European cities strongly rely on heritage and tourism, which must marry environmental concerns, and sustainable access and mobility, with economic development. The CIVITAS cities face common problems: they are all historic cities with common layouts, and a very valuable heritage to be preserved and enhanced. The partners also face unique local and regional challenges, including those brought about by social and economic integration within the EU. The added value of the RENAISSANCE project was significant as the demonstrated best practices had resonance and relevance throughout the range of European Historic Cities.
CIVITAS RENAISSANCE embraced the motto of 'Testing Innovative Strategies for Clean Urban Transport for historic European cities'. It was a project between five cities that face mobility challenges through seasonal tourism: Perugia (Italy), Bath (UK), Gorna Oryhavitsa (Bulgaria), Szczecinek (Poland), and Skopje (FYR of Macedonia).
RENAISSANCE aimed to develop a valid, reliable and integrated package of access and mobility measures for historic cities. These would enable the rediscovery, preservation and enhancement of historic cities in Europe, together with the sustainable development of local economy, to the benefit of visitors, residents and local business alike. RENAISSANCE brought together a group of historic/tourism cities across Europe at the vanguard of sustainable development.
CIVITAS RENAISSANCE demonstrated that new and innovative transport solutions could facilitate mobility, economic growth and environmental sustainability while protecting the valuable fabric of historic cities. Innovative transport management strategies proved to reduce congestion, and will initiate a shift away from the private car to sustainable modes and vehicles. RENAISSANCE raised public awareness of transport and environmental issues. Cleaner urban transport in historic cities will help preserve the tradition, culture and architectural heritage upon which local economy and social development largely depend. This will enhance economic activities and social aspects.
A key project outcome was the development and validation of new break-through solutions and best practice, that would inspire historic cities across Europe to improve existing services, and make public transport more attractive. The approach taken ensured that results would be verified and could be applied to other cities. Successful implementation of the RENAISSANCE measures would become a turning point for managing traffic in historic towns throughout Europe. The lessons learned would be invaluable to European policy making and for the promotion of a sustainable transport future in Europe.
The main end result of RENAISSANCE has been demonstrating that a high level of energy performance in new and refurbished buildings can be achieved at reasonable costs with existing technological solutions if applied appropriately.
The Project highlighted the importance of the appropriation process of numerous changes resulting from ambitious energy performance for all stakeholders, including developers, architects, engineers, constructors, building operators and end users, and, consequently, the need of developing appropriate information, training and technical supports.
To widely disseminate the projects results and to foster the mainstreaming of innovative buildings for low-energy cities, a sound experience capitalisation work was carried out to assess all lessons learned from the project regarding each stage of the appropriation process. The results of these analyses were recorded in several handbooks made available on the website and widely disseminated as hard copies through conferences, workshops and trainings.
Several activities have been carried out to encourage local and national energy policies and regulations to leapfrog in terms of energy efficiency and renewable energy targets, by exploiting the unique innovation opportunities offered by demonstration projects of this size. Last but not least, the project focused on strengthening the capacity of project stakeholders involved at each stage of the building process (from design to commissioning), through training and expert technical support.
The RENAISSANCE project demonstrated that practical solutions to local energy needs, applied in highly innovative ways, have large and immediate potential for replication across the rest of Europe, paving the way towards Post-Carbon Cities.
Innovating for the future: technology and behaviour.
Promoting more sustainable development.