Skip to main content
Research and innovation
News article11 September 2020Directorate-General for Research and Innovation2 min read

Shaping the city of tomorrow - citizen engagement session

On 10 September 2020,the Horizon Europe Mission on climate-neutral and smart cities organised a citizens engagement session in Brussels.  The event was co-organised with Innoviris (the Brussels regional institute for research and innovation) with the support of NCP Brussels network and hosted by, the Brussels agency for business support. It took place during the Pint of Science festival and brought together around 50 people living in Brussels, in an informal setting, to discuss ideas on how to make Brussels a climate-neutral and smart city.

The event was opened by Pirita Lindholm, Director of the European Regions Research & Innovation Network (ERRIN) and member of the Mission Assembly Board. She presented the objectives of the Mission on climate-neutral and smart cities. Then Barbara Trachte, Secretary of State of the Brussels-Capital Region, responsible for Economic Transition and Scientific Research, set out the main priorities for the Brussels Capital Region. She highlighted the need for a strong R&I driven agenda and the need to involve the people living in Brussels in the process of making their city climate neutral. Philippe Mertens of Brulocalis, a network organization bringing together stakeholders from the Brussels communities, presented a participatory research project on urban resilience. Followed by Marzia Martuzzo of B_participation, a Belgian platform for citizen participation, who shared practical examples and good practices on active citizen engagement.

The Brussels residents were asked to discuss in smaller groups the following questions:

  • What are the priorities that local authorities need to address, to achieve your common future vision of a green Brussels by 2030?
  • What do your local authorities need to do to have a greener city by 2030?

The discussion was based on pre-identified challenges; the objectives of the Mission on climate-neutral and smart cities and the Brussels Regional Plan for Climate and Energy 2030. Participants were asked to prioritize the three main challenges and to provide concrete solutions. The groups put forward the following challenges as the most important: mobility, energy and circular economy.

They formulated several needs and solutions; incentives, improved transport and housing (isolation) policy, shared mobility, better infrastructure for soft mobility, reuse and saving of energy and waste prevention. Citizen driven/focused solutions were considered the most important and effective in several groups. Also educating citizens and providing them with data about their own impact was seen as a tool to empower people. Local solutions to local problems were considered important, but also to engage citizens in these challenges at national and European level with common rules, services and good practices.

More information

Mission area: Climate-neutral and smart cities


Publication date
11 September 2020
Directorate-General for Research and Innovation