It’s been 3,5 years since ATELIER started shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s General Assembly in our Fellow City Riga was focused on two key aspects: making plans for a very crucial phase in the project: evaluation our activities and getting to know Riga, its stakeholders and its ambitions for the future.

Our meeting in Riga had originally been planned for June 2022. Due to the uncertainty caused by the Russian aggression towards Ukraine it was decided a few months before to reschedule the Riga meeting to 2023. Despite the ongoing war in Ukraine (regarding which we experienced strong solidarity for Ukraine all over Riga), ATELIER’s visit to Riga took place under perfect circumstances: warm weather, spacious venues, short walking distances and many possibilities to meet and exchange.

The nature of our yearly meetings has changed a lot over the last few years. As many of our meetings that had been planned as in-person meetings have been moved to the digital sphere, the few in-person meetings we still have are very precious to us. This is why we aim to keep presentations short and use the majority of the time for interactive workshops, informative site visits and discussions about project tasks in smaller groups.

In the discussions on the progress over the last few months and the plans for the time ahead we noticed the need to be flexible and find solutions for unexpected circumstances. In both of our Lighthouse Cities Amsterdam and Bilbao, we delays, changes or detours in the construction of the PED buildings caused by many different factors –  amongst others by the pandemic or risen prices for construction materials. The activities in ATELIER are interconnected, so much of our time was spent to discuss mitigation and adaptation measures.



We are approaching a crucial time on our project: monitoring and evaluating the implemented activities to assess how much potential lies in Positive Energy Districts. ATELIER will monitor a wide range of Key Performance Indicators in the Lighthouse Cities which requires alignment among the consortium and a joint understanding of the goals. It played a big part in our Riga meeting and will continue to do so until the end of the project and beyond.

The hosts of our meeting – our dear colleagues from the Municipality of Riga – arranged multiple possibilities to learn more about Riga and its particular situation. This included a site visit to Riga’s Municipal District Heating operator “Rīgas siltums” where the consortium engaged in thorough discussions with its board of management. Following that, the consortium visited the “Skanste” neighbourhood – a mainly residential district with a few big commercial companies where Riga plans to implement a Positive Energy Districts involving the lessons learnt from ATELIER.

On the 3rd and 4th day of the meeting, around 50 local stakeholders were invited to the City Hall. Riga’s bold city vision 2050 developed in ATELIER and Riga’s commitment to become climate-neutral by 2030 in the framework of the EU’s 100 climate-neutral and smart cities mission were introduced as the main pillars of Riga’s energy and climate planning. ATELIER partners TECNALIA, TNO, CARTIF and the two Lighthouse Cities Amsterdam and Bilbao presented their approach to PEDs in the framework of similar ambitions goals.

Recharged with collaborative energy from the project meeting we’re looking forward to the next few months and to the next occasion to meet: in the Fellow City of Krakow! 

(PS: let us not forget about the fun little moments during the meeting! The most unexpected one was definitely randomly meeting Latvia’s President Egils Levits in front of the Riga City Hall! See below for selfie proof! 🙂 )

ATELIER partners met Latvia's president Egils Levits in front of Riga's City Hall

Author: Regine Wehner, Steinbeis Europa Zentrum

Image credits: ATELIER