Kicking off the project: inspiration from Leuven and Ghent

Bikes in Ghent

The launch of TOMORROW looked nothing like a regular meeting! On October 16th 2019, the projects partners were brought right into action: they took a short train trip to Ghent and Leuven, two Belgian cities with a very successfull track record on engaging citizens in a dialogue about the future and on experimenting collaborative ways to make a carbon-free city a reality.

The focus of the study tours lied in understanding the governance processes at stake in both cities. 

In Leuven, the group was welcomend by David Dessers, Deputy-Mayor and Katrien Rycken, Leuven 2030 Director. They presented the climate-neutral vision of the city and explained which governance was set-up through Leuven 2030 to implement their transition roadmap successfully. This exchange was followed by a visit to some projects and exemplary buildings in the city of Leuven (urban renovation projects to reduce traffic, community vegetable garden, among others).

You can read more about our discussion with Katrien Rycken, Leuven2030 project coordinator in our first Energy Diary.

In the Municipal Council room of Ghent, TOMORROW’s team heard about Ghent’s transition strategy and actions which allowed them to be finalist of the prestigious EU Green Capital Award. Ghent found great ways to involve citizens in the transition of their cities, thanks to

  • the Living Street project a real-life experiment whereby each year, for two months, residents can temporarily transform their street into the sustainable place they have always dreamed of.
  • the Neighbourhood power pilot scheme, to increase the production of local renewable energy in Dampoort-Sint-Amandsberg neighbourhood by installing as many solar panels as possible, distributing the costs and revenues fairly in the community.

After the meetings, the team hopped on their bikes to visit the location of one living-street, taking advantages of the Ghent's friendly biking routes...No better way to finish such an inspirational day!