Transition Cities

Building an integrated innovation system for the transition to a low carbon economy

Europe is an urban Continent. What happens in its cities is crucial to the success of the EU’s climate change agenda. Across Europe, more than 4,000 cities – large and small – have signed up to the Covenant of Mayors with the goal of reaching and exceeding the EU’s 2020 targets.  Hundreds of imaginative and innovative low carbon projects are underway. Yet currently the general picture is that these projects remain isolated initiatives, lacking in strategic coherence and with no agreed perspective on where to focus investment and how to scale them up. Hence the achievement of the targets is in doubt.

Transition Cities builds on the results achieved from the Climate KIC-funded ‘Pioneer Cities’ pathfinder. This project identified three main areas of activity in buildings, energy and mobility where consolidating activity could really move cities away from a narrow, siloed project approach. Instead, it proposed the development of multi-actor clusters in these areas to enable cities to articulate better their needs and challenges. Transition Cities will develop this model to help cities move towards a more sustainable, low carbon future and also signal a clearer and more coordinated intent to the market for innovative products and services that will be required to achieve it.

The Transition Cities project will undertake pilots and experiments in relation to the three priority areas identified above; promote new start-ups; leverage in other EU funds; enable cities to explore new institutional and business models in order to maximise impact on carbon reduction; and disseminate its findings widely across major European networks. The innovativeness of this project comes through methodology and new ways of working, as well as product development. It is hoped that its findings will influence public policy and procurement across European cities and stimulate the transition to the low carbon economy.

Transition Cities (TC)
Project Type

Innovation – Develops and brings to market climate-relevant knowledge, services and products

Lead Partner

Birmingham City Council

Project Partners

Bologna Municipality
Budapest Municipality
Frankfurt City Council
Castellon Municipality
Wroclaw Agglomeration Development Agency
Birmingham Science Park Aston 

Project Manager

Jackie Homan, Birmingham City Council

Project Location

Pan European, coordinated from UK

Project Start Date
January 2014

Urban Transitions