Earlier this month the Innovation Birmingham Climate-KIC West Midlands team attended the first event for Transition Cities Programme hosted in Birmingham.
The skies were grey; it was cold and windy; the rain was relentless; there was even some snow. But none of this dampened the mood of the first meeting of the Transition Cities programme, the flagship project of the Making Transitions Happen platform. The setting helped: the spacious new main library built to BREEAM excellence standards in the centre of Birmingham. Officers and advisers from seven city authorities – Birmingham, Budapest, Castellon, Frankfurt, Modena, Wroclaw and Valencia – attended the event along with academics and specialists from three universities and business schools.
The meeting had four main elements. It began by reviewing the conclusion of Pioneer Cities, the pathfinder precursor to Transition Cities. This had collated the key low carbon projects in each city; profiled a selection of them; found that generally there were few linkages between them; and grouped most of the projects into 6 distinctive types. Within these clusters the project found some examples of good practice and long-term institutional approaches and broad stakeholder engagement. Transition Cities intends to build on this experience to show how cities can develop systemic pathways to low carbon transition with a focus on the areas of buildings, energy and mobility.
The second phase of the meeting discussed how this clustering methodology and stakeholder engagement would be taken forward over the next 12 months. It also agreed to using Pioneers into Practice placements to help each city with its stakeholder analysis.
The third element of the meeting focused on pilots and experiments. Each city presented a range of ideas for the three types of actions outlined in the project portfolio. 20 suggestions were presented and discussed. A process for collating and assessing these proposals was agreed.
The fourth element of the meeting focussed on relevant funding opportunities beyond Climate KIC. The Horizon 2020 programme has a large number of calls relevant to the broad innovation and systematic transitions approach being followed by Transitions Cities. The partners decided to focus on three particular calls, one on stakeholders, one on procurement and one on sustainable urban mobility plans and to explore whether we are able to submit good innovative proposals.
This was a business-like formal start to the programme. We are expecting the city of Copenhagen to join the programme and shall be doing a lot our work via video linkage. And the final issue concerned the importance of establishing a clear, presentable web-site for the project. Watch this space.