CrAFt Cities Session 9: Reflection on sessions 7 and 8

The ninth and last CrAFt Cities session of this season included presentations from two Craft Cites:

  1. Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal
  2. Gyöngyös, Hungary

Júlia Reis, Head of Division, Multidisciplinary Office for Prospection and Investment, and Lara Almeida, Coordinator of the Environment and Climate Change Adaptation Unit, presented how the city of Vila Franca de Xira, Portugal, have monitored and adjusted two of their initiatives related to housing renovation and social inclusion through creativity.

In their opinion, what helped them get increasing numbers of participants in their activities was to:

  •    Involve their stakeholders in all stages of the process
  •    Build relationships with the participants
  •    Adapt their projects according to emerging needs

In contrast, there were a few factors that made the projects more challenging than expected, such as:

  •  The Covid 19 pandemic restrictions
  •  Not having foreseen that the participants would have problems to answers the project’s evaluation surveys due to language barriers.

Júlia and Lara’s recommendations for other CrAFt Cities are:

  • Do not underestimate the importance of the project diagnosis
  • Put together an action plan mixing management and community expectations
  • To design relevant indicators at the beginning of the project
  •  Develop instruments to measure the impact of the project and involve the university in supporting this task
  • Involve local leaders to represent the community from the very beginning

After Vila Franca de Xira’s presentation, László Csárdás and Norbert Misi from the Municipality of Gyöngyös shared some of their dilemmas in the development of geothermal energy in their city.

To reduce the dependency on Russian natural gas, the high energy costs and the air pollution, the Municipality conducted a study to understand the energy habits of the local population.

The project was designed around four main groups of stakeholders: citizens, private companies, relevant professionals in the city and a group of experts. All the groups cooperated throughout the project to collect and interpret data. As a result, they created an “energy community” to work around Gyöngyös climate-neutral future.