URBACT aims to foster integrated urban development in Europe by supporting networks of cities and towns to exchange good practices and ideas. This webpage aims to share information, news and articles about URBACT, especially to its Irish audience.

We are pleased to announce the opening of a call for Innovation Transfer Networks (ITNs) which runs from January 10th until March 20th, 2024.

This second call under the URBACT IV programme provides an excellent opportunity for European towns and cities to transfer and adapt to their own local contexts an innovative project completed under the framework of Urban Innovative Actions (UIA). You can discover all the important information pertinent to the call, including the terms of reference, the potential Lead Partner cities and the project ideas to be transferred, as well as the dates of the information sessions at European level, and much much more at URBACT GET INVOLVED.

Please also register for the Irish Information Day which occurs in the Custom House, Dublin on the 25th January 2024. You can read more here and register at this link.

The first URBACT IV call for Action Planning Networks (APNs) closed on the 31st of March 2023 with 30 new APNs confirmed by the Programme Monitoring Committee at the end of May. Irish local authorities were announced as being party to seven of these 30, officially beginning their URBACT Action Planning journey on June 1st 2023.

There are a number of other calls envisaged during 2024, 2025 and 2026, including ones on URBACT Good Practices, URBACT Transfer Networks, and a further URBACT APN call. See the Operational Programme for information on the URBACT IV programming period!

The URBACT website more generally offers a plethora of interesting supports to help you explore the potential for integrated and participatory actions in your town or city, none more so than the URBACT Toolbox. Lots of valuable gadgets and tricks are also available there to assist you in tackling urban challenges in your locality, including guidance, tools, templates, prompts, explainers and much much more! 

  • URBACT banner "Drive Change for Better Cities"

    The URBACT Summer University-lots of learning and new insights!

    Karl Murphy

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  • Tras el comité de seguimiento de URBACT IV del 31 de mayo, se aprobaron las nuevas redes APN.

    Ireland's 6 new Action Planning Networks 2023

    30 new Action Planning Networks announced with Irish local authorities as partners in six!

    Karl Murphy

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  • Adam Roigart inspiring the event participants

    Ireland’s Playful Towns-Final Event of URBACT NPTI network.

    On the 15th November, participating towns in URBACT’s Playful Paradigm National Transfer Practice Initiative (NPTI): Donegal, Portlaoise, Rush, Rathdrum and Sligo, and led by Cork City, descended on Sligo town centre to show over sixty-five invitees from all over Ireland how they can put the ‘play’ into ‘place-making’ and animate Ireland’s towns.


    Following Cork City’s participation and success in the transnational network Playful Paradigm, led by Udine in Italy, this NPTI project was one of five European intra-country transfer pilots seeking to bring both the best practice and learning of its lead city and the value of URBACT to towns yet to experience the programme and to hopefully engender future capacity and interest in being part of an URBACT transnational network.


    The event comprised 3 key-note speakers who are at the cutting edge of place-making in their cities, namely Päivi Raivio of Helsinki, Adam Roigart of Copenhagen and Denise Cahill of Cork. The morning’s discussion was followed by a fun-filled afternoon on the streets of Sligo demonstrating ideas for bringing play onto the streets. Cork and the five playful towns participating in the transfer showcased what they have achieved over the last year and demonstrated how any town can do the same, quickly and cheaply, to animate their towns.


    Councillor Mayor Tom Mac Sharry opened the conference and welcomed participants to Sligo: ‘I was delighted, on behalf of Sligo County Council to welcome so many people from all over the country to sunny Sligo to learn about one way of rejuvenating our town centres’.


    Dorothy Clarke, Director of Services, Sligo County Council, in her welcoming address to participants said: There is no one solution to making our towns more attractive places for people to live in, spend time in and enjoy. But if local authorities can incorporate playfulness into the planning and design of public realm schemes, we will really enhance the effectiveness of such projects and ensure that they are transformational and successful in rejuvenating our town centres’.


    Following the morning’s welcomes, keynotes and panel discussion, in the afternoon participants were sent around Sligo town on an urban orienteering trail of the town organized by the Sligo Sports and Recreation Partnership. Each destination point of the trail showcased an activity or game that has been used by the playful towns in the last year – giant jenga, tug of war, giant snakes and ladders, target practice using bean bags and buckets. A snow/sock ball fight took place on JFK parade to the shock and delight of participants. Local artists from Pulled (a community focused Printmaking and Artist studio based in Sligo town) decorated the town’s footpaths in chalk games inviting members of the public and participants to take a moment out and be playful.


    NPTI partner in Sligo and Executive Planner, Leonora McConville noted how Ireland is witnessing the greatest injection of public funds into its towns that the state has ever seen and this is underpinned by the new Town Centre First policy which places towns at the heart of decision making. There is no one solution to creating vibrant town centres but that small actions are achievable, with high impact and at little expense. In using play and playfulness to animate our towns, this sees communities engaged and encourages a sense of ownership over public spaces’.


    Working closely with the National URBACT Point, Karl Murphy and his colleagues at the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly (EMRA), Leonora McConville and her colleagues at Sligo County Council were instrumental in planning the final event of this URBACT NPTI network. The strong URBACT local group (ULG) was on display with members drawn from across the County Council (Planning, Parks, Roads and Architects sections), along with Sligo Sports and Recreation Partnership, County Childcare Committee, Sligo Business Improvement District, Sligo Tidy Towns, Healthy Sligo, the Age Friendly Program, Sligo Public Participation Network as well as the County Library and the Cranmore Regeneration Project.


    For further information on URBACT activities more widely, go to: https://urbact.eu/ or contact Karl Murphy, National URBACT Point for Ireland at urbactireland@emra.ie

    Karl Murphy

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Good Practices and Networks


    The partner cities from this Implementation network have a common need to improve the implementation of their existing integrated urban strategies and action


    The INT-HERIT implementation network brings together 9 European cities facing challenges related to the revitalisation of their cultural heritage. These cities

  • MAPS – Military Assets as Public Spaces

    The Action Planning network MAPS (Military Assets as Public Spaces) was focused on enhancing former military heritage as key elements for sustainable urban