Mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change is the biggest challenge of the coming decades, while time is running out. Cities will play a central role in this transformation process, as they account for 75 % of the EU's population on only 3 % of the land area and 72 % of all greenhouse gas emissions.
The European Climate Neutral and Smart Cities (CNSC) mission – from the EU's Horizon Europe research framework programme – aims to have 100 flagship cities or neighbourhoods from (as far as possible) all member countries become climate neutral by 2030. The mission is based on a transformative (governance) approach from the field of innovation that links all relevant policy areas (including buildings, mobility, energy, environment) and goes beyond urban administrative boundaries. Central to this is the involvement and cooperation with actors from business, research and civil society, politics and administration, in order to be able to tackle problems that cannot be solved with existing mechanisms. The mission thus brings with it the necessary “game-changing potential” for the challenge of the energy and mobility transition. It will be a central element in realising the Green Deal in the European Union and in achieving government objectives, such as the Austrian goal of climate neutrality in 2040.
The Federal Ministry for Climate Protection (BMK) has already taken initial preparatory measures to support Austrian cities in preparing to participate in the CNSC mission and to build up the necessary knowledge pool for transformation processes. Similar activities are currently being prepared or implemented in other countries. REAL CORP 2021 is supported by the BMK and AustriaTech and will serve as a forum to exchange first experiences on CNSC, to make the knowledge of the planning community available for the mission and to forge new national and international cooperations on climate-neutral cities in research and practice.
- What is the state of the art with CNSC in Austria and in Europe? What measures have already been taken at different levels and what is planned?
- What can be learned from this? How can we improve the national processes and preparatory activities in the cities in order to activate all groups of actors and to mobilise or channel all necessary forces?
- Which visions, strategies, elements and solution approaches for climate-neutral cities already exist “from theory to practice”? Which ones will be needed in the future (or will not be needed in the future)?
- Why do previous efforts fall short and what can and must the planning community do and contribute here? What new roles, competences and tools are needed in planning (especially in terms of the requirements of meta-governance)?