Transition roadmaps for resilient and sustainable cities

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A transition roadmap is a policy tool and instrument that supports and guides municipalities and other societal actors in addressing climate change and in implementing actions towards building more sustainable and resilient cities. Transition roadmaps aid cities and their citizens in addressing questions like: "what is needed, and by when, to reach a zero-carbon city in 2050?". An efficient transition roadmap considers the following questions (Jeffrey et al., 2013; McGrail, 2014):

  • Objectives: Where do we want to go?
  • Status/Challenges: Where are we now?
  • Process/Needs: How can we get there?

A transition roadmap includes a detailed and strategic framework for measuring, planning, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions and related climatic impacts for a specific city or territory. More specifically, a transition roadmap involves the development of visions of what the city could be in the future and sets greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets, outlines actions to reduce those emissions, and launches implementation strategies. Municipalities design, plan and use climate action plans as roadmaps that are useful for making informed decisions and to better comprehend how to achieve effective and meaningful greenhouse gas emission reductions.

Overview of transition roadmaps

Transition roadmaps for resilient and sustainable cities
City Title of roadmap Description
Grenoble (France) Grenoble Roadmap: 2030 Energy Master Plan Grenoble designed its 2030 Energy Master Plan describing the practical guidelines to help the city achieve the objectives of the Air Energy Climate Plan. The citizen engagement charter of the city played a major role in the citizen participation process of its roadmap toward carbon neutrality. The roadmap describes in the scope of 2030 and 2050 the actions primordially directed toward reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gases emissions, supporting renewable energy-based electricity and heating systems, clean and efficient buildings as well as improving the air quality.
Manchester (UK) Manchester climate change framework 2020-2025 Manchester structured its action plan toward a climate adapted and resilient city, attentive to its carbon budget, to its residents’ health and wellbeing and to an inclusive, zero carbon and climate resilient economy. These objectives will be achieved by prioritising 6 areas: buildings, renewable energy, transport and flying, food, consumption, green infrastructures and naturebased solutions. To ensure this, the City Council engages in participatory processes and partnership with the city's various stakeholders.
Rotterdam (the Netherlands) New Energy for Rotterdam The Rotterdam Energy Transition Plan develops two scenarios to make Europe's largest port city climate neutral. One targets mainly electric solutions in public and individual transport and energy-efficiency in buildings. The second, more radical pathway aims at collective solutions in heat networks and renewable energy sources, and promotes non motorised mobility. Two key ambitions set in place are an emission-free city center and the transition away from natural gas in the heating system.
San Sebastián (Spain) Donostia / San Sebastián's Climate Action Plan 2050 Through a participatory process, the municipality of San Sebastián developed in 2017 a local climate action plan with the overall vision of a carbon neutral city by 2050. The sectors targeted are citizen participation and mobilisation, occupation and land use, mobility, energy, production and consumption,
Yokohama (Japan) Yokohama city action plan for global warming countermeasures To realise carbon neutrality by 2050, the city of Yokohama designed in 2018 a 3C approach (choice, creation, collaboration) aiming at decarbonizing the energy system, the mobility, economy, buildings, production, consumption, and lifestyles. Special attention is given to the technology and innovation as well as adaptation and resilience to the effects of climate change.
Sydney (Australia) Sydney Environmental Strategy 2021-2025 The city's environmental strategy for a sustainable Sydney covers a range of topics such as energy and water efficiency in buildings and urban planning, mobility, renewable electricity, waste avoidance and recovery, supporting residents and businesses in the sustainable transition, and the circular and green economy. A particular focus is on the inclusivity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and on equity questions related to climate change. In addition, special attention is given to the management of environmental risks and issues regarding drought and heat mitigation. The consultation and participation of residents in the action plan, the various initiatives and the citizens' jury contributed to the public engagement in the Sydney strategy.
