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  • In Focus

    The Intercultural cities programme (ICC) supports cities in reviewing their policies through an intercultural lens and developing comprehensive intercultural strategies to help them manage diversity positively and realise the diversity advantage.

    Amadora launches a Guide on the welcoming of migrants

    Blue Economy Forum

    BluAct Toolkit

    BluAct: The Documentary

    2ndChance on Facebook

    2ndChance on Twitter

    Timeline

    Kick-off meeting in September (Ostrava). Transnational meeting in November (Frankfurt).
    Transnational meetings in September (Torino) and October (Bordeaux).
    Transnational meeting in January (Grenoble). Final event in April (Bilbao).

    Municipality of Athienou
    2, Archbishop Makarios III Ave.
    7600 Athienou Cyprus

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Udine (Italy)

    CONTACT US

    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email: DMC@Barnsley.gov.uk

    Keep following our social media channels as we develop Tech Revolution 2.0 as part of the second wave of URBACT ||| Programme. 

    Follow our Twitter: @Tech_RevEu
    Follow our Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/urbact-techrevolution/

    CONTACT US

    Coordinator

    ADDRESS

    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora

    Portugal 

    TELEPHONE

    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801

    CONTACT US

    City of Rome

    tamara.lucarelli@comune.roma.it

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

    Via Palazzo di Città, 1 - 10121 Turin (Italy)

     

    CONTACT US

    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

    Edifício Municipal, Campo Grande nº25, 6ºE | 1749 -099 Lisboa

    CONTACT US

    urbact.civicestate@gmail.com

    CONTACT US

    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Piraeus

    CONTACT US

    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

    CONTACT US

    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029

     

    CONTACT US

    Riga NGO House

    CONTACT US

    City of Antwarp
    Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen

    Manchester City Council
    Manchester M2 5RT

    City of Rotterdam
    Coolsingel 40, 3011 AD Rotterdam

    City Council Bielefeld
    Bürger Service Center
    Phone +49 521 510

    CONTACT US

    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

    City of Loulé
    Praça da República, 8104-001 Loulé
    Phone +351 289 400 600

    CONTACT US

    City of Igualada
    Plaça de l'Ajuntament, 1, 08700 Igualada, Barcelona

    CONTACT US

    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

    City of Genoa
    Via di Francia, 1 - XI floor. 16149 Genova

    CONTACT US

    City of San Donà di Piave Piazza Indipendenza, 13 – 30027

    CONTACT US

    City of Naples
    Urban Planning Department 
    Phone +39 081 7958932 - 34 - 17 

    CONTACT US

    The Barnsley Digital Media  County Way, Barnsley, S70 2JW
    Phone +44 01226 720700 

    CONTACT US

    Preston City Council
    Town Hall, Preston, PR1 2RL

    City of Piacenza
    piazza Cavalli 2 - 29121 Piacenza - Italia
    tel centralino 
    Phone +39 0523 492 111 

    City of Bilbao
    Plaza Ernesto Erkoreka nº1. 48007 Bilbao. Phone +32 944 204 200 

    By mobilising a significant number of stakeholders, this Action Planning network had the mission to rethink the stakeholders’ agendas on business-led economic development and test how the smart specialisation concept might work as a driver. The network pioneered on how the policy concept of smart specialisation applies to the urban environment, more precisely the Research and Innovation Strategies for Smart Specialisation (RIS3).

    Smart specialisation at city level
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  • AS TRANSFER

    Lead Partner : Bilbao - Spain
    • Bielsko-Biala - Poland
    • Tartu - Estonia
    • Timisoara - Romania

    .

    Timeline

    •  Transnational Network Meeting - Bilbao Kick-off Meeting (07/01-07/02)
    • Transnational Network Meeting - Tartu (10/28-10/29)

     

     

    • Transnational Network Meeting - Bielsko-Biala (01/21)
    • Transnational Network Meeting - Timisoara (05/11-05/13)

    .

    • AS TRANSFER office stock image

      Facilitating partnership brokering in an Industry 4.0

      An article by AS TRANSFER Ad-hoc Expert, Alison Patridge.

    • AS TRANSFER team during meeting in Paris

      AS TRANSFER - What is going on?

      What has AS TRANSFER been up to until today?

    • AS TRANSFER introductory article

      Boosting the competitiveness: lessons from Bilbao's manufacturing industries

      An article by the AS TRANSFER Lead Expert, Willem van Winden.

    .

    Linkedin

    Twitter

    Newsletter

    .

    More about AS Fabrik

    Euronews showcases in this video Bilbao As Fabrik as an example of service-based technology for an improved industrial sector.

