Life in cities continues even after dark. The 'Night Economy' is made up of activities that are essential for a city to function 24 hours a day and play a significant role in the global economy. It covers diverse sectors such as mobility, entertainment, hospitality, emergency services, security, logistics, services, etc.
Nightlife is an important factor for tourism in many cities, which faces various challenges such as safety, regulation and environmental impacts (noise and light pollution). It is up to the authorities to balance the development of the night-time economy with the quality of life of residents.
The night-time economy is dynamic and has a significant impact on urban life. It offers economic, cultural and social opportunities, but also requires careful management to deal with its specific challenges.
ARCHETHICS network brings together nine European cities that share the presence of heritage linked to a complex and controversial historical past (totalitarian regimes, contentious borders, etc). Architecture, People, History and Ethics will be the four project dimensions to activate urban community labs to transform this heritage, composed of formerly abandoned spaces, into places for locals and visitors for sharing knowledge and coming to multi-perspective understandings of the past and new visions for the future.
DIGI-INCLUSION network aims to tackle social exclusion and boost digital inclusion not only by granting access to technology but by enabling people to develop the necessary skills and to become sufficiently empowered to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital world.
The main objective of the Agents of Co-Existence network is to foster innovative approaches to societal challenges and strive for inclusive local policies with active community involvement. To achieve this, the network focuses on strengthening the skills and competences of civil servants and creating new organisational structures and cultures to further boost civic participation and thereby build a stronger foundation for democracy. Through knowledge exchange and study visits, the network explores the possibilities to improve participatory processes and maximise outcomes.
El foro plantea tres itinerarios que no tendrán una división física, espacial u horaria en el foro, sino que inspirarán las distintas mesas de diálogo organizadas a lo largo de toda su duración. Esto itinerarios son los siguientes:
1º: Los Planes de Acción y los diferentes actores
2º: Los aspectos complementarios o las otras "Agendas"
3º: La financiación de los Planes de Acción
Dentro de esta agenda, URBACT organizará una sesión, el martes 17, compuesta de dos partes:
REUNIÓN INTERNA APN- Sala de Prensa
9:00-9:15. Llegada, bienvenida y presentación (actividad inicial)
9:15-10:00. Mesas de trabajo. Se propone tres mesas de trabajo donde, de forma rotatoria, los y las participantes debatiremos en torno a tres temas fundamentales:
- Mesa 1: Expectativas sobre el proyecto y la red
- Mesa 2: Dificultades para redactar el Plan de Acción
- Mesa 3: Expectativas sobre el papel del Punto Nacional, en particular, y sobre el Secretariado URBACT en general
10:15-11:00. Puesta en común (relatores) y conclusiones
MESA REDONDA URBACT ESPAÑA: "Las nuevas redes del programa URBACT IV: un éxito de los municipios españoles"- Sala Andalucía 3
12:30-12.50. Presentación y desarrollo del programa URBACT IV
Isabel González. Coordinadora del Punto Nacional de Urbact. GIAU+s. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
Subdirección de Desarrollo Urbano. Dirección General de Fondos Europeos. Ministerio de Hacienda
12:50-14.30. Mesa redonda: La experiencia de los municipios españoles en el Programa Urbact
Moderadora: Isabel González. Coordinadora del Punto Nacional de URBACT. Giau+s. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid
- Víctor Fernández. Técnico de la Sección de Promoción Empresarial del Ayuntamiento de Avilés. Responsable del proyecto que lidera la Red In4Green
- Marina Serrano. Ayuntamiento de Mollet del Vallés, municipio líder de la Red Digital Transition
- Ángel Pérez Sánchez. Jefe del Servicio de Economía y Empleo del Ayuntamiento de Jumilla, municipio socio de la Red Breaking Isolation
- Luis Manuel Rodríguez Romero. Coordinador de juventud del Ayuntamiento de Plasencia, municipio socio de la Red Residents of future
- Ángel Luis Benito Pérez. Director técnico de Sostenibilidad, Agenda Urbana y Proyectos Estratégicos. Ayuntamiento de Granada, municipio socio de las Redes Let’s go circular y C@h
El NUP URBACT de España participará en el II Foro Urbano de España que se va a realizar en Granada el 16 y 17 de Octubre de 2023 y que está organizado por el Ministerio de Transportes, Movilidad y Agenda Urbana (MITMA) del Gobierno de España con el lema "Agenda Urbana en Acción".
Acht Europese hoofdsteden - Amsterdam, Dublin, Lissabon, Londen, Sofia, Riga, Tallinn, Vilnius - werken samen om nieuw beleid voor culturele integratie te creëren. Het doel is om een echte verschuiving teweeg te brengen in de culturele beleidsvorming in Europa en daarmee de toegang tot cultuur voor alle burgers te verzekeren. Het netwerk brengt praktijkmensen, stadsbestuurders, gekozen vertegenwoordigers, ngo's, de particuliere sector en het maatschappelijk middenveld samen.
Wat kan de gemeente Amsterdam doen om cultuur in Nieuw West, Noord en Zuidoost mogelijk te maken en te ontwikkelen door een inclusieve benadering van cultuur in de hele stad te creëren?
Via ACCESS wil de gemeente Amsterdam werken aan culturele uitdagingen met een bijzondere focus op publieksbetrokkenheid, de verspreiding van cultuur door de stad en het verzamelen en gebruiken van gegevens als bewijsbasis voor het vinden van oplossingen. Er zal bijzondere aandacht worden besteed aan het vinden van benaderingen om rechtstreeks van stadsbewoners te leren over hun culturele behoeften en ambities, evenals de betrokkenheid van lokale belanghebbenden. ACCESS zal een drijvende kracht zijn bij het ontwikkelen van nieuwe strategieën en binnen dit netwerk kan de stad bestaande projecten versterken en nieuwe acties en initiatieven ontwikkelen om de culturele participatie te vergroten. Het creëren van een nieuwe duurzame langetermijnstrategie voor culturele inclusie. Met ACCESS legt de gemeente Amsterdam sterk de nadruk op de ontwikkeling van cultuur in de stadsdelen Noord, Nieuw-West en Zuidoost.
De eerste ambitie van Noord is om alle kunst en cultuur voor iedereen toegankelijk te maken. Daarom werken ze aan een cultuurkaart die verankerd is op wijkniveau in de wijk. Dit betekent prioriteit geven aan de buurtbewoners en minder aandacht besteden aan de uitbreiding van de binnenstad naar het noorden. Leiding geven aan bestaande initiatieven en instellingen uit Noord. Lokale sociale groepen zijn essentieel voor het succes en de ondersteuning van het cultuurbeleid. Het is noodzakelijk dat zij betrokken zijn en zich betrokken voelen bij het proces. Veel culturele instellingen zijn gebundeld in de Cultuurtafel en een van hun boodschappen is, verwijzend naar wijlen volkszanger Ramses Shaffy, ‘niet zonder ons’.
Stadsdeel Nieuw-West heeft vijf doelen gesteld op het gebied van kunst en cultuur.
De leefbaarheid van de wijken vergroten door middel van kunst en cultuur, wat kan bijdragen aan dialogen, ontmoetingen en diversiteit
Realiseren van een passende culturele infrastructuur
Jongerencultuur stimuleren en talentontwikkeling stimuleren
Nieuwe ruimte, kansen en mogelijkheden bieden aan makers uit Nieuw-West
De specifieke doelvraag voor ACCES om een meer inclusief aanbod van kunst en cultuur te realiseren is: Wat zijn de culturele wensen en behoeften van de bewoners, op wijk- en wijkniveau.
Zuidoost speelt een belangrijke rol bij het realiseren van inclusie en diversiteit in Amsterdam en wil de ervaring en expertise op het gebied van diverse en multiculturele organisatie en programmering graag delen met de rest van Amsterdam. Zuidoost versterkt al lokale kunstinitiatieven en ondersteunt kunst- en cultuurorganisaties met subsidie; versterkt de financiële slagkracht van kunst- en cultuurprofessionals; versterkt cultuureducatie in Zuidoost; gebruikt lokale identiteiten als branding; promoot kunst en cultuur om de lokale bevolking en toeristen te bereiken; ondersteunt successen van eerdere evenementen; en versterkt de positie van kunst in de openbare ruimte.
Wat Zuidoost probeert te doen, is om de tafel gaan zitten met het culturele veld en hen het gesprek laten leiden, om te kijken welke uitdagingen aandacht nodig hebben. Blijf in gesprek, ook ondanks de corona-lockdown. Het gaat om de zichtbaarheid van de instellingen en de makers voor de bezoekers en de culturele partners in de stad. Hoe borgen we deze zichtbaarheid, hoe kunnen we samenwerken? Weten de culturele partners genoeg van Zuidoost en hun mogelijkheden? Onze ambitie is om voor Amsterdam een cultureel product samen te stellen waar iedereen trots op kan zijn.
Inzicht krijgen in de cultuur van de stad
Om het inzicht in cultuurparticipatie te vergroten en te verdiepen, bundelt amsterdam & partners de krachten met belangrijke stakeholders uit de stad, waaronder de Amsterdammers, diverse culturele instellingen en de afdelingen Kunst en Cultuur, Innovatie, Onderzoek, Informatie & Statistiek en Diversiteit van de Gemeente Amsterdam gaat een nieuw datamodel voor cultuurparticipatie in Amsterdam ontwikkelen. Het Datamodel Cultuurparticipatie Amsterdam heeft tot doel inzicht te geven in (nog) niet bereikte bewoners en lokale doelgroepen, hun interesses en behoeften op het gebied van kunst & cultuur, kansen te signaleren voor culturele organisaties in Amsterdam en hen in staat te stellen hun inspanningen gericht op het vergroten van culturele deelname.
Geïnspireerd door Rotterdam
Als inspiratiebron voor de pilot wordt een bestaand initiatief gebruikt. Rotterdam Festivals en Whooz hebben met succes het (nog niet) culturele publiek in Rotterdam in kaart gebracht. Vanuit dit model werkt de culturele sector in Rotterdam samen aan haar gezamenlijke missie om de participatie van bewoners te vergroten. Met een eenvoudige en zeer laagdrempelige aanpak, gebaseerd op de analyse van postcodebestanden, wordt stadsbreed onderzoek gedaan en wordt inzicht verkregen in de cultuurparticipatie en voorkeuren van de Rotterdammers. Deze inzichten bieden praktische handvatten om de inspanningen van de verschillende stakeholders te verbeteren en interne en externe benchmarks mogelijk te maken.
De pilot start met de actieve betrokkenheid van 25 Amsterdamse culturele instellingen verspreid over de stad op basis van historische kijkcijfers. Hierdoor kan de sub-ULG van Amsterdam de waarde van dit instrument toetsen en indien nodig aanpassen aan de lokale context en behoeften van Amsterdam.
Er wordt gewerkt op basis van postcode-analyses in combinatie met inzichten in demografie, leefstijl en gedrag. Dit maakt gerichte communicatie met (nieuwe) publieksgroepen mogelijk, zonder met hagel te schieten, waardoor het targeten van huidige en nieuwe bezoekers effectiever en efficiënter wordt. Door de postcodebestanden van de culturele instellingen door het model te halen, krijgen de instellingen praktisch en gedetailleerd inzicht in hun bezoekers, maar ook inzicht in de kernprestaties op het gebied van onder meer toegankelijkheid en inclusie, en deze te benchmarken.
