written by
Julie Colback

The 6th FutureproofedCities Talk: a united Belgium against climate change

Futureproofed update Consultancy 6 min read , November 27, 2019

FutureproofedCities has grown and evolved since its launch 3 years ago, we realized this more than ever during our latest FutureproofedCities Talk. In fact, this edition was a little special, since it was the first one bringing together Flemings, Walloons and people from Brussels for a day. Oh my, how beautiful is our united Belgium, facing the same challenge: climate change. ✌️

On the agenda for this day: good vibes, connecting with people, learning from each other... We're proud of our community of users! 🤩

9:30 am: the day begins, coffee and tea wake us up, one sip at a time. ☕️ If you look carefully, you can see a few shy smiles here and there. You may also notice many new faces, both in the Futureproofed team and among our users.

Half an hour later, the day officially starts, time to kick off the day with some speed networking between all of our Belgian 'neighbours'. To the rhythm of the music 🎶 everyone moves and changes partners. 'Speed dates' that relax the atmosphere and sets the tone for a day of getting to know each other.

All warmed up, everybody is ready get started with our carefully crafted program of the day. Up first, our COO Steven on the beautiful concept of multisolving.

Multisolving - Steven Van Praet 🧩

What the **** is multisolving? Basically, it's everything you already know, aligned comprehensively. Climate measures with a long term target have multiple benefits in the short term for citizens, companies and politicians. We call them co-benefits. These are the core of the multisolving approach: Instead of trying to 'sell' those long term goals, it's way easier to convince people with short term benefits.

Let's dig a little deeper: Why is that? 🧐

Well, everybody is interested in short term advantages. We can't even help it. It's human nature. A lower energy bill, less air pollution, comfortable living and a higher value home: these are all co-benefits of the long term measure house renovation. Now if you can link those with the priorities of your mayor, aldermen and citizens, that's when things get really interesting. So when writing your next report for the city council, start from those short term benefits and don't focus too much on the long term climate targets. Just keep track of your co-benefits in FPC, we've already implemented 15 !

Click here to go straight to our multisolving workshop. You can download the presentation here.
Read our full blog article on multisolving here.

FPC Updates - Denise Jacobs 🖥

Denise gave the last FPC updates, of which:

🚴‍♂️ Our team is growing: we want to welcome Annabel, Julie, Isa, Antonio, Peter, Jorg and Hans. They will make FutureproofedCities even better in the future!

Thanks to the suggestions of our users, we build some new features: #tags on the measures, a mitigation costs graph 📊, a community 2.0., co-benefits and an overview in our tree structure 🌳.

What’s still to come? We’re investigating a link with Ecoadapt, are looking at adding the principle of supporting measures ad of course much more other useful improvements.

We also listened to your feedbacks about the new features we’ve made - it’s pretty clear you all liked the co-benefits, because that turned out to be the really valuable for most people in the room!

Workshops 👩‍🎨

Communication - Julie & Annabel 📰

This workshop was about the communication strategy to adopt when it comes to making climate actions public. We went through the different steps to follow to communicate about an action. Of which: the what (do you want to communicate about), the who (do you want to communicate with) and the how. 📣

Amongst other advice, we talked about the importance of keeping it simple, making it visual and adding some results. Invite citizens to join the action and avoid a certain "climate vocabulary" were also key elements. We talked about analyzing the performances of your communications, and rethink your angle. Don't forget it's essential to get into the shoes of your target audience. 🥾

You can find the presentation here

Organizing your climate plan internally in FPC - Denise 📝

We started by explaining the principle of structures and clusters and how they can be used to structure your climate plan of your choice (adapted to your city or municipality).

We also saw how to build a new climate plan in FPC, by creating a separate structure with on one hand new measures and on the other hand existing measures (which are duplicated to see the difference with the older measures). 🚀

After this introduction, the participants got to work themselves on how to structure their climate plan. According to their internal services? According to existing programs or networks? According to what the government can do itself and for what they need the help of stakeholders? We reviewed different options and ways to do it together. 🤓

We learned that some of you do it based on their internal services, others based on a number of strategic objectives, and others based their structure on an existing one of the province. When implementing your climate plan, take some time to reflect on the structure, because it’s important in your communication internally and externally!

You can find the presentation here

Multisolving - Steven

After our morning’s presentation about multisolving, it was time to get down to work on a more practical level.

Together with the participants, we identified the top 3 challenges or priorities of the Mayor in their municipality. Then, we selected their favorite long-term climate measure - the one they really wanted to implement - and identified its short-term co-benefits from the list in FPC. In a third step we linked the climate measure to the Mayor’s top priority using co-benefits to help it ‘sell’ to the Mayor. A simple exercise which really gave insight to the participants to focus on short term co-benefits and to help them create leadership and engagement.

To inspire you:

1. A concrete example: the bicycle paths project in Beauraing (Namur), which goes together with children awareness thanks to Pro Velo and a "piste d'écolage" to make them learn the safety measures and encourage them to use their bicycle more. The municipality managed to connect the climate action to the priorities of the citizens: the safety & health of the children. 🚸

2. A template (in French or in Dutch) of the workshop to link your favorite measure to the priorities of the college via the co-benefits (now also on FPC!). 🤝

Speaker Corner 🗣 - BEP & Zaventem

We invited some of our users to talk about their experiences in projects they successfully implemented.

BEP: The BEP is an intercommunal (province) that takes on the role of Territorial coordinator of the Convenant of Mayors for Namur's 38 cities & municipalities. They explained us how they work together: from materializing action plans, to awareness of citizens or simply offering them a platform (FPC) to do the follow up of their climate plan... 🗺

You can find the presentation they made here.

ZAVENTEM: The city of Zaventem presented its project to reuse its former court (Oud-Vredegerecht, Vilvoordelaan). The concept: to temporarily accommodate this space in order to make it a place dedicated to circular economy, sharing and repairing objects. ✂️ The objective is twofold: to invite neighbours to meet and develop circular initiatives in the neighbourhood. A great project, to be found on their public page.

You can find the presentation here.

Energy Cities: carbon budget and climate proofing ⚡️🌱
- Claire Roumet

Claire Roumet, from Energy Cities, came to talk to us about cities on their Zero Carbon Journey. Energy Cities is a network of 1000 local governments in 30 countries: they help those cities with their energy transition.

She explained how cities like Manchester or London are aiming to a Zero Carbon Budget, and gave us a short overview of the rapid policy landscape changes in Europe.

You can find her presentation here.

A big THANK YOU all our users and our special guests for making this day a success!

Carbon-fighters selfie

FutureproofedCities allows all municipal services to work together on a single online tool to carry out more climate actions and communicate them to their citizens.

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