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ECCI links China and Scotland for biggest global climate hackathon in history

114 cities in 44 countries tackled local climate change challenges during a 24-hour hackathon last week (Friday 26 and Saturday 27 October), with ECCI hosting events in Edinburgh and Shanghai Lingang.

Nearly 6,000 miles apart, the two Climathon events united citizens, researchers and data experts in tackling the defining climate challenges of their cities.

Edinburgh’s Climathon, hosted in ECCI’s award-winning building by the centre's Director Andy Kerr, brought together residents with city and data experts to explore how data insights can feed into the redevelopment of the city centre and help Edinburgh become a clean, connected and thriving place to live.

The best ideas included a Street Advisor Map where citizens and visitors can post reviews on a particular street, A Data Sourcing and Mining Project that will bring together and overlay diverse sources of data, and a Walking and Cycling Model of Edinburgh to complement the existing public transport model. City officials who took part in the Climathon are taking the ideas back into planning meetings and will continue to develop them with ECCI.

Climathon Shanghai - the first of its kind in the new city of Shanghai Lingang, hosted at the China-UK Low Carbon College - saw 60 participants rising to the challenge of finding a way to make the new city the best place in China for smart mobility. It was led by ECCI Deputy Director Ed Craig, currenlty on secondment as a Dean at the college.

Teams hosted by local authorities, universities and NGOs in cities across the world including Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town, Sydney, Birmingham and London brought people together to solve climate challenges – from sustainable food in Paris to air pollution in Coventry.

Cities are already contributing more than 70 per cent of global carbon emissions and are growing rapidly, with up to 80 per cent of the world’s population expected to live in cities by 2050. Engaging citizens in city-level action is now critical to achieving systemic change at speed and scale.

Kirsten Dunlop, EIT Climate-KIC CEO, said:

“The recent IPCC report has thrown down the gauntlet to governments and cities. The challenges of meeting a 1.5 degree target are so immense that it is difficult to comprehend the scale and scope of transformation required.

"We have ten years to set radical changes in motion in all sectors and, most crucially, in our own minds and everyday choices.

“Cities are where risks are aggregating and also where a more sustainable version of prosperity could have the greatest and most tangible impact. Better air quality, cleaner water, greener neighbourhoods leading to improved mental health and social well-being, less energy poverty, healthier food. Cities can make all the difference.

"Climathon offers cities an incredible tool with which to engage and inspire their communities. The combination of collective intelligence and action that stems from Climathon gives us hope that we can do this, if we work together.”

Interested in how Edinburgh can become a thriving low carbon place to live and work?