Urban Governance and Social Innovation

Digital teaching method on Positive Energy Districts

6 Jul 2022 14:27 | Urban Governance

Positive Energy Districts (PEDs) are all about working towards a climate-neutral built environment in integrated fashion. Projects according to this working method have already been implemented in Amsterdam and Bilbao. What lessons can be drawn from these projects? To answer this question, an Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) has now been produced. The course forms part of the Atelier project, which is being funded by the EU and also involves Amsterdam UAS.

Anyone to whom the PEDs’ working method appeals will be able to acquire a great deal of knowledge through the PED Learning Community, which is being launched mid-June. The online platform now features an MOOC on starting up a PED too. Researcher Marije Poel from Amsterdam UAS collaborated on the MOOC. ‘Learning is a continuous process. So much was learned within our project as well as in other PED projects that we decided to create a platform that supports joint learning. And to offer an initial course reflecting on the theoretical and potential role of the PEDs in the wider energy transition. What’s more, the training provides practical guidance on developing a PED.’

Learning by doing

Certain lessons from the projects are extremely useful, states Poel. ‘That said, the approach taken in Amsterdam and Bilbao can’t be applied to other projects without any adaptation whatsoever. The local context in these areas plays a significant role too, as do things like policy, culture and politics. It’s about learning by doing rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. Many cities are already experimenting with PEDs and learning through these.’

The latter point also prompted the launch of an MOOC now instead of at a later stage in the project and using that to continue learning together. ‘We’ve now produced an initial module for the MOOC and want to amass a community of people engaged in setting up PEDs. You can achieve more working together than alone.’


ATELIER This project is being implemented within the framework of the ATELIER research project, in which Amsterdam UAS’s Urban Technology and Urban Governance and Social Innovation Centres of Expertise are involved. As one of the participating cities, Amsterdam has received a grant for the purposes of creating an ‘energy-positive’ neighbourhood in Buiksloterham, for instance. Residents generate sustainable energy themselves there.