On the road to climate neutral cities

3 lessons from Leuven

In the city of Leuven in Belgium, over 500 public organisations, businesses and citizens  united behind a roadmap towards zero-carbon emissions in 2050. In 2019, that roadmap was officially ratified and adopted by the local administration. The six pilot-cities of the project TOMORROW visited the city and learned how Leuven is spearheading this new governance model.  

Katrien Rycken is not afraid to admit it: “It was complex: many different parameters had to be aligned”.

Still, it is easy to feel a jolt of excitement when listening to the spirited coordinator backtracking their remarkable journey. Her non-profit Leuven2030 sparked, and now manages, Leuven’s Roadmap towards becoming climate-neutral (see 2025|2035|2050). Rycken’s audience hangs on her every word: as representatives from their cities – Dublin (IR), Valencia (ES), Brest (FR), Mouscron (BE), Nis (SER), and Brasov (RO) – they are responsible for creating their city’s decarbonisation roadmaps: Through participation in the Horizon2020 TOMORROW project they are supported in realising this by Energy Cities and the Dutch Research Institute of Transitions (DRIFT). 

How did Leuven get here? And how can other cities follow suit? Rycken highlights three crucial lessons: 

  • Unite behind the science, but shift roles
  • Move from dark green to mainstream
  • Pave the road for implementation.

All the while, and despite the progress that has been made, the – roadmap’s future remains a topic of discussion…Read more

This blog is part of a series of energy diaries, tracing the TOMORROW pilot-cities around Europe to learn about roadmaps for decarbonisation: from Leuven (BE), Nantes (FR) to Heerlen (NL).

Visit www.citiesoftomorrow.eu for more information



Tessa de Geus, DRIFT

Publication date

February 3, 2020