Towards climate-neutral and socially innovative cities (LC-GD-1-2-2020)

This is the space to work collaboratively on a proposal in the making, for the Green Deal Call: Area 1 - Topic 2 Towards climate-neutral and socially innovative cities (LC-GD-1-2-2020).


On 30th of September we have received an invite from Thomas Osdoba (Senior advisor at Climate KIC):

EIT Climate-KIC is leading an emerging consortium to bid for the call for “Towards Climate-Neutral and Socially Innovative Cities”. I’d like to invite Edgeryders to engage with us in a conversation about being part of our consortium, with a particular focus on social innovation and citizen engagement (and, as we know, the governance innovations that come with those).

To that invite, he attached the preliminary concept note.

A couple of calls happened since then:

One in which Nadia participated with the Climate KIC and invited partners (on Thursday 1/10) - from which it was evident that the concept is still not well defined;

Another one between Alberto, Thomas and myself (on Monday 19/10) in which he explained the Climate KIC will be the coordinator and the LGI consultancy will be doing the writing. We explained we could intervene in various ways based on the direction the consortium takes, we tailor our contribution. We agreed they will share a more detailed concept note and then we’ll schedule another call.

From both of these conversations we couldn’t grasp what exactly is behind this, so we convened a separate call with Anthony Zacharzewski - whom Nadia and Alberto know from before and whose organization Demsoc is also part of the consortium in the making. His colleague Nadja was also present. This call happened today and here are some notes:

What we learned

  • Demsoc has been involved in the Healthy and Clean Cities Deep Demonstrations, also in collab with Climate KIC. The process was not structured and the roles of design partners were unclear.
  • Still, this collaborative approach in the cities works so DG RTD was convinced that the approach is right and now wants to scale it up. Therefore this call.
  • Only one bid will be successful (54 million is the total contribution, 60% used as cascading funding).
  • they are planning to involve around 30 cities, each of them would get 1 million. 3-4 million would go for citizens engagement (very rough estimation, at this point it’s still difficult to say).
  • the hard lobbying was done by the people who are at the core of the EUROCITIES and on the cities mission board. One of them is Annalisa Boni, didn’t catch the other name.
  • this is linked to cities working towards 2030 decarbonization
  • high stakes proposal, led by senior people.
  • Boni and Kirsten (Climate KIC) making the decisions.
  • Jolanda and Vincent (LGI) doing the writing.
  • Thomas Osboda, the person in C-KIC who wrote to us, was very involved in the early stages, but now things are happening above his pay grade. Yet, he may be the person who wanted Edgeryders in.
  • The challenge: different cities have different world views (not only different needs). This is a bad fit for “scaling up”. The word “platform” in Healthy and Clean Cities was used to mean not a digital artifact, but a web of relationships across the various actors. In this iteration, they may want to be a bit more standardized and centralized for scale.

What we agreed to do

  1. Absolutely get on board. They will have hired a professional writer. Our actual writing effort will be minimal.
  2. In this case, our job is to be “good soldiers”: we need to figure out exactly what problem the presence of EDGE is supposed to solve, and then construct an argument for it. That argument goes in the proposal. The main author needs to be able to claim that that we have that problem 10% covered.
  3. We ally with DemSoc to argue for a substantial investment of the proposal in citizen engagement. Public value and public participation should be at the core. We could offer distributed sensemaking and collaborate with Demsoc on this.
  4. We should use the fact that the online element is now interesting + Covid preparedness.
  5. Next step: a frank call with Jolanda and Demsoc. Find out what their problem is, agree to help but make sure they take that seriously. It means: requesting the right budget and contributing to writing for the relevant parts.

Update on this day: we agreed @alberto & @nadia (with some help from @bojanbobic) are responsible for work around this call.

Currently we are still in the phase of negotiating our role, working closely with Demsoc. Call with Anthony is happening early next week. Leaving to you guys this space to share updates on the progress so everyone can follow.

Thanks for taking this on :slight_smile: