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Križevci in Northern Croatia is on a mission to become one of the best small European cities in which to live, work and visit. 

In 2011 Križevci started their journey towards the goal of becoming an energy independent city. The municipality signed the Covenant of Mayor’s agreement, committing to reducing CO2 emissions by 40% by 2030. Early actions were mainly directed towards developing new sustainable energy sector educational programmes for adults and long-term unemployed people. These projects helped to bring together a first community of citizens who wanted real change.

A group of citizens launched the Križevci Solar Roofs initiative in 2018, which established the first solar power plants in Croatia financed entirely by citizens. Capital was quickly raised for solar installations on the city library and entrepreneurship centre. These systems generate 44 MWh of electricity per year and 3-4% returns to citizen-investors.

To scale from the successes and learnings of these early community energy projects, in 2020 a group of citizens decided to establish the Križevci Laboratory for Innovation in Climate (KLIK). The aim is for KLIK to be a catalytic hub that helps the community to keep accelerating radical changes towards Križevci’s future. In 2021, KLIK and the City of Križevci opened an Energy and Climate Office in the centre of town. In 2022 Križevci committed to the EU Mission for Climate Neutral and Smart Cities.

KLIK is working closely with the municipality and other partners to develop household solar installations, a utility scale solar plant (with citizens co-investing with the national power company HEP), geothermal district energy in the city centre, Zdravo Križevci – regenerative food production systems, clean mobility networks, and placemaking of vibrant
public spaces.

One of the biggest benefits of actions like Križevci Solar Roofs and Zdravo Križevci has been improving citizen involvement in creating local change. Community-led action in Križevci is growing through these experiences and accelerating with the establishment of KLIK as a core organising model to accelerate community-led action.

Križevci has made a lot of progress, especially for a small city, but there is a need to better integrate and accelerate many more ideas into action. There is a small, strong network of active changemakers in place and support from the Mayor and municipality. However, there is still much work to be done to really build capacity and co-create a vision for Križevci’s future that is widely held and supported across the community, especially in the businesses sector. There are also opportunities to improve collaboration with surrounding towns and municipalities, and build a stronger collective approach for the wider region.

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