The IT-tools produced by
the CIDEA project
(Citizen Driven Environmental Action)
Presentation at DeIC Conference
Seminar on Digital Methods in Social Science Research
University of Copenhagen, 19 November 2014
Jens Hoff, Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
([email protected])
What is the CIDEA project?
The CIDEA project is a cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral
research project funded by the Danish Council for Strategic
Research with approximately 1.5 mill. Euro (10.9 mill.
It is a 4 year project (2010 – 2014) involving 5 senior
researchers, 1 Post.Doc., 5 PhD. students, 5 MA students &
7 Danish municipalities.
The project has helped municipalities in carrying out a
number of concrete, citizen-driven climate change mitigation
projects such as low energy villages, car free schools, and
energy renovation clusters.
The main operational goal of the project is to develop a
toolbox for climate workers in local government helping them
to initiate, carry out and evaluate climate change mitigation
The toolbox, delivered on an IT-platform, will include
organizational models and procedures for collaborative
projects that has been proven to work in practice.
The toolbox will be rolled out to all Danish municipalities by
Local Government Denmark, and will be free to use.
Fundamental research question:
How is it possible to engage and motivate citizens
to do an effort to reduce their carbon footprint?
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Focus of research:
‘Collaborative arrangements’
concerning climate change mitigation
(Healey, 2006 (1997))
‘Co-creation’ of local climate change
(Joiner & Josephs 2007)
‘Citizen driven innovation’ in climate
change policies
(Bason 2010)
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The field of possible collaborative arrangements concerning
climate change mitigation:
Initiation of intervention:
Government agents, local authority
Citizen visits
Computer games
Transport game
‘Climate families’
School campaign
Green day care
‘Climate ambassadors*
Housing cooperatives
Surveys in 3 municipalities
AB Søpassagen
Climate village
Sdr. Bjert
Civil society, citizen driven
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together in a geographical community that
has collective institutions usually share a
common interest, and are susceptible to
act together to reach common goals.
Working with communities can thus
enlarge the scale of environmental action
and speed up goal attainment. Collective
environmental action makes sense when a
certain project can only be performed with
the support of a majority of members. But
collective environmental action can also
make sense as a means to drag sceptical
persons into environmentally friendly
investments or behavior change.Collective
action and peer pressure is a promising
avenue to change the behavior of persons
who are not front-runners.
apartment blocks, neighborhoods, etc.)
IMPACT? Large-scale investments in
insulation of buildings. Large-scale
investments in renewable energy.
Reinforcement of collective identities.
Renovation of
buildings. Establishing renewable energy
• Reaches people who are not frontrunners
• Larger impact than action targeting
• Speeds up renovation by forcing people
to move at the same pace
• Allows for economy-of-scale and price
reductions when renovating
• Reinforces the collective identity of a
• Requires strong, legitimate and efficient
local leadership/front-runners
• The coordination of group dynamics to
reach consensus requires many timeconsuming meetings
•The scale and complexity of projects
require strong support from
Low-energy communities RESSOURCES
1) Projects start with front-runners.
either front-runners take the initiative
(ideal situation)
or front-runners are identified by the
municipality, and are convinced to take
environmental action.
Depending on the goal defined during the
meeting, front-runners organize different
activities in collaboration with local
government agents if necessary (ex: energy
trade show, climate friendly collective meals,
cleaning of public areas, investment in
collective environmental infrastructure,
meetings with district heating company,
provision of an electric car to be used by the
community, etc.)
Depending on the type of activities, it
might be important to secure the
continuation and maintenance of what has
already been achieved.
2) Front-runners contact community members
and organize a meeting (with the
participation of local government
agents, if necessary ) in which
participants agree on a collective goal.
Either the front-runners share their idea
(or the municipal idea) with community
members, and try to convince them
Or the discussion is open, and all
suggestions are welcome.
3) Once a collective goal is defined, the frontrunners receives a clear mandate to
work in the name of the community to
reach the collective goal.
4) Front-runners communicate regularly with
the community through existing
newspaper, briefs, homepage, social
media, meetings, etc.)
In many cases the collaboration between
front-runners and municipal agents is crucial
for the implementation of projects.
A renewing of leaders/front-runners might
be necessary to ensure that the goals and
strategies to reach them remain a
collective project (and not just the project
of those who first took the initiative).
Low-energy communities INSPIRATION
The housing co-operative AB Søpassagen: This housing co-operative is the
first CO2-neutral housing co-operative in Denmark. It is located in central
Copenhagen and consists of 90 apartments with a mix of students, families
with children, singles, and couples with a long history in the co-operative.
There are three elements in its model: 1) prioritizing an involvement of all
dwellers so that they make a personal effort and take ownership of the project.
2) technical ”fixes”, among these solar panels on the roof, new toilets, new
water taps, etc., 3) buying of CO2-quotas. This has been necessary to offset
remaining CO2-emission.
The village of Sdr. Bjert: This village in the municipality of Kolding, Denmark has approx.
900 inhabitants and has decided to become a ”low-energy village”. The preconditions in
terms of local resources and engagement are very good, and the project has been started
locally. The first priority of the village is to be 100% covered by the CO2-neutral district
heating system. Local front-runners (”expert activists”) are in charge of the project, and
municipal agents are in a facilitating role only. As the projects presents a good match
between local demands and municipal priorities it is already becoming a success. With
this foundations front-runners are already considering new areas for actions that will
mitigate climate change.
With the help of a webdesign company (1508) and a small software firm (Title) we
developed the IT-platform ”Klimakonsulenten”.
The platform is meant as a tool for municipal employees initiating climate change
mitigation project in municipalities, but can also be used by others; i.e. housing
cooperatives, villages, NGO’s, social entrepreneurs, etc.
In order to ensure dissemination and use of the platform we convinced Local
Government Denmark (KL) to insert the platform on their website. We made a
contract with them ensuring that they will maintain the platform untill 2 years after
the termination of the CIDEA project, and that it will be free to use for all interested.
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In collaboration with the municipalities of Skanderborg, Ålborg and Herning the
CIDEA projects has developed the existing website to the
Together with the small software company ”Ingen CO2” CIDEA established a project
in connection with the Central Jutland Region (Region Midtjylland) and the EU
Commission’s initiative ’Genvej til Ny Viden’.
The purpose of the EU/Region Midtjylland was to increase the number of SME’s in
the Central Jutland Region, who collaborates with knowledge institutions on
innovation, and who thereby realize a documented positive effect on their business
Together with ”Ingen CO2” CIDEA received 430,000 DKR from the EU/Region
Midtjylland project for strategic cooperation.
The purpose of the cooperation has been to continue the action research in web
applications, and to further develop among other things as a
tool for the CIDEA toolbox ”Klimakonsulenten”.
These websites are developed to help Danish citizens and companies, who want to reduce their carbon
footprint, but who lack knowledge about the existence of different possibilities, what effect different
actions have, and how to get started.
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Both versions of are build up around 12 categories, each representing a
different area of action concerning climate change mitigation (lighting, transport, heating,
etc.) . All guides are written in everyday language and demand no prior knowledge of the
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