Achieving rapid global decarbonization critically depends on activating processes of transformative urban change towards zero carbon cities within the next few years. This requires overcoming institutional, technological, cognitive, political, and infrastructural path dependencies and power structures – and replacing high-carbon trajectories with new approaches for accelerated urban change. Such strategies can therefore not only rely on “technological fixes”, they require broader attention to social tipping dynamics, including robust (new) transformational actor coalitions. In this panel, we want to discuss the potential of activating these new actor constellations and new approaches to trigger social change towards zero carbon cities/decision making. Ideas and best practices on how to engage formal and informal urban influencers to form and sustain novel urban coalitions holistic approaches will be shared and discussed.