Om maximaal draagvlak te krijgen en te behouden wordt een adviesraad ingesteld met daarin vertegenwoordigers van belangrijke stakeholders, waaronder bewoners, culturele instellingen, onderzoeksinstituten en de gemeente Amsterdam. Met de adviesraad en door middel van participatieve methoden worden de behoeften van Amsterdam in kaart gebracht en besproken, inclusief het idee om de huidige definities van culturele participatie in Amsterdam te herijken.
Ontwerpen van Small Scale Actions (SSA’s) in Amsterdam
In het verleden hadden bewoners vaak het gevoel dat de gemeente niet voor hen sprak. Hierdoor is de onderlinge relatie beschadigd en gaan ze onderzoekers en gemeentebestuurders wantrouwen. Om de kloof te overbruggen zouden we ze moeten beschouwen als de professionals van hun eigen buurt. We waarderen deze gesprekken en moedigen aan om over deze zorgen te spreken, die ons scherp houden en ons leren over de geschiedenis en de omstandigheden van de bewoners. Samen willen we deze lessen doorvoeren in de totstandkoming van de kleinschalige acties door de bewoners actief te betrekken bij de aanleg van de SSA's en te leren van de ervaringen van zowel de bewoners als de actieve hulpverleners in de wijk. We hopen dat dit het tij kan keren en kan helpen bouwen aan een duurzame methode om het wederzijdse vertrouwen in de stad te vergroten.
De ideeën zijn vertaald in een enquête, waarbij alle deelnemers per wijk konden stemmen op hun drie favoriete ideeën. In de enquête konden de respondenten ook aangeven bereid te zijn om bij te dragen aan de uitvoering van de SSA's.
Met deze resultaten in handen, gingen we op zoek naar de juiste projectmanager voor elk van de drie SSA's. We hebben expliciet gezocht naar iemand van de ULG, die bekend is met en in de wijk, die dicht bij de bewoners staat en hen begrijpt, en – misschien wel een belangrijke factor – die geen deel uitmaakt van de gemeente en bereid is om dit SSA samen te stellen in samenwerking met de bewoners, het Amsterdam ACCESS team en de toegewezen wijkbeheerders.
Met deze strategie hopen we een democratische methode te hebben gecreëerd voor het bedenken en samenstellen van onze SSA's, terwijl we tegemoetkomen aan de vraag om de sleutels uit te delen door de verantwoordelijkheid voor het bouwen van een gemeenschapsproject te delen met iemand buiten het gemeentebestuur. Met deze werkwijze willen we de drempel verlagen om de bewoners te benaderen, door de SSA's een vorm te geven die past bij hun waarden en behoeften.
Among its core objectives, the EU cohesion policy has set as a first priority to create a more competitive and smarter Europe. But what does it mean to take the leap towards the digital transition? Read on to get a glimpse of how URBACT cities have faced today's challenges using tech solutions and ideas.
Blue Growth Entrepreneurship Competition
As part of its efforts to create new jobs and innovation opportunities within the local economy, Piraeus launched its blue growth entrepreneurship competition, which is recognised as an URBACT Good Practice. As a coastal city, with a strong maritime industry, it’s in the best interest of the city and its citizens to explore and take a dive into the blue economy. At the core of its practices it’s a contest, where business plans are prepared and submitted by aspiring entrepreneurs and then compared and judged against a set of predetermined criteria. The aim is to get potential entrepreneurs to explore new opportunities and set up growth opportunities within the digital economy.
One past winner is the Ferryhopper – an online ferry-ticketing marketplace that helps consumers with access to multi-trip tickets, which are sold by a whole range of different transport operators. This competition is an interesting example of how to intersectional priorities, with tech and digital opportunities in mind, can offer a huge potential. Piraeu’s experience has led the city to become Lead Partner in two Transfer Networks: BluAct (2018 - 2021) and BluAct Second Wave (2021 - 2023). The results have been outstanding and this Good Practice has become a source of inspiration beyond the EU. Most recently, the United Nations Development Programme has taken interest in it and the BluAct team has presented its work to citymakers in different countries.
Promotional video for the competition led by Mataro (ES), Project Partner of the BluAct Transfer Network
Supporting environmental data
As a Project Partner of the IoTxChange Action Planning Network (2019 – 2022), which was led by Fundão (PT), the city of Jelgava uses Internet of Things sensor technology since July 2021 to measure local meteo and environmental data. The municipality has seized the testing activities budget to use IoT as a policy instrument for the city change, with an overall goal to support farmers, other stakeholders and, more broadly, the civil society. As a pilot, Jelgava installed four stations with IoT connections in the downtown and farmers’ premises. Different type of data is collected – air temperature, soil humidity, rainfall, wind speed and wind direction – using two different heights, at 2 and 10 meters high, which is considered as proof of concept for the data validation, which should play a role if new sensors should be put into place.
Bassa Romagna (IT)
An app for sustainable food chain
Comprised by nine municipalities, the Union of Bassa Romagna took part in the FOOD CORRIDORS Action Planning Network (2019 – 2022) to promote sustainable food systems in the framework of health, environment and climate change. Using an integrated approach, this territory has chosen to focus on the local economy by, among other things, enabling the creation of food start-ups and relying on tech to innovate the local value chain. When it came to social and environmental aspects, the concept of proximity, also known as “food to fork” or “0 km”, was key. Together with their URBACT Local Group, the municipalities planned different actions on food redistribution to support NGOs and tackle poverty, while avoiding waste – a surplus for solidarity.
Other actions included territorial marketing initiatives to support responsible and health local food consumption. In addition, during the lifespan of the network, people became increasingly aware of the potential of digital tools, due to the pandemic’s constraints. Such context and ambitions led the network to use its testing activities budget to develop a brand new app. Currently available for Android phones, the app collects the geolocation of local producers, featuring the history of the companies, local markets and even tourism farms and other information for citizens and potential consumers in the area. New features are still on the making, notably for creating a repertory of typical local products. Other functionalities are also under reflection, such as food redistribution.
