On 30 June, the Horizon Europe Mission on climate-neutral and smart cities organised, together with the European Youth Forum, an online discussion on how cities in Europe can become climate-neutral by 2030. Participants included young people from every corner of Europe.
As participants were logging on, an icebreaker questions set the scene for the discussions: “Can your city become climate-neutral by 2030?” More than half of the participants answered “yes”, but 43% chose the option “impossible”. The event then started formally, with an introduction by Maria Vassilakou, member of the Cities Mission board.
Then, the participants split into breakout sessions, to discuss their vision for their cities in 2030 in smaller groups. With the help of interactive tools, all participants added the elements they would wish to see in their cities by 2030, ranging from greener urban development and more bike lanes to urban farms and circular economies.
When asked which areas were a priority for them to reach carbon neutrality, the answers were clear: 81% of all participants deemed mobility one of the most pressing areas. Behavioural change was also a priority for 57%, and energy for 52%.
The young participants showed support for the Cities Mission’s ambitious climate-neutrality objectives and highlighted the need to involve citizens and especially young people early on. While the participants came from different cities, with different experiences and expectations, they agreed that actions to move towards climate neutrality in cities are urgent and that action at EU level is essential.
Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, chair of the Cities Mission board, closed the discussion, confirming to the participants that all the elements they had mentioned throughout the event were on the Mission Board’s radar and commending the young people for contributing thoughtful, holistic and results-oriented engagement. The feedback from this event will contribute to the report that the climate-neutral and smart cities Mission board is currently working on.
7 August 2020