Authors

BY MARCELLINE BONNEAU, PETER RAMSDEN, ALESSANDRO COPPOLA, ILEANA TOSCANO

Making the Transitions Affordable for all

About

Decarbonising the global economy is the primary means of tackling global warming. However, it also implies a disruptive change process which can be costly for social groups already at risk. The social impact of adaptation and mitigation policies has become clear and there is a growing need to reconcile social justice and environmental sustainability goals. Cities have a clear role to play in achieving these goals.

There is a pressing need to identify practical ‒ and just ‒ policy solutions able to inspire locally driven low-carbon transitions in EU cities. Recognising the urgency, the UIA has led a two-year policy review (2021-2023) to explore a sample of projects run by cities to support just transitions so that no one is left behind.

 

The review identifies city-level good practices. It teases out useful policy insights to help urban policy practitioners and managing authorities with the challenges of making Just Transitions a reality in their territories. In this regards, the study focuses on three main key topics: It

  • Skills for a Green urban future.
  • Accessible and Affordable Green City for All.
  • Democratic and Green Transitions.

 

The review looked at some 86 UIA projects working under 14 topics; it involved an in-depth review of 10 UIA projects and of 1 URBACT city, a literature review, and interviews with key witnesses.

The present report presents the findings of the in-depth case studies for the Accessible and Affordable Green City for All topic. It provides background information and concrete solutions to the challenge of inventing the green city in a way that is both accessible and affordable to all. This report:

  • Presents the main issues and the role of cities in the EU policy context, together with the major barriers they face (Table 6 presents the barriers considered).
  • Details the Promising Practices implemented by 11 cities.
  • Translates the lessons into a set of recommendations for cities keen to implement Just Transitions inspired policies.

Affordable transitions UIA report - PDF version

Inception Report

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) stressed once more in its latest report the tremendous scale of the impact of human activity on climate change and the need to implement immediate solutions (IPCC, 2022). It is now known that conventional approaches to increasing energy-efficiency and limit climate impact are not sufficient (European Environment Agency, 2019). Green transitions are not an option anymore and need to be on their way.

The process of transitioning from a carbon-based economy to a non-polluting economy implies systemic change which includes all citizens, therefore focusing on those who have been excluded to ensure equitable opportunities for all. In recent years, the growing use of the Just Transitions concept has resulted in more expansive definitions from environmental, human rights and labor organisations so that it includes wider concerns such as poverty, racism, sexism, indigenous rights, food and energy justice, and overall global inequality. We refer to “just transition” in a holistic manner, which encompasses the need to end the extractive economy and create pathways for green, healthy, thriving, and connected local economies.

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Chapters

01.

About

Decarbonising the global economy is the primary means of tackling global warming. However, it also implies a disruptive change process which can be costly for social groups already at risk. The social impact of adaptation and mitigation policies has become clear and there is a growing need to reconcile social justice and environmental sustainability goals. Cities have a clear role to play in achieving these goals.

There is a pressing need to identify practical ‒ and just ‒ policy solutions able to inspire locally driven low-carbon transitions in EU cities. Recognising the urgency, the UIA has led a two-year policy review (2021-2023) to explore a sample of projects run by cities to support just transitions so that no one is left behind.

Learn more
02.

Introduction

In its 2022 report, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) spelled out the scale of the impact of human activity on the climate - and the dire consequences of climate change. The report underlined the need to implement immediate effective solutions (IPCC, 2022). For European policymakers, making Europe the first climate-neutral bloc in the world by 2050 is now an explicit policy ambition in line with Europe’s commitments under: the Paris Agreement on Climate, the European Green Deal, the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals, and the Glasgow Climate Pact at the 26th Conference of the Parties.

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03.

Promising practices

Projects displaying the Promising Practices, in a Just Transitions perspective, are listed in the first table of this chapter. They summarise the 10 UIA cities and 1 URBACT city, their projects, their goals, and provides some context on them. The full case studies can be found on the website, on dedicated pages to each project.

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04.

Affordable and Accessible Green Cities: Recommendations and a roadmap for cities

This final chapter:

  • Sets out all the barriers that were addressed by the Promising Practices that UIA projects have tested (see Table 3 below). This will be of particular interest for any city that will start their Just Transitions to be able to see all potential obstacles that Promising Practices may face;
  • Proposes a roadmap for a Just Transition that can be replicated in other urban contexts, based on the above-mentioned barriers. These guidelines are potential responses to overcome the barriers; and,
  • Summarises all the added value, main lessons learnt and the replication potentials that were implemented by the UIA projects.   
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Case studies

Appendixes

UIA has funded 86 urban innovation projects in this programming period. These have been spread across the 14 identified call topics, closely aligned with the priorities of the Urban Agenda for the EU.
Just Transitions was not one of the UIA’s call themes. Consequently, this has not been the focus on the ten case studies presented here. Rather, they have utilised their resources under the banner of Energy Transitions, Climate Change Adaptation, Circular Economy or other topics. 

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Podcast

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Listen to the podcast episode on Making Transitions Affordable for All:

About this resource

Author

knowledge_communication@uia-initiative.eu

BY MARCELLINE BONNEAU, PETER RAMSDEN, ALESSANDRO COPPOLA, ILEANA TOSCANO

About UIA
Urban Innovative Actions
Programme/Initiative
2014-2020

The Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is a European Union initiative that provided funding to urban areas across Europe to test new and unproven solutions to urban challenges. The initiative had a total ERDF budget of €372 million for 2014-2020.

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