• Can urban public spaces foster equality in cities?

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    Can urban public space foster equality in cities_COVER

    In the lead up to the International Women’s Day, let’s look into this question and much more.

    Gender equality

    PARTY-Y handbook cover

    From urbact

    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.



    Drawing inspiration from the Gender Equal Cities report and the activities done under the URBACT Knowledge Hub umbrella, both the Erasmus plus project “PART-Y - Participation and Youth: Lab for Equal Cities” and the URBACT Playful Paradigm Second Wave Transfer Network reflected on the gender sensitive approach to design and use urban public spaces.


    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.

    Kids playing (Cork City Council)
    Kids playing (Cork City Council)


    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.



    Frizon park (credit: Fredrik Larsson)
    Frizon park (credit: Fredrik Larsson)


    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.


    Inclusive playgrounds (IStock)
    Inclusive playground (IStock)



    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 Equal Cities icon

    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.







  • Is the compact city model endangered?

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    Is the compact city model endangered? Article COVER

    Three Action Planning Networks (2019 - 2022) came together to gather inspiration on how people can experience and move through the city.

    From urbact

    The Walk’n’Roll initiative, 27 different towns, cities and metropolises from the RiConnect, the Thriving Streets and the Space4People networks had a common mission. Together, they reflected about how mobility can play an important role when building better public spaces and increase the quality of life for local communities.  Iván Tosics, URBACT Expert who followed their exchange and learning journey, shares with us some of the key take-aways, findings and open questions that were raised during the Walk’n’Roll many and which are compiled in a brand new Guidebook. Take a ride with us and enjoy the read!



    URBACT Walk'n'Roll


    The recent pandemic was an important episode in the history of urban development. Much can be learnt from the immediate reactions to the health crisis, especially in dense cities. There were many brilliant examples about innovative tactical interventions in public space, inclusive housing policies, new types of economic support and social protection mechanisms, from which we can take stock.

    As the peak of the pandemic has slowly come to an end, the life in cities has quickly returned to its pre-Covid pace. A negative legacy is the incessant growth of suburbanisation, a process that has exploded over the last two years not only in Europe, but also in almost all parts of the world...


    A common effect in different cities


    In Oslo (NO), internal movements in and around the city, have shown an increased outmigration in the past two years with people aged between 25-30 and 60-70 moving away from the city, towards its outskirts and beyond. The “working from home effect” can partially explain this phenomenon. People with higher wages had a tendency to move away. It’s interesting to note though that most of the outmigrants were people who were not born in Oslo, according to studies.

    Likewise, in American cities, a substantial reallocation of housing and office demand has become tangible. People chose to move to the suburbs, away from dense city centres. Some analysts have called this as the “doughnut effect”. Meaning the rise of the suburbs and the slump of the city centre, driven by a fear of crowds and the opportunity of working from home.

    In a very recent analysis on the situation of the Paris urban area (FR), the academia has tried to collect all available information about internal residential migration, using unusual data. Information from rural associations, from the post office regarding permanent re-direction of mails to new address, or even schools' registrations were used as unexpected, yet rich sources. As evidence shows, migration flows from the downtown to the urban fringe are visible. According to this analysis, such movement of people cannot be considered as an urban exodus though. So, if not an exodus, what are these new forms of migration then?


    The new intra-urban migration tendencies


    First of all, research suggests that no direct, causal links exist between the spread of the virus and urban density. According to an OECD, it’s not density alone that makes cities vulnerable to Covid-19, but rather a mix of factors. The structural economic and social conditions play a role in this regard with overcrowdness, inequality, insufficient living conditions and the spatial concentration of the urban poor.

    The consequences from this new suburbanisation, on the other hand, are very clear: growing climate and energy problems due to increasing car-use, intensification of social disparities, since those who are leaving the city centre are the ones who can afford to do so. Moreover, there are also more and more problems in places where people tend to move out from. In the Budapest area (HU), for example, there are growing complaints in the agglomerational settlements with physical and human infrastructure problems, caused by the quick, unplanned growth of new residents.

    That being said, the post-Covid city presents us with a silver lining, an opportunity to rethink the principles of the urban compact development. For instance the British professor, Greg Clark, offers us a vision with blended cities and a more spread planification process. He argues for a wider distribution of activities between urban areas to offer second and third tear cities more chances. He also makes the case for better disposition of services within functional urban areas, based on the growth of "neighbourliness" and the emerging social capital.  

    Clark argues that people living in the fringes might still travel to the larger city centers from time to time, and acknowledges that they might not always work from home. At the same time, they will also get a taste for the local life where they live. People will spend more time – and money – in their neighbourhoods and, by consequence, new opportunities might arise for towns, suburban and secondary downtowns. So, these are not simply places where people sleep and work from home, but also places of exchange and for gatherings. Where, eventually, communities might thrive.

    This idea raises challenges for future urban development, for instance, issues related to metropolitan planning. Where to build new housing and dwellings? And how to regulate transport fares? These are just a few of the questions that were discussed during the Walk’n’Roll conference in Barcelona (ES), held in July 2022. The findings are summarised below.



    How to improve existing dense areas?


