Just transition within reach for Polish coal city Rybnik

“We are preparing plans for the next decade. Mentality is the hardest thing to change” says Piotr Kuczera, mayor of Rybnik, in an interview with Zielona Interia. The municipality is co-designing, with EIT Climate-KIC and partners, the plans to accelerate the city’s transformation towards climate neutrality.

Rybnik is situated in the heart of Silesia, the largest coal-producing region in the European Union. The city faces the joint challenges of energy transition and enormous air pollution, and many residents understand that transformation is necessary and urgent.

EIT Climate-KIC laid the groundwork for regional transformation in 2019 through Rybnik360, a project that aims to change the city’s industrial sector to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The project’s goal is to design, together with the inhabitants and other actors operating in and around the city space, a green, healthy and inclusive future for the city.

“For 200 years, Rybnik was connected to mining, and social and economic life developed around the mines,” explains Rybnik’s mayor Kuczera in his interview with Zielona Interia. “But we are facing a significant civilisational change, and this must be reflected in the city’s upcoming development strategy. In addition, our plans must be coordinated with what the European Union is planning.”

Answering the journalist’s question about how the plan to transform Rybnik is perceived by the town hall, Kuczera says that the younger generation is particularly eager to see the changes happen in their city.

“Young people know that mining is not the only path for the city; their awareness is very high, which is a positive signal. But mining is still seen as a strategic industry for Poland, and we have to be honest: changing the mentality of citizens is the most difficult challenge we face.”

The first stage of the Rybnik 360 process — where 180 in-depth interviews were held, 2800 arguments mapped, and 93 innovation ideas created — helped identify air quality as a key area for improvement. For Kuczera, addressing this issue is a fundamental part of the city’s development.

He adds: “Mining and the impending change in the city’s economic profile have also been addressed as part of this process. As well as elements that can facilitate the work of city officials.” All of these, he explains, are important lessons that must be considered as part of the preparation of the strategy.

The Rybnik360 project is a part of the Just Transformation Deep Demonstration programme, where EIT Climate-KIC, together with partners from many European countries, facilitates the transition of European regions that still rely on economies that are incompatible with tackling climate change. The programme recognises that people and economies engaged in these sectors are highly vulnerable during the transition to a decarbonised future and it will demonstrate that just transformations are possible.  

Read the full interview (in Polish) with Rybnik’s mayor Piotr Kuczera in Zielona Interia.

 
Location
Poland
Related Goal
Goal 9: Reboot regional economies
Articles you may be interested in
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC welcomes opportunity to unlock trillions for climate adaptatio...

The European Commission has opened a call for feedback...

EIT Climate-KIC welcomes opportunity to unlock trillions for climate adaptation and mitigation
In The News
As a crucial vote on EU plastics policy looms ahead, a vision of creating circ...

The European Parliament will vote in Plenary today to...

As a crucial vote on EU plastics policy looms ahead, a vision of creating circular economies and societies emerges
In The News
A day dedicated to the future with world-renowned speakers

When science fiction meets economics Created in 2012, Edgeryders...

A day dedicated to the future with world-renowned speakers
In The News
Branch Magazine wins Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity

Branch Magazine, a collaboration between EIT Climate-KIC, Mozilla Foundation...

Branch Magazine wins Ars Electronica Award for Digital Humanity
In The News
Cross-KIC project to boost circular economy in Western Balkans

The circular economy concept is of crucial importance to...

Cross-KIC project to boost circular economy in Western Balkans
In The News
Exploring new horizons with Pioneers into Practice

Enrolment is now open for placement hosts and participants...

Exploring new horizons with Pioneers into Practice
In The News
Circular bioeconomy start-up receives €2 million from European Innovation Co...

EIT Climate-KIC supported Lixea (formerly Chrysalix Technologies) has received...

Circular bioeconomy start-up receives €2 million from European Innovation Council Fund
In The News
Embracing a new approach to climate change in Moldova

Moldova is one of Europe’s most modest contributors to...

