Energy Cities proposition 25 - Raise opportunities for experimenting new practices to encourage their dissemination

Inventing new local governance


Energy Cities l’association européenne des autorités locales en transition énergétique

Energy Cities is a network of more than 1,000 cities in 30 different countries. Convinced that energy transition is more than a question of renewable energy or advanced technologies, Energy Cities proposes to use resources in a reasoned way, to strengthen local participation and to improve the quality of life in a democratic Europe. In 2014, the network presents 30 proposals for the Energy Transition of Territories.

They are a source of inspiration to think and act differently. To finally turn the page on unsustainable practices that lead us into energy, climate and perhaps economic and social dead ends.

À télécharger : cahier_short_jan2014_en.pdf (6,8 Mio)

Energy Cities proposition 25 - Raise opportunities for experimenting new practices to encourage their dissemination

The problem at hand

A transition is a movement towards the future. Once the course has been set, the paths to reach it have to be found.

We know how to invent a technology in a laboratory and improve it with trials. It is tested again and again until the desired product is obtained and marketed. The latest fad is about urban technologies that are supposed to make cities “smart”. But a city is not a collection of technologies. It is a complex interaction of interests, habits, desires, constraints and opportunities and each city is a specific case.

Here, the “laboratory” is the city itself. Its “engineers” are the local authorities, its inhabitants and socio-economic players. They are the city’s intelligence. New neighbourhoods, decentralised energy systems, short food circuits, and new modes of transport: how many trials, adjustments and experiments have to be carried out before a satisfying solution can be obtained and disseminated?! So make way for initiatives!


Raise opportunities for experimenting new practices to encourage dissemination.

The target groups are: households, companies, students, grandparents, farmers, tradespeople, town planners, architects and energy experts. The idea is to mobilise all intelligence around practical initiatives aimed at preparing the city for a desirable future in which energy is used cautiously. Local authorities must also have the right to experiment, which is not the case in all countries.

Conditions for success

  • Publicly displaying the local authority’s desire to encourage the experimentation of ne individual, family, social and economic practices.

  • Advertising the findings of these new city “engineers” demonstrating, for example, that the changing of practices is possible and desirable.

  • Creating events and places encouraging people to change their habits like testing an electrical bike, buying locally, leaving their cars in the garage, producing their own energy, measuring consumptions etc.


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