PEDs for sustainable urbanization

How do we create the urban environment of the 21st century – sustainable, liveable, inclusive? What strategies do we need to develop neighbourhoods – both existing and newly built – that contribute to climate goals and the energy transition while providing high and affordable quality of living for its inhabitants? Joining forces with SET Plan Action 3.2 on Smart Cities, JPI Urban Europe coordinates the “PED Programme”, a transnational, intergovernmental initiative for large-scale implementation of Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods for sustainable urbanization.

The ambitious programme currently involves 19 European countries and several European stakeholders aiming at developing comprehensive approaches including technology, spatial, regulatory, legal, financial, environmental, social and economic perspectives. It aims at enhancing capacities of cities, industry and research to make Europe a global role model and market leader with the aim by 2025 to have at least 100 successful Positive Energy Districts synergistically connected to the energy system in Europe.

Kicked-off in October 2018, the PED Programme was presented to the JPI Urban Europe community at last week’s Policy Conference: experts from cities, R&I and industry were discussing scenarios, barriers and possible solutions. To sum it up shortly: there is some excitement in the air. While the task is seen as highly ambitious and complex, and requires high levels of commitment, stakeholder involvement and process management – it is so worth an effort that may have substantial impact on sustainable urban development. And, while proper technology is the basis: citizens always have to be at the core of implementation strategies. Key fields of action identified by the participants of the PED breakout session include:

  • Mobilization of cities and policy makers
  • Stakeholder mobilization and involvement
  • Citizen participation / participatory governance
  • Regulatory framework
  • (Re-)development of energy system
  • Financing / business plans
  • Integration of PED’s in comprehensive systemic approaches / focus on high quality urban environment
  • Inclusion of mobility
  • Living labs as a tool to support cities
  • Management of (behavioural) changes
  • Developing adequate plans for replication
  • Developing approaches for both newly built and existing neighbourhoods as well as diverse mix of uses

Where do we go now? In order to develop adequate R&I strategies, the PED Programme focuses on cities as problem owners and key actors in achieving energy and climate targets: By creating the pre-conditions, municipalities and urban actors are the driving forces behind establishing Positive Energy Districts and Neighbourhoods. The PED Programme offers partnership and support to elaborate cities’ experiences, needs and requirements for defining viable processes of implementation. Therefore, next steps include:

  • PED Cities Workshop, 3 April, Vienna, together with ERA-NET Smart Cities and Communities final event (2 April) and a site visit (4 April)

Stay tuned, we will keep you updated.

Contact: Christoph Gollner,




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