Systems Thinking for comprehensive city Energy efficient Planning (STEEP) was a two year European FP7 funded project between the cities of Bristol, San Sebastian and Florence. The objective was to make the production and use of energy in cities more sustainable and efficient through the development of energy process models and smart city plans using a systems thinking approach.
- Each of the three cities have identified a district for which an ‘energy process model’ will be developed; mapping energy flows for each area and identifying what can be done to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions.
- Each process model will use a ‘systems’ methodology, which sees each process as a
complex ‘system’ of issues and dependencies.
- During the second year of the project, the systems methodology will be scaled-up to look across the cities producing a ‘smart city plans’ for the 3 cities.
The Systems Thinking approach is anchored in a strong view on understanding and working towards achieving the purpose of the system in question, in this case – district energy master planning and smart city plan. A number of problem structuring methods could be used to support this, here we used Hierarchical Process Modelling. The implementation of the systems approach described required engagement with project partners and wider stakeholders in the project. Modelling was a continuous iterative process within the project.
Open Source Innovation:
An Open Innovation approach was used in STEEP which makes use of open-source, open standards and open data wherever possible. The project created an online stakeholder engagement platform which included the creative visualisation of data impacting on energy demand and use.