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Municipal peer-to-peer learning in integrating transport, land-use planning and energy policy at district level

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MULTIPLY (Municipal peer-to-peer learning in integrating transport, land-use planning and energy policy at district level)

Reporting period: 2018-12-01 to 2020-05-31

European municipalities, especially cities, are responsible for a high share of global CO2 emissions. This mainly stems from their heating, electricity and mobility sectors. At the same time, they are highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. They should therefore ambitiously strive for a comprehensive energy transition on their own territory. Often, however, sectorial approaches within the municipalities’ administrations impede ambitious next steps to bring about necessary change. With its holistic view urban planning can play a key role to balance different interests and to develop coherent mitigation strategies that address the most important challenges simultaneously. Urban planning, therefore, helps translating abstract political mitigation goals into concrete spatial implications.

Undoubtedly, climate-friendly cross-sectoral (re)development of municipalities is a mammoth task. It is an inevitable task, however, to achieve/preserve livable spaces – locally as well as globally. If existing, mostly fossil fuel based, municipal infrastructures and lifestyles are not drastically altered climate change will be further accelerated. This, in turn, threatens the quality of life of billions of people around the globe and may lead to disruptive societal developments. European municipalities that follow ambitious mitigation paths therefore act in the public as well as in their self-interest. They can be an important role model and inspiration to others, too.

The overall objective of the MULTIPLY project is to make better use of the expertise of urban planners for climate mitigation issues. Their holistic view on optimizing spatial challenges, while minimizing CO2 emissions, is especially valuable. The project tries to raise awareness for the good approaches this discipline has to offer, both nationally and European wide. To this end a capacity development process is set up that features targeted peer learning workshops between forerunner and committed cities in the six project countries (Austria, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Poland, Sweden). It makes best practice examples of forerunner cities known to a wider public and motivates committed cities to follow these good examples.
At the start of the project the management structures were established and the visual identity as well as the overall communication strategy were developed.

Subsequently, a broad competition to find forerunner and committed municipalities in the six project countries was set up and run. This served to make the project and the approach of ‘integrated urban planning’ known to the wider expert community and to find participating municipalities. This way, more than 42 municipalities could be motivated to take part in the project. Most importantly, the peer learning networks in the six participating countries were set up and the first peer learning workshops with three different targets groups (municipal politicians, technical planning staff and communications representatives) were performed. Due to the Corona/COVID19 pandemic many workshops had to be changed to online formats.

Additionally, conceptual groundwork was done for the outreaching dissemination phase of the project. Information for different dissemination outputs (info packs, national and European guidelines) were collected continuously during the peer learning workshops.
It is expected that the project activates and empowers local public authorities across Europe to strive for ambitious planning and implementation of comprehensive climate mitigation projects at district level. In total, more than 42 municipalities, including more than 180 municipal professionals, across Europe are actively and directly engaged in the peer learning programs.

The insights gained will be disseminated to a wider audience of municipal professionals via a European exchange conference, three dissemination workshops with interested municipalities in each partner country, and further communication activities.

Until the end of the project the 24 committed cities will develop energy plans for their model districts that entail ambitious energy savings and renewable energy targets. This way, it is expected that the project helps triggering high investments into climate-friendly district development in the participating municipalities.
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