In order to better target content and exchanges, the group split into two, with technical partners delving in to project issues and renovation works in detail, while the Board of Representatives from cities were privy to discovering each other and the CITyFiED work for the first time.
Kicking off the municipalities’ session, participants were invited to share their needs and expectations. At first glance, testimonies revealed a range of climatic, political, technical and personal variety before revealing a common and powerful need – that of a methodology, a strategy to facilitate delivering renovation and smart city initiatives more coherently and at scale.
From the start, it seemed the project and participants make a good fit. For Alessandra Barbieri from Florence, Italy, CITyFiED could be the trigger for ‘internal replication’ across the city. Bo Karlsson from Botkyrka, Sweden and Özlem Tugac of Izmir Municipality expressed a desire for the project to help joint the dots between good initiatives and available technology to create a more systematic route to success. Project partners, IVL, Steinbeis, Acciona, Cartif, Tecnalia, Veolia, Lund and youris.com were more than happy to elaborate and discuss how the project could respond – covering a range of replication, methodological, exploitation and dissemination issues in formal sessions and coffee break discussions.
Peer-to-peer exchange within the group was clearly highly valued, and an afternoon session led by Linda Birkedal of Lund Municipality gave an opportunity to do so. Splitting into ‘semi-structured’ discussion groups, each was mandated to explore a non-technical barrier to successful deployment. Based on Lund’s experiences, it was paramount to identify non-technical issues as early in the process as possible. From legal and organization to financial and even emotional, large-scale works can stumble if not addressed by proper consultation and discussion Ms Birkedal shared. Hopefully this session was the first of many take-aways and the beginning of a productive and fruitful relationship with the CITyFiED team for the municipalities.
To round off the theory, participants conducted an accompanied study tour of the Soma demonstration site and works. A mix of technical partners including Mir Unique Solutions, TUBITAK and Reengen gave insights to supplement a detailed walking commentary from Demir Enerji.
Finally, as rare and energizing face-to-face meetings are, they are also rare. Work package leader, Jeanette Green and communications specialist at youris.com, Alec Walker-Love were pleased to outline a number of opportunities for online learning, resources and communications tools to carry the momentum to the next city cluster and community of interest workshop and study tour. The project team certainly signed-off more motivated than ever to bring practical, performing solutions to meet the municipalities’ high expectations and energy ambitions.