SmartEnCity Regeneration Strategy: Review of regulatory gaps and recommendations to facilitate city transformation processes

The Paper highlights main barriers for city transformation and adoption of innovative technologies in the domains of urban retrofitting, energy supply, mobility, ICT and social engagement. Based on experiences from 3 Lighthouse and 2 Follower Cities, relevant industries and academia the major barriers are identified and analysed along with potential solutions for overcoming such barriers.

City transformation take place in highly regulated areas at local, regional, national and EU levels. In some cases, legislation constitutes barriers for city transformation and adoption of innovative technologies – along with e.g. economical, technological, social barriers. 

This paper describes barriers for successful implementation of demonstrator projects in SmartEnCity. Barriers and potential solutions have been identified by stakeholders in the three ‘Lighthouse Cities’. These are categorised in five topics: Urban retrofitting, Energy supply, Mobility, ICT and Social engagement and summarised below.  

Urban retrofitting

Barriers

  • Structure of ownership (split incentive between owner and tenant)
  • Difficult to obtain mortgage loans.
  • EU-legislation and building codes have a unilateral focus on energy consumption of the single building

Solutions

  • Participatory processes and information to engage citizens and property owners
  • Guarantee fund for financial support 

Energy supply

Barriers

  • RES-technologies can still not compete with carbon based technologies.
  • Support schemes do not grant RES-technologies the environmental benefits they provide.
  • Shifting support schemes make RES-market situation insecure for investors.
  • Difficult to find enough suitable areas for RES-plants.
  • Minimum number of buildings need to be connected to District Heating to make it viable.

Solutions

  • Harmonised and long-lasting legislation.
  • A local anchoring of RES-projects.
  • Shares in RES-projects reserved for locals.
  • Public sector support District Heating system (guaranteed operation for a number of years).

Mobility

Barriers

  • Price and lack of range of Electric Vehicles (range anxiety).
  • Lack of charging infrastructure.

Solutions

  • Tax exceptions or support schemes for Electric Vehicles.
  • Cities should set up charging infrastructure.
  • Positive discrimination of Electric Vehicles (e.g. free on-street parking, exception of road tolls, special lanes or bus lane access).
  • Promote use of public transportation, and biking and walking.
  • Establish safe bike lanes and safe bike parking.
  • Bring bikes on board trains or metros.
  • Logistic micro hubs with Electric Vehicles and rental bikes in connection to public transport. Delivery system of E-vans and cargo bikes in central urban areas

ICT

Barriers

  • Privacy and cyber security.
  • Lack of a sufficient ICT professionals.

Solutions

  • Cooperation between organisations or cities on ICT development (bring down costs).

Social engagement

Barriers

  • Lack of information and information asymmetry at the level of both decision makers and practitioners.
  • Divergence of interests between actors.
  • Citizens consider measures a decrease in quality of life.
  •  “Not my business”: Integrated solutions require commitment from different departments.
  • Politicians think short term (while transformation may take decades).

Solutions

  • Communication campaign.
  • Political consensus agreement.
  • Local economic ownership in for e.g. RES-projects.

Find full paper here.

Contact: Simon Stendorf Sørensen, PlanEnergi, sss(at)planenergi.dk