Saint Quentin (FR)
Engaging all citizens in the digital revolution
Saint Quentin’s has taken part in two Action Planning Networks (2019 – 2022), DigiPlace and ACTIVE CITIZENS. Following a strong political desire to face the main challenges of the future together – and implementing its 2050 strategy with a people-centric city approach – the city has also defined its digital plan. Based upon the principles to use new technologies to promote sustainable development, reduce costs and support local stakeholders in the ownership of digital tools, the city wanted to tackle the digital divide. Even if most public administrative services were made digital – as taxes and health services – about 20% of the local population were still feeling excluded to a lack of digital skills. This has prompted the city to invest, mainly through municipality, regional and state funds and other local resources, in activities to get closer to citizens, in simple but effective ways. The city has established several Solidarity Hubs, community spaces where people can access ICT facilities and support. Social cohesion is at the heart of ACTIVE CITIZENS, reason why the network was an occasion to further explore an involve locals in this inclusion process.
Adapt or die
As a British medium-sized city with big ambitions, the city has long been keen to develop a “new” economy based on innovation and the Industry 4.0, following the contracting of the mining industry in the 1980’s. A story many European cities and towns can relate to. To this end, for more than a decade the city has committed to growing higher value jobs, particularly within its creative, tech and digital sectors. At the heart of recent successes are the Barnsley Enterprise – an entrepreneurship programme, providing a one-stop-shop for local businesses that seek the City Council’s support – and the Digital Media Centres, physical hubs for creative and digital initiatives.
Barnsley was awarded an URBACT Good Practice label and has led three URBACT projects: the TechTown Action Planning Network (2015 – 2018) and the Transfer Networks Tech Revolution (2018 – 2021) and Tech Revolution 2.0 (2021 – 2023). Thanks to these experiences, the local council has developed beyond the town itself and, in 2022, was asked to pilot a regional digital strategy. Such achievement will allow the city to carry on its principles, while expanding its activities including in universities, residential, retail and travel facilities.
Barnsley (UK) interview during the Lisbon URBACT City Festival in 2018
An active business system to support the digital economy
Through its participation in the TechTown Action Planning Network (2015 - 2018) and, later, in the Tech Revolution Transfer Network (2018 - 2021), Nyiregyhaza has witnessed big transformations. The city has set up an active – and coordinated – business support service within its arms length Industrial Park Company. The city is now home to a new Technology and Innovation Centre with a stable operating budget, provided by the municipality, and with six full-time staff members, working on economic development, business support and investment promotion. The mayor now lists economic development and job creation as key priorities and seeks to focus on growth within the digital economy.
Smart bins and digital twins
During its participation in the DigiPlace Action Planning Network (2019 – 2022), the city of Oulu (FI) collaborated with a start-up to develop an app for enabling waste collection on-demand for citizens as well as active monitoring of municipal waste bins. The on-demand option allows residents to use the app to request a collection when their bin is getting full, which leads to a collection being dynamically scheduled into the waste company’s collection route. This uses AI algorithms to calculate the optimal route for waste collection vehicles to move around the bins that need to be collected in the most efficient manner, only visiting bins when needed. A similar algorithm is linked with the municipal bin monitoring system, which tracks how much waste is in over 1 000 of the city’s bins using sensors, and schedules bins into the collection cycle when they become close to being full.
This experience has resulted in a 40% reduction in both the number of collections and of the number of vehicles needed in the fleet, with the associated reductions in cost and carbon emissions. Similarly, the Lead Partner of DigiPalce, the municipality of Messina (IT), has active management of its waste services using a network of sensors, cameras and associated machine learning and AI algorithms. These are both great examples of existing technology and know-how – IoT sensors, route optimisation, machine learning and video recognition – being combined to tackle real city challenges or to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of city services, while also learning from peers.
Bielsko – Biala (PL)
Creating a digital economy
Through their participation in the AS-TRANSFER Network (2021 – 2023) – a pilot collaboration between URBACT and the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) to mainstream the lessons learnt from previous project – the municipality of Bielsko-Biala has drawn inspiration from the AS-FABRIK initiative in Bilbao (ES). The original project consisted of developing a comprehensive concept that offered new training schemes, partnerships and actions to accelerate digitalisation and boost innovation startups in the Spanish city. Throughout the pilot, the Polish city has developed in a participatory way an investment plan to further seize the Industry 4.0. The city has long been a pioneer when it comes to tech. Back in 2014, Biesko-Biala opened its first creative space and Poland’s first ever FabLab. If successful, the investment plan will enable the city to create a well-connected and vivid local innovation ecosystem with its existing Digital Innovation Hub at heart.
A card to simplify local services
Following Aveiro’s participation in the CARD4ALL Transfer Network (2018 – 2021), the city has become known as a digital cluster, a territory of innovation with a strong knowledge economy, dynamic university, centre for telecoms R&D, and innovative firms in the digital and traditional sectors. However, the increasing development of new digital solutions had created a complex system of providers, interfaces and information sources for various services around the city, which was increasingly hard for local people to navigate.The Municipality has been wanting In an attempt to simplify citizens’ access to public services and transform Aveiro into a smarter, more open, resilient and inclusive society, the municipality an Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) project in 2018. The Aveiro STEAM CITY, supporting the adoption of 5G and Internet of Things technologies. Based on the URBACT Good Practice of Gijon (ES), the Lead Partner from CARD4ALL, Aveiro has started by introducing a common card for all students across its different schools.
All services provided by the municipality and schools can be managed and paid with it. This includes the cafeteria, school supplies, photocopying, even access to the buildings and school-day extensions. Crucial preparatory actions included mapping different systems to ensure compatibility and ease of use. Almost simultaneously, the city also activated new online services, with a wide range of options. Today, different municipal departments are working together to create a broader citizen card system covering almost all sectors of local life, including mobility, education, sports, culture, tourism and IT. Each department acts as an intermediary with their own external service providers and concession holders, encouraging strong cross-sectoral cooperation.
