SPARCS presents at webinar on energy transition in cities
29 november 2022 | Location: Espoo
Smart Cities

How are Positive Energy Districts built in Finland and elsewhere? What is it like to be a citizen in the middle of the energy transition? The SPARCS project shared critical findings at an energy-themed morning coffee event for city representatives organised by the Urban Academy.

In October, SPARCS was invited to explain why Positive Energy Districts (PEDs), or simply districts that produce more energy than they consume, help cities achieve their ambitious climate goals. The event gathered about 70 to 80 participants from different Finnish municipalities discussing the role of citizens in the energy transition.

VTT’s Dr Mari Hukkalainen, the project’s coordinator, presented the role of PEDs in urban transformation in Espoo and other cities across Finland.

Bringing in the concrete example of SPARCS Lighthouse City of Espoo, energy specialist Joni Mäkinen presented the municipality’s goals for sustainable development by sharing how SPARCS helps the city to reach them.

One of the critical activities of the city is to involve citizens in the co-creation model to support the development of PEDs. Activating citizens through buddy classes, for example, organised on the theme of locally produced renewable energy, helps understand better the importance of energy transition.

University of Helsinki professor Kaisa Matschoss also highlighted the role of citizens in the energy transition by presenting the initiatives made by the citizens of Helsinki and their versatile possibilities to influence local development work. She introduced a few key takeaways for the cities to understand their citizens better and how to discuss with them more actively.

With a strong focus on replication and scale-up work on a local, national, and international, the webinar was an opportunity for SPARCs to present key learning and recommendations on the impact of sustainable development with local and regional stakeholders.

Urban Academy is a platform and network that brings together multidisciplinary research, teaching and societal impact in urban studies. It is a partnership of five organisations: Aalto University, the University of Helsinki, the City of Espoo, the City of Helsinki and the City of Vantaa.