Grafting Cities: Cultivating Our Common Future 

18-20 October 2023

Registrations are now open for this year’s Energy Cities Annual Forum, taking place in the city of Modena. We are thrilled to collaborate with the City of Modena, the Energy and Sustainable Development Agency – AESS, and our long-standing partner, Climate Alliance.

Grafting cities (verb) /ˈɡrɑːft·tɪŋ ˈsɪ·tis/ writing a new story for the city’s future; reinventing each city based what already exists; revealing how a place can flourish by building on its assets and adjusting them; transforming our cities street by street, house by house and place by place to boost diversity and resiliency.

Across Europe, cities and towns are embracing an ambitious and equitable transformation. Through nature-based solutions, local CO2 pricing, renovation campaigns to combat energy poverty, citizen-led sustainable mobility initiatives, and the formation of energy communities, local-level climate action is thriving. 

With Grafting Cities, we delve into tangible examples of the transformation we need, exploring how to achieve our climate goals amidst a constantly evolving local landscape. Municipal representatives from across Europe will come together for high-level plenaries, interactive workshops, informal open space formats, and valuable networking opportunities. 

Embark on the Journey with Energy Cities!

The Energy Cities Annual Event is a unique opportunity to gather our members and close partners. We invite you to join us on this journey, acquiring actionable knowledge on new strategies and tools, creating new inspiring synergies, and fostering reliable partnerships with other cities and key stakeholders.


Energy Cities members gather in Milan​ and hop on the train to Modena (offered by Energy Cities)​

18:30 ​
Welcome from Modena city ​in Galleria Europa​

Aperitivo and informal evening in Caffé Concerto


08:30 – 18:30 
Energy Cities inspirational day:

  • Parallel sessions, walking and  bike tours
  • Mayors speak to mayors: Resources-wise city: a city building prosperity on strong cooperation and the minimum footprint on the planet

Dinner and nice evening together 


09:00 – 13:00 ​
Plenary session 
Grafting Cities: Cultivating our common future ​followed by a networking lunch

15:00 – 17:00 ​
Energy Cities’ General Assembly
>> Discover 2023 candidates to the Board

18:00 ​- 19:00 
Grafting Cities public event: a meeting with Modena​

19:00 ​
Networking drinks and dinner


10:00 – 12:00 
Learn&Share Area

12:00 – 13:30 
Guided tours

  • Touristic city tour
  • Sustainable mobility tour by bike Modena urban transformations: walking tour
  • Acetaia comunale tour: Taste the beauty of Modena

Latest news

Practical information

Getting to Modena

By Train 
Modena’s main train station, which serves the Milan-Bologna Trenitalia line, is located in Piazza Dante Alighieri very close to the city centre. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to travel from Milan to Modena. Information on train schedules and tickets is available on the Trenitalia website at

If you are a member of Energy Cities, hop on our train! We cover the cost of the train from Milan to Modena. Departure is scheduled on Tuesday, 17th October at 15:00 from Milano Centrale train station. Exclusive activities will be organized on the reserved carriages for Energy Cities’ members.

Modena is also connected to the high speed Mediopadana AV Reggio-Emilia station via the Italobus shuttle service, which is included in the high-speed Italo train tickets. Information on high speed schedules and tickets is available on the Italotrenowebsite at

There are a number of options to get from the train station to the city centre. There are two luggage-storage offices nearby the station.

  • Bus 7 (Policlinico/Gottardi) connects the train station and the Cathedral• (9 minutes: get off at the Piazza Mazzini stop).
  • Bus 11 (Zodiaco) connects the train station and the Cathedral (7 minutes: get off at Piazza Mazzini stop).
  • taxi stand is also located on the right side of Piazza Dante.

By plane
If you must take a plane, the best and closest option is to arrive at the Bologna airport. There are then a number of options to get from the Bologna airport to the city centre:

  • shuttle connects the Bologna airport to Modena’s city centre in 45 minutes (get off at Largo Garibaldi). This costs €25 roundtrip and €15 one-way with a 5% discount for payment by credit card. Schedules can be found at; the shuttle can be booked here.
  • Alternatively, a shuttle also connects the airport to the Bologna train stationin only 8 minutes. This is fastest way to get from the airport to the train station with frequent trips (departing every 7 minutes during peak times; otherwiseevery 15 minutes). Schedules and information can be found at
  • A local train connects Bologna to Modena every 30 to 40 minutes during the day. The trip takes approximately 30 minutes.
  • Another possible solution coming from some countries is to take the GoOptishuttle. You can find routes and information at

Conference locations

The sessions of Grafting Cities will be held in a number of historic locations throughout the city of Modena, all within walking distance from one another. For details, please see this map.

Accommodations in Modena

Blocked accomodation in the city centre 
The conference team has blocked rooms with special conditions in the following hotels for conference participants. Please note the book deadline for these reserved rooms and be sure to make clear reference to Grafting Cities when you book

As accomodation in Modena is generally in high demand, we urge you to book as soon as possible!

Further accomdotation in the city centre
Please note that the following hotels and apartments have not been blocked especially for conference participants.

Speakers of the Conference

Opening round table

Eckart Wurzner – President of Energy Cities, Mayor of Heidelberg 
Andreas Wolter – Co-President of Climate Alliance, Deputy Mayor of Cologne
Giancarlo Muzzarelli – Mayor of Modena, Host of the conference
Isadora Spillman-Schappell – Cities Programme Manager at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose (IIPP)

First debate

What are the major transformations going on in cities? How does it change the municipality’s role? What the legal and financial changes needed to align competencies, resources and powers for cities to adapt?

We talk about it with:
Carlo Salvemini – Mayor of Lecce, Italy, ANCI Energy delegat
Christine Kugler – Deputy Mayor of Munich, Germany
Mario Rajn – Mayor of Krizevci, Croatia, Member of the Board Energy Cities 
Raul Garcia Brink – Councillor for Environment, climate, energy and knowledge of Gran Canaria, Spain

Second debate

Just transition is about access for all to housing, food, education, transport with the most minimal climate footprint. It is heavily dependent on how goods and services are delivered and thus implies a strong involvement of all actors at the local level. How does it change the role of municipalities?

We talk about it with:
Anna Lisa Boni – Deputy Mayor of Bologna, Italy
Eva Schobesberger – Deputy Mayor, Linz, Austria
Allen Coliban – Mayor of Brasov, Romania
Giuseppe Molinari – President of Modena’s Chamber of Commerce

Register now!