On 24 June, the Horizon Europe Mission on climate-neutral and smart cities organised together with the municipality of Venice an online discussion on how cities including Venice can become climate-neutral by 2030. Participants included citizens of Venice and representatives from academia, NGOs and private sector.
The event started with a plenary session with the representatives from the municipality of Venice, European Commission and Anna-Lisa Boni, member of the cities Mission board. Following the introduction five parallel thematic sessions took place:
- Zero emissions buildings
- Sustainable energies and fair energy transition
- Efficient, clean, safe and connected mobility
- Circular economy
- Smart cities as engines for climate-neutrality
The citizens of Venice shared their point of views on a wide-range of issues: they showed an overall support for the Cities Mission’s ambitious climate-neutrality objectives and highlighted the need to involve citizens and companies early on in the planning of climate-neutral actions for the city. They were also very interested in the EU context and keen on being part of the network.
As priorities, they emphasised amongst other things, the holistic and integrated approach for climate-neutrality (energy and environmental concerns matching with economic and socio-cultural actions) and promoting green spaces and sustainable tourism. They also stressed that the quality of life should be the ultimate principle guiding the work.
They recommended promoting behavioural change towards climate neutrality, including environmental actions (i.e. waste reduction and air quality improvement), mobility habits (i.e. through better education towards reduction of private mobility) and circular economy (i.e. through dedicated training).
They also suggested integrating circular economy policies and actions with environmental and socio-cultural aspects, and vice-versa. They highlighted the importance of adapting strategies to the local context and were concerned about the particularities of their city e.g. historic buildings need careful reflection for climate-neutral measures.
The feedback from this event will contribute to the report that the climate-neutral and smart cities Mission board is currently working on.