written by
Denise Jacobs

This was our fifth FutureproofedCities Talk

Futureproofed update 8 min read , June 6, 2019

Read this article in Dutch

Our fifth FutureproofedCities Talk was a major success. πŸš€ On the 23rd of May, our users came by train, tram, bus and bicycle from all over Flanders to our home base in Leuven. They listened to inspiring speakers, got to work in practical workshops and learned from each other's successes and challenges. To all those present once again a big thank you for making it such a great day! πŸ™

Couldn't be there? Read what you missed in this article . πŸ‘‡

Our inspiring morning β˜•

Once we had welcomed both the "old" regulars and the new faces, it was time to start the program. With a hot cup of coffee, our inspiring speakers created the right atmosphere. 🀩 Let's get started!

Time for action - Serge de Gheldere

You can download the presenation here.
FutureproofedCities is here to stay: A few weeks ago, we started up in the Spanish city of Valencia. With their motivated team they are joining our mission for a more sustainable future. What we learned from our first meetings? They face the same challenges as Belgian users. It is therefore up to all of us to seize this opportunity and to work on the same obstacles across borders.

One of the biggest challenges for everyone is energy. How much should we invest in renewable energy? And what about the costs of the transition to it? LUT University conducted a study for a global transition to 100% renewable energy across all sectors. Their results are encouraging, to say the least: It's feasible and cheaper than the current energy system. Existing technologies (including storage) can provide us with energy throughout the year, every hour of the day. We would stay within the carbon budget of 1.5 Β°C and it will create an additional 15 million jobs in the renewable energy sector.

The renewable transition is therefore not a question of technical feasibility or economic viability, but one of political will.

Discover all their findings here.

The path to a climate neutral L.E.U.V.E.N - Jan Aerts

You can download the presentation here.
Leuven 2030 (Dutch website) is a non-profit organization that is committed to a city with more future and fewer emissions. They drew up an extensive roadmap that will make Leuven more sustainable, attractive and resilient. They received support from the local authorities, but they also received international praise for their ambitions. Read the roadmap yourself (Dutch) to discover why it is unique.

The subject of the presentation itself was the European ELENA project L.E.U.V.E.N. (Lower Energy Use Via an Extraordinary Network). More than 24 partners work together to make buildings more sustainable and share their knowledge and experience with each other. A great example is the new social housing project 't Wisselspoor (Dutch), but also companies, schools and municipal buildings are also involved.

Translating ambitions to specific projects - Stef RoΓ«ll

You can download the presentation here (Dutch) or contact Stef here).
Scaling up. A crucial step in the sustainability policy of every city to realize impact. The EBU (Economic Board Utrecht) developed a national fund of 600 million euros after a successful pilot in Leusden, Netherlands (Dutch).

Our Dutch colleagues encountered two major challenges in the development of the project: financing and process support. Their solutions? Starting a fund and supporting Co-Owner Associations. Learn more about their inspiring approach (Dutch) or scroll down to the workshop! πŸ‘‡

Hands-on workshops πŸ™Œ

After dreaming about a 100% renewable future, ambitious roadmaps and large scale up pilots, we put both feet on the ground again. Time to start working on existing challenges. The civil servants could choose from one out of three workshops and attend them so that they could sit together in small groups.

How to finance energy renovations of appartments? - Stef RoΓ«ll

You can download the presentation here (Dutch).
Can the above approach from the Netherlands be applied in Belgium? Stef RoΓ«ll gave us the most important aspects for success. πŸ—οΈ

  • The innovative aspect of the approach is that the financing of the energy renovation is linked to the building 🏠 and not to the owner. That lowers the financial threshold for many people.
  • For an owner or lessor it is a budget neutral solution: the saving on the energy bill is used to pay off the loan.
  • The renovations are funded by savings on energy invoices, and energy invoices are among the best paid invoices, which means lending with a lower risk. = enthusiastic funders πŸŽ‰
  • Because of this interesting approach, almost all Co-Owner Associations appear to go for the most impactful renovation. πŸ’ͺ Awesome!
  • The concern of some that the higher fixed costs may deter tenants is justified, although clear communication can remove this.
    βœ”οΈ Explain that owners and tenants have a better, more comfortable and more valuable home with the same budget!
  • For the time being, only large Co-Owner Associations(> 10 residential units) were chosen because professional management and administration reduces the risk for financiers even more.