Keeping up with the Digital Transition
URBACT's brand new online course
URBACT is committed to improving the digital transition in all programme activities: in EU responses to urban challenges and in the planning processes of all URBACT cities. Unsurprisingly, digital is among the three crosscutting priorities for this programming period (2021 - 2027) – alongside the green and the gender themes. Time after time, the programme has supported the knowledge dissemination on the subject, with TechPlace and, most recently, the Keeping Up with the Digital Transition Moodle, which is open to anyone who takes an interest in this topic.
Digital solutions and ideas are coming at us thick and fast, and it can be hard for city staff and politicians to keep up. It’s therefore important for cities to be able to navigate around this universe and take advantage of its full potential. Cities have a vital role to play in the digital transition, alongside the private sector. From green matters to participative governance, from education to economy, digital solutions can help urban practitioners to deliver better and more integrated approaches at local level. Start the course now and build your capacities!
Every year on 8 March, International Women’s Day reminds us the progress yet to be made for gender equality at international, national, local and individual levels.
To support this fight, URBACT has funded several city networks working on gender equality for which tools, guidance and inspirational examples are captured in the Gender Equal Cities URBACT Knowledge Hub. The current open call for Action Planning Networks is a unique opportunity for cities to join forces when it comes to this matter, no matter which urban topic they choose to tackle. From mobility to digital transition and even green jobs, any local policy will be more successful and sustainable if the gender dimension is taken into account.
Get a taste of 10 stories when it comes to a just transition. Whether you are applying to join an URBACT Network or not, read on – and take a trip down memory lane – to get some inspiration of what can be done for more gender equal cities.
Umeå (SE) A gendered landscape
Umeå is definitely a city that holds gender equality close to its heart. Besides having a municipal Gender Equality Officer working across different departments, the city has long been involved with URBACT when it comes to this subject. Back in 2011, the municipality joined the WEED Action Planning Network (2008 - 2011) as a Project Partner and, later on, became the Lead Partner of the Genderedlandscape Action Planning Network (2019 - 2022) with the objective to further work on this issue with other EU cities. The city has greatly contributed to both versions of the Gender Equal Cities report (2019 and 2022), both developed under URBACT Knowledge Hub activities. For now, let’s take a closer look at another accomplishment from this city: back in 2017, Umeå received the URBACT Good Practice label for providing guided bus tours to show “the local gendered landscape”.
This is an innovative way of showing how working with gender equality takes form in a city. It exemplifies successful changes and work in the city, as well as illuminating remaining issues. In line with Umeå’s high ambitions on sustainability and gender equality, the gendered landscape method is the first of its kind in Europe. It’s not about traditional neighbourhood safety or security surveys, it’s about taking the city itself as the starting point, highlighting gendered power structures and how they can be understood and transformed, while educating and raising awareness of locals. There are several examples of how the initiatives of the bus tour have made an impact in the planning and development of the city. For example, the Umeå’s Street and Parks department permanently changed their methods for dialogues with citizens and gender-mainstreamed the content of steering documents. Another example is the monitoring done by the culture sector, which has observed a positive trend towards gender equality. For instance, in 2015 there were 45% women (out of 2 000 events) were main performers in the cultural stages in Umeå, a big increase in comparison to previous years.
Celje (SI) A pioneering city for women's employment
Under the tagline “Women, Enterprise and Employment in Local Development”, the WEED Action Planning Network (2008 - 2011) was URBACT's first gender-led funded project ever. Ahead of its time, it aimed at mapping and developing integrated local actions to improve women’s labour opportunities in 11 EU cities. Led by the municipality of Celje, its Local Integrated Action Plan was focused in the identification of service gaps – alongside the focus on women’s employment – proved to be an effective way to attract significant fund opportunities. Based on an initial analysis of the local households, unemployed women were the ones who lacked the most training and access to jobs and skills’ resources. That’s how the idea for a Centre for Information, Consultancy and Education came up. The proposal consisted of creating an educational programme that could support women and enable them to even work in the centre later, if they wished to. By the time the WEED Network was coming to an end, 300 000 EUR from the European Social Fund had been secured for the centre. Most recently, the city has taken part in the Genderedlandscape Network as Project Partner.
Vienna (AT) A gender equal city
The city of Vienna is an example that is showcased in both editions of the Gender Equal Cities report (2019 and 2022) and in the Gender-responsive Public Procurement module (2022). The city also hosted twice URBACT Knowledge Hub workshops, notably the one in 2018. In this occasion, the first policy report was conceptualised. Moreover, the city represented URBACT during an interactive workshop in the 11th World Urban Forum 2022, in Katowice (PL). It also took part in the sub>urban Action Planning Network (2015 - 2018) to rethink the fringes of its urban area. The city is a pioneer when it comes to gender mainstreaming in urban planning. It has one of the longest legacies of gender-sensitive planning with the Women’s Office opening in 1992 and the gender mainstreaming – which means the implementation of gender as a cross sectional issue – starting in 2005.
Today there are gender experts and multipliers all over the city. Gender is integrated into the city’s strategies and all public space, that is designed and built by the municipality, is done so with gender in mind. The outcome is an urban landscape that benefits everyone: parks are lit effectively to provide safety and access, social housing is architecturally designed with flexibility for different family situations, pavements are wider for parents and the elderly, street crossings are longer and pedestrians are prioritised, among other interventions. In addition, the municipality counts with Gender Budgeting Unit, which works with the finance team to oversee the annual budget across all departments using citywide data. As a frontrunner, the city is keen to share its experience with other cities across the world. It has published guides providing practical advice, offering explicit tools and tips, including gender-sensitive language, data collection and advice on how to avoid gender-mainstreaming becoming a catch-all buzzword.
