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Horizon Europe Mission on Climate Neutral & Smart Cities

Shaping the City of Tomorrow: Citizens engagement sessions in Brussels “What are the priorities that local authorities need to address, to achieve your common future vision of a green Brussels by 2030?

On 10 September 2020 Innoviris, the Brussels Institute for Research & Innovation with the support of NCP Brussels organized a citizens consultation in the framework of the Horizon Europe Mission on climate-neutral and smart cities. The consultation was organized during the Pint of Science festival and brought together about 50 Brussels citizens in an informal setting to discuss the key challenges for their city and to propose a set of recommendations on how to make Brussels a climate-neutral and smart city.

The event was attended by Barbara Trachte, Secretary of State of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Economic Transition and Scientific Research. She set out the main priorities for the Brussels Capital Region and highlighted the need for a strong R&I driven agenda and the necessity to involve Brussels citizens in the process of becoming a climate neutral city. 

Pirita Lindholm, Director of  the European Regions Research & Innovation Network (ERRIN) and member of the Mission Assembly Board, introduced the objectives of the Mission on climate-neutral and smart cities. While Philippe Mertens of Brulocalis looked at how local governance and democracy could be rethought in Brussels. He was followed by Marzia Martuzzo of B_participation, a Belgian platform for citizen participation. She shared practical examples and good practices on active citizens engagement for the co-creation of a sustainable urban future.

Brussels citizens discussed in small groups the following questions: “What are the priorities that local authorities need to address, to achieve your common future vision of a green Brussels by 2030?” and “What do your local authorities need to do to have a greener city by 2030?”. The discussion was centered around pre-identified challenges, based upon the Missions’ objectives and the Brussels Regional Plan for Climate and Energy 2030. Participants were asked to prioritize 3 main challenges and to provide concrete solutions. The groups put forward the following challenges as most important: Mobility, energy and circular economy and formulated several solutions like: incentives for e-bikes, shared mobility and better infrastructure for soft mobility, improved housing (energy) policy and measures for reuse and saving of energy and waste prevention. 

The citizens engagement session was part of a series of consultations in European cities on the new Horizon Europe Mission on climate-neutral and smart cities and was presented in the Missions’ mid-term report at the Research and Innovation days last week. The consultations are on-going and the Brussels Capital Region remains actively involved. Another on-line citizens consultation is foreseen on 25 October 2020. If you want to join and share your views on how to make Brussels a climate-neutral city you can subscribe via the Citizenslab platform.

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