Europe picks 100 cities for smart mission

  • May 9, 2022
  • Steve Rogerson

The European Commission has announced the 100 cities that will join its mission to create 100 climate neutral and smart cities by 2030.

The designated cities come from all 27 EU countries, with 12 additional cities coming from countries associated or with the potential of being associated to Horizon Europe. These cities were selected from among 362 eligible cities that expressed an interest in becoming climate-neutral by 2030.

The Cities Mission will now work with different stakeholders to ensure the designated cities reach climate neutrality by 2030 and that they act as hubs for experimentation and innovation and enable all European cities to follow suit by 2050.

“The green transition is making its way all over Europe right now,” said EC president Ursula von der Leyen. “But there’s always a need for trailblazers, who set themselves even higher goals. These cities are showing us the way to a healthier future. We will support them on this. Let’s begin the work today.”

The Cities Mission will receive €360m of Horizon Europe funding covering the period 2022-23, to start the innovation paths towards climate neutrality by 2030. The research and innovation actions will address clean mobility, energy efficiency and green urban planning, and offer the possibility to build joint initiatives and ramp up collaborations in synergies with other EU programmes.

NetZeroCities, the EU mission platform for climate neutral and smart cities, will work as a service-oriented platform providing tailor-made advice and support to help cities overcome the structural, institutional and cultural barriers they face to achieve their net-zero goal in a socially inclusive way. Practitioners will provide expertise in fields such as democratic governance, social innovation, citizen engagement, and capital and financial structuring to address all aspects of the systemic change needed for climate neutrality.

Services to cities will comprise tailored, in-person support and a dedicated online platform that brings together new and existing tools and resources to help them in their net-zero journey.

In addition to supporting the cities that are part of the mission, NetZeroCities will launch a series of pilots to test innovative ideas and help drive rapid learning about how to achieve climate neutrality at city scale. It will also run a twinning programme to enable peer learning and promote the replication of technology between pilots and other European cities.

NetZeroCities has set up two city panels to work as a consultation platform on the support services that will be offered to cities. The practitioner panel, composed of technical and administrative staff actively working on climate neutrality, will evaluate services and tools developed for cities.

The strategic panel, meanwhile, is composed of mayors, deputy mayors and/or high-level decision-makers actively involved with climate governance and strategic policymaking. This latter group will principally advise and observe the climate city contract process, among other activities.

These contracts, co-created with local stakeholders and citizens and supported by NetZeroCities, will contain a climate action and investment plan to reach climate neutrality by 2030. They will constitute a political commitment to the EU, as well as national and regional authorities and citizens and will pave the way for an inclusive, thriving, climate-resilient and sustainable future.