City Forum: SPARCS cities discuss their City Vision 2050 & Roadmap for Urban Transformation
15 april 2024 | Location: Maia
Urban transformation

On March 20, 2024, the “City Forum” event held in Maia, Portugal, as part of SPARCS executive Board Meeting, focused on two key strategic instruments developed by the project’s Lighthouse & Fellow cities – the City Vision 2050 and the Roadmap for Urban Transformation, offering insights into the future of the cities’ sustainable urban development. The activity had a main goal of prompting the sharing of experiences between the cities regarding the visioning processes held between 2020 e 2023, and also to extend the discussion and insights to the remaining consortium partners and guests about the cities’ future steps towards fulfilling the vision of a carbon neutral future.

The activity was organized by SPI and involved the active participation and contributions from the project’s 7 partner cities. The forum consisted of two main moments, which followed a short introduction to the main goals and methodology behind these visioning processes, and explanation of their relevance within SPARCS project as means to promote co-ownership by citizens and stakeholders of the project’s initiatives and goals, and to help align these with the cities’ strategic instruments and initiatives.

The first part consisted in a set of short presentations focused on the approach carried over by three cities (lighthouse city Espoo and fellow cities Kladno and Reykjavík) regarding the adopted methodologies, defined goals, and main results. Each of the cities presented concrete examples, identified challenges and breakthroughs, and finished their intervention with a detailed explanation of specific processes/pathways within their roadmap, leading from the current state of affairs to the envisioned goal in 2050.

A discussion panel followed, where all the cities actively participated by sharing their experience and lessons learnt during the development of these documents. Relevant questions were raised concerning subjects such as the relevance of SPARCS City Vison and Roadmap for each city in the upcoming years and their relationship to other existing strategic planning instruments; or the cities’ plans and processes enabling the sharing of results as well as data concerning the implemented measures; and the involvement and commitment of stakeholders in general but particularly citizens and also decision makers with the shared goals and endeavors.

The City Forum, as a collaborative tool enabling diverse perspectives, underscored the complexities and opportunities in the journey towards sustainable urban development. It illustrated the importance of multi-faceted approaches, stakeholder engagement, and strategic communication in achieving the ambitious goal of climate neutrality, as set forth in the City Vison and Roadmaps. As cities embark on this transformative journey, the forum’s insights serve as valuable guidelines for navigating the challenges and embracing the opportunities that lie ahead.