Groningen, The Netherlands, 12-13 June 2024

On June 12 and 13, the MAKING-CITY project held its Final Event in Groningen, marking the culmination of six years of groundbreaking work towards Positive Energy Districts (PEDs). The two-day event  conisted of the last Conostrium meeting reuniting all the partners, a final Stakeholder workshop and  the final “Power Up Your City” Innovation Camp in Groningen.

Both days were packed with dynamic workshops, insightful presentations, and collaborative sessions, highlighting the achievements in our Lighthouse and Follower Cities and future strategies for PEDs across Europe.  On both days, participants gathered in two iconic Groningen locations: the renowned Euroborg Stadium, home to FC Groningen, and the modern, sustainably built Energy Barn, close to the Hanze ENTRANCE – Centre of Expertise Energy.


Morning Sessions: Celebrating Six Years of Progress & Future Scenarios
On June 12, the MAKING-CITY project kicked off its 12th Periodic Meeting with a series of dynamic working sessions. Partners explored scenarios for post-project collaboration, identified synergies, and devised future strategies with both Lighthouse and Follower Cities. Key topics included business models beyond the project and exploitation strategies, facilitated by Rachel Desmaris, Mohaddeseh Maktabifard, and Sander Smit from R2M Solution.

Then, two parallel workshops set the tone for the morning:

  • GamePED Workshop: Facilitated by Beril Alpagut and Oya Tabanoğlu from Demir Enerji Danismanlik, this workshop had participants design PEDs in urban contexts, addressing technological, social, economic, environmental, and legal conditions.
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Workshop: Held in the Arjen Robben Lounge, Klaus Kansala led discussions on the project’s monitoring and evaluation.

The morning concluded with a compelling session by Joram Nauta (TNO) and Marijn van Geet (University of Groningen), who presented “The Urban Financial Metabolism of Energy Poverty,” linking energy poverty to municipal expenditure.

Afternoon Session: MAKING-CITYY’s Final Stakeholder Workshop
MAKING-CITY’s second and final stakeholder workshop was focused on exploring and showcasing models, solutions, and financing for European replication to achieve climate neutrality. And scheduled during the Final Event targeting the project partners but also Sister Lighthouse Project partners (from the SCC-1 framework).

It kicked-off by an introduction by our coordinator Cecilia Sanz-Montanvillo (Cartif) and a short introduction ice-breaker by Charlotte Burnod (LGI) to set the ambiance for the aftternoon and welcome all new participants beyondMAKING-CITY partners. The forst agenda itam was a panel discussion on “Shaping sustainable cities with PEDs: learnings from MAKING-CITY” Moderated by Virginie Giraud (Cap Digital), it highlighted challenges, business models, factsheets, and citizen engagement. Key speakers included Samuli Rinne, Katerina Radosteva, Beril Alpagut, Rachel Desmaris, and Olga Solís Orozco.

MAKING-CITY EU Toolkit Sneak Peek
Thomas Judes and Charlotte Burnod (LGI) unveiled the MAKING-CITY EU Toolkit, which disseminates best practices and practical tools on stakeholder and citizen engagement, business models, and finance capacity building. This toolkit features an AI chatbot, called “PED Hero Assistant“, to make the project’s extensive results and publications easily accessible.
Over six years, the MAKING-CITY project produced over 180 deliverables—more than 10 million words—by 34 partners. To valorize these results, the newly launched MAKING-CITY AI chatbot, developed by LGI, uses advanced Retrieval Augmented Generation (RAG) technology. This transforms the project’s methodologies, tools, and knowledge into user-friendly, accessible information, all accessible by chatting with our PED Hero Assistant bot. Try it out here: MAKING-CITY AI chatbot.

Sister Project Panel: Scaling the Impact of PEDs
The afternoon sessions at the Euroborg Stadion of FC Groningen concluded with another highlight: the Sister Project Panel. This panel included participants from sister projects LEGOFIT, NEUTRALPATH, AtelierH2020, and POCITYF. Moderated by Beril Alpagut (LEGOFIT), the discussion focused on scaling the impact of PED projects across Europe. Key speakers included Cecilia Sanz-Montanvillo (project coordinator), Frans Verspeek (AtelierH2020), Roeland Keersmaekers (NEUTRALPATH), and Martijn de Vries (POCITYF).

Day 2: Innovation Camp Groningen

On June 13th, the event moved to the Energy Barn, a modern, sustainably built venue near the Hanze EnTranCe Centre of Expertise Energy in Groningen. The day was dedicated to showcasing Groningen’s progress towards carbon neutrality through the achievements of its two Positive Energy Districts (PEDs). Presentations highlighted technological innovations and best practices in urban energy, offering valuable insights for other cities aiming for sustainable urban development.

Martijn de Vries from New Energy Coalition, Eppie Silvius, Energy Programme Leader from the Municipality, and Katerina Radosteva, Energy Project Lead from Gemeente Groningen, emphasized the significance of the PED concept, its technical implementation, and social engagement in urban transitions. They presented the six-year journey of the MAKING-CITY EU project, showcasing pivotal results, success stories, and valuable lessons learned.

Participants then engaged in parallel workshops:

  • Christian Zuidema from the University of Groningen discussed energy poverty and effective community engagement.
  • Shubhra Chaudhry and Philo Tamis from New Energy Coalition led a workshop on PED technical actions, design, and policy.
  • Frank Pierie facilitated his interactive “We Energy Game MAKING-CITY,” illustrating the collaborative efforts needed to develop a PED in an urban area like Groningen. Plat the digital version here.

Site Visits of the two PED areas in Groningen: PED North & South

After a networking lunch, attendees visited key sites of PED North and PED South, including:

  • Energy Academy Europe: One of the Netherlands’ most sustainable educational buildings and home to New Energy Coalition.
  • Retrofitted Demo Houses of PED North: Featuring versatile vertical solar panels optimized for diverse sunlight conditions and showcasing citizen engagement strategies by Grunneger Power.
  • Mediacentrale: An old coal-fired power station now used as a business complex, demonstrating sustainable energy application in large buildings using geothermal energy.
  • Solar Footpath: Collecting renewable energy for PED South.

Closing Remarks by the Vice Mayor over the roofs of Groningen

The event concluded with a closing speech by Vice Mayor Philip Broeksma at the Forum Groningen, offering a perfect view of the city. This final gathering celebrated the contributions of all partners and discussed the future of PED initiatives, highlighting new projects like NEUTRALPATH, POCITYF, and AtelierH2020.

The MAKING-CITY project brought together 34 partners from 9 countries, including 2 lighthouse cities and 6 follower cities, united by a common goal: to build Positive Energy Districts and support future projects in achieving sustainable urban development.

Photos of the visits, the Vice Mayor, marketing tools, factsheets, and the citizen engagement magazine were showcased, reflecting the rich and inspiring achievements of the project.

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