Stockholm (Sweden) Strategy for a fossil-fuel free Stockholm by 2040 The environmental strategy of the municipality of Stockholm describes the measures undertaken to reach a fossil-fuel free and climate-smart city by 2040. It tackles the sustainable energy production and use and resource-efficient natural cycles through waste and recycled energy sources and circular economy. Two highlights of this roadmap are, firstly, the importance of eco-efficient transport, namely road traffic, aviation, shipping and work machinery. Furthermore, the city aims not only to become fossil-fuel free, but also climate neutral by 2040, using (BioEnergy) Carbon Capture and Storage.
Seattle (the USA) Seattle climate action plan The Climate Action Plan (CAP) of Seattle was designed through a process that engaged Seattle’s local actors, from experts to the larger public. Their developed goals address the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from transportation, land use, building energy and waste disposal, the resilience to the impacts of climate change. The city is particularly attentive to enhance equity through its climate actions including the more vulnerable populations, and to guide and involve the citizens in collective actions by raising awareness and providing planning and monitoring frameworks.
Leuven (Belgium) Leuven 2030 roadmap to a climate neutral future The roadmap guides the city of Leuven across several steps to achieve climate neutrality by targeting housing, urban services, mobility, consumption, local renewable energy production, urban resilience, governance, collaboration of local actors, knowledge and innovation sharing. These ambitions are often cross-cutting and require particular efforts in terms of governance, social justice, citizen involvement and financing of initiatives.
Paris (France) Paris Climate Action Plan The Paris Climate Action Plan sets the objectives of the city for 2030 and the ambition for 2050 toward a resilient, inclusive, carbon neutral and 100% renewable energy city. This roadmap involved diverse stakeholders in a broad collaborative process through debates, conferences, proposals and recommendations from citizens. It covers the sectors of mobility, buildings, urban planning, energy and waste, notably with the zero-waste strategy. Special attention is given to the food system, especially to the food waste, in order to ensure sustainable and healthy food for all residents.
Vancouver (Canada) Vancouver 2020 Action Plan With the ambition of becoming the greenest city, the municipality of Vancouver framed an action plan to foster green economy, buildings and transportation, a zero-waste strategy, a lighter ecological footprint aspiration engaging residents and a coordination of the food system. The development of various partnerships with the local community and other actors and a policy framework has also been undertaken to move away from fossil fuels. Moreover, access to natural areas for all residents, education, training and capacity building services, and advocacy for local food, clean water and air feature significantly in the roadmap.
Copenhagen (Denmark) Copenhagen 2025 Climate Plan Copenhagen's roadmap includes specific quantitative targets for the climate plan’s main areas to achieve carbon neutrality by 2025, comprising reduced energy consumption, more efficient energy production oriented towards renewable energy sources, green mobility and environmental initiatives of the city administration. To fulfil these ambitions, the municipality and the inhabitants are included in the climate initiatives through co-ownership and active participation, and attention is paid to economy and investments.
Berlin (Germany) Climate-neutral Berlin 2050 The recommendations for a Berlin Energy and Climate Protection Programme (BEK) ensue from a participatory process with different options for citizens: a forum, workshop series and urban dialogue. These processes, generating multiple proposals, resulted in the final version of the BEK. The roadmap presents numerous measures to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions, revolving around 5 fields of action: energy, buildings and urban development, economy, traffic, private households, and consumption. The social aspect is especially important for the municipality, consisting in communication to and education of the population to promote climate aware behaviour, efficiency, and sufficiency.
Cape Town (South Africa) Cape Town's Action Plan for Energy and Climate Change In its action plan, the municipality of Cape Town is not only interested in increasing the city's energy security, targeting resource efficiency, a sustainable transport system and resilience to the impact of climate change, particularly for vulnerable communities, but is also actively reaching out to its citizens to foster awareness and promote more environmentally friendly behavioral change through communication and education.
Lisbon (Portugal) Lisbon Climate Action Plan The Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan of Lisbon describes the city's climate mitigation and adaptation objectives. It includes coordination structures and organisations, human resource capacity building, local stakeholder participation, financing and monitoring processes, spatial planning, health, air and water quality, environment and biodiversity, transports, waste management, energy, and agriculture.