The City of Antwerp and Hasselt and the Province of Limburg are already interested in finding out how we can launch such an approach in Belgium. The City of Antwerp already has the advantage that it is already actively approaching Co-Owner Associations in the context of the ACER Project. So hopefully more news soon ... 🀞

Filing subsidy reports? Approach? Do's & Don'ts? - Leen Peeters and Jan Aerts

Download all the notes here (Dutch).
You will have to find financing for every project you do. Leen and Jan have already learned some important lessons from their experiences at Think-E and Leuven 2030.

  • Strange but true, don't let financing be the drive of your project. Ask yourself: would my neighbor want to pay for my project with her tax money?
  • Be ambitious in your project. Try to be enthusiastic without blowing up your project too much. Our Flemish combination of ambition-modesty-thoroughness works: with a success rate of European subsidy files of 18% we score well!
  • Imagine writing a file that will be reviewed by a retired Greek professor. Start with a preface in which you introduce yourself, how you will make a difference and what the approach is. Write in β€˜we’ form and make a consistent plan of action.
  • Start by asking for support from the European Union.

Instruments for climate action in open space - Stijn Messiaen and Els Abts

You can download the presentation here (Dutch).
Land development often seems to be a complex issue for cities and municipalities. Els and Stijn from VLM (Vlaamse Landbouw Maatschappij) explain some useful tools that can help you get started.

The Instrumentenkoffer (Dutch) contains instruments that can be used by all boards. These can be used for all kinds of projects in the field of design, management, land acquisition, land mobility and accompanying policy. One instrument in particular is explained more specifically: Re-allotment from the force of law with planning exchange (Dutch: Herverkaveling uit kracht van wet met planologische ruil). This instrument allows municipalities to redistribute an area in consultation with landowners. You'll create open space and compact your village center. Two birds with one stone! πŸ™Œ

After lunch: Let's connect 🀝

A tasty vegetarian lunch πŸ₯™ sets the tone for the rest of the day: let's talk to each other. The Futureproofed team presents its latest developments with some (justified?πŸ˜‰) pride. Then Erica from Hasselt and Pascal from Vilvoorde show off their most inspiring projects to the group.

FutureproofedCities updates

You can download the presentation here.
Of course we didn't sit still either. We have listened to your feedback and have worked hard to implement it! πŸ”§

  • Structures and clusters. Now decide for yourself how you structure your climate plans in our tool. Keep your plans for 2020 and 2030 completely separate? Divide your measures into different Roadmaps? Yes please!
  • Visitors on your public page. Thanks to Google Analytics you can now track how many visitors your public page gets. That way you can better assess the impact of communication.
    We already did an experiment: We spent 168 euros on Facebook ads for 14 days for users Bruges and Hasselt - they got almost 10x more visitors! Feel free to contact us if you want more information about this.
  • Example view of standard measures. In the past it was difficult to know exactly what was in a measure before you added it. That is a thing of the past now! πŸ’ͺ
  • Better user and access rights. From now on, you can give certain people access to the promotions that you want.
  • Better reports are now made by the tool.
  • Push measures and actions from the region overview. From now on, regions can transfer their climate plans directly to their cities and municipalities.

How you can help us to get even better? Feedback, feedback, feedback! πŸ˜‚
We already asked your opinions about co-benefits, supporting measures and bankable projects. Noted and understood 😘

Speakers corner

Climate superhero Pascal was present to inspire us all. He talked about the route that Vilvoorde has gone through in recent years and about his personal experiences. After all, a sustainability officer needs to be a jack-of-all-trades and see opportunities everywhere. His message? Think outside the box, keep an eye on what happens around you. For example, at first, there was β€˜Ons Vilvoorde Morgen’ and β€˜Ons Vilvoorde Klimaatactief’ - he bundled them to make both projects more successful! πŸ‘ Good job, Pascal!

You can download the presentation here (Dutch).
Hasselt is continuously implementing climate actions. Erica came to talk about their group purchase of e-bikes. In collaboration with local traders, they organized a test day that was incredibly successful: around 1,000 interested people came to check it out and almost 500 of them actually bought a new bicycle! Their mobile urban eco systems are another success: they have already installed 21 pop-up parks in consultation with their citizens through a participation platform. ✨ Keep up the good work, Hasselt!

Download our complete presentation here.
πŸ˜‡ Thanks to all attendees for making it another successful edition! Make sure to put the 21st of November, 2019 in your calendars for the sixth FutureproofedCities Talk.

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