It has been 2,5 years since the last time the full ATELIER consortium met in person. To be exact, the last time was also the first time – at the Kick Off meeting in Amsterdam in December 2019. The end of June 2022 finally provided a possibility to have a proper physical meeting with no major restrictions.

56 participants from 25 partner organisations met in the Fellow City Matosinhos at the Northern coast of Portugal. The biggest delegations came from the two Lighthouse Cities Amsterdam and Bilbao. Each of the two cities works together closely with a number of local partners who have different roles in the implementation of the Positive Energy Districts. As they were almost all present at the General Assembly meeting in Matosinhos, a deeper level of exchange with the rest of the partners was possible – especially interesting for the six Fellow Cities in ATELIER.

The 2,5 days of the meeting provided a lot of variety overall, for example by changing the venue each day. The first day took place at Matosinhos City Hall where Matosinhos’ mayor and vice-mayor welcomed the consortium in the morning and highlighted the project’s importance for reaching the climate goals that Matosinhos has set for itself. This day’s focus was to look back at the last few months, discuss internal project matters and to start with the first workshops which would be the main activity of the Matosinhos meeting. If there is one thing we have learned in the last 2,5 years, it is that one should use the rare opportunities of in-person meetings for interactive group work instead of presentations. To conclude the day, the group visited a prototype of an innovative moving building which moves to ensure the optimal intake of sunshine for its PV panels – just like a sunflower.

Browse gallery below:

Taking in as much sunshine as possible was also the unofficial motto of the second day which took place almost exclusively outside in the area of the Lionesa Business Hub. The area is planned to be one of two Positive Energy Districts in Matosinhos and was therefore already a site visit itself, even though the group mostly used it to work on the project during the day. Defying the cold breeze from the Atlantic Ocean, the participants made sure the colourful post-its didn’t fly away and used the green outside space for workshops on the Innovation Ateliers in Amsterdam and Bilbao, captivating communication about the project or the development of business models. With the goal of continuous improvement, the group also engaged in an intense project evaluation session, guided by Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. A joyful bus ride eventually took the group the river Leca where a mill is planned in order to supply energy to the PED area of Lionesa Business Hub. The bus also stopped at the area where the second PED in Matosinhos is planned: a social housing district.

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The inspiring House of Architecture in Matosinhos was the venue of the last day. In the collaboration area of the museum, the group met for another round of workshops specifically targeted at the cities in ATELIER. The Lighthouse Cities Amsterdam and Bilbao presented replicable solutions from their demonstration areas and all cities continued to work on their future City Vision towards climate neutrality.

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Check out the ATELIER Story from our Matosinhos meeting:

The next General Assembly is going to take place in the Fellow City Riga in 2023 – with smaller meetings planned in between to keep up the good dynamic established in Matosinhos. A próxima – see you soon!


Credits for images: ATELIER