Bottrop, Germany - Case Study (winner of the ‘Innovation City Ruhr’ contest).
There are several examples of contradictory paradigmatic orientations, but two of them appear to be particularly crucial and will hence be discussed in detail in this section. A first recurring, sometimes very explicit, sometimes rather subtle conflict spans between a techno‐economic approach and a more comprehensive urban planning perspective. Most of the economic actors seem to share a Green New Deal vision of the IC project, arguing that efficient and “greener” technology will enable our societies to cut carbon emissions. Many of the on‐going projects were hence designed with a technology‐driven industry perspective, demonstrating the potential of available or prototype technology in the energy field. The first and central concern for the involved companies is, of course, to push their sales locally in Bottrop and to create a positive reputation for the company, which in the mid‐ and long‐run also helps to increase benefits. In contrast, the alternative, holistic urban planning perspective considers technology rather as part of a complex socio‐technical system that needs to be integrated into people’s life worlds. Rather than “merely” implementing technology, one needs to consider a multitude of interacting elements, find compromises between diverging interests and design individual, creative solutions in a concrete context. Thus, several leading experts from the city administration are quite critical regarding the perceived industry‐focus of IC:
“60 or 70 large companies in the Ruhr area are united, but I have the feeling that they haven ́t thought it through. They didn ́t know what would really result from it. And they also haven ́t understood that such a city may also sing a different tune and has different tasks compared to an industrial business. (...) The city is no business enterprise, having to maximize profits. We have completely different tasks to fulfill.“
“Where I disagree slightly is the strong economic focus. (...) And that is why (...) we have to place particular emphasis on the areas of living quality, housing quality etc. and such things. The IC management GmbH shows relatively little interest in that. (...) They want to sell products (...). And such ‚soft‘ factors are often not considered.“
Regardless of the building concept, opponents of the project find it also very unfortunate that ultimately, buildings of companies or of persons who are partners or have personal relationships to key IC decision makers were selected. For them, this implies a certain symbolic meaning as it illustrates the perceived distance between the IC partners and the local population."
Green Deal, United Kingdom - Case Study.
The UK Government has put a lot of efforts into the Green Deal scheme, which failed:
The problem here is that the Governments/EU funding is going through the channels which are responsible for the money distribution (mainly the Banks), but they are not equipped with the tools and expertise to supervise the Deep Renovation program implementation.
In effect, the loans and grants are passed on the individuals, who know nothing about the Deep Renovation - and they are "supported" by the authorized advisers in a following ways:
"The biggest concerns I have are the green deal installers versus the trusted "local" plumber. The local plumber will have a future interest in the job, will earn money from future servicing and can be competitive. Not to mention, someone to go and shout at if the work's not 100% up to sacratch. The green deal (as it seems to me,) works that the assessor will send down a plumber from "wherever" to do the job (I haven't found a Somerset assessor or installer yet....) and they won't care about future work on it or future responsibility such as servicing or the like. Also isn't there an enormous opportunity for mischief amongst the installers, for instance, if a local trusted plumber would charge (say for instance) £2000 for a new boiler, what's to stop the green deal allocated installers from doing a £2000 job but putting £3000 on your bill? I heard on the grapevine that the assessors and companies taking part in the G.D. have to shell out a significant amount of money to "join" the scheme and they are going to want to get that back aren't they?"
16th Apr 15, 11:36 PM
We have made some progress since my first posting a couple of months ago abut the difficulties of finding providers in the West Midlands. We ended up with only one who responded to our enquiry; they came and surveyed and then provided very confusing quotes - five or six for three jobs - but that was the correct documentation for our application on 17 March. After about three weeks the voucher arrived and we re-started discussion with that provider. But I'm no less confused about the whole thing and am now struggling on talking with neighbours about what they think of the works (mainly external insulation of a very large blank wall and photovoltaic panels on two roofs) and trying to find out from the Council whether or not we need to apply for planning permission.
We have absolutely NO idea how good that one provider is and how accurate their quotations are, but we see no alternative to going ahead and hoping it's all worth while - or dropping out and losing the £150 survey fee.
Green deal sounds great on paper - but none of the firms involved seem to have read the paper...."
The individual clients are treated as the golden opportunities by each party in the supplying chain, because these clients are not the experts. The biggest single market in the Europe, causing a 30% of the energy losses is also the most fragmented one, and it is practically out of control.
To make the community scale revitalization projects successful, a different approach is necessary, via an uniform methodology of the projects preparation, execution and supervision.