Future City Visions. The Energy Transition Towards Carbon-Neutrality: Lessons Learned from the Case of Roeselare, Belgium

Riccardo Pulselli, S. Broersma, C.L. Martin, Greg Keeffe, Simone Bastianoni, A.A.J.F. van den Dobbelsteen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
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As climate change develops, with most of the world population living in urban areas, decarbonisation of cities is among the greatest challenges of the coming decades. In the framework of the EU City-zen project, a number of so-called Roadshows has been organised in ten cities within and outside Europe in order to plan and kick-off their transition towards an energy- and climate-neutral economy. During the Roadshows, a group of experts is engaged to perform co-working activities and participative labs involving local stakeholders. These activities support cities in identifying their own decarbonisation pathways, mainly by combining three mutual processes, i.e. energy design, urban design and carbon accounting. The latter, in particular, has been used to quantify the greenhouse gas emissions of cities and neighbourhoods and to estimate the mitigation effect of a combination of measures towards the desirable condition of carbon neutrality. This exploratory and proactive design process has been successfully demonstrated through intensive workshops and can be potentially replicated in other cities. This paper provides a schematic overview of the main results achieved in the Belgian town of Roeselare, but more significantly it describes the techniques needed to make that cooperative process understandable, impactful and implementable. It is likely that 2050 European goals will drastically change urban environments and socio-economic dynamics in cities, due to the fragmentation of energy sources. Hence, from this standpoint there is a vital need for integrated technologies and infrastructures, a circular economy and community-based processes such as food production, sharing of facilities and valorisation of ecosystem services.

The City-zen Roeselare Roadshow brought over 300 stakeholders into the process of re-imagining and visualising their 2050 future city with these solutions. Stakeholders, with no particular expertise in carbon accounting or sustainability, would now have the capability of understanding and applying these solutions in a combined effort to meet the zero-carbon challenge. The approach is generally replicable elsewhere being highly visual, impactful, transferable, and multi-stakeholder friendly. Given that data are made locally available, the combination of this general approach, site-specific assessments and the involvement of both experts and local stakeholders (i.e. policy makers, citizens, etc) allow the transition to start by referring to any real city or neighbourhood.
Original languageEnglish
Article number110612
Number of pages16
JournalRenewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 2021
EventCity-zen 'Roeselare' Roadshow - Huis van de Voeding, Spanjestraat, Roeselare, Belgium
Duration: 23 Apr 201827 Apr 2018

Bibliographical note

Accepted Author Manuscript


  • Decarbonisation strategy
  • Energy potential map
  • Greenhouse gas inventory
  • Roadshow
  • Sustainable city


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  • Let’s recalibrate our educational attitudes

    C.L. Martin (Speaker)

    21 Mar 2023

    Activity: Talk or presentationTalk or presentation at a workshop, seminar, course or other meeting

  • City-zen 'Roeselare' Roadshow

    C.L. Martin (Chair of programme committee), Timo Wyffels (Member of programme committee), Greg Keeffe (Member of programme committee), Riccardo Pulselli (Member of programme committee), S. Broersma (Member of programme committee) & Han Vandevyvere (Member of programme committee)

    23 Apr 201827 Apr 2018

    Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

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