Viable Cities aims to create transformative systemic change based on the mission of Climate Neutral Cities 2030 with a good life for all within the boundaries of the planet.
Viable Cities' mission is Climate Neutral Cities 2030 with a good life for all within the limits of the planet. Together with cities - municipalities, business, academia and civil society - and government agencies we work together to create ecologically, economically and socially sustainable cities. Cities that work well for the people who live in them, that are good for the economy of citizens, businesses and society - and - that are good for the climate and our planet.
Viable Cities takes a holistic approach to sustainable urban development. This means that we assume that everyone in society must be involved in order to make the necessary changes: entrepreneurs and researchers, politicians and civil servants, organizations and ordinary people. We believe that it is particularly important for citizens to be involved in the work if it is to succeed, and that digitization and digital tools can contribute to the major change in various ways. The initiatives in Viable Cities are based on a mission-oriented approach where key initiatives are Climate City Contract 2030, mission infrastructure for coordination and support, system demonstrators for experimentation and implementation, and Transition Lab for orchestration and reflexive learning.
We see climate change as a symptom of structural problems in the economy and social systems. The magnitude of the challenges we face as a civilization will mean that many governments will make significant investments in the transition (so-called Transitional Capital, e.g. Green Deal for Europe). Within Viable Cities, we intend to use our budget as a catalyst to build societal, political and operational capacity to invest capital in the best possible way to create climate-neutral cities by 2030 with a good life for all within the boundaries of the planet. To preserve and develop our democracy, this transition needs to be a co-creative process.
The purpose of Viable Cities is to create transformative systemic change based on the mission of Climate Neutral Cities 2030 with a good life for all within the boundaries of the planet. The mission implies that the climate transition of cities should take place from a broad perspective, where social, ecological and economic sustainability are simultaneously considered.
This is in line with the global sustainability goals of the UN's 2030 Agenda, which is a starting point for many Swedish cities' climate and sustainability work. The 2030 Agenda can be seen as an implementation plan for the Paris Agreement's climate change commitments. The mission is also in line with the Swedish environmental goals and the climate policy framework with no net emissions of greenhouse gases in Sweden by 2045, as well as the EU's goal of climate neutrality by 2050.
By leading the transition, through co-creation and learning with cities and actors in other countries and at the international level, Viable Cities strives to fulfill the vision that Sweden inspires and has a leading role in the energy and climate transition through climate neutral and sustainable cities.
With the mission of climate-neutral cities as its north star, the transition is happening all over the world, at multiple levels, and Viable Cities is constantly creating, building and strengthening partnerships to increase the momentum for it. We participate in, collaborate with and support several initiatives, programs and efforts across borders.
The Mission for Climate Neutral and Sustainable Cities 2030 is a global movement, at the local level. Hundreds - and probably thousands - of cities across the globe have realized not only that they are causing many of the pressures on the planet that we need to address, but that they also have great potential to change what happens within their geographical area. So no matter what national governments do, cities can take the lead and make changes at home. By cities working on these major societal challenges and learning from each other, the transition will be faster for the cities that follow.
So, Borlänge in Sweden, Valencia in Spain, Odessa in Ukraine and Bogota in Colombia are on the same journey, the local transition journey. And Viable Cities, as well as the EU, the Covenant of Mayors, EuroCities and many, many more organizations, are working to facilitate cities joining forces for the common mission: climate-neutral cities by 2030 with a good life for all within the boundaries of the planet.
Viable Cities' largest initiative is Climate Neutral Cities 2030 - a national effort for the local transition journey. Within the initiative, 23 Swedish cities and six national government agencies are currently working on the mission: to create cities that work well for the people who live in them, that are good for citizens, businesses and society's economy - and - that are good for the climate.
Within Viable Cities, a growing number of cities are mobilizing with a wide range of stakeholders to accelerate the local transition journey to climate-neutral and sustainable communities. Mobilization takes place at several levels simultaneously - local, regional, national and international. But how did it start?
Ten years ago, in 2013, it was already clear that the driving force in cities is crucial if we are to meet the climate crisis and achieve the Agenda 2030 goals. Within KTH's Energy Platform, then led by Olga Kordas, the idea of starting a program for smart and sustainable cities in Sweden was born. In the following years, she explored, in various constellations of actors from academia, business and civil society, what an initiative on smart and sustainable cities with a focus on energy and climate change could look like. A framework for the work was gradually created and in 2017 the seventeenth Swedish strategic innovation program - Viable Cities - was finally launched, with former finance minister Allan Larsson as chairman, and with funding from the Swedish Energy Agency, Formas and Vinnova.
The mission was formulated: climate-neutral cities by 2030 with a good life for all within the boundaries of the planet. In short, this means fixing the climate crisis. But that is not enough, we also need to ensure that people on Earth can live a good life.
Right from the start, the European Commission fueled our work. 'It is not you who should come to us and ask how to do it. We will come to you and see how you do it," said Kurt Vandenberghe, now head of the European Commission's Directorate-General for Climate Action, at a meeting in Brussels in April 2018. The mission-driven work took off in 2018 with the Climate Neutral Cities 2030 initiative, initially with nine Swedish municipalities and then in 2021 with 23 municipalities, all with very high ambitions in the climate and sustainability transition.
Viable Cities is a network organization and the program office is staffed by KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Lund University, RISE Research Institute of Sweden, and SEI Stockholm Environment Institute. KTH is the host organization for and coordinates Viable Cities.