Smart Sustainable Districts – An EU initiative

Whilst the bruising battle between the Brexiteers and those wishing to remain in the EU fights itself out daily on our airways – the EU continues with much of its good work – largely unnoticed and  unheralded – certainly in the UK. Not many of you will have heard of the Climate KIC programme from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. Well it has been working away quietly for a number of years trying to help with the growth on innovative new products, companies and approaches to help the continent tackle the really important issue of climate change. Where is climate change discussed in the BREXIT paranoia….? I have not seen it.

I have been following Climate KIC for sometime – but I came across an initiative that I was unaware of. An approach to developing Smart Sustainable Districts.

SSD Climate KIC

The current network of Smart Sustainable Districts


This has been running for a while and there will be a call out shortly to seek more cities and towns to apply for this sub programme. Well what is it trying to achieve. Recently Bruce Katz from the Brookings Institute in a talk said the following:

‘I fully believe that cities and their broader metropolitan areas are the level of society that will address many of the economic, social, and environmental challenges facing the world today.’

The EU and many national governments (apart from  the UK’s seemingly currently) do take climate change seriously but it is often in the cities across Europe and the US where action is being tried, where potential is being explored – as this is where the majority of us, live work and play (thanks Mars!).. I was only this morning listening to the Radio describing a project in Rotterdam where they were using towers to filter the air to improve the quality of air in a city centre park – yes cities innovate. This programme promoting Smart Sustainable districts is a little help for many beleaguered cities to keep up and extend their good work.

So what is it? The Smart Sustainable Districts (SSD) programme works closely with some of the highest profile and aspirational district scale developments in Europe to boost district-wide resource efficiency, reduce energy consumption and address climate change challenges. It brings together leaders and practitioners from district developments in Europe to deliver solutions that can be implemented, scaled up and replicated within and beyond a network of participating cities.

The Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London is one of the first districts working on trailing innovative sustainability solutions. As are Docks de Saint-Ouen – Paris, Green Moabit – Berlin, and Utrecht Centre West. Climate-KIC is helping these districts tackle operational problems and strategic challenges that they couldn’t otherwise solve around climate impacts, sustainability and quality of life. One such district is the city centre in Utrecht. This video details what is being envisaged their upto 2030.

Now it is not completely clear what support is envisaged; what resources will be available. It seems to be a focusing of expertise that is brought to play in the current 7 designated districts with some revenue support to plan these long term transitions – support also in bidding for further resources. All worthwhile stuff. This recent presentation gives an overview  but for further information please contact for further information and to register your interest. Their call for new districts opens in June 2016. Good luck!



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