Trikala (EL) Piloting childcare support
The municipality of Trikala has been involved in a series of URBACT Networks, but in 2019 it joined its first gender-led project, the Genderedlandscape Action Planning Network (2019 - 2022). Led by the city of Umeå, this was the perfect occasion for the municipality of Trikala to strengthen and support the delivery of Greece’s National Action Plan on Gender Equality 2021 - 2025 (NAPGE). Prior to this experience, the city had already signed the CEMR European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life. In May 2020, a municipal gender committee was established to advise public departments. Trikala was able to experiment with different activities, which were developed under the Genderedlandscape small scale actions. A successful experience was the creation of areas within municipal cultural centre and other facilities dedicated to childcare. Henceforth, women and men have a safe space in the heart of the city for breastfeeding or feeding their babies and children, changing diapers, playing and even resting. This story has been showcased in the latest version of the Gender Equal Cities report.
Val-de-Marne (FR) Welcoming and integrating female migrants
In September 2015, European cities witnessed the largest migration flow since the World War II. Around the same time, the ARRIVAL CITIES Action Planning Network(2015 - 2018) had just been approved. The cities involved in this network came together to stand against a backcloth of rising discrimination and prejudice against immigrants, with the objective to ensure social cohesion and the migrants’ integration. Val-de-Marne (FR) was one of the cities that joined this fight for immigrants’ rights. But contrary to the majority of its peers and other French cities, Val-de-Marne saw a particular rise on the number of women’s migrants. Despite the fact that women immigrants counted for more than 51% of the total immigrants in Val de Marne, they were considered as a minority. It’s worth mentioning that 20% of the people permanently living in the county of Val-de-Marne were born outside of French territory, a rate 18% higher when in comparison to the average in the Parisian region.
The issue of social, territorial and gender inequalities have long been at the heart of political and civic commitments in Val-de-Marne. The ARRIVAL CITIES Network was the perfect occasion to further support the emancipation and empowerment of the migrant population. The main challenge when it came to integration and gender equality was the significant professional deskilling. The participation of this city in this URBACT Network has strengthened partnerships with different associations, including the support to the Internship and Training Programme for Women, meaning women could start the process of job integration from the moment they set foot in France. In addition, the Local Integrated Action Plan set out a series of activities for civil society capacity-building and participation, including a Kurdish Women’s Festival that was held in 2017 in partnership of a series of NGOs.
Gdańsk (PL) Women in blue entrepreneurship
The municipality of Gdańsk has taken part in countless URBACT Networks. Unsurprisingly, the city is also one of the key case studies that are showcased in the latest version of the Gender Equal Cities report. The municipality has developed an app to feature the changing role of women’s employment in its famous Shipyard, simulating experiences from 1945 to 1996 with photos, biographies and audio material. It also used archives and other records, including extracts from a documentary that was shot in 1968. The objective was to give a voice to women’s from the past, telling their everyday working experiences, while encouraging girls and women to reflect on their career development. It’s worth mentioning that the city is a Project Partner in the BluAct Second Wave Transfer Network (2021 - 2023) draws lessons from its previous edition, the BluAct Transfer Network(2018 - 2021). This time around, a big emphasis was put on how blue economy entrepreneurship could help achieving gender equality.
Pordenone (IT) The city of the future?
Following the success of the Playful Paradigm Transfer Network(2018 – 2021), a spin off network was approved: the Playful Paradigm Second Wave(2021 - 2023). While the first experience focused on gamification, public spaces and using “play” as a tool to re-think cities, the second time around allowed involved cities to look deeper at placemaking and building gender-sensitive places. During one of its meetings, this network decided to focus on the topic of “play for sustainable urban regeneration”, which resulted in a Gender Toolkit. Among the case studies, the city of Pordenone (IT) was showcased. This is a forward-thinking municipality that is always on the lookout of innovation – hence its involvement with the SibDev Action Planning Network(2019 - 2022). The story of how they used immersive techniques to explore gender and urban planning is also told in the most recent version of the Gender Equal Cities report. In Italy, women make up more than half of the national population, still they continue to live, move and work in urban contexts that were historically designed and coded by men. The gender gaps in participation and planning highlight persistent structural inequalities.
The city of Pordenone sought to develop a participative format that could be applied in medium-sized cities to encourage the collective conceptualisation of how the future of the city might be. Their core question was: can we envision a better future from a gendered perspective? Their main goal in this process was to raise awareness among the population of the city and embed gender mainstreaming in planning and policy in the city. The city chose strategic areas to focus – work, intergenerationality, time and spaces – and designed a treasure hunt through the city based on Live Action Role Play (LARP). A path was established, which included stops at schools, supermarkets, public buildings, the cinema etc. Female participants were instructed to answer questions at each stop and find an object from the past and the future. The next point in the path resulted from their answers and choices. The goal was to facilitate a new vision among the participants by disrupting usual scenarios and offering a new perspective on familiar spaces.
Cesis (LV) Girls' school coding clubs
Up until today, the lack of girls and young women specialised in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in school and universities is undeniable. Taking part in the TechTown Action Planning Network(2015 - 2018) to build more digital cities, the city of Cesis has quickly noticed this structural issue. The school curriculum is normally fully dedicated to other priority topics and cities, themselves, have little or no ability to influence children’s preferences. However, there are often possibilities to “hack” the programme. For instance, the municipality can suggest schools to add extra-curricular activities: coding clubs or “lunch and learns” – which target girls and provide strong female role models in STEM jobs.
The Cesis branch of the Riga Technical University has created additional activities for students aged 12 - 19 and lego robotics classes the in Cesis Children and Youth centre. Even short interventions can make a big difference. Throughout its action-planning journey, inspiration was drawn from the LearnIT.lv in Latvia. This experiment showed that after only a two-hour workshop on STEM subjects, girls’ interest in studying coding switched from 2% to 13%. It’s also worth mentioning, that this is still a very current challenge. More recently, in the framework of the Genderedlandscape Action Planning Network (2019 - 2022), the city of La Rochelle (FR) – which is known for its heavy nautical and industrial sectors, with a vast majority of male workers – has developed a series of hackathons for school children and, more specifically, girls.
