From 20 September till 22 September 2017 the Climate Alliance International Annual Conference took place in Essen - and therefore at the heart of CAN! The project partners of Essen and Arnhem made use of the opportunity given by the lead partner Climate Alliance to share their CAN activities and experiences with about 20 representatives of local authorities from across Europe: During the in situ session entitled "Empowering neighbourhoods" they discussed how a focus on neighbourhood-based, bottom-up approaches can raise awareness for both sustainability and energy saving while leading to lasting engagement.
Particularly interesting for the local authorities present was the contribution of Susanne Wiegel, founding member of the Transition Town Initiative Essen. She gave the audience a vivid insight into the perspective of civil society while explaining that she appreciated the very "unbureaucratic" way in which municipal administration supported the initiative. Some very "committed employees" of the City Council helped the members of the initiative to realize a manifold set of projects, among others an urban gardening project. According to Susanne Wiegel, however, to make this engagement of the residents last, municipal support must not depend so much on individuals but should be more structurally anchored in the future.