    Summary

    The AS Fabrik Transfer Mechanism pilot seeks to share the experience of Bilbao in the AS FABRIK Urban Innovative Actions project  with other European cities, which want to meet the ultimate approaches in the field of the smart specialisation in Industry 4.0 and digital economy. AS FABRIK was conceived to increase the competitiveness of the local KIBS sector and to prepare them to supply the digital transformation demands of the manufacturing sector. An strategic alliance based on knowledge and innovation that aims to improve the local ecosystems of cities, with city businesses, universities, local service providers and entrepreneurs hosted in a tailor-made innovative space.

    Smart specialisation towards industrial digital transformation
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  • UIA Transfer Mechanism: five pilot projects ready to take off!

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    15/11/2022

    Urban Innovative Actions and URBACT come together to put into practices the lessons learnt from the Transfer Networks. 

    News

    Last week, on the 9 March, URBACT's Monitoring Committee have approved five pilot networks to transfer innovative solutions. In 2020, the UIA first call projects came to a close and a proposal was made to test a new URBACT tool which aimed to support the transfer of innovation. The UIA Transfer Mechanism experiment will support a group of EU cities to understand, adapt and prepare to re-use the UIA practice through the co-creation of an investment plan. The 18-month journey of these networks builds on the success of the URBACT Transfer Networks model.

     

    Following a competitive call, 7 pilot projects were submitted for approval. When considering all the 28 potential city partners, 6 candidates were URBACT newcomer cities from 5 different countries, while 16 cities were also newcomers to UIA. This shows what a unique opportunity this networks represented for cities discovering the universe of EU cooperation! As foreseen by the Terms of Reference, eligible proposals have been assessed by a two assesors from URBACT and UIA. Scroll down to find out more about the five newly approved networks.  

    The URBACT Programme acknowledges and thanks every city that has submitted proposals and used the URBACT Marketplace for this call. URBACT also warmly welcomes the new UIA Transfer Mechanism partners, who will take their first steps in the kick-off meeting on 23 March.

     

     

    PILOT PROJECT

    DESCRIPTION

    PARTNER CITIES

     

    AS TRANSFER

    Smart specialisation in advanced services towards the digital transformation of industry

    Bilbao (ES)

    Bielsko Biala (PL)

    Tartu (EE)

    Timisoara (RO)

     

    CO4CITIES

    The collaborative management of urban commons to counteract poverty and socio-spatial polarisation

    Torino (IT)

    Budapest (HU)

    Gdansk (PL)

    Cluj-Napoca (RO)

     

    USE-IT

    Unlocking social and economic innovation together

    Birmingham (UK)

    Rotterdam (NL)

    Trapani (IT)

    Poznan (PL)

     

    VILAWATT

    Innovative local public-private-citizen partnership for energy governance

    Viladecans (ES)

    Eriges Seraing (BE)

    Nagykanizsa (HU)

    Trikala (EL)

     

    NEXT AGRI

    New skills for new jobs in peri-urban agriculture

    Milan (IT)

    Almere (NL)

    Stara Zagora (BG)

    Vila Nova de Gaia (PT)

    *Bold letters used for UIA cities who will act as Lead Partner

    -

     

    Interested in the findings of the URBACT Transfer Networks?
    Check all related activities here!

     

     

     

     

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  • Improving children’s education for a sustainable urban future

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    15/11/2022

    URBACT is helping European cities find – and share – new ways to support children’s education for a better future. 

    Articles
    Education

    From organic school gardens and innovative teaching methods, to community courses and better links with families, health specialists or local businesses, URBACT is improving kids’ chances with innovative approaches to education.

    Education is central to sustainable urban futures. Whether it’s to fight inequality and social exclusion, boost a town’s attractiveness, or help young people protect the environment, its vital role in building better cities is reflected in many URBACT networks past and present.

    Let’s take a look at what some of these cities are doing…

    The city as an orchestrator

    Why are city authorities well placed to improve education policy? “Because the municipality has proximity to the citizens,” says Mireia Sanabria, Lead Expert for the URBACT transfer network ON BOARD – Connecting cities through education. “They can directly understand, visit, dialogue with communities to know their specific needs. And they have a brokerage role.”

    As well as providing technical or financial support, space and equipment, cities can coordinate groups of local education stakeholders – schools, families, companies, associations, researchers, municipal departments and higher government. One example is Viladecans (ES), whose Education Innovation Network (EIN) approach is being adopted by five ON BOARD partner cities. This partnership inspired Nantes (FR) and Albergaria-a-Velha (PT) to develop new student wellbeing initiatives to improve academic results through happy, engaged learning. “We can provide schools with help, resources, and protection so they can dare to do things differently,” adds Sanabria.

