Working Group on Cities and Communities

Status: Completed (2018 - 2021)

Operating Agent:
Helmut Strasser
Salzburg Institute for Regional Planning and Housing (SIR)
Schillerstrasse 25
A-5020 Salzburg, Austria


Cities face extensive challenges when it comes to transformation of their energy and transport systems, such as the creation of suitable decarbonisation strategies. The selection of the best-fit solutions to meet their specific and individual prerequisites requires comprehensive skills, knowledge and resources, which are often lacking in smaller communities. In addition, these decision making and planning processes often take place in a highly dynamic environment with a large number of further requirements that generally take higher priority. This complexity often leads to uncoordinated decision-making not only within cities, but also within different stakeholder groups. While solutions are often provided at a strategic level, decisions at the urban scale can have substantial impacts on individual approaches and technologies. The ‘Working Group on Cities and Communities’ (WGCC) has helped to improve this situation by integrating these 'urban issues' into R&D being carried out by the IEA Technology Collaboration Programmes (TCPs).

The WGCC was an EBC-hosted (single-leadership) delegating structure that is intended to share (provide and gain) information between multiple IEA TCPs and cities with a bi-directional approach. It linked to existing IEA Working and Coordination Groups, either directly through the EBC Executive Committee, or through nominated experts, and fed into IEA publications and workshops. As an open working group, the WGCC invited expert participation through the various TCPs to work together on different tasks, as well as the participation of external experts not affiliated with the IEA. 

The project objectives were to:

  • assess and identify the needs of cities, their actors and associated stakeholders
  • generate appropriate non-technical ‘on demand’ input and service ideas for cities
  • identify and discuss bottlenecks and barriers for the transformation of cities’ energy and transport systems
  • discuss and provide results and (policy) recommendations on energy and transport systems
  • close the gap between cities and research.

The WGCC was organized primarily through:

  • workshops and other exchange activities;
  • capacity building and training activities;
  • documenting cross-TCP activities, joint TCP publications  and policy recommendations;
  • short-term projects and research;
  • additional activities targeted directly to the specific needs of a project, research, or city requirements.
  • Through these activities, the WGCC plans to identify the crucial needs of cities, which will be translated into research questions for short term projects and research within the Working Group.

The project target audience is primarily urban decision makers (administration, planning staff, etc), intermediaries (local / national), and IEA in-house staff and the IEA research community.


Austria, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Japan, P.R. China, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA