M. Gabriel, European Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth / F. Bria, President of the Italian Innovation Fund and member of the high-level table of the New European Bauhaus
Two major crises have hit Europe in recent years: the pandemic and Russia's unwarranted invasion of Ukraine.
The world is mired in a geopolitically induced energy crisis and a time of commodity volatility. This is the result of more than two years of interruptions in the supply chain and the rebound of the covid crisis. Furthermore, the profound impact of human activity on the Earth's climate and ecosystems has brought us to a tipping point in our very existence.
It is now more important than ever to accelerate the transition to a new green order, making Europe the first digitized, sustainable and climate-neutral continent.
One hundred years ago, in Weimar (Germany), the Bauhaus was founded in response to the cataclysm of the First World War. The Bauhaus influenced very diverse fields, laying the foundations of modern architecture. The paradigm shift of the Bauhaus referred to the search for balance between design and form, following the motto of “form follows function”, while in the case of the New European Bauhaus we propose “form follows function”. to the planet". In this way, the path is paved towards a new model of innovation in which art, science, technology and ecology advance hand in hand.
This is why the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, launched the New Bauhaus Europe (NBE), stating that the climate transition needs “its own differential aesthetic, a co-creation space in which architects, artists, students, engineers or designers work together to combine style and sustainability”.
The New European Bauhaus will bring innovation to the market, with new business models and new capabilities. Our lives have benefited from new digital solutions, but they have not yet transformed the physical environment in which we live, work and function.
What we need now is a new wave of innovation, which should bring about a tangible shift from current economic models towards biodiversity, sustainability and regeneration approaches based on the interconnectedness of living things and their socio-ecological values.
After a year of intense co-design work, the NBE community is expanding across Europe and beyond its borders and the program is taking shape with political instruments and some 85 million euros of funding. Member states are being invited to incorporate NBE in their cohesion programs and to mobilize investments in their recovery and resilience plans.
The climate crisis underlines the need for further decarbonisation in all sectors and calls for transforming outdated business models into more sustainable ones. Last year, the first awards of the New Bauhaus distinguished the most innovative projects.
One of them includes a blockchain-enabled platform that rewards users when they opt for zero-emission mobility and converts the CO2 emissions saved into green tokens. Platforms like this one also demonstrate that it is possible to create value for all from the responsible use of data with the intention of launching the new European Bauhaus data space.
The Commission recently announced five "lighthouse projects" that will address issues such as building renovation, circularity, cultural heritage, education, smart cities and urban regeneration, involving citizens in the green transition at local level.
It is clear that European industry can play a central role if it works hand in hand with research centers and start-ups. In particular, the European Institute of Innovation and Technology and the European Innovation Council should ensure the creation of an innovation ecosystem in which start-ups and scale-ups are empowered to take their businesses to the next level, as well as address our deep social challenges.
Participation and inclusion are key ingredients for the growth of the New European Bauhaus. The NBE is also involved in the European Year of Youth 2022, so we strongly encourage young people to participate and develop sustainability projects.
Finally, we incorporate the Festival of the New European Bauhaus, which will be held in Brussels between June 9 and 12 and will have parallel events throughout Europe, bringing together people from all walks of life to discuss and shape our future. We are sure that art, architecture and technology can powerfully contribute to renewing the narrative and vision of a Europe open to diversity and multiple cultural influences, projecting us towards a new green and digital humanism.