    Social inclusion and children’s rights

    Laura Colini, Programme Expert for URBACT, points out that while the European Pillar of Social Rights states that everyone has the right to affordable early childhood education and good quality care, and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union recognises education as a right, opportunities for children vary enormously across the EU – and from one city neighbourhood to another.

    Recent estimates show under 17s to be the most vulnerable to risks of poverty, particularly children from ethnic minorities or with migrant backgrounds. In 2018, 20 000 unaccompanied minors applied for asylum in Europe in 2018, 40% of them in Germany and Italy,” says Colini. “This is why, the way the education system handles inequalities in family backgrounds can have an enormous impact, due to the crucial years pupils spend in schools.”

    The question of children and education should be treated with a holistic perspective, involving families and schools,” Fintan Farrel, Director of the European Anti-Poverty Network, said in an interview for the EU Urban Agenda poverty partnership (Colini & Tosics 2017).

    This is just the sort of integrated approach that URBACT champions. During the URBACT StayTuned network, for example, the Ampelokipi - Menemeni municipality in Thessaloniki (EL) formed a strong team that works closely with school directors and local Roma people, deepening the administration’s understanding of Early Leaving from Education and Training. This led the municipality to adapt its courses, information and support to the needs of Roma children and parents, both in schools and in a new easily-accessible Community Centre. “Through the collaboration and exchange of experience with partners, the way the municipality understands its problem and role, as well as the methodology for managing challenges in the field of education and training, has changed,” says Magdalini Rousseti, Ampelokipi – Menemeni’s Director of Social Policy, Education, Sports & Culture.

    As for Groningen (NL), with an aging population and jobs to fill, the city teamed up with its universities, academic hospital, citizens, employers and cultural institutions, to help international students and professionals “come, stay and be active”. Six medium-sized cities are now learning from this experience in the URBACT Welcoming International Talent network, including Bielsko-Biala (PL) who were recently inspired to open their own “Centre for Integration of Foreigners” MyBB.

    Macerata (IT), won an URBACT Good Practice label in 2017 for its co-regeneration of urban green spaces around inclusion and children’s education. The Pace neighborhood green space has since become a place for meeting, education and social inclusion for the whole community – grandparents, parents, teenagers and children. The Les Friches NGO behind the scheme says, “Our participatory action has given positive effects. There’s now a new and integrated community that lives in the common space.

    Of URBACT’s many networks set up to help cities fight exclusion, here are just three more examples linked with education: Prevent – “Involving parents in the prevention of early school leaving”; ONSTAGE – “Music schools for social change”; and Rumorless cities – “Prevent discrimination, strengthen cohesion”, led Amadora (PT), where cities work with art and theatre to prevent discrimination and rumours against children with migrant backgrounds.

    Methodology and tools for better learning

    URBACT not only helps cities solve urban problems by strengthening cross-sector participation locally while learning from peers across the EU – it also brings municipalities new skills and methodologies. For some networks this is the main focus. The URBACT Playful Paradigm network for example, seeks new ways to engage stakeholders better in urban development. The eight partner cities use games to promote “social inclusion, healthy lifestyles and energy awareness, intergenerational and cultural mediation, place-making and economic prosperity”. Klaipėda City Public Health Bureau (LT), wants to work with more schools to introduce more playful, physical activities for schoolchildren, adapting techniques from their EU partners. “The network is a good framework to generate new ideas, spread the good practice,” says Laura Kubiliutė, Head of Klaipėda’s public health monitoring and projects department. One such idea is a playful Wednesday afternoon for young and elderly people at the county library, with quizzes and board games, helping strengthen links between generations, tackle loneliness, and foster social inclusion.

    Small-but-powerful responsible citizens

    From helping children enjoy nature to rewarding schools that lower their carbon footprint and support local organic farmers, cities of all sizes are helping shape the next generation of healthier, environmentally-conscious citizens.

    Working with schools is fundamental to collectively learn about rights and values in social, environmental and economic terms, because through schools one can reach out not only children but parents, families, the wider community, also those that are not active in civil society,” says Laura Colini.

    Torres Vedras (PT), is a good example here. They have a rapidly expanding sustainable food school programme with 11 school organic gardens growing tomatoes, beans, peppers and other fruit and veg. Children already learn about food production, seasonality – and identifying the organic food label in shops. Still, the URBACT BioCanteens network has brought new ideas, including “freshness” criteria to improve public procurement for suppliers, and Mouans-Sartoux’s (FR) food-waste reduction scheme that covers extra costs of healthy, organic school meals. “For us it was: ‘wow!’, a very great idea, because we’d never thought about this before!” says Paula Rodrigues, Responsible for managing biocanteens and school gardens for the municipality.

