25 November 2022

On November 21, the ICC organised a virtual workshop with participants from the European Commission, leading city representatives and experts to understand the impact that citizen-led green transitions can have on cities. The objective of the workshop was to deepen the understanding of how cities can mobilise their ecosystems to enable a shift towards citizen-led green transition in cities, and how certain skills strategies could support this movement.

Dana Eleftheriadou, Head of Cities and Proximity, DG GROW, European Commission, provided welcoming remarks, outlining the current state of citizen led initiatives and underlying the increasing importance of these involved transitions.

Amsterdam’s Green Light District

Suze Gehem, Director Groene Grachten showcased Amsterdam’s newest citizen-led initiative Green Light District. This programme seeks to give Amsterdam’s old city centre a green makeover by making historic buildings and districts more sustainable through taking measures such as insulating buildings, greening sidewalks and generated green energy. Working with a combination of citizens, city and education representatives, SMEs and industry, the impact of this initiative will be amplified.

Co-creating with citizens in Porto

Using a combination of face to face events and mobile apps to better understand feedback and thoughts as well as inform on change in real time, the City of Porto has used a variety of strategies to connect with its citizens - Daniel Freitas, Head of Carbon Neutrality, City of Porto  illustrated. One example is the Good Food Hubs, a pilot launched to connect local producers and citizens in university fares, and Solidarity Restaurants, a project focused on the reuse of unsold food.

The dedicated platform URBiNAT, which focuses on the co-creation of sustainable public spaces with citizens, was explained by its Project Manager, Ana Ferreira. URBiNAT aims to co-create a Healthy Corridor as an innovative and flexible nature-based solution (NBS) and works as a worldwide consortium of academic and business partners in 7 European cities to make this a reality.

Thinking outside of the box

Citizen-led operations can take some outside the box thinking, Kim de Jong, Sustainability Strategist City of Amsterdam demonstrated with the Mini-Citizen assemblies. The programme, which is orchestrated by citizens and was originally initiated by government, allows for creative solutions in sustainability and climate neutrality to be openly shared. Citizens are selected through a ‘lottery’ to represent society as a whole and must work to provide an end product. A recent assembly developed a final plan with 21 new measures for reduced emissions in the city.

Making use of the Pact for Skills

The ways in which these initiatives can be supported by existing skills strategies such as the European Commission’s Pact for Skills was briefly expressed by Miguel Fernandez Diez, Pact for Skills Policy Officer, DG EMPLOYMENT, European Commission.  Through signing up to the Pact, cities and local economies can support reskilling their workforce and succeed in the green and digital transition. The recent ICC workshop on Upskilling and Reskilling in Cities held in collaboration with the European Vocational Skills Week offered more specific insights on how cities can best utilise the Pact, you can read more here.

The ICC thanks all speakers for their contributions and insights as well as the attendees who joined the event!