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Edited on

22 July 2020
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The philosophy behind URBACT Transfer Networks is embedded in its name: transferring a city’s Good Practice to a group of cities that have adhered to the possibility of adopting (and adapting) such Good Practice and make it their own. All in the spirit of sharing knowledge and experience with the ultimate goal to improve quality of life, in its manifold facets, in our cities. Every Transfer Network is supposed to produce a “transfer story” which is, in not so many words, the tale of how the good practice has been transferred to other EU cities, which have been the challenges faced and the opportunities emerged from the process.

Well, all this is very clear at EU level, we all speak the same “language”- I am not referring to the linguistic point of view- in terms of administrative and legislative context, we are sharing knowledge and experience within “sister-cities”.

But what happens when an “outsider” calls for help? What happens when the city asking for advice and suggestions is in a different continent altogether? This has been the case for RU:RBAN: the city of Barranquilla (Colombia) reached out to us in March, when the covid-19 pandemic literally exploded in the South American country. The Mayor of Barranquilla had studied the activities of our Network and saw a clear possibility for the citizens he represents to face and overcome the economic crisis deriving from the health emergency through the implementation of urban gardens in their city to ensure the provision of food to those most in need, while giving citizens the possibility to work and provide for their families. Although a high number of Barranquilla’s inhabitants come from a rural background, the idea of setting up urban gardens had never occurred to them. After a series of teleconferences with representatives from Barranquilla, the RU:RBAN team of Rome decided to set up a brief summary containing the “to-do-list” for the implementation of an urban garden, in collaboration with the partner city of A Coruña, in Spain, also present at the teleconferences with the South American city. A first draft of what we thought could be considered a sort of “vademecum” for the implementation of urban gardens was redacted in early April….little we knew back then that what we were really doing was redacting the RU:RBAN TRANSFER STORY.

Indeed, the vademecum was then shared with the rest of the partner cities whom provided their own inputs and photographs. The result is today a guide, or a set of instructions, on how to implement an urban garden in your city. The document not only has proved to be of great help to Barranquilla, with which a fruitful collaboration is today in place, but to any city wishing to follow the example of the Colombian city. Indeed a great result of the collaboration and true spirit of sharing from the partners of the seven RU:RBAN cities.

Therefore, what started as the answer to a request for help has turned out to become a user’s guide on how to implement urban gardens in our cities, a tool which we hope will be of great use to future urban gardeners….worldwide!

The document may be requested via email at


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