Buenos Aires (Argentina) Buenos Aires Climate Action Plan 2050 Buenos Aires proposes an action plan to support efficiency and low emissions in buildings, public transport, and energy systems, natural resources, promotion of non-motorised vehicles, circular economy, waste treatment. The municipality fosters environmental education, sustainable food and integrated neighborhoods and aims to improve health and air quality. In addition, the plan intends to narrow socio-economic inequalities, especially with regards to the consequences of climate change.
Rome (Italy) Rome Resilience Strategy The resilience strategy of Rome includes a vision that put citizens with its administration, governance and participation structures at the core. The Rome Resilience strategy aims to promote the cultural, historical and natural heritages in the city by improving the safety of the city and the adaptation to the effects of climate change; as well as to support the social integration of vulnerable populations and the use of renewable energy sources, sustainable mobility and zero-waste circular economy.
Sofia (Bulgaria) Sofia Green City Action Plan The action plan towards a green Sofia targets the sectors of energy, in particular geothermal energy and urban planning. It does so to ensure access to green spaces for all inhabitants, waste management and energy efficiency in housing, improved water system, resilience to climate change and, lastly, sustainable transport, including cycling and walking routes. The municipality supports these objectives by investing in projects, and by supporting policy measures, capacity building initiatives and public awareness initiatives.
Athens (Greece) Athens Resilience Strategy for 2030 The resilience strategy of Athens focuses on taking care of the governance, communication and collaboration with residents as well as the identity of the city and wellbeing of the population. The strategy for Athens includes various sectors such as economy by supporting employment, urban planning and environment by enhancing nature, sustainable mobility and sustainable food and sustainable energy system.
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) Plan for Sustainable Development and Climate Action of the City of Rio de Janeiro The plan emerged from a participatory process and debates involving multiple actors of the city of Rio de Janeiro. Together, multiple stakeholders worked on the integration of municipal planning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the pursuit of greenhouse gas emissions neutrality and adaptation to the effects of climate change. These missions will be achieved through innovation, re-foundation of public governance to overcome local challenges such as reduction of poverty, hunger, maternal, child and violence mortality, assistance to vulnerable populations. This plan serves as a guide for the supply and improvement of housing, employment, public transport, safe and pedestrian-friendly public spaces, health-and education services.
Helsinki (Finland) Helsinki's Roadmap for Circular and Sharing Economy Progresses on the roadmap actions implemented by the city of Helsinki are monitored by the tools used for the Carbon-Neutral Helsinki 2035 Action Plan. The sectors targeted by the roadmap are energy-efficiency and circular economy goals in construction, procurements, green waste treatment, the sharing economy and new businesses. To support these objectives, particular attention will be paid on education, communication, land use and planning through a set of specific and measurable goals.
Cities in US, China, Germany and Poland Urban Transitions Alliance Roadmaps This document gathers the perspectives of eleven transition roadmaps from cities in the US, China, Germany, and Poland. The initiatives of the cities are sorted according to their transition sectors, namely infrastructure, energy, mobility, and social transitions. Among others, the city of Katowice, Poland, has been developing a process for the transition of the infrastructure sector.
Prague (Czech Republic) Prague Climate Plan 2030 In 2021, Prague signed its Climate Plan aiming at reducing the CO2 emissions of the city by 2030. To this end, four main sectors are targeted, namely energy and sustainable buildings with support for energy efficiency and renewable energy communities; sustainable mobility through the creation of a sustainable transport system and a network of charging stations for electric cars; circular economy by facilitating recycling and sorting; and adaptation measures by for example increasing green in the city.
Budapest (Hungary) Budapest Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan The Budapest Climate Citizens’ Assembly is a participatory democratic initiative that contributed to the development of the city’s climate strategy. The strategy aims to reduce emissions through renovation, reduction of car traffic, promotion of low-emission transport, use of renewable energy, increase of protected natural areas and low-emission zones. Citizens were actively engaged in recommending measures such as the creation of a public dialogue platform, financial funds for improving buildings, the launch of a media and awareness-raising campaign, incentives and communication on rainwater use.
Mexico City (Mexico) Mexico City: Driving Change with Data-driven decision-making This Mexico City strategy explores the challenges and opportunities faced by the city of Mexico in terms of the environmental, social, and economic sectors associated with the impacts of climate change. To tackle these wicked problems, the collaboration between several bodies of governance related to the environment, mobility and public health are needed. The decision-making processes can be enriched by the sharing of knowledge and best practices examples with other cities. These decisions then lead to the implementation of measures related to transport, water security, local renewable energy projects, social inequalities and environmental protection.
Oxford (UK) Zero Carbon Oxford Partnership Fostering collaboration, involvement and input from its partners in the domestic, commercial, industrial, institutional and transport sectors, Oxford has developed a scenario model that feeds into decarbonisation roadmaps for each of the five sectors and an action plan to achieve net zero emissions by 2040. Notable features are the structure of the action plan development, which is first top-down based on the scenario and roadmaps, then bottom-up through stakeholder review, and finally hybrid with sectoral workshops and co-design sessions. The sector roadmaps structure the actions to be pursued to achieve the city's ambitions.
Recife (Brazil) Local Climate Action Plan of the City of Recife The Recife Climate Action Plan aims to accelerate decarbonisation and increase the city's adaptation to climate change in the areas of energy, sanitation, mobility and resilience. These objectives are defined through workshops and debates with municipal stakeholders, key shareholders and civil society. The roadmap is based on three pillars: climate justice oriented towards community participation, empowerment and cooperation; nature-based solutions to protect, restore and manage ecosystems and city resilience; and green and sustainable economy.
Edinburgh (UK) Edible Edinburgh Sustainable Food City Plan 2014-2020 As a follow-up to the Sustainable Edinburgh 2020 framework, a cross-sectoral steering group of representatives from the public, private and third sectors has been established. The Sustainable Food City Plan of Edinburgh aims to make healthy and sustainable food available to all, particularly those living in food poverty. The focus on a more just food economy and on local food production and distribution has also an impact on the protection of the environment and natural resources by reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The community-led initiative sets out concrete objectives and actions to develop an innovative, integrated, just and engaging food strategy for the city.
Oslo (Norway) Climate and Energy Strategy for Oslo The City of Oslo is committed to achieving climate neutrality by developing and implementing climate solutions together with citizens, businesses, knowledge institutions, organisations and other public authorities, through actions to reduce emissions in urban development and transport, energy, buildings, resource use and climate governance. Attention is also given to carbon capture and storage.
Dakar (Senegal) Civic Engagement and Participatory Governance in Climate Action Participatory climate action planning has been structured by the city to sustain citizen participation and engagement and to address diverse challenges such as climate change and poverty. The city focuses on communication, institutional support for carrying out the Climate and Energy Action Plan activities, and on organising public consultations to develop actions. Emphasis is placed on grassroots initiatives, inclusion of the city' s key stakeholders such as artists, citizens and other local actors.


Cities of Tomorrow Transition Toolbox: Roadmaps


Jeffrey, H., Sedgwick, J., Robinson, C. (2013). Technology roadmaps: An evaluation of their success in the renewable energy sector. Technological Forecasting and Social Change 80(5):1015–1027. DOI: 10.1016/j.techfore.2012.09.016

McGrail, S. (2014). A review of roadmaps for transitioning to a zero carbon built environment in Australia. Working paper for the Visions & Pathways project.

Silvestri, G. and Maynard-Vallat, L. (2022) D2.2: Repository of remarkable transition roadmaps. Deliverable for TOwards Multi-stakehOldeRs transition ROadmaps With citizens at the centre.


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The TOMORROW project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement N° 847136. TOMORROW aimed at empowering local authorities to lead the transition towards low-carbon, resilient and more liveable cities.