In 2050, it is expected that 83.7% of Europeans will be living in urban areas, emphasising the role of local authorities to be the first line of defense in light of exacerbating and systematic environmental challenges that impact the livelihood of citizens. Although the anthropologic trends speak for themselves, the EU is still missing integrated approaches that recognise local authorities as legitimate leaders of the ecological transition Europe is venturing in. Enhancing local resilience through vertically imposed mandates that fail to discern territorial circumstances and ambitions, is already set to be a fiasco that would impair cities’ potential to bloom.
Cities need to be provided with the right tools to shape their ecological transition to the needs of their citizens. The previous set of policy recommendations highlighted how local practitioners in administrations and councils, could reframe their systems of governance to address the cross-sectoral features characterising energy and climate planning. However, when it comes to the capacities and networks necessary to empower cities, the ball falls in the court of the EU and National decision-makers.
Working with the Pilot Cities of the TOMORROW project (Brasov, Brest Métropole, Dublin Region, Mouscron, Niš, and Valencia) shed a light on the features of local governance that accelerate and expand transition roadmaps. However, it also allowed the project to highlight missing catalysts that are far beyond the control of local governments, and if are not adequately addressed, represent active barriers to climate ambitions.
Besides the core issue of insufficient and hardly accessible funding directly available to cities, TOMORROW identified concrete solutions to systemic deficiencies.