    The most widely accepted definition for adequate urban density is the one that acknowledges the need for an accessibility shift: changing urban transportation and land-use planning on the basis of people's ability to reach destinations, rather than on their ability to travel fast. This vision relies on the principle of re-humanising cities.


    The proximity aspect


    In the Walk’n’Roll conference the topic of proximity was at the heart of the discussion. In order for residents to give up the frequent use of car and, in perspective, also the ownership of a car, urban areas have to be changed. They must allow people to reach the most important everyday-destinations in a short time on foot, by bicycle or using public transport rides. There are many ideas raised for this shift, like the concept of the 15-Minute city. Besides the innovative practices of superblocks, Tempo30 and parking management – which are thoroughly described in the Walk’n’Roll Guidebook, Booklet 2 – you can find below two other ideas.


    The pedestrian-priority city


    Pontevedra (ES) is a medium-sized city with 83 000 inhabitants. In 1999 it was just another car-oriented city, but things started to change with the election of a new mayor – who still holds this position until this day. Mr Miguel Anxo Fernández Lores told citizens back then that the act of buying a car didn’t magically grant people with 10 square meters from the public space for a parking spot.

    His ideas consisted of making a distinction of the need for mobility, according to social criteria. He put people in the foreground, with at least half of the surface of all original streets turned into pedestrian areas. Intersections without lights and raised promenades were created, alongside he limited of parking hours in the downtown to a maximum of 15 minutes. In addition, underground parking was built under a concession and free public parking spaces were provided within a 15-20 minute walk of the centre.

    The results of these interventions were staggering: a decrease of motorised traffic by 77% in the dense urban area and by 93% in downtown, besides a decline in traffic accidents with no fatalities at all. Pontevedra became a high quality place to live with all public spaces serving the people, instead of the cars.


    Car-free places in every neighbourhoodURBACT Walk'n'Roll


    Back in 2014, in collaboration with 24 parish councils, the municipality of Lisbon (PT) started a programme called “Uma Praca em Cada Bairro” (“A space in every neighbourhood”). Currently being implemented, the programme is helping to renovate areas in the city to get people out of cars and to create new public spaces. The squares and streets will become the meeting point of the local community and “microcentres”, concentrating activity and employment.

    Henceforth, walking, cycling and public transport will be favoured, as the car traffic will be significantly restricted. The citywide programme in 150 squares and streets, practically in all neighbourhoods of Lisbon, could only be carried out with the support of the population. The programme counted with strong public participation processes.


    Potential externalities of public space improvement policies


    It goes without saying that the improvement of living conditions, with more public spaces and fewer cars, can lead to raising rents, pushing the most vulnerable residents away from the city. This is why it’s fundamental for the public sector to control the gentrifying effects. The efficiency of the public intervention depends on the willingness and political power of the municipal leadership, as well as on the housing system of the given city. A good example is the city of Vienna (AT), where the majority of the housing stock is under direct or indirect public control, with little or no gentrifying effects as a consequence of mobility and public space improvements.

    The situation is slightly more difficult in Barcelona, where the share of rental housing represents 31% of the housing sector. Only a small portion of these houses is actually owned by the public sector, making it almost impossible for the municipality to defend tenants. To tackle this challenge and avoid a “New York Highline effect”, the municipality provides subsidies to the urban poor, regulates private rents, oversees the housing market and even negotiates with landlords.



    How to create efficient metropolitan cooperation in blended cities?


    In the post pandemic world it’s not enough to make the dense urban cores more attractive, attention has also to be paid to those peripheral locations where many families aim to move to. Planning in larger territories can bring to light different questions, as to where new housing stock should be constructed or how to regulate and tax different forms of transport. The key aspect for public intervention in wider territories is a metropolitan coordination, which can be illustrated by the examples below.


    Turning highways into urban boulevards


    The classic period of suburbanisation started in the late 1950s in the USA, with the construction of 40 thousand miles of motorways financed by enormous central state grants. Urban planners were unstoppably carving highways into the urban structure, eradicating vulnerable neighbourhoods with fewer abilities to resist and, finally, ensuring the separation of functions following the leading planning concepts of the time. A similar car-oriented “modernisation” wave also reached most of the European cities. During the Walk’n’Roll conference, city practitioners showcased examples of recent efforts to reverse this phenomenon.

    In the course of the work done by Metrex for the From Roads to Streets learning platform –with support from Eurocities and URBACT – many European cases are analysed, including the transformative strategies adopted in Helsinki (FI), Oslo (NO), Lyon (FR) and Brussels (BE). In these dynamically growing cities the leading model is the urban intensification to concentrate growth and avoid urban sprawl. One way to achieve this principle is to direct new development to areas along the highways – provided that these are transformed into urban boulevards, with more space given for non-motorised vehicles. In Utrecht (NL), for example, two alternative projections were calculated for future scenarios and, according to them, the "A Proximity Model" foresee 20% less car-use.

    The opportunities and challenges of these new urban boulevards are gathered in a project to humanise the N-150 road, which is the central element of Barcelona’s Integrated Action Plan for the RiConnect network. This project deals with the motorway-like national road at the fringe of the metropolitan area, which created a division between the settlements and was putting the speed of mobility as the top priority. In order to restore old connections between the peripheral municipalities, the concept of metropolitan roads was born: without building new roads the extinct links between areas should be revived. This shall calm down traffic on the national road and even enable people to cycle from one town to another, which was not previously possible with the highways.


