NEUTRALPATH has finalised the set-up of five Climate Neutral Labs (CN-Labs), one for each city involved in the project
CN-Labs are NEUTRALPATH living labs that aim to engage local stakeholders and citizens in co-designing Positive Energy Districts (PCEDs) while overcoming potential barriers. The participation of citizens and local stakeholders in NEUTRALPATH is crucial to raising public awareness and supporting behavioural change to speed up the transition to climate-neutral cities.
The creation of the CN-Labs involved three key steps:
- Stakeholder mapping: aimed at identifying local stakeholders and their roles in the participatory process.
- Governance structure of the CN-Lab: designed to facilitate co-creation of climate-neutral actions.
- Roadmap: planning events and initiatives for engagement, PCED design, and capacity building
The five cities demonstrated a strong commitment to launching CN-Labs and defining the basis for the activities to be carried out in each lab in the next years.
CN-Labs will play a crucial role in facilitating the development of capacity-building materials, shaping business models and financial strategies, and fostering the creation of innovative governance models.
Dresden’s involvement in NEUTRALPATH project focuses on two key objectives: ensuring a secure and climate-neutral energy supply, particularly for heating, and addressing the need for affordable housing.
Therefore, the mission of its CN-Lab is to make Dresden a real Lighthouse city of sustainability by and economic, ecological and social point of view. This will be achieved through the development of PCEDs to demonstrate how this could work through activation of citizens (inhabitants) as co-developers and active contributors. The vision of Dresden CN-Lab is to serve as an exemplary model for other districts of similar conditions to be replicated and adapted all over Europe.
The Lighthouse city of Zaragoza will complete its first PCED with the NEUTRALPATH project, providing the city with experience to reproduce it in other districts, as part of the strategic measures to accomplish 2030 goals.
The mission of its CN-Lab is to be a reference centre for all stakeholders, improving their commitment and awareness of citizens, empowering them to be the driving force in the fight against climate change. The vision of the Zaragoza is to ensure the CN-Lab´s continuity by establishing a location and organisation that serves as a guarantee for all stakeholders involved in achieving climate neutrality.
Vantaa is one of the fellow cities actively involved in the NEUTRALPATH project, with a goal of becoming carbon neutral by 2030. Vantaa’s CN-Lab was launched in a kickoff event, where nearly 40 professionals from the city organization as well as local and regional actors took part in formulating the shared goals for the CN-Lab.
Serving as an incubator for innovation, the CN-Lab tests innovative energy solutions and scales successful practices for broader application. Furthermore, the lab aims to cultivate a comprehensive understanding of climate-smart urban planning processes. Vantaa’s CN-Lab will accommodate a wide range of activities from open workshops to thesis studies and longer-term collaborations to facilitate the development of a climate-smart Aviapolis and Vantaa.
Istanbul, a fellow city of NEUTRALPATH, is part of the 112 cities selected by the Cities Mission Platform to be climate neutral by 2030. The Gazhane district in Istanbul, the potential area for the PCED, integrates an old gas distribution facility built in 1892 with museums, residential and mixed used buildings, and other buildings.
Recognizing the complexity of the energy system, which involves various stakeholders, the CN-Lab in Istanbul is dedicated to experimenting with stakeholders, citizens, technologies, skills, and financial models. The CN-Lab will demonstrate the possibility of co-creating a PCED gathering different voices and new knowledge. Furthermore, it aspires to evolve into a dynamic hub for exchange, capable of designing and facilitating climate-neutrality solutions through active citizen participation.
The fellow city of Ghent has made a commitment to become climate neutral by 2050, setting an example for other cities in the Flemish region and throughout Europe.
Its CN-Lab’s mission is to (re)develop Muide-Meulestede as a pilot district into a sustainable, inclusive, and fossil-free neighbourhood which enhances quality of life, co-created and co-owned by citizens and district partners.
To this end, Ghent’s CN-Lab will build an innovative public-private-civil collaboration in the energy transition journey. This partnership will deliver collective, affordable, and sustainable energy arrangements for all the citizens who live and work in the neighbourhood. This innovative, integral approach will have a positive impact on the social and physical living environment of the neighbourhood and aspires to be an inspirational model to reach climate neutrality in Ghent.
Cover image: CN-Lab workshop in Vantaa