Embracing a new approach to climate change in Moldova
In The News
Krakow: transforming the city towards climate neutrality

Poland’s former capital and one of its oldest cities,...

Krakow: transforming the city towards climate neutrality
In The News
Is Europe doing enough to tackle climate change?

On 23 April, EIT Climate-KIC CEO Kirsten Dunlop spoke...

Is Europe doing enough to tackle climate change?
In The News
EU Commission publishes sustainable finance taxonomy

The European Commission has published its EU-wide classification system for...

EU Commission publishes sustainable finance taxonomy
In The News
New European Bauhaus: what kind of future do you want to live in?

On 22 and 23 April, the first conference dedicated...

New European Bauhaus: what kind of future do you want to live in?
In The News
Estonian innovation to help stabilise grid as renewables increase

EIT Climate-KIC supported Estonian start-up Sympower has raised €5.2...

Estonian innovation to help stabilise grid as renewables increase
In The News
Five EIT Climate-KIC community members in Forbes 30 under 30 list

Twelve entrepreneurs from across the EIT community have been...

Five EIT Climate-KIC community members in Forbes 30 under 30 list
In The News
These eleven organisations are building a greener Europe

Google, in partnership with EIT Climate-KIC, launched the €10...

These eleven organisations are building a greener Europe
In The News
New equity crowdfunding programme unearths cleantech start-ups

Found by us, funded by you, a new start-up...

New equity crowdfunding programme unearths cleantech start-ups
In The News
From start-up to 100-person industry player in 18 months: air up is launching ...

It’s a beverage revolution: Healthy hydration while fooling your...

From start-up to 100-person industry player in 18 months: air up is launching in new markets
In The News
#TurnItAround: an event for all climate solutions seekers, suppliers and enabl...

As part of the fifth SDG Global festival of...

#TurnItAround: an event for all climate solutions seekers, suppliers and enablers
In The News
New EIT initiative to boost innovation in higher education

The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) is...

New EIT initiative to boost innovation in higher education
In The News
Inclusive guide helps communities build urban resilience

The new Urban Action Kit, launched by the International...

Inclusive guide helps communities build urban resilience
In The News
Climate app among DigiEduHack 2020 global finalists

The DigiEduHack, supported by EIT Climate-KIC as well as...

Climate app among DigiEduHack 2020 global finalists
In The News
GreeMko receives Climate Reality Project Award in Spain 

GreeMko (for Green Management Technology), a Spanish start-up that...

GreeMko receives Climate Reality Project Award in Spain 
In The News
What’s the future of trade in a climate crisis?

EIT Climate-KIC Chief Executive Officer Kirsten Dunlop addressed the...

What’s the future of trade in a climate crisis?
In The News
Wanted: Green business ideas to fix climate change

Starting today, the seventh edition of the global green...

Wanted: Green business ideas to fix climate change
In The News
Why sustainable water management needs a systemic solution

Ensuring that fresh water is available, in a sustainable...

Why sustainable water management needs a systemic solution
In The News
Integrating nature with technology to strengthen climate adaptation

The European Commission released the new EU Climate Adaptation...

Integrating nature with technology to strengthen climate adaptation
In The News
EIT Climate-KIC is a key player in helping Europe adapt to climate change

EIT Climate-KIC welcomes the new EU strategy on adaptation...

EIT Climate-KIC is a key player in helping Europe adapt to climate change
In The News
Edinburgh: building climate resilient infrastructure and communities

A labyrinth of cobblestone streets, dimly lit and presided...

Edinburgh: building climate resilient infrastructure and communities
In The News
Residents of Kessel-Lo, Belgium, are invited to shape the future of their neig...

EIT Climate-KIC is working with the city of Leuven...

Residents of Kessel-Lo, Belgium, are invited to shape the future of their neighbourhood
In The News
Improved urban parks increase communities’ climate resilience

Start Park, a project led by citizens from Florence,...

Improved urban parks increase communities’ climate resilience