    URBACT Walk'n'Roll


    Improving the rail network to ensure metropolitan cooperation


    The Krakow (PL) Integrated Action Plan for the RiConnect network shows another way how metropolitan cooperation can be created. The Skawina Mobility Hub aims to create a connection point in one of Krakow’s satellite cities, on the line of the fast speed agglomerational railway that is under construction.

    Besides exploring the future functions of the evolving mobility hub, the intermodal links, park and ride (P+R) facilities and how to connect the station with city centre of Skawina, many efforts are being made to change the mobility mindset of people. This includes co-creation workshops, which resulted in the establishment of the integrated ticket system.

    Krakow is a good example for bringing public transport to the overall reflection on the metropolitan area. Such strategies, however, have to face the financial challenge of running public transport. During Covid times the ridership of public transport decreased almost everywhere and the rebouncing is still slow.


    Bringing planning and governance together at metropolitan level


    The Metropolitan Area of Barcelona (AMB) is a great example of how planning and governance can come together, not only at city, but also at metropolitan level. The AMB, the Lead Partner of the RiConnect network, is an agency with competencies in terms of mobility and public space in the metropolitan area – which counts with the double of inhabitants in comparison to the city itself. AMB is managing a very innovative mobility plan covering different aspects, such as generating safe and comfortable spaces for pedestrians, and sustainable methods of mobility, while reducing the use of private motorised transport.

    Unfortunately, not all cities have powerful metropolitan governance systems and/or strong agencies for planning and mobility. In the lack of these, urban planning cooperation between the municipalities of the urban area can help a lot. Sometimes these are initiated in bottom-up process, in combination with the national level, in order to use efficiently the EU Cohesion Policy resources. The Kraków Metropolitan Area (KMA), for instance, is responsible for coordination of transportation investments, which are implemented in the Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) framework for the city and and its 14 surrounding municipalities.


    How to move towards an accessibility shift?


    Action Planning Networks labelThe new Walk’n’Roll Guidebook is split in three booklets – WHY, WHAT and HOW – and brings to light solutions that any city, regardless of its size, can use as a reference to drive change towards more blended and less compact cities. In order to tackle the most recent challenge of post-Covid suburbanisation, however, the practical interventions that are presented have to be combined with territorial visions. Regulation, planning and the support of governance institutions are equally important. Although this might sound challenging, there are different resources that can be particularly useful. Take for instance the EU Cohesion Policy, where investments in urban transport have more than doubled – from 8 billion EUR in 2007 - 2013 to 17 billion EUR in the 2014 - 2020, with even more opportunities in the next programming period.

    The first URBACT IV (2021 - 2027) call for Action Planning Networks is also a great occasion for cities to find partners to exchange, pilot ideas and develop an integrated set of actions at local level. While URBACT stresses the importance of the priorities of green - gender - digital, the RiConnect, the Thriving Streets and the Space4People networks are living proof of the wealth of themes that can be tackled within the spectrum of any urban subject, as today’s mobility challenge. These projects are in the crossroad of building more inclusive cities – for women and all – while also promoting the reduction of carbon emissions.

    Cities that wish to apply to the call are welcome to choose whichever network topic they deem relevant to their context. URBACT welcomes – and always will – bottom-up approaches that look at the big picture. Walk’n’Roll is bear fruit of the past round of Action Planning Networks and, hopefully, the next batch of URBACT cities will carry on its legacy and put its knowledge into action.

    URBACT Walk'n'Roll Guidebook

  • Mobility

    The Walk'n'Roll lessons were drawn from the following Action Planning Networks (2019 - 2022):


    URBACT RiConnect logoURBACT Space4People logoURBACT Thriving Streets logo





    The URBACT Knowledge Hub brings together good practices from across the EU, with the latest urban trends, to fill the gaps and make sure that the learning is within everyone's reach. Despite of their size and number of inhabitants, cities have often been designed to make room for cars. Three URBACT Networks have reflected on how we can shift the mobility paradigm in Europe to create more inclusive spaces. Together under the Walk'n'Roll initiative, 28 cities -- from towns to metropolises -- have explored common visions and practical interventions through different workshops, events and a series of guidance. Take a ride with us and discover why streets belong to people!

    • Climate action
    • Urban planning
    • Social cohesion
    • Public space
    Taking the necessary steps towards Walk'n'Roll

    Latest stories

    Is the compact city model endangered?

    The recent pandemic was an important episode in the history of urban development. Much can be learnt from the immediate reactions to the health crisis, especially in dense cities. There were many brilliant examples about innovative tactical interventions in public space, inclusive housing policies, new types of economic support and social protection mechanisms, from which we can take stock.

    Is the compact city model endangered? Article COVER

    URBACT Walk'n'Roll Guidebook

    Guidance for cities of all sizes


    URBACT Walk'n'Roll who is it for?

