Urban Transitions

Climate change and the demands of booming urban populations pose a major challenge for infrastructure, buildings, energy supply, water systems and drainage, sanitation, waste management, housing and mobility. Cities need to be able to deal with climate risks and impacts (flooding, temperature rise, urban heat islands) and move to more sustainable, zero-carbon and resilient ‘circular’ pathways. The onus is on cities to improve air quality, reduce emissions, waste and resource use, and at the same time promote wellbeing, public health and social balance resulting in ‘restorative’ cities. Meeting these ambitions will demand trillions of investment, and innovation in systemic thinking, governance and financing. This is a major opportunity for a new, sustainable market to emerge harnessing the creativity, skills and economies of scale that exist within urban environments to produce new systemic solutions.

What We Do

Climate-KIC’s Urban Transitions catalyses urban transformation through collaboration and systemic innovation across infrastructure, governance and investment (in collaboration with Climate KICs Decision Metrics and Finance theme). We develop: 

  • Integrated and Systemic Innovation

Urban Transitions fosters innovation that synergises city systems and infrastructure on the following principles: district proximity, connectivity and efficiency; circular economy and waste as a resource; novel data architecture and management to support smart and responsive technologies.

  • Smart and Sustainable Development

Urban Transitions makes the case for smart, sustainable development through articulating new models of value, and visualising and making sense of complex data. Urban Transitions demonstrates how one ‘engagement’ can be more efficient and have multiple outcomes and benefits.

  • Education, Facilitation and Capacity Building

Urban Transitions facilitates, catalyses and enables collaboration, bringing diverse and competing stakeholders together. It is a beacon for best practice and knowledge in urban transformation. For the programme to have greatest impact a new ‘benefits first’ approach will be adopted putting the citizen at the centre of the programmes. For example, ‘carbon reduction’ is not as successful in mobilising a community as say; parks, nature based solutions, air quality improvement or building comfort.

Working at Different Urban Scales 

Urban investment and implementation decisions tend to take place at distinct scales. For example, real estate owners make decisions at the scale of a building, while municipalities might take decisions on waste collection at the scale of the city. By considering these different levels and their interactions, decision makers can better understand how to integrate systems at different levels of scale. We run flagship programmes and innovation projects, from start-ups to demonstration stage addressing each of these scales: 

  • The Building Scale – Building Technologies Accelerator 

Urban Transitions’ Building Technologies Accelerator (BTA) flagship programme incorporates several innovation projects focused on making significant CO2 reductions in buildings through low-carbon materials, circular economy models, bankable refurbishment solutions and user-friendly energy management. These are scaled up through enhancing construction value chains. Click here to find out more about BTA. 

  • The District Scale – Smart Sustainable Districts 

Urban Transitions’ Smart Sustainable Districts (SSD) flagship programmes is a consortium of pioneering city districts working together to deploy and accelerate the knowledge, expertise and best practice needed to transition to zero-carbon living and build resilience into Europe’s cities. The SSD network develops tools, frameworks and services to create the dialogue, test the beneficial impact of district technologies and  sustainable, district development. Click here to find out more

  • The City Scale – Innovation and Start-ups

From electric transport planning software to public lighting and port operations, Urban Transitions’ innovation and start-up projects provide a pipeline of scalable urban climate solutions. Browse through our projects and start-ups below to find out more. 

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Case Studies

The Urban Transitions Team

Sean Lockie
Theme Director Urban Transitions

Akitaka Wilhelm Fujii
Business Analyst Urban Transitions

Brian Kilkelly
Development Lead Urban Transitions

Verena Stecher
Portfolio Manager Urban Transitions