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Famiglia in bicicletta


"Recognizing the need is the primary condition
for design."

- Charles Eames -


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DivAirCity is a project that “recognizes, accepts and celebrates differences” in cities and turns them into a true value to address the emergency of air pollution and climate change.

DivAirCity shifts the urban paradigm by valuing human diversity as a resource to define new services/models towards cultural-driven green cities.

The project focuses on the nexus between people, places, peace, economic growth, and its impact on air quality and decarbonisation.

The latest Covid 19 pandemic has stressed the relationship between air polluted urban areas and health/wellbeing. On top of this, it has demonstrated that a pandemic is not a social leveller but further emphasises the impact of social inequalities in cities. The paradigm between air pollution, diversity, social inequalities and cities is a challenge that needs immediate action.

DivAirCity is a 4 year project, funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 (H2020) – R&I programme, which pursues the Sustainable Development Goals, values diversity and social inclusion to achieve innovative, creative, culture-driven, green and carbon neutral urban society.

DivAirCity addresses the equation of social inequality, health conditions and air pollution in cities. It involves 26 EU organisations and 68 international external stakeholders, and creates replicable pilots starting from 5 EU cities: Aarhus (DK), Bucharest (RO), Castellon (ES), Orvieto (IT), Potsdam (D).


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GENERA is a project which assists public authorities in transforming the energy context of the European regions, in order to facilitate a rapid transition to a decarbonised and sustainable economy. 

GENERA has 2 main goals: first to establish a framework of energy transition measures for the implementation of the energy transition agendas in tourist islands municipalities, while assisting them along the whole path from the agenda creation, to implementation measures and promoting its citizen engagement, in accordance with the EU Island Clean Energy Transition Agendas and the Covenant of Mayors. Secondly, to promote the implementation of energy monitoring measures to quantify the evolution process.

Its concept is grounded on 4 principles: 

1) create an ecosystem including all energy transition actors to design and implement the energy roadmaps at the local level to achieve EU island energy transition roadmaps, plans and SECAPs, aiming at the definition of a replicability methodology and sustainability guidelines;

2) provide ET actors with novel, valuable and common multi-criteria energy monitoring tools, tailored to the needs of the islands, to facilitate decision making and drive the sustainable energy transition leveraging on existing initiatives;

3) provide efficient and effective large-scale capacity building programmes adapted to each actor's requirements;

4) involve local societies, permanent and seasonal inhabitants, and tourists through both a digital social platform and physical events with the aim of creating a new generation of energy-sensitive citizens that are part of the energy transition mission.


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The Energy Transition Audits towards Decarbonization (EnTRAINER) Project aims at introducing a paradigm shift in  the way the actual conventional energy audits are performed, with their focus on medium-term investment plans and quantified energy savings. At the same time, it specifies a clear pathway for a complete decarbonization action plan.

The involved enterprises will benefit from the proposed energy efficiency measures, from a medium-term investment plans for 3 to 5 years and from the  general guidelines on how to achieve total decarbonization. The project experts  will cooperate with energy intensive industrial sites, with key decision makers, technical, production and energy managers, towards  the implementation of preliminary energy scans.  

Furthermore, the project will develop an energy forum for selected lighthouse industrial sites together with their supply chain and for business to business cooperation.

USE Efficiency


USE Efficiency, funded by the Europen Commision under Intelligent Energy Europe, from 2009 to 2012, in a joint coordination role with the University of Tor Vergata.
The project was nominated in 2012 and 2013 among the top 5 EU projects for education during the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW).

The goal of the USE Efficiency project was to create a common stream for energy efficiency systems in university buildings. The project involved 10 EU countries, including 9 universities and 4 market players.

Both universities and students were targeted as important role models for attaining energy-efficient solutions and energy-conscious behavior. Students were the project’s main actors, as they learned about energy efficiency by working and interacting with professors and energy experts.

Project outputs were:

1) Collection and analysis of available EPA methodologies;

2) Improved energy performance of university buildings;

3) Student trainings for students;

4) Active involvement in defining energy efficient measures for universities;

5) Information and experience exchange among key actors and universities;

6) An increase in knowledge shared internationally energy efficiency for buildings.

USE EFFICIENCY IEE project was the project out of which the UniverCities Association was founded in 2012 (former and legal name of the association is USE Efficiency Association).

USE Efficiency Olympic 2012 Summer School

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A project to turning students into tomorrow’s Built Environment practitioners and champions of energy efficiency.

In 2012 the former USE EFFICIENCY ASSOCIATION (now rebranded UniverCities) contacted the Institute of Engineering and Technology (IET) in the UK after the end of the EC funded project USE Efficiency and posed an important challenge, supported by the European  Commission letter of intent. If the Assocition could secure 100 building design and energy efficiency undergraduates into London during the Olympic Games, secure a venue for a Summer School in London and find accommodation for them, would the IET be able to put the infrastructure designers of the Games in front of the student to tell them how the UK delivered the Infrastructure challenges?


We delivered on our part of the bargain, so the pressure was on the IET to do its part. Students from all over Europe had found a field in North London and a spare classroom in a London University and were now keen to learn from the experts.

As the IET was the ODA Sponsor of Sustainable Infrastructure and Ambassador of its learning Legacy operation, they quickly managed to secure contributions to the 2012 Summer School from the Infrastructure contractors; namely Buro Happold, Atkins Global, Laing O’Rourke, Expedition, Arup Associates, SVA, AECOM and DPSP. The students learned a huge amount from the case studies presented by the stakeholders and fed back on their perspective on the approach taken.

But being a Summer School, the contractors pushed back with their own challenge. They challenged the students to take what they have learned in their 3rd year at university and what they may have picked up at the summer school where they had to apply their knowledge.

Divided into groups, they were all give different global locations with their own environmental challenges and asked to design a stadium for that region that would be able to feature in a major international sporting event like Games.

The presentation fed back by the students not only stunned the IET, they astonished the London 2012 Infrastructure contractors. The talent in the room become obvious.

It is hardly surprising that none of these European students failed to secure jobs the moment. They are all successfully employed keeping an active online connection with the association and their with the new student members, encouraging their colleagues in their final year.

Daniela Melandri (President of the Association) said: “The partnership between USE Efficiency (UniverCities) and the IET gave a strong added value to the project and has facilitated the interaction between young people and leading market players, allowing them to enhance the skills and expertise required in energy efficiency and the use of renewables.”

Bruce McLelland (former IET Built Environment Sector Head) commented “I was astonished at the level of commitment these students possessed. Against all the odds, they arrived in London and gave every waking minute into learning from the experts and applying their knowledge into their presentation as a team. They were living in basic campsite conditions with limited access to IT, yet still pulled it off in a matter of days. Astonishing”.

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