    Check out all booklets


    Intro and challenges
    Visions and interventions
    This booklet delves into the mobility challenges and the roots of the problems. To face adversities, readers are invited to consider new ways of thinking urban planning. The second booklet showcases principles and visions that can lead the way forward. Specific interventions are also described,so cities can adapt them to their needs. The final booklet looks at how cities can make change happen in the long run. It introduces methodological and policy recommendations, alongside interviews from the Action Planning Networks' cities.
    Booklet 1 CTA Booklet 2 CTA


    Booklet 3 CTA


  • La pianificazione urbana integrata al servizio della circolarità: il caso della città di Prato

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    Come per la lavorazione dei tessuti all’interno del suo distretto, il più grande distretto tessile d’Europa, così oggi la potenza innovativa della città toscana si manifesta soprattutto nella sua capacità trasformativa che prima di altri in Europa l’ha portata a scommettere sul recupero e sulla sua organizzazione in chiave circolare.

    Wool produced in the Prato Textile district

    From urbact

    Di Elisa Filippi

    “Non vi è nulla di nuovo sotto questo cielo, se non il dimenticato” scriveva George Santayana. Le parole del filoso ispano-americano ben si prestano a descrivere la storia delle città di Prato, oggi riconosciuta come centro di innovazione in Europa grazie alla valorizzazione di un’attitudine, quella alla circolarità, che caratterizza il suo sistema produttivo e la dimensione urbana nella quale si è sviluppato da più di 100 anni.

    Quella di Prato, infatti, è la storia di una città di sperimentazione che si scopre pioniera nel tempo grazie alla reinterpretazione su scala urbana del “know how”, del “saper fare” locale


    La circular economy: una storia che viene da lontano

    La circular economy, intesa come quel processo in grado estendere il ciclo di vita di un prodotto e trasformarlo per aumentarne il valore, è parte integrante della storia pratese e anima del suo distretto tessile.


    old image of the Prato textile districtUn esempio emblematico è il cardato rigenerato, ovvero un tessuto ricavato dalla lavorazione della lana proveniente da indumenti usati che è stato al centro della crescita del distretto pratese contribuendo fortemente allo sviluppo della città, passata dai 50.000 abitanti nel dopoguerra fino agli attuali 200.000 che la rendono la terza città dell’Italia centrale.

    Non deve sorprendere, dunque, se oggi Prato è la prima città italiana ad avere un assessorato dedicato alla Circular Economy che attraverso l’opera dell’Amministrazione comunale è diventata il paradigma chiave per immaginare il futuro della città e disegnare la strategia di rilancio del territorio.



    L’esperienza di Prato nei Partenariati dell’Agenda Urbana Europea

    Se la dinamica di circolarità legata al sistema produttivo si sviluppa già a partire dal diciannovesimo secolo, la storia della sua pianificazione e traduzione in policy può essere ricondotta alla partecipazione della città alle Partnership dell’Agenda Urbana Europea, nate nel 2016, su impulso del Patto di Amsterdam, durante il semestre di presidenza olandese dell’UE.

    La città di Prato entra a far parte di una della Partnership, quella dedicata all’Economia Circolare che si propone di lavorare sulla definizione a livello europeo di un modello di “città circolare”.

    technologies for water reuse in PratoAll’interno delle partnership dell’Agenda Urbana Europea ha luogo un lavoro di confronto e scambio tra autorità urbane, regionali e altri stakeholders istituzionali con il fine di potenziare l’accesso ai finanziamenti, di incrementare la messa a disposizione di strumenti e attività di capacity building e soprattutto di formulare proposte di miglioramento normativo.

    È in questo contesto che Prato si è trovata a coordinare i lavori sulla riforma normativa europea sul riutilizzo delle acque, tema sul quale aveva già implementato un sistema innovativo: le acque utilizzate dalle aziende del distretto per la lavorazione dei tessuti sono totalmente riciclate grazie al sistema integrato messo in atto dalla società GIDA - Gestione impianti depurazione acque S.p.A. che vede l’Amministrazione Comunale tra i soci.

    L’esperienza maturata all’interno della partnership Europea ha abilitato un processo bilaterale di conoscenza, consentendo alla città di comprendere più nel dettaglio l’approccio e il punto di vista adottato dalla Commissione Europea nella concezione del modello di economia circolare, e dall’altra permettendo agli stessi rappresentanti delle Istituzioni Europee di entrare in contatto e conoscere i bisogni e le esperienze concrete delle città.


    Dall’Agenda Urbana Europea alla Prato del futuro: il Piano Operativo Comunale

    Il primo, e forse più importante, risultato della partecipazione ai lavori della Partnership, è stata l’elaborazione del Piano Operativo Comunale, (tradizionalmente noto come P.R.G.), ovvero il più importante documento di pianificazione urbana adottato dal Comune, che nella sua impostazione riflette l’esperienza maturata in ambito europeo. Il Piano individua una serie di linee strategiche all’interno delle quali troviamo il riuso degli spazi e la rigenerazione delle attività, in particolare quelle legate al distretto tessile, insieme alla naturalizzazione e alla forestazione urbana. È in questo documento che prende forma una nuova concezione di pianificazione urbana, caratterizzata da una forte interconnessione tra spazio e natura, tra aree verdi e patrimonio costruito.

