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 Boundaries, Dark Matter Labs, The 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.
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.