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City-zen: a balanced approach to the city of the future

Project Details

Project date: 
March, 2014 to February, 2019

Budget Information

EU contribution: 
Total cost : 
Funding programme: 
4- Demonstration of optimised energy systems for high performance-energy districts.

Pilot Cities

  1. Grenoble
  2. Amsterdam

CITY-ZEN aims to develop and demonstrate zero energy cities with a central role for citizens. The team of the project works together to achieve a future-proof grid, innovative heat and cold solutions and energy efficient buildings.

The City-zen project has three major goals:

  • Showcase ambitious pilot demonstration projects related to energy efficient retrofitting, innovative district heating and cooling networks and smart grids at the level of districts,
  • Link cities’ and citizens’ needs with industries, so they can develop innovative technology for the benefit of smart cities and citizens,
  • Demonstrate effective planning methodologies and collaboration models between city stakeholders for the development of smart cities.

To achieve these objectives, City-zen will create and demonstrate:

  • A transparent cooperation model to enhance the transition towards the future integrated city through strong collaboration between local authorities, infrastructure owners, housing companies, universities and citizens;
  • Flexible and future proof infrastructure which invites and enables industries and citizens to innovate, co-create and work together on new zero energy solutions;
  • A series of innovative demonstrations in two districts, Nieuw-West in Amsterdam and in Grenoble

The expected impacts are:

  • 22 innovations in Grenoble & Amsterdam
  • 59,000 tons per year CO2 savings
  • 90,000 m² renovated residential buildings
  • 10,000 connected dwellings with a Smart Grid
Visualisation type: 
Expected results


Go2Zero is a serious (role playing) game for decision makers – such as local governments, construction companies, network operators, (local) energy suppliers and citizens- who are active in the transition towards fossil free cities. The game helps them experience the consequences of individual decisions and different strategies.  

The Age of Energy

The Age of Energy, an award winning game, was designed by City-zen partner Clicks+Links to make it fun to start saving energy at home. The goal of the game is to engage young people in cities to save energy by raising awareness and changing behaviour through the familiar medium of gaming.