Basic Event Information
Date: 14-17 June 2022
Location: Ljubljana, Slovenia
Organiser: DEKON Group
Client: City of Ljubljana, ECF
EVENT CATEGORY: CATEGORY B2C
EVENT SUBCATEGORY: Best Association Conference, Congress
EVENT FORMAT: LIVE
Event description and key objectives
Velo-city is the annual flagship event of the European Cyclists’ Federation, the event plays a valuable part in promoting cycling as a sustainable and healthy means of transport for all. Velo-city is where advocates, cities, decision makers, academics, researchers and industry leaders meet to shape the future of cycling. This conference offers a knowledge-exchange and policy-transfer platform to the growing number of more than 1400 Velo-citizens from over 60 countries involved in the policy, promotion and provision for cycling, active mobility and sustainable urban development. The conference exhibition showcases the latest innovations for a better cycling experience in cities and beyond! The conferences are designed to encourage cycling as part of daily transport and recreation. Another important part of every Velo-city conference is the Bike-Parade, making the event very visible all over the city, and is attended by most of the participants and concluding in a casual evening event.
1. The uncertainty of the COVID pandemic. Having the event moved twice (original date June 2020, then autumn 2020), for 2021 Velo-city went to Lisbon, only to finally happen in Ljubljana 2022. During the months before June 2022 it hasn’t been clear if the participation numbers will pick up, or if another lockdown will again stop everything.
2. This conference had four partners, the host City of Ljubljana, the event ‘owner’ ECF, the venue GR, and DEKON as the PCO. While all partners wanted to deliver the best Velo-city conference ever, the roads to success haven’t always been the same. The host city wants at all costs to showcase its vibrant creativity and vision to create multi-purpose, shared spaces and its quality of life, ECF wants to deliver a high-level program which brings together those involved in the policy, promotion and the provision of cycling facilities and programs. DEKON’s role was inter alia to ensure all this within a tight and due to COVID vague budget.
Every year, Velo-city brings together a growing number of more than 1400 participants from over 60 countries who are involved in the policy, promotion and provision for cycling, active mobility and sustainable urban development. The conference exhibition showcases the latest innovations for a better cycling experience in cities and beyond! Velo-city is the World Cycling Summit serving as a global platform for knowledge exchange and policy transfer. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and challenged our view of reality. Cycling plays a significant role in driving and maintaining the increase in active mobility beyond the crisis and in achieving our global climate goals. Therefore Velo-city 2022 Ljubljana’s main theme was “Cycling the Change” and it covered the following five, extremely relevant subthemes:
• Rethinking urban space
• Focus on citizens, stakeholders and community
• Policies for more cycling
• Green tourism, green economy
• Urban mobility innovation.
The event has been held on six stages in parallel, with seven plenaries, including the mayor’s forum. The plenary stage was round, visible from the auditorium, grouped around in 270°with a big LED widescreen in the back. A marked cycling track led from the street, via the exhibition, till the plenary stage. Every plenary session started with the conference theme song ‘Change is Strange’ (lyrics and composed by a City representative – you will hear it in the attached video). In fact, the conference theme song has been played all over the city, live at the opening, also live at the bicycle festival after the bike parade, as well as at the gala at Ljubljana castle. The mayor’s forum, a wish of the host city and its mayor, has been held with private sessions as well as a vibrant panel discussion, translated into several also regional languages. A relaxation zone with sunbeds has been established in the courtyard of the GR, especially during breaks the perfect place to enjoy icecream.
Velo-city is the World Cycling Summit serving as a global platform for knowledge exchange and policy transfer. Since the event has been held as a joint project of the City of Ljubljana, ECF, and DEKON Group as the PCO, close communication between the different teams has been key. A clear distribution of tasks stood at the beginning, and frequent zoom and some onsite meetings kept focus. The City and ECF jointly controlled the pre-event communication via different media channels, and developed a comprehensive program around the topic ‘Cycling the Change’. The City also organized an impressive bike parade, ending in an evening event and concert. DEKON has been in charge of all logistics, i.e. staging, AV, F&B, exhibition, bicycle logistics/rentals, sponsorship and budgeting. The registration/abstract management system of DEKON has been used. All partners have been always informed where the other teams are standing, a very close cooperation between the teams has been the key to success.
The conference itself has been the biggest citywide event since COVID, attracting about 1.300 participants from around 60 countries. It has been visible all over the city, and the 10 km long Bike parade has been attended by not only by most of conference participants, but also countless citizens of Ljubljana, making it in total more than 3000 bikers, flooding the city and enjoying an open-air concert and cycling festival at Congress Square, ending the day. Some Figures: The Major’s forum has been attended by 5 mayors 7 plenaries were held, also 60 sessions, all on 6 stages. 5 technical tours were conducted twice/day 1.300 participants and 60 exhibitors/partners were taken care of by 10 DEKON Staff + GR Staff and 24 local temp staff The overall budget has been over 850.000 Euros.
For ECF, Velo-city 2022 has been a full success and a noticeable return to their previous impact after the 2020 edition cancelled due to COVID, and a small hybrid event in 2021. The 2022 edition saw again advocates, engineers, planners, architects, researchers, environmentalists, business and industry representatives joining forces with public authorities at all levels at regional, national or international level. They were able to share knowledge and foster policy transfer in order to build effective trans-national partnerships to deliver benefits worldwide. Velo-city 2022 has been a strong and vital sign of the whole cycling industry and for the association ECF. On the other hand, representatives from the host city had the local as well as regional and international exposure they were seeking, with the very visible bike parade and by inviting for example to the mayor’s forum to discuss privately as well as on stage hot issues on city planning and innovation.
The use of sustainable practices
Since its first edition in 1980, Velo-city has played a valuable part in promoting cycling as a sustainable and healthy means of transport for all and this has also been clearly communicated via the different media channels. On-site the use of Jezersek catering throughout the conference, serving local and regional produce, using ceramics tableware and classic silverware, guaranteed this from the F&B point of view. Water has been served glasses out of glass bottles, coffee from ceramic cups. The conference venue GR offers throughout the venue waste separation bins and is part of the Green & Safe initiative of Slovenia. Most participants joined the conference by bicycle or by walking every morning and many used the EuroVelo routes, a network of 17 long distance cycle routes uniting the European continent, to travel to Ljubljana. Use of reusable Exhibition System (same as Conventa). The Host City Ljubljana became already in 2014 the first European Capital to move towards Zero Waste.