The New European Bauhaus creates bridges and connections between disciplines, places and people, and taps on collective intelligence and knowledge to address the complex challenges of today. By using integrated approaches, it aims to optimise policy impact and foster synergies.
The New European Bauhaus builds on a rich EU policy context. While focusing on only one or a few of the New European Bauhaus dimensions, many existing policy initiatives already contribute to creating enabling conditions for its development.
The Renovation Wave Communication COM(2020) 662 illustrates the aims of the proposed New European Bauhaus. The Renovation Wave sets out a number of relevant principles for decarbonisation towards 2050, such as: life-cycle thinking and circularity; decarbonisation and integration of renewables; affordability; energy efficiency first; high health and environmental standards; safety; accessibility; tackling the twin challenges of the green and digital transitions; respect for aesthetics and architectural quality. It identifies the most vulnerable people and the worst-performing buildings in the residential, administrative, educational and healthcare segments as the key priority areas for renovations.
The Renovation Wave Action Plan includes a set of follow-up initiatives in different policy areas. Amongst those, the 2050 Roadmap for the reduction of Whole Life Carbon of buildings (ready 2023), under the Renovation Wave, shall serve as a basis for future policy and market developments for a long period of time and at all geographical levels – EU, national and local. It will be based on life cycle thinking and specifically take into account the potential that circularity has to reduce carbon emissions overall, thereby supporting the achievement of climate objectives. It shall provide a vision and in this way set out the direction of travel for the sector and public authorities.
Two elements of the Fit for 55 package are in particular interesting for the New European Bauhaus: The Directive 2012/27/EU on energy efficiency and the Directive 2010/31/EU on the energy performance of buildings. Both support the transformation of the built environment in line with the climate targets of the European Union.
Beyond those, the New European Bauhaus will contribute to the implementation of the Fit for 55 legislative package by bringing new innovative ideas for increasing energy efficiency in built environment, sustainable infrastructure and integration of renewable energy and nature based solutions into built environment. It combines climate change considerations and sustainability with quality of our living experience.
The second CEAP adopted in 2020 aims at increasing resource efficiency, reducing consumption footprint and overall environmental and climate impacts. In addition to a series of legislative measures, it put forward a series of voluntary instruments, including Green Public Procurement(GPP), EU Ecolabel and Level(s), to foster sustainable production and consumption of resources thus contributing to the EGD objectives. Of particular relevance for the New European Bauhaus, existing GPP criteria for sustainable buildings are being revised, to be firmly based on circularity concepts, via the Level(s) indicators. The scope focuses on typical public buildings such as offices, social housing and schools, and covers both new built and renovation. The criteria covers circularity, health and comfort, resilience to climate change and life cycle cost, and will support public procurers in leading the way towards more sustainable buildings. This activity will contribute to the development of the New European Bauhaus self-assessment tool for guidance to measure how far a project is sustainable, inclusive and aesthetic. Businesses and consumers can contribute to the New European Bauhaus initiative by purchasing EU Ecolabelled products and services which meet high environmental standards throughout their lifecycle EU Ecolabel criteria are available for hard covering products, wood-, cork- and bamboo-based floor coverings, paints and varnishes, textile products, furniture and bed mattresses. The CEAP announced a modernisation of EU waste legislation and reiterated that the Commission will consider the setting of preparing for re-use and recycling targets for construction and demolition waste and its material-specific fractions.
The EU Action Plan “Towards Zero Pollution for Air, Water and Soil” sets out the ambition to ensure that pollution, including indoor, does not harm our health and ecosystems. This is particularly relevant in the places where we live. Therefore, it sets out flagships to identify key urban greening and innovation needs and to use of Local Digital Twins to prevent pollution, indoor as well as outdoor. It will therefore contribute to the sustainability dimension of the New European Bauhaus
Green Infrastructure reconnects vital natural areas to urban hubs and restores and improves their functional roles. It is an essential planning concept towards protecting natural capital and simultaneously enhancing quality of life and with this it makes an essential contribution to sustainability which is a key element for the European Bauhaus Initiative.
The new EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change aims to increase and accelerate the EU’s efforts to protect nature, people and livelihoods against the unavoidable impacts of climate change. It therefore will contribute to the sustainability dimension of the New European Bauhaus in facilitating the integration of climate resilience considerations into the construction and renovation of buildings and critical infrastructure. The Horizon Europe mission on Adaptation to Climate Change is a key implementation vector of the Strategy. Tailor-made and place-based responses and measures, closely involving citizens in their design, development, and testing, will be one area where both the New European Bauhaus and climate adaptation policy can align.
EU Strategy on Adaptation to Climate Change, COM(2021)82 Final
The EU’s Biodiversity Strategy stressed the multiple benefits from Green urban spaces including green roofs and walls, which are a major element for the New European Bauhaus Initiative both for the important contribution to sustainability and for their aesthetic aspect. The recent lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic have shown us the value of green urban spaces for our physical and mental wellbeing. In addition, vegetation will help to cool urban areas and mitigate the impact of natural disasters. The implementation of the Biodiversity Strategy and the deployment at scale of nature-based solutions will contribute to the New European Bauhaus as the design by nature is one of the most efficient, sustainable and definitely aesthetical.
The Farm to Fork Strategy aims to make food systems fair, healthy and environmentally-friendly. It aims at making sure that everyone has access to sufficient, safe, nutritious, sustainable food and to decrease the food loss and waste prevention. The Farm to Fork Strategy contributes to the New European Bauhaus goals of sustainability and inclusion, for example through urban food systems, edible gardens and circular food systems.
The EU Forest Strategy strives for bigger, healthier and more diverse forests than we have today, notably for carbon storage and sequestration, halting loss of habitats and species species and delivering on forests’ socio-economic functions for decades to come. It also argues that when building a sustainable and climate-neutral economy, we ensure an optimal use of wood in line with the cascading principle. This means that wood should be used as much as possible for long-lived materials and products. The current low market share of wood as construction material needs to be increased, replacing energy intensive and fossil fuel-based materials. To roll out the sector at scale, further research and innovation on Long-lasting and safe wood-based construction material will be needed. This includes wood for buildings, which will play a role in the New European Bauhaus Initiative.
The textile strategy will change how we produce, use and reuse textiles. The younger generations will have a specific role to bridge generations, refashion our textiles and to foster innovation and entrepreneurship. This will be encouraged by supporting new business models for durability, repairability and sharability, development of innovative materials, recovery of materials for furniture or construction products in line with the waste hierarchy and the New European Bauhaus principles, demonstrations and awareness raising projects funded via EU funding programmes such as LIFE and Horizon Europe .
There are significant concerns by the EU population about harmful chemicals and related consequences for health and the environment. Materials and products used in construction for interior and exterior design, textiles, low-carbon mobility, batteries, wind turbines, renewable energy sources and consumer products include a large variety of chemicals, not few of them are harmful and may affect our quality of life. The actions under the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability towards a toxic-free environment aim at better protecting citizens and the environment, and promote chemicals and materials, that are safe- and sustainable-by-design, by developing relevant criteria to support the green transition, thus also ensuring that future buildings, infrastructures and other products will be safer contribute to sustainable future and reduce the overall environmental footprint.
The EU bioeconomy strategy seeks new ways of producing and consuming resources while respecting our planetary boundaries and moving away from a linear economy based on extensive use of fossil and mineral resources. Renewable bio-based material and green environments can support: (1). Reaching carbon neutrality, circularity, and sustainability goals; (2). Creating employment, especially rural jobs and livelihoods; and (3). Peoples’ quality of life (e.g. in terms of building materials, wood is considered to be aesthetically pleasing, to reduce stress, and to have good acoustic properties).
The New European Bauhaus is closely linked to the European Climate Pact, an EU-wide initiative inviting people, communities and organisations to participate in climate action and build a greener Europe. The Pact encourages pledges, measure progress and facilitate discussions between the various actors involved in the supply chain leading to renovation. It will co-create solutions with citizens through Horizon Europe, and distil ideas that might contribute to the New European Bauhaus. The European Climate Pact already has more than 500 Ambassadors that will accelerate climate action and hence contribute to certain areas highlighted by the New European Bauhaus.
The Sustainable and Smart Mobility Strategy sets out a blueprint for the EU transport system to achieve its green and digital transformation and become more resilient to future crises. This strategy contributes to the New European Bauhaus by making transport a key enabler for ensuring social interaction, and by bringing people and regions in Europe closer together. It also provides solutions to make transport and mobility more sustainable, contributing to making our cities and towns a healthier place to live. It also aims to make mobility more available and affordable to all, including those with reduced mobility, in line with inclusiveness principle of the New European Bauhaus.
Cohesion policy is a key instrument supporting the green and fair transformation across cities and regions in Europe thus contributing to the European Green Deal and the Renovation Wave. As the cohesion policy operates under shared management, it offers an important potential and opportunity for New European Bauhaus’s rooting in urban and regional development ecosystems and further buy-in from the national, regional and local authorities. The integrated territorial development promoted by cohesion policy and dedicated instruments allow national, regional and local stakeholders to apply New European Bauhaus principles to investments in a territorially sensitive manner. Furthermore, Cohesion Policy offers a unique opportunity to create new solutions through cross-border and transnational cooperation. Macro-regional and sea-basin strategies as also provide for possibilities for collaboration on development of new solutions in terms of sustainable and cross-sectoral development with people-to-people dimension.
The support for sustainable urban development through the obligatory urban earmarking of the European Regional Development Fund (8% of the total national allocation) and the European Urban Initiative (EUR 400 million) offer possibilities for addressing complex urban challenges, which require interdisciplinary policy responses to the green transition along with the New European Bauhaus principles, by fostering place based, integrated and inclusive approach and engagement of local stakeholders.
Furthermore, Cohesion policy is expected to invest more than EUR 100 billion in projects related to climate and environment in the 2021-2027 period. In addition, it will finance research into greening of the economy. Concerning investments in buildings, cohesion policy can support projects targeting public buildings, multi-apartment blocks, and ‘social housing’. Cohesion policy can also help regions boost RD&I in the construction and building sector and support development of new materials and solutions for affordable and durable renovations.
The Commission Communication on the long term Vision for the EU’s rural areas identifies the main challenges that rural areas are facing and highlights the opportunities that are available.
The Vision aims to address those challenges, by building on the emerging opportunities of the socially sustainable green and digital transitions and on the lessons learnt from the COVID 19 pandemic, and by identifying means to improve rural quality of life, achieve balanced territorial development and stimulate economic growth. Based on foresight and wide consultations with citizens and other actors in rural areas, the Vision proposes a Rural Pact and a Rural Action Plan, which aim to make our rural areas stronger, connected, resilient and prosperous; it calls for all Funds to work together for the sustainable development of rural areas.
Among the proposed actions, the Flagship on support to rural municipalities in energy transition and fighting climate change encompasses actions to improve the quality of rural housing and other buildings and it promotes the use of structural funding to finance the renovation wave, specifically connecting to the New European Bauhaus initiative.
One of the guiding principles of the New European Agenda for Culture and the Council Work Plan for Culture 2019-2022 is the contribution of culture to sustainable social and economic development. This is reflected in several ongoing Member States’ expert groups coordinated by the Commission (on high-quality architecture, cultural heritage and climate change and the cultural dimension of sustainable development) while others address the wider ecosystem (artists’ working conditions, gender equality…). ). In addition, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) will set up a Knowledge and Innovation Community specifically in the field of Cultural and Creative Sectors and Industries (CCSI). Another strategic objective of the Agenda is to harness the power of culture and cultural diversity for social cohesion and well-being. The Agenda thereby contributes to the objectives and the three dimensions of New European Bauhaus.
As a legacy of the European Year of Cultural Heritage 2018, the European Framework highlights, through 60 actions, the potential of cultural heritage to enhance social capital, boost economic growth and secure environmental sustainability. As a distinctive part of our (built) environment, cultural heritage and historic buildings can help achieve the New European Bauhaus objectives of inclusive, beautiful and sustainable development..
European framework for action on cultural heritage - Publications Office of the EU (europa.eu)
The European Commission is engaged in achieving a Union of equality. Dedicated strategies* set out mechanisms and actions to create the conditions for everyone to live and thrive regardless of differences based on sex, racial or ethnic origin, religion or belief, disability, age or sexual orientation. In addition to targeted actions, enhanced mainstreaming of equality and accessibility in all relevant EU policies, legislation and funding programmes, including the New European Bauhaus, will be key in achieving a Union of Equality.
The EU Strategy on the rights of the people with Disabilities 2021-2030 highlights that accessibility to the built and virtual environments is a precondition for persons with disabilities to live independently and participate fully in all aspects of life. Accessibility is also a key element of sustainability of buildings, making them more inclusive, usable by more diverse people and more durable, as better suited for the changing needs of an ageing population. Relevant for the New European Bauhaus is also the objective set out in the EU Roma strategic framework to increase effective equal access to adequate desegregated housing and essential services up to 2030.
*The Gender Equality Strategy 2020-2025, the EU Anti-racism Action Plan 2020-2025, the EU Roma strategic framework for equality, inclusion and participation for 2020-2030, the LGBTIQ Equality Strategy, and the Strategy for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities 2021-2030.
With the European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, the Commission has set out the ambitious target of reducing by at least 15 million the number of people at risk of poverty or social exclusion in the EU by 2030 – including at least 5 million children. The New European Bauhaus will contribute to favour social inclusion by promoting accessibility principles, not only for physical accessibility, but also for accessibility to the information and to the decision making processes. Particular attention will also be devoted to affordability related actions. Both initiatives are therefore closely interlinked.
Fighting child poverty, and promoting inclusive and child-friendly societies, health and education systems are key elements of the EU Strategy on the rights of the Child as they are for the New European Bauhaus too. Asserting that each child has the right to an adequate standard of living from the earliest stage of life, the Strategy underlines that children from low-income families are at a higher risk of severe housing deprivation or overcrowding, and are more exposed to homelessness. The Council recommendation establishing a European Child Guarantee calls on the Member States to provide effective access to adequate housing (as well as to several other key services, some of which should be free) to all children at risk of poverty or social exclusion. The national action plans on how to implement the European Child Guarantee should cover the period until 2030 and should be combined with those aiming for territorial transformations in the frame of the Green Deal.
The Education for Climate Coalition seeks to co-create a participatory education community to support the changes needed for a climate-neutral society. Via its online platform, and in general, through its community interaction, the Education for Climate Coalition can host conversations and participatory challenges (“pledges”) around New European Bauhaus related priorities. Concretely, the Education for Climate Coalition can encourage actions promoting cross-fertilization between green schools, as physical structures, and all the other elements of a learning environment (innovative pedagogies, project-based learning, cross-subject teacher teams, etc.).
European Universities alliances can contribute to the New European Bauhaus by encouraging students from different disciplines and countries to work together with architects, artists, engineers and designers to make sustainability happen. They will also promote a whole-institution approach where sustainability is embedded in all activities, in line with the New European Bauhaus.
A proposal for a Council Recommendation on education for Environmental Sustainability is foreseen for end 2021. Its objective is to support the integration of the green transition and sustainability into all phases and stages of education and training, including school, higher education and professional training.
Erasmus+ provides various ways of support to school and higher education actions on education for environmental sustainability, including the support of whole-institution approaches to sustainability, as well as creativity and innovation in line with the New European Bauhaus.
The combined effects of rapid technological change, digitalisation, climate change, demographic trends, and new forms of work, call for innovative ideas to ensure that education and vocational training not only adapts to change but is also at the forefront of mastering and driving this change. The European Skills Agenda will be fundamental for the implementation of the New European Bauhaus since its aims to improve the relevance of skills in the EU to strengthen sustainable competitiveness, ensure social fairness and build our resilience, spelling out the right to quality and inclusive education, training and lifelong learning. It is hence firmly anchored in the European Green Deal, new Digital Strategy, and the new Industrial and SME Strategies as skills are key to their success. Moreover, it also supports the proposal for a Council Recommendation on a “Bridge to Jobs – reinforcing the Youth Guarantee”.
Building on the Shaping Europe’s digital future strategy which set out a programme of policy reform, with the Data Governance Act, the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act, the Artificial Intelligence Act, and the Cybersecurity Strategy, the Digital Decade aims at translating EU’s digital ambition for 2030 - to be digitally sovereign in an open and interconnected world, and to pursue digital policies that empower people and businesses to seize a human centred, sustainable and more prosperous digital future – into concrete terms. The targets that are defined for accelerating the provision of cross cutting digital technologies and services (skills, connectivity, digitalisation of business and public services) will contribute to responding to the challenges identified by the New European Bauhaus (connectivity, digital divide, bridging local to global levels). The mobilisation and strengthening of European Digital Innovation Hubs is a key objective of the Digital Decade. Some of the 200 hubs in the network are expected to also focus on the construction sector, or creativity and the arts. Those will be mobilised in the New European Bauhaus context to develop sustainable, inclusive, real and virtual environments and experiences.
The newly established Digital Europe Programme will provide strategic funding to accelerate the economic recovery and shape the digital transformation of Europe’s society and economy, notably via the development and wide use of digital technologies.
In particular, the Digital Europe Programme will support participatory approaches and the deployment of infrastructures for smart communities that will contribute to the implementation of the NEB development. The fostering of Local Digital Twins can foster participatory urban planning for a greener and sustainable living environment. The DEP will also support a number of AI-Testing and experimentation facilities (TEF) which will foster innovation in among others health and smart communities.
Several digital initiatives, through Creative Europe, Europeana, or the S+T+ARTS program will help building bridges between digital innovators and “makers” (artists, cities managers and developers, health sector), that will contribute to NEB success.
The Commission proposed in November 2020 a Data Governance Act, which sets the framework for data sharing and governance of data spaces. This will provide the legal framework to be able to gather, rely on and use more data to craft the buildings of the future with more friendliness to the environment and the least or zero carbon footprint.
Through the AI package adopted in April 2021, the Commission has put the basis of a first legal framework on artificial intelligence in the EU, as well as launched a coordinated plan with the Member States. The aim of the package is to guarantee the safety and fundamental rights of people and businesses, while strengthening AI uptake, investment and innovation across the EU. The use of AI will be a key component for new business models that will develop within the New European Bauhaus and a source of innovative digital solutions for personalised approaches, while maintaining an optimal equilibrium with both aesthetics and working with and reconnecting with nature.
Horizon Europe will support Europe’s green transition based on competitive European industrial and service value chains. Such a transition requires substantial efforts in interdisciplinary research and innovation in the fields of clean technologies and social transitions as the New European Bauhaus promotes. Research and innovation will determine the speed at which this transition can take place, directly affecting the impacts and co-benefits, such as better air quality, increased employment, social inclusion, sustainable resource management, and reduced dependency on fossil fuels. All these measures will benefit society and citizens by offering solutions that address the challenges of our time. Cooperation and creativity – especially scientific, social and technological – are the bedrock of peace and prosperity for all. Research and innovation can also play a role in disseminating the New European Bauhaus beyond the EU, through the Global Approach to Research and Innovation, such as by sharing information on standards, best practice, and new ideas.
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), through its Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs), implements activities bringing together the knowledge triangle of education, research and innovation to deliver on the goals of the New European Bauhaus. Through its place-based model of intervention and its ecosystem of more than 2000 partners located across the EU, the EIT engages with citizens and raises awareness on the New European Bauhaus, supports new business ideas integrating the principles of the New European Bauhaus, and accelerates the growth of New European Bauhaus start-ups.
To help foster ambitious, daring, long-term research and innovation, there are five missions proposed under Horizon Europe. These are:
- 100 Climate-Neutral Cities by 2030 – by and for citizens;
- A Climate Resilient Europe: Prepare Europe for climate disruptions and accelerate the transformation to a climate resilient and just Europe by 2030;
- Caring for Soil is Caring for Life;
- Mission Starfish 2030: Restore our Oceans and Waters; and
- Conquering Cancer: Mission Possible.
These missions aim to produce European public goods on a grand scale to solve major systemic challenges. Like the New European Bauhaus, the missions aim to inspire the public and capture their imagination, to engage and co-create with citizens and stakeholders, and to develop ideas, prototypes, products and solutions to drive the green and digital transitions. Beyond the launch of New European Bauhaus lighthouse demonstrators, missions on cities and climate adaptation show great promise for developing further synergies with the New European Bauhaus. The Cities mission will launch a specific action to include New European Bauhaus principles and values in the development of the Climate City Contracts.
Industry and enterprises are important players in delivering infrastructure, products, and services enabling and contributing to rolling out New European Bauhaus realisations across Europe and beyond.
The European Commission updated its industrial strategy in May 2021 to ensure our industrial ambition takes into account the new circumstances following the COVID-19 crisis, while ensuring that the European industry can lead the way in transitioning to a green, digital and resilient economy. Transition pathways for the 14 identified ecosystems will be crucial to achieve that objective. The construction ecosystem has been prioritised to deliver on that transition which will be based on a co-created roadmap, with stakeholders and different Commission sectors through the High Level Forum on Construction.
The transition pathway of the construction ecosystem is relevant for the New European Bauhaus as it addresses sustainability to help better protect people and the environment by encouraging innovation, better skilled people and by developing safe and sustainable alternatives or sustainability of construction products and improvement of the energy efficiency and environmental performance of built assets. In addition to construction, also “proximity, social economy and civil security”, “cultural and creative industries”, “tourism” or “textiles” industrial ecosystems, identified under the Industrial Strategy, are in particular relevant for New European Bauhaus. Green and digital transformation in these ecosystems, supported by upcoming transition pathways can greatly contribute to advancing the values of the New European Bauhaus in a concrete manner and across different value chains.