The kick-off meeting of the European Programme "Living Streets and Citizen Engagement in Local Energy and Climate Projects", held in Ghent, Belgium from 25th to 27th of February 2020, was completed successfully. It was attended by executives from the Cities Network SUSTAINABLE CITY, representatives of the Municipalities of Aigialeia, Eastern Samos, Elliniko - Argyroupoli, Ermionida, Igoumenitsa, Corinth and Florina, who are members of the Network, as well as representatives from Croatia and Portugal.
Living Streets aims to transform specific streets in different parts of cities into social hubs. Municipalities will temporarily block a road of their choice, in order to make it a safe meeting point for all residents, while promoting the sustainability of their cities, as vehicles will be banned. Citizens' participation in this venture is vital, as they will be able to get involved in the creation, maintenance and operation of "Living Streets" in their neighborhoods.
Participants had the opportunity to converse with the creators of this groundbreaking project, with executives from the European Network Energy Cities, of which SUSTAINABLE CITY is a member, as well as with representatives of the city of Ghent, who have now taken full responsibility for leading and creating Living Streets in their city.
The representatives of the Municipalities were very attentive to the presentations of the other participants, were informed about how the project has been implemented in other European cities and how they can adjust it to their own local contexts. Indicatively the cities of Ghent and Brussels in Belgium, Turin in Italy and Rotterdam in the Netherlands are mentioned. Ghent, which is the inspiration for this project, has already created more than 50 such roads since 2013.
In addition it was important that the representatives of the Municipalities attended the meeting, were particularly interested in the specific project, were invited to envision its implementation in an interactive environment, expressed their views on the challenges that might arise during application and how to address them. Furthermore, they exchanged ideas on the opportunities presented and the fact that this Programme can be a starting point for future actions in our country.
SUSTAINABLE CITY, being responsible for the implementation of Living Streets in Greece, will publish in the near future a Call for Interest inviting Municipalities to apply for funding. Applications will be evaluated and initially 2 cities will be selected to carry out Living Streets in Greece. SUSTAINABLE CITY will also support any member who wish to implement the project.
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