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The last transnational meeting for Interactive Cities: #interactivetartu

23 June 2017

From June the 6th to the 7th the partners of Interactive Cites have been met in the city of Tartu – Estonia- for their 3rd transnational meeting

The hashtag to interact through the socials was #interactivetartu.

The Municipality of Tartu is one of the ten project partners involved into the project aiming to explore how digital, social media and user generated content can improve today´s urban management.
Before the meeting in Tartu, the partners followed the first project study visit in the city of Helsinki, meeting the experts from the Helsinki Urban Centre, the Innovation Unit of Helsinki City Group, the Ruuti Youth Participatory System, the Helsinki Region Infoshare at the Helsinki Municipality, the Head of Communication of Helsinki Municipality and the Chief Design Officer of Helsinki Municipality. You can read a longer report here.

After the case study visit, the Interactive partners started the transnational meeting in Tartu.
During the two days of work all the cities had the possibility to get in touch with different experiences and listen to interesting key-not speeches by important members of the Estonian Government, experts and developers. The first day started with a warm welcome by the Mayor of Tartu, who gave a general overview of the organization of the city and of the importance for Estonia and Tartu, to be part of this program. The adviser of the Estonian President presented all the e-governance process that Estonia had to face off to become a modern nation. Indeed since independence, the country has rapidly developed its IT sector, becoming one of the world's most digitally advanced societies: for example was one of the first nation to hold elections over the internet, and in 2014 the first nation to provide e-residency. Citizens are the most important target for the Government and all the process of digitalization aims to improve their life, for this reason are deeply involved in policymaking, also throw digital technologies and social networks.

During the afternoon, Tartu Science Park showed how collaboration between innovative and creative entrepreneurial in ICT can ameliorate cities, giving also a good example of a winning project – SmartEnCity- funded by Horizon2020 programme, which aims to develop a systemic approach for transforming European cities into sustainable, smart and resource-efficient urban environments in Europe and in which Tartu City Government is involved in. In addition, being these firsts meeting hosted by the Aparaaditehas, an old factory complex, the site manager showed to the partners how the site/building is a really good case of urban regeneration and business development, being the complex, since 2014, transformed into a "cultural factory", which unites creative entrepreneurs, art studios, design studios, and entertainment for all.
At the end of this first day in Tartu, partners shared their good practice delivering also individual exercises, with the support of project experts, based on their specific needs.

The second and conclusive working day in Tartu was firstly dedicated to the Steering Committee and the Communication meeting. The lead partner presented to the network the next steps on administrative and communication tasks, viewing, moreover, not only project deadlines but also the next transnational project meetings (Gent autumn 2017; Murcia winter 2018) and the final project conference, which will be in Genoa during the spring 2018.
The communication session was focused on the status of the communication activities at the mid-point of the project. There were reminded all the compulsory deliverables which have to be done within the end, in terms of posts on Facebook, tweets, articles and newsletters. During the roundtable, the partners were asked to share their difficulties and proposals. Concerning with their work with the ULG, was recommended to the partners to better promote their activities on a local level, with press release, social media and articles. The objective is to increase the connection and the awareness of every city about the work they are pursuing inside the project, aiming to develop a stronger local ecosystem and give an active role to the citizens. At last was asked the partners, which haven’t already done, to write more articles for the Urbact website sharing their experiences.

After these first sessions, the Deputy Mayor of Tartu showed to the partners how the civic engagement in urban planning is essential for cities, showing how the Tartu Municipality uses to make urban plans engaging citizens through participatory initiatives in urban regeneration area. At the end, the partners had the chance to have a tour in Spark, being hosted by SPARK Business and Community Center, a building that brings together innovative and creative entrepreneurial people in IT, tech and hardware. 
Than all the group walked to the ERM – Estonian National Museum, the biggest in Estonia, which has been renewed recently in 2016. The museum tracks the history, life and traditions of the Estonian people, it has an interactive and technological approach with visitors, very interesting and participative.


In the afternoon all the participants had the chance to listen to the key-not speech regarding the strategic role that placemarketing and landmarks have raising the attractiveness of a city. Nowadays cities play an active role in the promotion of a destination, and for this reason, place matter even more than ever in the tourist promotion. Building a strong imagine is essential in the capitalization of the potentiality of every city and every place, so specific strategies are compulsory.

Before the end of the project works of this interesting transnational meeting, the partners joined the discussion on the Mid-Term-Review topic. Interactive Cities project is in the middle of its journey and partners have discussed about project strengths, enhancements and improvements to achieve the foreseen project goals and outputs, taking into account what they learned in Tartu and looking forward to meet the network again in Gent for a new step of Interactive Cities.

The third transnational meeting in Tartu has been, as usual, an important moment of exchange between all partners.

Elisabetta Savino
Sabrina Bruzzone
Municipality of Genova