Feb 9, 2021
Future cities should be climate-neutral and smart. But how can we achieve these goals in the short time we have left?
The Green Deal envisages that our entire economy in Europe will be set up in such a way that we can live and do business sustainably and still remain competitive. By 2030, 55 percent of emissions are to be reduced. The Mission for Climate Neutral and Smart Cities adds another target: at least 100 cities are to be climate neutral by 2030. From 2022 the mission will support cities in their systemic transformation by 2030 with 800 million Euros from Horizon Europe alone; in addition, there is to be an overall "Implementation Plan" for all missions, which will also identify further funding opportunities and regulatory plans. "This is a joint effort that we are undertaking for the benefit of our society," emphasises Martin Russ, Managing Director of AustriaTech and member of the Climate Neutral and Smart Cities Mission Board.
By 2050, 85 percent of Europeans are expected to live in cities. Due to their high population density, cities face major challenges in terms of climate protection. But they can also be hubs of innovation, enabling them to shape the future and drive forward new ideas. Innovation is therefore one of the keys to the success of this mammoth project of the European Commission: it is about rethinking everything: from urban planning to deployment. Silo-based structures and governance must be broken down. The mission therefore actively supports a profound and continuous cooperation of all stakeholders involved. Another key aspect is the intensive involvement of citizens: in order to make climate protection an active part of our lives, all citizens must be better prepared and informed. Here, the mission envisages using part of the funding in a binding way to support citizens and their platforms for the development and implementation of climate measures.
The national support action Fit4UrbanMission will prepare interested Austrian cities for the Mission. The aim is to pick up cities at different levels in their innovation plan. It is not only the so-called "experienced" or "frontrunners" who have already made preparations, created structures or implemented projects and activities for a climate-neutral city who are addressed. Especially the so-called "beginners" should be taken along in order to achieve good learnings, but also to inspire other cities and support them in this transformation. Appropriate experimental spaces should also be created to try out new things.