Healthy, Clean Cities

Cities face an enormous challenge in becoming resilient, healthy places to live while reaching net-zero-emissions in just a few short years. EIT Climate-KIC is working with 15 of the most ambitious mayors, municipalities and city communities in Europe to design portfolios of joined-up innovations capable of unlocking wholesale transformation across all city systems – from mobility to waste, from energy to health, and the built environment. Our first cohort of partners includes Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Kraków, Križevci, Leuven, Madrid, Malmö, Maribor, Milan, Niš, Orléans, Sarajevo, Skopje and Vienna. 

Our work is informed by more than 10 years of experience in urban sustainability gathered through EIT Climate-KIC‘s large-scale programmes and flagship initiatives, notably Smart, Sustainable Districts (SSD)City Finance Lab, and Building Technology Accelerator (BTA). Furthermore, EIT Climate-KIC brings the interdisciplinary professional expertise of the Cities team, including our design partners Bankers without BoundariesDark Matter LabsThe Democratic Society, the Global Covenant of Mayors and Material Economics.

 

Innovation-as-usual, which is typically ‘siloed’ and focused on supplying the market with technology-led solutions, is not going to deliver a just, inclusive world within 1.5-degrees of warming from pre-industrial levels. Innovation is essential, but have not risen to the challenge in the scale we now need. We need innovation to catalyse systemic change through a portfolio approach informed by a collaborative narrative.

Positions and Problem Space Narratives

Within the framework of our Deep Demonstration of Healthy, Clean Cities (HCC), we are developing a set of ‘positions’ aimed at moving beyond the current common understanding of climate action. A ‘Position’ refers to ‘where’ we intend to place something in order to induce an effect in a system. It places us where we can discover how to catalyse change. A ‘Problem Space’ is a space for action within a system or across multiple systems.

The Positions we have identified in cities are:

  • Circularity enabling systems
  • Community retrofit/district renewal systems
  • Food systems
  • Green spaces and climate resilience/urban adaptation systems
  • Mobility, logistics and public space systems
  • Renewable energy systems

Problem Spaces within cities are:

  • Policy and governance systems
  • Citizen and democratic decision-making systems, including the system of actors, skills, and collective learning
  • Capital and financial systems
  • Information and data systems
  • Place-based systems, including both material and energy flows

What we learned from our current and past programmes is that several constituent elements for transformative action within cities Problem Spaces have been developed and tested, so that practical examples, insights and learning resources are available. The challenge lies in the ability to orchestrate individual elements within a portfolio of strategic experiments that are coherent with a city’s vision.

We see each of our Positions as entry points for our vision to co-create a prosperous, inclusive, climate-resilient society founded on a circular, zero-carbon economy.

Our mission is to gather all cities that have embarked on this journey with us in 2019 and create the structures for governance with the right institutions in place to achieve this vision by 2030. This can be achieved if we break down silos and build the capacity to work collaboratively.

Stories
EIT Climate-KIC | March 2020 Madrid: A city turning eco-fictions into eco-futures through systems innovation

The 'Eco-fictions' installation is the brainchild of Instituto Mutante de Narrativas Ambientales, an environment-focused arts group - one of four core partners in the Madrid chapter of EIT Climate-KIC’s Deep Demonstration of Healthy Clean Cities, along with Madrid’s City Government, the transport infrastructure operator Ferrovial, and the Technical University of Madrid.

Madrid: A city turning eco-fictions into eco-futures through systems innovation
EIT Climate-KIC | January 2020 What is there to learn from Leuven?: Q&A with Mayor Ridouani
What is there to learn from Leuven?: Q&A with Mayor Ridouani
EIT Climate-KIC | July 2020 Vienna’s journey to carbon neutrality

EIT Climate-KIC is working with the city of Vienna to identify climate initiatives and to link them systematically to push beyond incremental change.

Vienna’s journey to carbon neutrality
Edward Andersson & Namita Kambli | Democratic Society | October 2020 Five ways of meaningfully involving citizens in climate action

EIT Climate-KIC partner The Democratic Society has written an article on taking citizen climate action to the next level, featuring learnings from their work on our Healthy, Clean Cities Deep Demonstration.

Five ways of meaningfully involving citizens in climate action
EIT Climate-KIC | 05 November 2020 EIT Climate-KIC leads collective efforts to accelerate Madrid’s transition towards carbon neutrality

A cross- KIC (Knowledge and Innovation Community) initiative is working on bringing data into the Spanish capital’s decarbonisation activities.

EIT Climate-KIC leads collective efforts to accelerate Madrid’s transition towards carbon neutrality
EIT Climate-KIC | 12 November 2020 Madrid, Amsterdam and Milan: Three cities putting citizen participation at the heart of climate action

For EIT Climate-KIC, it is of paramount importance to create the links between decision-makers and the public around climate action. Citizen engagement is therefore at the heart of our Deep Demonstrations programme.

Madrid, Amsterdam and Milan: Three cities putting citizen participation at the heart of climate action

Positions

The aim of our ‘Position’ articles are to formulate a clear problem statement and present what have we learnt so far during EIT Climate-KIC’s 10+ years of action in the field of climate action, linking to our projects, initiatives and programmes. In addition, we explore partners and networks who we can engage in order to deliver on our value proposition. ‘Position’ articles are not meant to explain or cover everything that is happening in the world in relation to the identified problem statement. 

23 MAR 2020 Trees as infrastructure: Part one

Trees as infrastructure: An open source model to support municipalities in transitioning toward resilient urban forest management practices.

Trees as infrastructure: Part one
23 MAR 2020 Trees as infrastructure: Part two

Trees as infrastructure: An open source model to support municipalities in transitioning toward resilient urban forest management practices.

Trees as infrastructure: Part two
24 JUL 2020 The climate emergency demands bold policy innovations – can cities deliver?

While the challenges of climate change and a global health crisis converge in cities, the economic conditions created by the COVID-19 pandemic now present an unprecedented moment in modern urban sustainable development.

The climate emergency demands bold policy innovations – can cities deliver?

Problem Space Narratives

100 climate-neutral cities by 2030

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100 climate-neutral cities by 2030
Citizen and democratic decision-making systems

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Citizen and democratic decision-making systems
Deep Demonstration Factsheet Series 1 – Healthy Clean Cities

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Deep Demonstration Factsheet Series 1 – Healthy Clean Cities