    La demolizione selettiva dell’ex Ospedale Misericordia e Dolce e il parco urbano dentro le Mura

    Nella declinazione di circolarità della città in termini progettuali, sono numerose e altamente integrate le esperienze che si sono sviluppate.

    Un primo esempio è rappresentato dalla partecipazione della città al Network URGE finanziato dal programma URBACT. La rete, coordinata dalla città di Utrecht, si è focalizzata sulla definizione di un modello di economia circolare per il settore edile orientata al recupero e al riutilizzo dei materiali derivanti da demolizioni che si stima rappresentino circa il 40% dei rifiuti solidi urbani in Europa. È in questo contesto che l’ex Ospedale Misericordia e Dolce è stato oggetto di un intervento innovativo di demolizione selettiva che ha generato circa 63 mila tonnellate di rifiuti solidi, il 98% dei quali è stato avviato a recupero. In questo modo, non solo non sono state riempite nuove discariche, ma lo stesso consumo di materie prime da cava è stato ridotto grazie al riutilizzo del materiale recuperato.

    selective demolition of the old Hospital

    Da un punto di vista urbanistico, l’operazione ha avuto un impatto considerevole andando a liberare, in poco più di 5 mesi, una superficie complessiva di circa 3 ettari e mezzodestinata a parco urbano all’interno delle mura trecentesche della città. Il parco, provvisto anche di un auditorium all’aperto e di spazi attrezzati, andrà a definire un nuovo ingresso alla città e si qualifica per essere uno dei parchi più estesi in Italia all’interno delle mura storiche.


    Sulla via della rinaturalizzazione con la forestazione urbana e le Nature Based Solutions

    Accanto al riuso di spazi, si inserisce nella strategia pratese la traiettoria della rinaturalizzazione e della forestazione urbana attraverso la definizione di uno specifico piano di azione, incluso nel Piano Operativo Comunale, che è stato alla base del progetto Prato Urban Jungle finanziato dal programma europeo UIA – Urban Innovative actions e avviato nel 2019. Basato su un’analisi di quasi 30.000 piante che ha permesso di stimare e valutare la loro efficacia nella mitigazione e adattamento agli impatti negativi del climate change, il Piano di forestazione urbana prevede di piantare 190.000 alberi, sostanzialmente uno per ogni abitante, creare corridoi, infrastrutture verdi e interventi diffusi di verde urbano come strumento di compensazione climatica e di tutela e promozione della biodiversità.

    L’idea alla base della soluzione proposta da Prato viene declinata attraverso un nuovo paradigma urbano dove l’ambiente costruito abbatte il proprio impatto inquinante e diventa parte della soluzione attraverso un importante processo di urban greening e urban forestry.

    Air fabrics

    È in quest’ottica che la soluzione innovativa è stata progettata dallo Studio Stefano Boeri architetti e testata in tre differenti aree: nelle case dell’edilizia popolare in via Turchia attraverso un’opera di greening e la restituzione di nuovi spazi comuni, nella rigenerazione di un ex sito industriale collocato nel quartiere Macrolotto zero che ospiterà il nuovo mercato coperto e al cui interno è stata sperimentata la “fabbrica dell’aria”, progettata da PNAT, in grado di purificare l’aria dagli inquinanti attraverso un’attenta selezione di piante, e presso la sede della società Estra. Inoltre, attraverso un percorso partecipativo è stata individuata una quarta area oggetto dell’intervento e viene creato un corridoio verde che collega queste aree al centro delle città. I benefici attesi da questi interventi vanno dalla riduzione degli impatti delle isole di calore all’isolamento degli edifici che viene potenziato dalla forestazione verticale.

    Urban greening

    Innovativo è anche il sistema di monitoraggio ambientale che è stato sviluppato dal CNR e che combina dati provenienti da rilevamento in-situ e immagini satellitari rilevati in tre fasi del progetto, e li rielabora attraverso l’applicazione di un modello matematico di simulazione al fine di analizzarne e simularne gli impatti secondo la logica del “digital twin”.

    Next Generation Prato e la sfida del PNRR

    Forte di un’opera di pianificazione avviata da tempo e che include ricerca e sperimentazione con la riscoperta di vocazioni storiche e tradizionali, la città di Prato è riuscita a sviluppare una strategia efficace anche per l’accesso alle risorse del PNRR. Con l’obiettivo di potenziare e orientare i finanziamenti, la città toscana ha predisposto nell’estate 2021, il documento “Next Generation Prato” articolato in 24 schede progetto riconducibili alle 6 missioni del PNRR. Il documento è incardinato all’interno del progetto “Prato Circular City” e ha visto l’istituzione di un tavolo di confronto tra il Comune e gli stakeholders locali per la sua elaborazione.

    a view on the city of Prato

    Tra i progetti candidati al finanziamento troviamo, ad esempio, la creazione di un Hub europeo del riciclo tessile, l’Agenzia Urbana del riuso, la piattaforma per promuovere il turismo industriale o la creazione di un Digital Twin della città nell’ambito ambientale, energetico, del patrimonio edilizio e dell’edilizia scolastica.

    L’approccio integrato e la dimensione partecipativa del processo sembrano essere gli elementi peculiari del documento che identifica non solo le risorse del PNRR, ma anche le possibilità di finanziamento offerte dalla programmazione europea 2021-2027.

    Climaticamente neutrale e produttiva

    Ciò che colpisce del percorso compiuto dalla città di Prato è la capacità dell’Amministrazione Comunale e dal tessuto socioeconomico coinvolto, di elaborare una visione coerente incentrata sulla sfida della resilienza e dell’economia circolare. Selezionata dalla Commissione Europea tre le 100 Città impegnate per diventare climaticamente neutrali entro il 2030, la strategia di Prato sembra reggersi su un equilibrio dinamico ove l’innovazione e la sperimentazione agiscono per promuovere e valorizzare la transizione “da città fabbrica” a città verde e circolare senza rinunciare, ed anzi rilanciando, la propria vocazione produttiva.

    Autore: Elisa Filippi








  • sub>urban

    LEAD PARTNER : Antwerp - Belgium
    • Casoria - Italy
    • Solin - Croatia
    • Baia Mare - Romania
    • Vienna - Austria
    • Brno - Czech Republic
    • Oslo - Norway
    • Dusseldorf - Germany
    • Barcelona Metropolitan Area - Spain


    CONTACT: City of Antwarp, Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen


    All video stories are available here.


    Kick-off meeting in July (Antwerp). Transnational meeting in November (Casoria).

    Transnational meetings in February (Oslo), June (Brussels) and October (Dusseldorf).

    Transnational meeting in January (Brno). Final event in May (Barcelona).

    The cities from this network searched for a solution to the following challenge: how can we make existing 20th century urban tissue attractive and qualitative again? How can we add a different urban layer? For the past two decades, urban development and planning practice in European cities and regions have focused on the renewal of metropolitan cores and historic inner cities. This has resulted in numerous success stories, but the wave of urban renewal in centres has generally coincided with strong population growth and demographic changes. Many inner cities have reached their peak in terms of density, population and mobility. At the same time most of the housing in 20th century (sub)urban areas are in need of renovation. The next logical step is a combined solution to these issues by reconverting this areas, to create a more sustainable and attractive environment.

    sub>urban APN logo
    sub>urban logo
    Reinventing the fringe
    Ref nid
  • Thriving Streets


    Lead Partner : Parma - Italy
    • Antwerp - Belgium
    • Igoumenitsa - Greece
    • EDC Debrecen - Hungary
    • Klaipèda - Lithuania
    • Nova Gorica - Slovenia
    • Oradea - Romania
    • Radom - Poland
    • Santo Tirso - Portugal
    • London Borough of Southwark




    • October 1: Kick-Off Meeting Phase I, Parma



    • June 9-10: Kick-off meeting Phase II
    • June 25: Online coordination meeting
    • September 11: Online coordination meeting
    • October 26, 28: Online coordination meeting
    • November 25: Thematic learning event “Active mobility vs car dependency”
    • November 26: Transnational meeting, Antwerp
    • December 15: Thematic learning event “Co-creating Thriving Streets”
    • February 26: Thematic learning event “Thriving local economy”
    • April 14-15: Transnational meeting, Nova Gorica
    • May 7: Thematic learning event “Places for people”
    • June 21-22: Transnational meeting, Santo Tirso
    • July 20: Masterclass “Placemaking for recovery”
    • July 22: Thematic learning event “Streets for all”
    • September 30-October 1: Transnational meeting, Southwark
    • December 10: IAP Peer review meeting


    • March 30: Thriving Communities, digital learning event
    • April 26-28:Transnational meeting in Santo Tirso (Portugal) and study visit in Pontevedra (Spain)
    • May 24, 25: Transnational meeting in Nova Gorica and study visit in Ljubljana (Slovenia)
    • June 14-16: URBACT City Festival, Pantin / Greater Paris (France)
    • July 5-8: Walk and Roll Cities Final Event, Barcelona (Spain)
    • July 14: Masterclasses on Urban Freight and Parking Management


    Integrated Action Plan

    Integrated Action Plan for sustainable mobility in Oltretorrente

    Read more here !

    Parma - Italy
    Igoumenitsa Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Igoumenitsa - Greece
    Klaipèda Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Klaipèda - Lithuania
    Oradea Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Oradea - Romania
    Southwark Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    London Borough of Southwark - United Kingdom
    Toward live and attractive Solkan’s historical core

    Read more here !

    Nova Gorica - Slovenia
    Towards a dynamic center for Deurne

    Read more here

    Antwerp - Belgium
    Debrecen Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here

    Debrecen - Hungary
    Increase attractivity and decrease car-dependency in Santo Tirso

    Read more here !

    Santo Tirso - Portugal

    Transforming streets to create people-friendly places. The ambition of Thriving Streets is to improve sustainable mobility in urban areas from an economic and social perspective. The premise of the Thriving Streets network is that break-troughs in sustainable urban mobility can be established when mobility is no longer framed as just going from A to B but rather as a means for social-economic development of the city. The key question Thriving Streets network intends to answer is the following: “How can mobility become a motor for urban health, inclusivity, economy and social cohesion?”

