Press release | 12.10.2017

From Frankfurt’s “Nordend” to the “Spijkerkwartier” in Arnhem across Europe: Climate Protection starts in the Neighbourhood!

On 5 and 6 October, representatives of local authorities as well as non-profit organisations and neighbourhood initiatives from Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands met in Arnhem (Netherlands). They exchanged their experiences on how residents can be motivated for more sustainability and CO2 savings in their neighbourhood. In doing so, they took a look at the ”Stadtwandeln” campaign (English “Transition Tours”): strollers walk through Frankfurt's “Nordend” to places that stand for a climate-friendly lifestyle. The campaign was only recently transferred to Worms (Germany), will soon start in Essen (Germany) and is now also on everyone's lips in Arnhem. Because here too, in the "Spijkerkwartier", there are already numerous sustainability projects that such a campaign can draw attention to.

The fact that “Transition Tours” is now attracting interest beyond national borders is the fruit of a project funded by the EU: In Arnhem, the project partners of “CAN - Climate Active Neighbourhoods” met under the direction of the city network Climate Alliance. From 2016 to 2019, they - that is, local authorities, non-profit organisations and energy agencies from five European countries - will work together to strengthen climate protection at the neighbourhood level. Local initiatives that break with traditional energy consumption habits and initiate long-term behavioural changes are encouraged. The energy-efficient refurbishment of residential buildings in deprived neighbourhoods is the main focus. The approach of the cities and municipalities is innovative: they try harder than ever to respond to the needs of the neighbourhoods in an attempt to reconcile these with their own climate protection concepts.

The key to success is the close cooperation between all project partners. Indeed, besides the “Transition Tours”, there are a number of other synergies due to CAN: Liège (Belgium) can draw on the experience of the “energy caravan” from Worms as they are planning a mobile consulting office to inform about potential energy retrofits of residential buildings. Worms, on the other hand, will benefit from the expertise of Brest (France) when it comes to offering thermal tours in its own city. In September, neighbourhood initiatives from Essen and Arnhem met in order to discuss how CAN could attract more attention in their municipalities.

Thus, CAN's transnational approach makes it possible to apply a wide variety of approaches and to successfully transfer them to cities and municipalities throughout Europe in an uncomplicated way. Obstacles and problems can also be overcome more quickly in common. To use the words of climate protection manager Katharina Reinholz from Worms: “Why reinvent everything when we can learn from each other so easily?” It remains exciting to see what further benefits climate protection will derive from these transnational experiences!

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© Infrastruktur & Umwelt | Photo: Birgit Haupter