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Network Expert Kostas Karamarkos introduces the cities of RU:RBAN Second Wave

Edited on

19 November 2021
Read time: 2 minutes

RU:RBAN Second Wave will transfer an inclusive, flexible and friendly methodology to the Urbact Local Groups of the 5 networking cities (Rome, Lead Partner, and the cities of Alexandroupolis, Algeciras, Carlow and Split) in order to support them in the management of urban gardens within the EU Urban Agenda and the related Sustainable Development Goals. It will do so through an adaptive approach for European networking cities different from each other in size, climate, cultural heritage and socio-economic background. An approach that fosters the inclusion and engagement of local stakeholders, the collaboration of civil society, academic bodies, public actors and associations for the cooperative management of urban resources. The four newcomer cities will follow a clear Transfer Roadmap that will last till December 2022, adopting and adapting the 3 project transfer elements: Capacity building, Vocational training (Gardeniser) and Governance. Let’s see together some of the main points of interest in their RU:RBAN journey.

Alexandroupolis, situated in the north-east of Greece, is strongly committed to work on its policy challenges and project activities have taken place over the summer months of 2021. The pilot area in Alexandroupolis is Bioagros, an urban garden of 27.750m2 where each year almost 270 families with low income can  cultivate their own organic fruits and vegetables. Some of the aims of city, following the management model of Rome applied in Bioagros, are the inclusion of low income and vulnerable groups (i.e. unemployed, pensioners, single parents and families with many children), the strengthening of social solidarity and community building, the increase of physical activity and the reduction of the risk of mental health issues. Alexandroupolis sees urban agriculture as a significant social inclusion catalyst and includes it in its own public agenda.
Algeciras, situated in southern Spain, is committed to foster the participation of local stakeholders and citizens as well as promoting an effective management model of the urban gardens. The city has presented two pilot areas, La Yesera (under the government of the Region of Andalusia) and Los Pinos (under the city government). Added value to RU:RBAN is the great support from the City administration towards urban agriculture projects and a highly motivated and successful community of urban gardeners. 
Carlow, situated in the South-East Region of Ireland, offers to the project the presence of both County Carlow and Town urban gardens as case studies. Some of the aims through RU:RBAN are to develop a Policy for management of urban gardens at Town / Municipal District level, to influence on development of General urbanistic plan, strategies and policies which include management of green zones, to promote Urban Agriculture on a Household Level, to develop and support small community gardens, to better organise green spaces and to promote social integration. Several urban agriculture experiences are already active in the city and count on the full support of the City administration.
Split, situated on the Croatian Mediterranean coast, has included urban agriculture practices in the main strategic Development Strategy Document of the City of Split by 2030. The case study, the Skalice primary school garden of 500 sqm, is in progress and will be presented in July 2022. The city is also considering the inclusion as a pilot garden an area close to the city centre currently used spontaneously by citizens, thus introducing this area in the virtuous process of RU:RBAN. A strong engagement of ULG members has already been experienced. The city is also implementing a new 3D geo-information system that includes green areas in Split, therefore having a RU:RBAN pilot garden will serve as a paradigm for all the future urban gardens in Split.