    Thriving Streets
    Designing mobility for attractive cities
    Ref nid
  • UrbSecurity


    LEAD PARTNER : Leiria - Portugal
    • Mechelen - Belgium
    • Pella - Greece
    • Madrid - Spain
    • Szabolcs - Hungary
    • Longford - Ireland
    • Parma - Italy
    • Union of Bassa Romagna Municipalities - Italy
    • Michalovce - Slovakia

    Leiria City Council CONTACT US


    • September 10-11 : Phase 1 Kick-off Meeting in Paris (FR)
    • October 16-17 : Phase 1 Kick-off Meeting in Leiria (PT)
    • November 05 : Phase 2 Approval





    • February 04-05 : Phase 1 Transnational Meeting in Faenza, Unione della Romagna Faentina (IT), Italy
    • June 30 : Phase 2 Activation Meeting
    • September 18 : Phase 2 Symbolic Launch of Phase 2
    • November 19-20 : Transnational Meeting nº1 (online), Leiria (PT), Portugal




    • February : Partnership Meeting with Urban Agenda for UE "Security in Public Spaces" and Transnational Meeting nº2 (online), Mechelen (BE)
    • April 21-22 : Transnational Meeting nº3 (online), Madrid (ES)
    • May : Partnership Meeting with Urban Agenda for the UE (online) and Transnational Meeting nº4 (online), Longford (IE)
    • July 07-08 : Transnational Meeting nº5 (online), Szabolcs 05 Regional Development Association of Municipalities (SZRDA) - Mátészalka (HU)
    • October : Webinar - Urban Agenda for the EU "Just City Dimension" (online), Partnership Meeting with IMPETUS project, Intelligent Management of Processes, Ethics and Technology for Urban Safety (Horizon 2020) and Transnational Meeting nº6 + Mid-Term Review (online), Michalovce (SK)
    • January 20-21 : Transnational Meeeting nº7 (online), Pella (EL)
    • February 1-3 : URBACT e-University 2022 (online)
    • March 21 : Partnership Meeting with TONITE project - Urban Inovation Action (online)
    • April 20 : URBACT III National Meeting in Coimbra (PT)
    • May : Masterclass in CPTED - Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design in Leiria (PT) and Transnational Meeting nº8 in Parma (IT)
    • June : UrbSecurity Final Conference in Parma (IT) and Showcase the results of IAP and closing event in Leiria (PT)
    • August 18 : Partnership Meeting with IMPETUS project & Community of Safe and Secure Cities(COSSEC) in Oslo, Normay


    Integrated Action Plans

    Leiria Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here!

    Leiria - Portugal
    Romagna Faentina Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here!

    Romagna Faentina - Italy
    Longford Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Longford - Ireland
    Parma Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here!

    Szabolcs Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here!

    Szabolcs - Hungary
    Design for security: Creating safer cities

    Read more here!

    Madrid - Spain
    Mechelen Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here!

    Mechelen - Belgium
    Michalovce Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here!

    Michalovce - Slovakia
    Municipality of Pella Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here!

    Pella - Greece

    This Action Planning Network analyses strategies and projective concepts of cities’ design that could contribute to prevent segregation and anti-social behavior, and consecutively to improve citizen’s quality of life and their perception of urban security and safety. The main objective is to implement an integrated and participatory approach to urban security by involving all relevant stakeholders in the process.

    Planning safer cities
    Ref nid
  • Space4People

    Lead Partner : Bielefeld - Germany
    • Arad - Romania
    • Badalona - Spain
    • Guía de Isora - Spain
    • Nazaré - Portugal
    • Panevėžys - Lithuania
    • Saint-Germain-en-Laye - France
    • Serres - Greece
    • Turku - Finland
    • Valga - Estonia

    City of Bielefeld - Head of Transport Department



    • Kick-Off Meeting Phase 1
    • Final Meeting Phase 1
    • Web-Kick-Off Phase 2
    • Web Meeting June 2020
    • Transnational Meeting October 2020
    • Webinar Dealing with sceptical business communities September 2021
    • Webinar Vision and measure selection September 2021
    • Webinar Dealing with a lack of support from decision makers September 2021
    • Webinar on Car-free livability programme Oslo and Spaces for People Scotland October 2021
    • Webinar Parking Management December 2021
    • Webinar Tactical Urbanism December 2021
    • Webinar Alternative Road Use January 2022
    • IAP Peer Review Session March 2022
    • Webinar Use of indicators and objectives in IAP March 2022
    • Webinar Tools and Methods to measure public space use April 2022
    • Site Visit to Saint-Germain-en-Laye June 2022
    • Final Event Barcelona with RiConnect and Thriving Streets July 2022

    Integrated Action Plan

    Bielefeld Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Bielefeld - Germany
    Serres: walkable, sustainable, inclusive and accessible city for all

    Read more here !

    Sérres - Greece

    Read more here !

    Nazaré - Portugal
    City of Turku's developement programme for pedestrian and leisure areas 2029

    Read more here !

    Turku - Finland
    Valga Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Valga - Estonia
    Saint-Germain-en-Laye Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France
    Panevėžys City Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Panevėžys - Lithuania
    Integrated Action Plan for the enhancement of public space

    Read more here !

