Welcome to ATELIER project, the youngest member of the Smart Cities family! With this first newsletter, we would like to introduce us, the project, our cities and our objectives.

ATELIER is a Horizon 2020 Smart Cities and Communities project, receiving funding from the European Commission to foster the development of more Positive Energy Districts (PEDs) in Europe. By combining the expertise and the commitment of 30 partners from 11 European countries, we will implement innovative solutions in our two Lighthouse Cities Amsterdam and Bilbao. In parallel, our six Fellow Cities Bratislava, Budapest, Copenhagen, Krakow, Matosinhos and Riga, will learn from these innovations and test them for replicability according to their specific local conditions. Together with our four sister projects, +CityXChange, MAKING-CITY, SPARC’s and POCITYF, ATELIER thus contributes to the creation of more PEDs and thus less CO2 emissions within Europe.

PED Innovation Ateliers

In ATELIER, the PED approach is realized with the help of so-called Positive Energy District Innovation Ateliers that will be implemented as part of the project. The first two PED Innovation Ateliers will be developed in the two Lighthouse Cities Amsterdam and Bilbao, with the six Fellow Cities following shortly afterwards. The aim of these physical ateliers is to provide a meeting place where different types of stakeholders, like industry and investors, but most importantly, citizens and local innovators, will be closely involved in the design processes and the implementations of the smart solutions in their homes and districts. “Our vision is to create dedicated PED Innovation Ateliers to strengthen the local innovation ecosystem, and to remove legal, financial or social barriers to the implementation of smart solutions”, says Frank Tazelaar, Head of Sustainability at the City of Amsterdam. “The Innovation Ateliers will be self-sustaining, thus being engines for the upscaling and replication of solutions within the ATELIER cities and beyond.”, he adds. The physical ateliers are an important cornerstone of the ATELIER activities. They are therefore also reflected in our logo with two three-dimensional cubes representing the two Lighthouse Cities and one cube divided into six parts to represent the Fellow Cities.

ATELIER project logo with three-dimensional cubes representing the eight ateliers.

City Vision 2050

Each city will develop its own bold City Vision for 2050: “With ATELIER, we really want to pave the way for more ‘positive’ cities in Europe. Therefore, each of our eight involved cities will develop a City Vision 2050 that constitutes the roadmap for upscaling solutions in the long term. The main objective of this is to guarantee a seamless city transformation from planning to implementation and further upscaling and replication”, explains Eduardo Zabala of Tecnalia Research & Innovation, leader of the City Vision 2050 work.

Citizen and Stakeholder Engagement

One of the key ambitions of ATELIER is a strong and proactive involvement of citizens to increase their energy awareness and to invite them to more energy efficient behaviour. With different activities, the cities of ATELIER aim to empower their citizens, supporting them to play an active role in the energy system as a prosumer by consuming but also producing energy at the same time. The ATELIER approach specifically considers the role of the citizens as local residents but also as co-deciders, co-implementers and users of smart urban solutions in the PEDs. To achieve this, ATELIER will organise project events and citizen engagement activities at local level to engage in a dialogue with citizens and other interested stakeholders to showcase how the different ATELIER activities will have a positive impact upon their lives.


As PEDs are a rather new concept, there are only few real-world examples to learn from. The design process of the ATELIER PED’s is thus essential for replication across other cities with different geographic, climate, economic, social or cultural scenarios. ATELIER will therefore address extensive replication and upscaling activities to disseminate best practices and effective solutions based on two different actions: first, replication of PEDs in previously identified areas within the six Fellow Cities, and second, through the development of individual Replication Plans in the Fellow Cities and Upscaling Plans in the Lighthouse Cities. The main pillars of the Replication Plans will be the creation of PED Innovation Ateliers within the Fellow Cities to coordinate city council departments, to integrate strategies and to engage the respective stakeholders.