Smart Sustainable Districts (SSD)


Institute’s role: Lead partner

Background: Smart Sustainable Districts (SSD) is a Climate-KIC flagship programme working with city leaders in some of the highest profile and aspirational district developments in Europe. The programme aims to identify solutions to urban sustainability and climate change challenges, contributing towards the European Union’s target to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050. The SSD team and district partners are co-developing integrated, systemic solutions to be applied with measurable environmental, social and economic benefits at district scale.

Challenge: Cities account for 60%-80% of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With two thirds of the world’s population projected to be living in urban areas by 2050, cities are experiencing increasing pressures on their infrastructure, services and resources (World Resources Institute, 2013). Comprised of complicated systems, cities present many of the greatest challenges to dealing with climate change. District-level investments provide an appropriate scale to demonstrate technologies and interventions which can be replicated and scaled up to city levels.

Activity: Working across district infrastructure, transport, utilities, and the built environment, SSD is addressing district-wide energy efficiency, resource consumption and quality of life, by optimising the impact of products, technologies, services and expertise. 

SSD provides an impartial team of experts to work with districts and co-develop integrated solutions that achieve district-wide improvements.

The SSD partners are identifying opportunities to:

  • interconnect solutions with district governance and community systems to provide the capabilities for long-lasting engagement;
  • eliminate existing silos in urban systems to optimise the impact of new technologies and integrated services;
  • and apply a more co-ordinated approach to meet innovation needs.

A holistic approach has the potential to simultaneously reduce costs, improve quality of life and make an important contribution to developing smart, sustainable districts of the future.

Seven European districts are participating in SSD. Four are piloting an intense work programme developed to address district needs: Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (QEOP) in London, Utrecht Centre-West, Docks de Saint Ouen near Paris and the Berlin district Moabit West. 

Partners: SSD has a core team of 14 partners, based in seven European countries, covering a broad range of topics that correspond to the challenges facing city districts in areas such as the built environment, sociotechnical issues, tools and models, to enable decision making, data/digital infrastructure and analysis. 

Funder: The SSD project is funded by Climate-KIC.



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