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Life, creativity, cooperation and lifestyles at the heart of low energy cities

The 7th IMAGINE seminar, but 1st seminar to be organised under the framework of the INTERREG IVC programme, took place in Munich from 3rd to 5th December in the symbolic City Hall and in the „Bauzentrum Munich“. Organised by the city of Munich and Energy Cities in collaboration with the city of Lille, the seminar gathered around 60 participants from all over Europe.

Global issues were tackled through the inputs of renowned thinkers, such as Hans Peter Dürr and Jörg Schindler. „We are on the wrong track” said Prof H.P. Dürr. Jörg Schindler underlined that “there is no master plan for energy transition“. To these fairly negative statements, a logical answer was made: we have to IMAGINE and involve all stakeholders! To the concept of low-energy cities with a high quality of life for all, Hans Peter Dürr preferred the term low energy cities instead, to be more biologically sound. He also reminded that all should refer to all components of our ecosystem and not only human beings. The seminar participants also had the possibility to assist to a conference by Dennis Meadows on sustainability. These inputs showed that universal problems can be tackled at all levels. Lifestyles, habits, mental frames need to be changed. Creativity, passion and cooperation are the tools for such a change.

Political representatives of the cities of (Modena, Växjö, Bistrita, Milton Keynes, Dobrich, Lille and Munich) discussed the importance and responsibilities of the different roles at stake. Citizens, stakeholders, elected representatives, all need to step up and act. The Munich case study showed that local stakeholders (such as the NGOs Attac or Green City and private companies like Siemens) can engage in a constructive dialogue and together shape a vision of the future of their city.

The example of the “2000 Watts Society”, which was approved by the citizens of Zurich through a referendum, the Transition Towns movement and the “Estaminet du climat” in Lille showed how citizens can get involve and contribute to the debate on the energy future of cities. Having fun is essential to the energy transition.

The participants experimented the group model building method. This method allows to go deep into the urban complexity in gathering different group of stakeholders around the system mechanisms of a specific complex issue. The different perspectives on factors influencing a specific mechanism are discussed, allowing a refinement of terms and complexity at stake.

Furthermore, the city of Munich organised a visit of the new district “Ackermannbogen” with its innovative heating solution. Almost 45% of the heat demand are covered by 3000 m2 of solar panels. The rest comes from the district heating system (about 800 km long in Munich).

Information provided by the city of Munich.

Energy CitiesINTERREG IVCEuropean UnionConseil régional de Franche ComtéADEME
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