Roundtable on Cities
Green Transition Summit 2023
As part of the Green Transition Summit program, GTI led a roundtable discussion on cities and the green transition. Participants identified two key themes of interest for stakeholders: urban development and energy transition. Thus, the discussion focused on exploring tools, approaches, and policy frameworks to build resilient and economically prosperous urban communities. Roundtable participants included experts on policy, energy, and urban development from both Sweden and the United States. The discussion began by exploring the strengths of a quadruple helix collaboration model, linking academia, industry, government, and the public in transformative action.
The discussion first explored the efforts of Viable Cities, a Swedish Innovation Program, to establish mechanisms to drive sustainable urban development. In Sweden, 23 mayors from cities in Sweden have signed a "Climate City Contract” which brings cities together to help accelerate reaching the sustainability targets set by individual climate portfolios. The participants also discussed urban climate challenges in a US context, since American cities vary significantly in terms of economic strengths, demographic characteristics, and ecological landscapes. Climate-centric urban development must be adjusted to fit each city – leveraging local strengths while also addressing key challenges.
Participants also examined the urban clean energy transition, focusing on reducing fossil fuels and increasing energy efficiency. The Roundtable discussed the LA100 project, a joint city-federal government study into delivering 100% clean energy to Los Angeles by 2045. The study demonstrates that increasing renewable energy usage from 85% to 100% becomes exponentially more difficult. Despite the many obstacles cities face to transition energy and infrastructure, leaders can rely on local resources, economic strengths, and emerging research to foster more sustainable communities.
Ultimately, inter-sector partnerships can ensure cities will effectively address the distinct, local challenges pressing the urban community, such as energy systems change. Policy, industry, and local stakeholders must coordinate to catalyze the urban green transition, focusing on goals like energy, infrastructure, and workforce development.