New techniques and measures to reach the EU-climate targets of 20% CO2 reduction in 2020 are increasingly available and implemented. However, to mainstream these techniques in urban policy and consider them business as usual, technique alone is not enough. A transition to innovative thinking about urban planning is needed, in which all stakeholders are involved.
The MUSIC project (Mitigation in Urban Areas: Solutions for Innovative Cities) aims to catalyze and mainstream carbon and energy reduction in urban policies, activities and the build environment. Cities offer the opportunity for decisive local action to address sustainability challenges. Many cities recognize this and have adopted ambitious targets and agenda’s.
However, city officers are confronted with the limitations of their policy instruments that are available to them, apparently insufficient to deal with the complexity of the sustainability challenges. Moreover, aiming for a sustainable future is about finding fundamental new ways of thinking, working, planning and organizing, which is impossible to ‘command-and-control’. In the meantime citizens, businesses, NGO’s and institutions across all kinds of domains and scale-levels make daily decisions that could contribute to a sustainable future of the city. How can city officers tap into this potential and trigger this alternative ways of thinking and doing?
Experimenting, integrating and mobilizing
For the MUSIC project, the cities of Aberdeen (UK), Ghent (BE), Ludwigsburg (DE), Montreuil (FR) and Rotterdam (NL) work on this ambitious aim in three parallel ways: by implementing pilot projects; by developing a Geospatial Urban Energy Information and Support System to integrate energy in urban planning (assisted by Henri Tudor); and by applying the Transition Management approach to mobilize stakeholders to take action for CO2 reduction, assisted by DRIFT.
Following the Transition Management approach, the cities created an informal but well-structured setting in order to bring diverse group of change-agents together. In a series of meetings, the participating change-agents explored and framed the challenges, drafted joint visionary images and elaborate transition paths and agenda for a low-carbon future of the city. This guided the search for strategies to transform existing structures, mind-sets and practices and the realization of new projects, collaborations and experiments. In this way the local government was able to build upon the transformative capacity of citizens, businesses, institutions and other organisations. Moreover, the change agents gained the opportunity to think and work beyond business as usual and take ownership of the process.
The MUSIC project runs from June 2010 to June 2015
The MUSIC project is funded by Interreg IVB
Luxembourg Institute of Science & Technology
Chris Roorda, Julia Wittmayer, Frank van Steenbergen, Niki Frantzeskaki, Derk Loorbach, Pepik Henneman (Meneer de Leeuw).
For more information about this project, read the Guidance Manual Transition Management in the Urban Context. The Guidance Manual aims to inspire and guide city officers on creating a sustainable future for their city that introduces Transition management and illustrates the approach by the experiences in the five cities. The Evaluation Report offers an overview of our experience in these 5 cities, the outcomes of the project, and some of our lessons from applying transition management in an urban context.
The guidance manual is available in four other languages: French,German, Norwegian and Spanish.