Basque Country (ES) Gender and regional law
Although not an URBACT beneficiary per se, the Basque Country is not a “new face” to the URBACT community. Besides being showcased in both versions of the Gender Equal Cities report – brining to light matters from guidance to women who are elected officials to education to end gender-based-violence – a speaker from Emakunde (the Basque Institute for Women) was invited to take the floor during a plenary session “How gender equality creates sustainable cities”, during the URBACT City Festival in Pantin – Greater Paris. More recently, the city was showcased alongside Vienna as a key example for Gender-responsive Public Procurement. This new module of URBACT’s Online Course on Strategic Public Procurement was done in partnership with the Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE).
In 1999, gender equality was first incorporated into regional law in the Basque Country. Since then Emakunde has worked alongside the Association of Basque Municipalities (EUDEL) to incorporate gender considerations into public policies and procedures, including into procurement. This collaborative approach has created enabling conditions, built capacity and supported local level actions. As a result, according to the latest available data, in 2020, 87% of public procurement included at least one gender equality clause. That is up from 67% in 2015, 42% in 2010 and 11% in 2005. A concrete example is from Artziniega, a small Basque town, where the municipality contracted daycare services for elderly people in 2021 including specific criteria in the tender related to equal opportunities for women and men. To find out more about this experience, check out the URBACT Gender-responsive Public Procurement modules.
Future Action Planning Networks' cities What URBACT IV holds for beneficiaries
URBACT is committed to improving gender mainstreaming in all programme activities: in EU responses to urban challenges and in the planning processes of all URBACT cities. Unsurprisingly, gender is among the three crosscutting priorities for this programming period (2021 - 2027) – alongside the green and the digital themes. This doesn’t mean that, from now on, all URBACT Networks will exclusively work around these topics. On the contrary, the programme welcomes a bottom up approach where eligible cities can choose to tackle different urban challenges that are common to projects partners and which are fit to the local needs. Henceforth, gender should be considered as an underlying matter, from which solutions can be drawn to hindering issues. As the Cooperation Programme states:
“Although URBACT operates a ‘bottom up’ principle to allow cities to identify their own challenges, the horizontal principles (EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, gender equality, non- discrimination, sustainable development, accessibility) outlined in Article 9 Regulation (EU) 2021/1060 will be addressed by all networks as part of the assessment criteria for selecting projects. The ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the networks will aim to highlight good practice in these areas. Specific training on gender equality, digital transition and climate action will be compulsory for all networks. (…) URBACT IV will increase the capacity building offer linked to digital, green and gender as cross-cutting elements for all networks and activities of the programme. (…) As part of the URBACT Knowledge Hub, thematic activities will allow cities to meet and exchange on topics cutting across URBACT networks, including green, digital and gender-inclusive’’.
With the current open call for networks, you can already see some hints in the Partner Search Tool as to how cities plan to incorporate the equality spectrum to their proposals. At last, following the example from WEED and Genderedlandscape, some cities might see the potential of focusing their efforts directly in the core of this subject. This is the case of at least four project ideas and, maybe, many more that are not published online. The open call for Action Planning Networks remains open until the end of March and the URBACT team looks forward to seeing what comes next.
After reading these 10 examples, we trust that you will be as inspired and galvanised as much as we are to continue fighting for true and concrete gender-led action across European cities, ensuring equity, diversity and inclusion to all.
How may girls and women feel free to move in streets and spend time in squares and parks without feeling discomfort or fear? How does city planning have an impact on gender equality and social inclusion? Ileana Toscano, URBACT III Expert, takes a deeper look into gender equality in cities and how the programme is contributing to a just transition.
On one hand, PART-Y focused on public spaces as experimental places of democracy by introducing the methodologies of Placemaking, Design Thinking and the Gender Equal Cities approach to foster the “generation equality” goal promoted by UN Women. On the other hand, the Playful Paradigm Second Wave, building on the successful experience from the first round of Playful Paradigm, focused on play as a tool to re-think cities. It took “play” beyond playgrounds to give children, girls and boys and all citizens the "right to play" and drive change for more inclusive and liveable cities.
PART-Y developed a series of products to call young people to action for equality in public spaces by testing placemaking experiences: a Handbook and a Toolbox “to build gender sensitive placemaking projects”. These provide a practical guide to transform urban public spaces into beautiful and comfortable places to live. It consists of a new methodology that enriches placemaking techniques, linked to the creation of community-led urban places, with elements taken from design thinking – an approach to produce analytical and creative solutions to solve complex problems mainly used for the development of innovative products. Adding to this mixed methodology the gender equal perspective, it was built a new effective tool that guarantees equal access and use of the city in particular for girls and boys.
Led by the Italian association Kallipolis and co-implemented by a consortium of seven entities from different European countries, including local authorities and associations as the Municipality of Trieste (IT), an URBACT II beneficiary; the Cork City Council (IE), an active partner from Playful Paradigm 1, which had the great opportunity of later on sharing its successful experience with other Irish cities; and Umeå Kommun (SE), URBACT’s lighthouse city when it comes to gender, the city was awarded an URBACT Good Practice Label in 2017, then it proceed to lead the Genderedlandscape Action Planning Network (2019 – 2022) and was at the heart of the very first Gender Equal Cities report. All three cities are highly committed to placemaking actions for their citizens.
The experience of Umeå brought a sound inspiration for the PART-Y Handbook and for the whole project development. Since the 80s, the city has had the overall goal to foster gender equality by creating the conditions for women and men, girls and boys, to have equal power to shape society and their own lives. The Genderedlandscape Network bears witness of the commitment of the municipality to this cause: this was the first European network focused on “gender and city”. Among others, Umeå has applied the gendered approach concept to the design of a new urban park called “FRIZON - Free zone”.
