Although the City-zen demonstration projects take place in the frontrunner smart cities of Amsterdam and Grenoble, the project’s focus is sharing its knowledge and experience with other European cities. Not only by demonstrating to others how it can be done in The Netherlands and France but by going ‘Glocal’: combining specialist global expertise with local stakeholder energy and knowledge of context and lifestyle on location. For this purpose a special City-zen Roadshow team – consisting of internationally recognized experts in the field of energy planning and design from the Delft University of Technology, Queens University of Belfast, University of Siena, VITO, Th!nk E and DNV GL – has been put together.
10 cities in 4 years
Over a 4-year period this City-zen Roadshow team will visit 10 cities that are seeking expert guidance on how to become more sustainable and move towards energy neutrality. The team will help these cities and their neighborhoods to develop a sustainable agenda or, in other words, a sustainable ‘City Vision’.
The Roadshow’s project leader – Dr Craig Lee Martin (TU Delft) – selects cities that have diverse climates, urban typologies, economies and cultural backgrounds to ensure that the project’s highly mobile and compact method is fully tested and evolved by different societal and technological challenges.
Co-creation is key
The project is not intended to be a one-way stream of information and ideas, instead the process aims to activate, convince, openly invite and encourage ‘the City’ to be part of the process at any level that they feel comfortable with. The team works closely with people from the hosting city, whether they be city leaders, energy planners, local architect, professionals, academics, students and of course, the citizens themselves. The method includes going out of the studio and into the community to engage with various initiatives and to meet and talk with their members, no matter what age or background.
The Roadshow spends 5 days in each hosting city to deliver energy and urban design workshops in which all local stakeholders are welcome and encouraged to join and to take ownership of the final outcomes. Outcomes that will allow the cities’ resources, people, knowledge and renewable energy potential to be directed effectively over a realizable timescale that will meet their energy transition. The process starts by identifying a neighborhood’s urban lifestyle and energy challenges. Then, on the final day of the event model, a definitive sustainable ‘City Vision’ is presented to the city that responds to all scales of their built and natural environment.
Dr. Craig Lee Martin: “For me ‘In the Kingdom of Content, Context is King’. Over two decades in the field of architecture and urban design I can say this is true. Long-term sustainability needs the technological hardware and the creative knowhow of where to apply it (Content), but without contextual sensitivity and understanding it is soulless, disconnected and impersonal. Context is defined as locality, climate, lifestyle, accent, idiosyncrasies of place and people. My City Vision is the harmonious synergy of context and content.”
Outcomes freely accessible
The City-zen Roadshow team has so far visited Amsterdam (The Netherlands), Belfast (United Kingdom), Izmir (Turkey), Dubrovnik (Croatia) and Menorca (Spain). The team is currently in preparation talks with Sevilla (Spain), Roeselare (Belgium) and Klaipeda (Lithuania).
The main outcomes of the 5-day Roadshow visits are freely accessible to anyone interested. Click on any of the cities below to find a summary of the outcomes per city, a more detailed report and presentation per city: