Budapest is the largest city and the capital city of Hungary, representing an important economic and cultural hub. Approximately 17% of the country’s population lives in Budapest, but including its surrounding areas this portion is over 30%. About half of Hungary’s GDP is produced in the region in and around Budapest, and it is the largest city in East-Central Europe. Budapest is the country’s principal political, industrial, transportation, commercial and cultural centre.

Budapest is a vibrant city that has undergone many changes in recent years. From urban mobility, to local agri-food systems, and increased citizen awareness of environmental issues, both the infrastructure and the consciousness of the city and its inhabitants are in flux. Positive examples of both established and emerging transition initiatives abound, dealing directly with the unique conditions of Budapest and its context.

Within the ARTS consortium, Budapest represents the only city within a post-socialist state, whose European Union accession was reached more recently, in 2004. The surrounding structural conditions for civic organizations and the overall mindset of the society they are operating within are impacted by the not so distant, and still transforming, regime change of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Society at large exists with vivid memories of pre-regime change governance and economy, and the conflicted relationship with the often promised benefits associated with accelerated transition. This represents unique challenges and opportunities for local transition initiatives.

In recent years there has been experimentation in Budapest especially in the urban mobility domain, where smart mobility systems and awareness of the carbon footprint of mobility choices have been introduced. This is supported by newly introduced environmental policy and plans at different governmental levels, as well as ambitious sustainability goals for the city. This trend has been followed by numerous initiatives that push current structures to shift from centralized, top-down initiatives, to more self-sufficient and decentralized systems.

Budapest Transition Initiatives

Transition Initiatives were selected out of a large pool of businesses, civil service organizations, and community initiatives who utilize various infrastructure, technology and communication mediums in an innovative manner to drive transformative change towards environmental sustainability in Budapest. Based on the ARTS selection criteria, the Budapest research team chose ten TIs whose work spread across multiple low carbon domains, and whose expertise has been proven while making impacts in the local community for significant time duration.

Read our report on the new selection of TIs