    Guía de Isora - Spain
    Municipality of Arad Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Arad - Romania

    Space4People dealt with public space use in its cities and worked with its main use function: transport. Our focus was on walkability, quality of stay, mix of functions to achieve attractive public space for diverse user groups and a sustainable urban mobility scheme supporting such public spaces. Space4People has placed a user-centric approach at the core of its work that to assessed qualities and deficiencies, developed future visions and tested possible solutions to public space in our cities.

    Space4People - mobility solutions for attractive public space
    Ref nid
  • RiConnect


    Lead Partner : Barcelona Metropolitan Area - Spain
    • Thessaloniki - Greece
    • Métropole du Grand Paris - France
    • Kraków Metropolis Association - Poland
    • Amsterdam Region - Netherlands
    • Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot Metropolitan Area - Poland
    • Porto Metropolitan Area (AMP) - Portugal
    • Greater Manchester


    Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona - Coordinació de Planejament Urbanístic

    (0034) 93 223 51 51 CONTACT US

    All RiConnect videos are available here.



    • SEP 26-27 > Kick-off meeting | Phase 1



    • JAN 30-31 > Final meeting | Phase 1
    • JUN 29-30 > Kick-off meeting | Phase 2
    • OCT 22-23 > Thematic Meeting 1 | Reorganising how we move
    • FEB 04-05 > Thematic Meeting 2 | Integrating the infrastructure
    • APR 22-23 > Thematic Meeting 3 | Adding ecosystem functions
    • JUL 05-06 > Thematic Meeting 4 | Planning the metropolis
    • OCT 25-29 > Midterm reflection meeting


    • FEB 21-22 > Implementation meeting
    • JUL 6-8 > Final meeting | Phase 2



    RiConnect Final ReportRiConnect case studiesRiConnect chronicles

    Integrated Action Plans

    RiConnect partners


    Read all the local Integrated Action Plans from the RiConnect partners!

    RiConnect Avinguda del Valles - Barcelona Metropolitan Area
    Avinguda del Vallès


    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Barcelona Metropolitan Area
    Skawina - Krakow Metropolis Association


    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Krakow Metropolis Association (PL)
    Hel Peninsula - Gdansk Gdynia Sopot Metropolitan Area
    Hel Peninsula


    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Gdańsk - Gdynia - Sopot Metropolitan Area (PL)



    Lelylaan - Vervorregio Amsterdam


    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Vervorregio Amsterdam
    Oldham - Transport for Greater Manchester


    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Transport for Greater Manchester
    Livry-Gargan - Greater Paris Metropolis


    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Greater Paris Metropolis
    Arranha - Porto Metropolitan Area


    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Porto Metropolitan Area
    Kodra camp-to-park - Thessaloniki
    Kodra camp-to-park


    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.



    Find here all the documents created by the RiConnect network! Click on each icon to view and download the documents:


    RiConnect Baseline studyRiConnect RoadmapsRiConnect newsletter

    RiConnect is an Action Planning Network of 8 metropolises which aim is to rethink, transform and integrate mobility infrastructures in order to reconnect people, neighbourhoods, cities and natural spaces. We will develop planning strategies, processes, instruments and partnerships to foster public transport and active mobility, reduce externalities and social segregation and unlock opportunities for urban regeneration. Our long-term vision is a more sustainable, equitable and attractive metropolis for all.

    RiConnect - rethinking infrastructure
    Rethinking infrastructure
    Ref nid
  • Health&Greenspace


    LEAD PARTNER : 12th District of Budapest (Hegyvidék) - Hungary
    • Tartu - Estonia
    • Santa Pola - Spain
    • Espoo - Finland
    • Limerick - Ireland
    • Messina - Italy
    • Breda - Netherlands
    • Poznań - Poland
    • Suceava - Romania


    • Kick-off meeting Phase 1
    • Kick-off meeting Phase 2
    • Activation meeting, Health&Greenspace Academy, Thematic Working Groups
    • Small scale actions starting
    • Integrated Action Plans ready, Peer-review sessions

    Integrated Action Plans

    Municipality of MESSINA - Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Messina - Italy
    The Green Integrated Action Plan for Poznan

    Read more here !

    Poznan - Poland
    Hegyvidék, Budapest 12 Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Hegyvidék, Budapest 12 - Hungary
    A Climate-conscious Action Plan for Urban Space (Re)design in Tartu

    Read more here !

    Tartu - Estonia
    A new park in Breda Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Breda - The Netherlands
    Limerick Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Limerick - Ireland
    Santa Pola Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Santa Pola - Spain
    Suceava Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Suceava - Romania
    Espoo´s Integrated Action Plan for health-responsive blue-green infrastructure

    Read more here !

    Espoo - Finland

    How can we improve urban green spaces in order to promote mental and physical health for our communities? Health&Greenspace Action Planning Network links green infrastructure design and management to urban health policies and practices. The project focuses on physical and mental health benefits of urban green spaces, as well as their role in improving social health and air quality and reducing heat stress in cities. Actions targeted by the network are linked to both physical changes to the urban environment and the promotion of social activities such as community, cultural, education and physical activity programs in green areas.

    Ref nid