Between September 2018 and January 2020 URBACT organised four City Labs. Their objective was to complement the work being undertaken by the German Presidency team to refresh the Leipzig Charter. The Labs were organised in partnership with EUROCITIES and Urban Innovative Actions (UIA). The City Labs drew upon the extensive cities network of URBACT and the other partners. The Labs adopted an operational focus, exploring the implications for cities, and putting them at the heart of the process. Their starting point was the fundamental changes that have taken place since the Charter’s initial publication in 2007.
Each of the City Labs focused on one of the original Leipzig Charter principles – Participation, Sustainability, Integration and Balanced Territorial Development – and asked:
• How does each Leipzig Charter principle look in 2020?
• How are cities implementing the principles and where are cities struggling, in relation to the principles?
• How cities can be supported to build their capacities in relation to these principles? Each City Lab generated a report and a video, showcasing the work of participating cities. These examples are designed to inspire and encourage other cities which are committed to achieving sustainable integrated urban development.
The Leipzig Charter remains a landmark urban policy document. The principles it set out remain central to how European urban development is conceived today. For example, the importance of cities playing an active role in decision-making, which is embedded within the Urban Agenda for the EU, was clearly articulated in the original Charter. Its principles have also helped shape global urban policy keystones like the New Urban Agenda and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals