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Gent

The city of Ghent is originated at the confluence (“Ganda”) of the rivers Scheldt (Schelde) and Lys (Leie) and situated in the centre of Europa at the crossroad of the European motorways E40 (London-Istanbul) and E17 (Lisbon-Stockholm). Ghent is a historical medieval city with some 250.000 inhabitants, of no less than 159 different nationalities. The city is the 2nd largest city of the Flemish Region and has an excellent reputation, as a city of knowledge and culture, accessible to anyone. Many Belgian and foreign students, rightly consider Ghent as the place to be! Some 67.000 students are registered in the and the schools of higher education. This amazing knowledge activity generates a major source of economic growth. Ghent has also a strong scientific reputation in the field of biotechnology, bio-energy and ICT and has become the driving force behind ‘Flanders Biotech Valley’. The ‘Ghent Bio-Energy Valley’ in the Port of Ghent emphasises the ambition to become an internationally recognized growth centre of renewable energy and industrial bio-energy projects.
Local challenges of Gent

The city of Ghent is well aware that its ambition to see the region grow into an economic area of knowledge and innovation at international level is only possible through cooperation, or ‘by uniting all creative forces’ as stated in the Gent2020 mission.

Ghent considers it as a major challenge for city & university to manage the growth of Ghent as city of students, research and innovation. Currently, there is a lack of space for research, for student housing, and for innovative business. This challenge requires an integrated and sustainable approach and joint efforts with all stakeholders involved. There is a strong need for a long-term shared vision and a strategy on how to manage growth on a sustainable way and create space for innovation, research and education taking into account the 3 pillars of sustainability (environmental, economic and social). It goes without saying that the availability, today and in the future, of space for innovation, education and research is certainly crucial for a city that embraces the knowledge economy and is a challenge in the cooperation between the city and her university.
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URBACT will co-host an event with the City of Madrid as a part of its commitment to build cities’ capacity for civic participation