Can cities find sustainable solutions in Copenhagen?

The worlds largest solar façade, on Copenhagen International School in Denmark. Photo: EPFL
The worlds largest solar façade, on Copenhagen International School in Denmark. Photo: EPFL

On Wednesday 23rd May, 400 international guests will attend the Sustainable Urban Solutions conference in Copenhagen, co-hosted by EIT Climate-KIC during the week of the Clean Energy Ministerial in the same city.

The conference takes a different angle from normal events by setting cities as the change makers who are driving the green transition. City representatives will present sustainability challenges they are facing to those with the solutions – service providers and experts – in a co-creation workshop that will look to initiate innovation and foster Public Private Partnerships.

Ahead of the event, we asked three participants What sustainability challenge has your city faced, and what do you expect to learn from others at Sustainable Urban Solutions Conference?’

Boris Schønfeldt , Vejle Kommune, Denmark

Our challenge is to preserve and improve the green and liveable city while still finding room for increased amounts of everyday traffic and occasional heavy rains.

The project in Vejle, “Klimaboulevarden – the Climate Boulevard”, is about how we can transform a central traffic artery to also transport rainwater at peak times and still be an attractive urban area for the local schools and residents.

We hope to meet creative people with knowledge on blue and green solutions that can inspire us with new and innovative ideas.




Kaisa Spilling, Development Manager, Forum Virium Helsinki

The city of Helsinki launched a Carbon Neutral Helsinki program in March 2018.

The targets of the Smart Kalasatama district and roadmap also implement and advance the recently updated and tightened climate targets of the city to become carbon neutral by 2035, with 60 per cent total emission reduction by 2035 compared to 1990 level.

We are eager to hear what kind of initiative other districts have under progress, and how they aim to reach their cities’ climate targets.



edward johnEdward John, Senior Project Manager, Housing and Urban Services, City of Hamilton

We’re seeing a lot of pressure on our affordable housing stock. We’ve got towers nearing the end of their lifecycle and we are desperate to maintain their affordable rent.

We are looking to the open innovation conference to see what we can do with true deep retrofits, building a business case and the capacity, so that when we look at developing affordable housing in Hamilton, we do it in a manner that is long term, provides significant environmental improvement and also improves living conditions.

As well as a sustainable business model, because of the vulnerable population, we’re also looking at really effective stakeholder engagement – how best to speak to housing providers, tenants and businesses – to make this case. Another thing are circular economy solutions, looking at the materials used in deep retrofitting, and their lifecycles. How can we get the capacity to install and get best bang for buck for these deep retrofits, and the stream of expertise and technology to implement it?

We have a lot of buildings that could benefit, so it’s a scalable and repeatable model. Once we have success stories, and we build a business case and the capacity to get this done, we’re confident it is going to be repeated numerous times. We’re tossing the ball out to partners, we’ve got potential funding, but we need ‘the how’ to be nailed down to make the compelling argument. We have the motivation, we just need the information.


Do you think you could help unlock affordable and sustainable housing in Hamilton? We’re looking to engage innovators, companies and other relevant stakeholders who work with the concrete challenges facing Hamilton’s urban renewal. Apply here by 22 June.

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