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Best of the IMAGINE Seminar of Munich

The IMAGINE International Seminar of Munich was held from 3 to 5 December 2012.

The first participants to arrive, despite the snow, had the opportunity to visit the new district “Ackermannbogen” with its innovative heating solution. Almost 45% of the heat demand is met thanks to by 3,000 m2 of solar panels. Most of questions asked by the visiting cities were focused on the articulation of the district heating system (about 800 km in Munich) and the renewable energy, and about the involvement of inhabitants.

After a political session at the City Hall (with political leaders from Modena, Växjö, Bistrita, Milton Keynes, Dobrich, Lille and Munich), the seminar took place at the „Bauzentrum Munich“ for two more days with about 60 participants.

Professor Hans Peter Dürr, a well-known German physicist and philosopher and a founding councilor of the World Future Council, prefers the term “Low eXergy cities’’ instead of ‘’Low energy cities’’. All the components of our eco-system are concerned and not only people.

Participants particularly enjoyed the conference of Dennis L. Meadows, an American scientist, widely known as the co-author of ’The Limits to Growth’.
What a pity that, back in 1972 (Club of Rome Report), there were still two paths for global society – overshoot and sustainable development - but we followed the overshoot path. He explained how we must change our focus in four ways:

  • Focus on universal, not global problems,
  • Focus on cultural and social changes,
  • Focus on the resilience of our systems,
  • Shift from talking to acting).

With some practical exercises, it’s easier to understand the difficulty to change and to communicate!

For the part “Case Study Munich” it was really interesting to see all the different partners together: for example the discussion between Attac (NGO) and Siemens. Or the engagement of the NGO green City with also “clothes exchange” to avoid consume...

A highlight was made on how to involve stakeholders and particularly citizens. It was very interesting to hear that in Zürich, citizens chose the “2,000 Watts Society” through a referendum and to learn about the “Estaminet du Climat” in Lille. The representative of the Transition Town Network said: to discuss climate change, it is also important to have some fun!

The aim of the last part of the Imagine seminar was to present the method called Group Model Building. The cities can use this method for developing their Local Energy Roadmaps 2050. Group Model Building uses the System Dynamics in order to clarify problems, share mental models, discuss on basis of a shared simulation model and visualise ideas. Analysis, scenario planning as well as policy design will be possible.

© photos Christian Vassie for Energy Cities

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