energi, etc., participated with stands open for all public.

Among the other groups engaged in festival were young people working in climate -related issues – Klimabrølet Trondheim – Climate Roar. Entra CEO Sonja Horn and Secretary of the Department of Commerce Torbjørn Røe officially connected the powerhouse, with smoke and el-guitar solo effects to celebrate the grand opening.

Stalls with activities for different age groups were made available. Among others, an electric car, electric boat and an electric bus that can be charged with solar cells from Powerhouse, were showcased.

Click here to learn more about Powerhouse projects.

Citizen Participation in Co-creation | June 2019

From governance in ‘Campus development’ to governance in ‘Smart cities’ – Savis Gohari

On the 21st of June, 2019, our new colleague, Savis Gohari, gave a presentation on governance processes on smart city initiatives, linking in this way her PhD research (Governance in the planning and decision-making process: The co-location case of university campuses in Trondheim, Norway) to +CityxChange project.  

Accordingly, the research objective was to analyse ‘governance structures’, i.e. the way actors stand in a network and interact with each other across levels, together with ‘governance processes’, i.e. the interrelation between actors’ attributes (such as interests, resource, power and roles) at different levels and rounds of decision-making. Part of the empirical research was conducted in one of the +CityxChange Demonstration Areas in Trondheim, namely, Campus Gløshaugen. Citizen participation is one of the main pillars upon which +CityxChange is based on. However, participatory processes remain a complex task, especially when trying to transit to new forms of policy-making in a smart city context.

Savis’ discussion on how to govern ‘smart cities’ pointed out that the formal mechanisms of transitioning to sustainability are ill equipped to address and conform with the political and power dimensions in smart cities. Furthermore, there is no determined blueprint for sustainability transitions and the existing governance systems hitherto have been inefficient and implicated in unsustainability.

During her work as a postdoc which is directly linked to research on citizen participatory processes for +CityxChange, Savis will try to conceptualise the co-creative governance and the dynamic interplay between power relations in the face of conflict of interests. Thereby, she aims to go beyond the traditional division of governance network between private, public and academia to investigate the political structure underpinning the functionality of governance.

Click here to download the presentation.