8th Event of the Online Advisory Programme

The 8th session of the Online Advisory Program focused on the links between urban development, digitization and climate change. Specifically, the session demonstrated the advantages of digital solutions using concrete practical examples. To this end, three innovative projects from Cologne, Munich and the Mexican State Yucatán were presented. All of them use individual and diverse approaches to improve sustainability and resilience in their respective cities. These projects show how important inter-municipal cooperation, and the participation of the population are for designing the sustainable cities of the future.

The first project was presented by Julia Egenolf from the City of Cologne. The mayor’s advisor on sustainability issues showed how climate adaptation can look like in the built and physical environment. As part of the EU-funded GrowSmarter project, blueprints for the sustainable urban development of the future were created together with Stockholm and Barcelona. To this end, the Stegerwaldsiedlung, a district in Cologne, was renovated for energy efficiency and additionally equipped with digital solutions. Heating systems in the individual buildings were replaced by a centralized “district heating” system and, as one of the first implementations of its kind, energy management was realized based on a cloud solution. Citizens are now receiving information about their energy consumption via a district app and are empowered to save energy and money.

Dr. Hany Abo El Wafa from the City of Munich took the participants from the physical to the digital world: The “Connected Urban Twins” project develops interactive models of cities, so-called “Digital Urban Twins,” for an integrated urban development in cooperation with Leipzig and Hamburg. These not only enable the visualization of information purposes and the involvement of citizens in decision-making processes, but also make it possible to better understand needs as well as opportunities in the future and to make data-based decisions.

FabCity Yucatán demonstrated that digital solutions for climate and citizen participation can fit in any pocket: Dr. Irving Aaron Cifuentes presented how smartphone apps are being used to protect cities, residents, resources, and the region’s rich cultural heritage. While the Movidata app allows users to analyze their own data on public transport use and gain knowledge about the service and their own usage behavior, the Climate Action platform can be used to visualize the impact of various urban actors on achieving climate goals. With the app Arbol mid, citizens can identify various trees in the cityscape and thus get to know their surroundings better. As in Cologne and Munich, citizens are actively involved in decision-making processes on sustainable urban development as part of the Sensa Citizen Project.

The event’s discussion showed that citizen-centred design, inter-municipal exchange and integrating the idea of scaling solutions right from the beginning of a project are fundamental to enable resilient and green urban development in the long term.