The FRIZON was created by involving just girls in the co-design process, through the methodology of “inclusion (of girls) through exclusion (of boys)”, which offered the possibility for girls to share freely their wishes for this new space. One of the most important wishes expressed by girls was that they wanted a space free from expectations, where they could hang out with their friends and just be, without having to perform. A zone free from expectations, hence the name “free zone”. This particular experience was an inspiration also for the Playful Paradigm Transfer Network Second Wave, a spin off Network led by the Municipality of Udine (IT) that focused on gender sensitive approach for playgrounds and urban public spaces.
Indeed, the redesign of play places like school yards, playgrounds and recreational spaces through a gender sensitive approach can provide an important contribution to deconstruct of gender stereotypes and the inequalities starting from early age. A motion graphic called “Gender sensitive playgrounds & Urban Places” was created to raise awareness about the importance of considering the needs of girls and boys when designing places for them. While, both editions of the Playful Paradigm Networks draw attention of cities to “play, which is essential for children’s health, physical-and emotional growth, and intellectual and educational development.
Through play, girls and boys learn about democracy, respect, and solidarity. Spaces for playing that reflect those values have a huge importance in education. Evidence has shown that there is a disproportion in the use of playgrounds and schoolyards: football pitches are often positioned in the central space hosting few athletic boys, while girls and un-sporty boys are pushed to the fringe. The redesign of play places should prioritise multiple play ‘worlds’ and gender-neutral colours, rather than a single central one, encouraging interaction between girls and boys and multiple uses of space. It should also foster creativity and engagement with nature, as well as sports and active games. This allows children to choose how to interact and play without the pressure to conform to stereotypes.
The most recent experience from Playful Paradigm also had the opportunity to follow up on the importance of “gender planning and play” by meeting the Municipality of Barcelona (ES), in July 2022. Barcelona has developed an innovative City Play Strategy that also embraces gender approaches principles. The city shared an important lesson for the Playful Paradigm’s partners, dealing with the creation of local policies and city planning strategies able to embrace play, gender and the regeneration of urban public space to guarantee the right to the city to children and the most vulnerable ones.
So, back to the question: can urban public spaces foster equality in cities? We can answer YES, they can and they should. The way public spaces are designed and managed have a huge impact on spreading democracy and embodying the inclusion of diversities, as well as considering gender needs. The #UrbanGirlsMovement, promoted by the Swedish think tank Global Utmaning shared the motto “plan a city for girls, and it will work for everyone”.
To position girls' needs at the top priority of the policy agenda, especially when focusing on low-income areas, can provide an important contribution to improve the living conditions not just for girls and women, but also for all vulnerable groups, all citizens. Guaranteeing free access to public spaces at different times of the day and night by making them beautiful and comfortable, makes everyone feels safer. Embedding the gender sensitive approach into urban planning activities can drive European cities towards inclusivity and respect for diversity, making these places where all can feel represented.
Gender is at the centre of URBACT IV activities. The current open call for Action Planning Networks is a unique opportunity to rethink how diversity, inclusion and equality can be an underlying response to wider urban issues. Check out all the gender-related proposals for networks at the Partner Search Tool and learn more about the call.
Localising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is an ever-evolving practice. Following the unanimously adoption of the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda, for the first time ever, sustainable cities and communities were singled out as distinct objectives in a multi-lateral agreement. An important milestone, acknowledging the central role of cities in the achievement of the SDGs. According to the OECD, it has been estimated that over 65% of the Sustainable Development Goals' targets need the active involvement of local and regional governments. Today, an increasing number of regions, cities and municipalities have started to use its 17 objectives and 169 indicators as a holistic framework to shape and improve their local strategies, translating these global goals into their local contexts.
The lessons and tools to localise Sustainable Development Goals are drawn from the URBACT Global Goals for Cities pilot (2021 - 2022), the largest European network of cities to ever tackle the challenges from the Agenda 2030.
“The Sustainable Development Goals
provide one of the best frameworks yet
to achieve holistic and integrated
sustainable urban development”.
From the Global Goals for Cities joint statement
that was signed by 19 cities.
Using the global goals at local level involves designing actions that contribute to the individual objectives, while monitoring progress accordingly. Used as a policy-making tool, the SDGs can help cities to develop better and more coherent policies and plans for an integrated urban development. Very much in line with URBACT, the SDGs offer a common language for working across policy silos and with different local stakeholders, often strengthening the social dimension of sustainability work and gaining a strong momentum.
Making the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) a reality in EU cities
The URBACT Knowledge Hub brings together the latest urban trends, so good practices are within everyone's reach. Back in 2015, the urban perspective was officially placed at the heart of the global 2030 Agenda, a major change in comparison to the original UN Millennium Development Goals (2000 - 2015). Throughout the last years, also known as the "decade of change", the importance of cities was acknowledged beyond the spectrum of a single goal and they have an important role to play in all objectives. URBACT supports cities by providing concrete tools and methodologies for localising the global goals within an integrated action-planing process.
Process & Tools
Combined with the URBACT Method, localising SDGs can create long-term impact.
Check below each step, related tools and success stories towards change:
Get ready for the Innovation Transfer Networks!
The new URBACT call builds on almost a decade of experience supporting the transfer of effective urban solutions.
Made by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the United Nations Agenda 2030 has corresponding targets and indicators which are directly or indirectly related to the daily work of local and regional governments and local stakeholders -- with a specific objective dedicated to urban matters, the SDG 11. The 2030 Agenda must not lose momentum at this crucial stage of implementation, now is the time to speed up the delivery of all of these global goals. To be impactful, localisation needs to be anchored on the principles of integration, multi-stakeholder participation, inclusive partnership and multi-level governance and build on adequate data and financing resources at the local level, but not only.