Lessons from the invisible cities

Policy op-ed


Publication date

November 22, 2023

Invisible cities” is a timeless work by Italo Calvino. The author takes us on an imaginary journey to discover all the hidden forces that make and break urban systems. Taking a closer look at what is being developed through trial and error in each neighbourhood reveals that urban transformation is a perpetual phenomenon and the alternatives are weaving their way into the urban fabric.

Bringing to light what is promising for the future also means putting the emphasis on action. This is the main conclusion to emerge from the various sessions that took place in Modena during our annual forum. We now need to focus on the implementation, allowing cities to experiment in all directions.

And this is the remit of the next Energy Cities Board of Directors: to portray possible futures, and hope too. And to require of European institutions that the rules and budgets align with local strategies for climate neutrality.

Our new Board of Directors is committed to doing just that. Leuven, a city where the whole of local society has rallied around a clear and ambitious strategy, is taking over the Presidency of our network, and we are very proud of this. The vice-Presidencies of Valencia, Heidelberg, Porto and Križevci represent the great diversity of European cities, as do Brașov, Nantes, Växjö, Munich, Vienna and Modena. Two observers will complete the team: Delft and Gabrovo.

Thirteen cities, including one capital, from 13 different countries, with populations ranging from 20,000 to more than 2 million. Some of these cities are involved in the Climate-Neutral Cities by 2030 mission, while others are not.

All are firmly committed to the next three years of our term of office!