    Torres Vedras launched a pilot project in a school whose vegetable patch is the size of 10 parking spaces, and World Food Day celebrations last a whole month. Here, having followed the food from planting to harvesting and delivery to the school kitchens, 150 six-to-ten year-olds are now learning to reduce food waste and weigh their leftovers so menus can be adapted. For Rodrigues, their new understanding of food waste is the “golden key to close the cycle”. The city will expand the scheme to nine more schools this year to reach a total of 1200 children.

    Why are children good ambassadors for a sustainable future? “Because they are the future!” says Rodrigues.

    There are many more stories of cities that have developed innovative, sustainable solutions involving education and children:

    Read more on URBACT and Education : https://urbact.eu/education

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  • Welcoming International Talent

    Timeline

    Kick-off Meeting - Groningen, the Netherlands
    Transnational Meetings 2019 - Debrecen, Hungary - Zlin, Czech Republic - Parma, Italy - Magdeburg, Germany - Bielsko-Biala, Poland
    Transnational Meeting 2020 - Leuven, Belgium, Final Meeting - Groningen, the Netherlands
    Final Conference Welcoming International Talent

    This Transfer network focus on Higher education and knowledge economy, both have become a global competition for talent. Whereas the main European cities attract both students and skilled-workers by their scale and fame, medium-sized cities, like Groningen, will need a policy to attract talent, and to keep them economically active. In this project the best practice of Groningen, a welcoming policy for International Students and skilled workers, will be transferred.

    Cities looking for global talents
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  • Welcoming international professionals and students

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    15/11/2022
    MEDINT project MEDINT is an URBACt I Project which studied the integrated approach concept, which has become a characteristic feature of European urban development strategies. The work carried out in European cities shows that this concept has been interpreted and implemented in a variety of different ways (integration of local actors, of different economic sectors, of different initiatives, of different development tools and policies). The conclusions of the MEDINT network are summarized in the form of several pdf files.
    Articles
    City Branding

    European cities are becoming more international and multicultural. Despite the rise of negative sentiments around immigration and the fear of loss of identity, for many cities, finding international talent is an economic necessity. They need engineers, scientists, knowledge workers, but also plumbers, nurses and truck drivers. There are simply too many job openings that cannot be filled by locals or nationals. Moreover, Europe’s universities are vying to attract international students: to make up for an ageing home region, or just as a means to pick the best brains…

    In the URBACT Transfer Network, titled “Welcoming International Talent”, we focus on the question of how cities can effectively deal with the challenge of attracting, welcoming, retaining and integrating international students and professionals.

    This poses a lot of questions that cannot be answered by the city alone: it involves many players, including the universities, employers, citizens, cultural institutions, etc. And it touches on many policy fields: social, economic, urban planning, housing….

    Especially for smaller and medium sized cities, this form of skills-oriented internationalisation poses new questions and challenges. Unlike larger cities and capitals, they never had such large groups of residents (temporary or permanent) from abroad, but now they are facing a new reality.

    The city of Groningen, in the North of the Netherlands, is a prime example. Being a student city, it saw the number of foreign students grow dramatically in the last decade. And, the scientific staff of its universities has become more international too. At the same time, the local economy is growing, requiring skilled people, but the population is ageing and the workforce shrinking. Thus, for Groningen, a key challenge is to try to connect the dots: if more internationals students would stay and find a job in Groningen after graduation –rather than leave for their home country or a big city- it would benefit the urban and regional economy and counter go against the ageing trend. And, as Jan Kees Kleuver, project leader, stresses, “Groningen is essentially a student city. We need to attract more international students, because our regional population is ageing, and student numbers may go down….”

    Welcoming international expats is hard work

    Easier said than done! There are many barriers. Without mastering the Dutch language, it is not easy to fully participate in society. Until recently, Groningen’s theatres and events did not cater for English speaking people; moreover, even when most Dutch people speak English, it can be hard to find your way into local sports or music clubs, understand the Dutch healthcare system, find an international school for your kids, or obtain an internship. And it turns out that despite a low language barrier, Dutch and international students hardly mix. Then, there are (student) housing shortages, a lot of red tape regarding immigration rules, etc etc. How welcoming is all that?

    There is a lot to be done in Groningen, on many levels, to become a welcoming city to international expats. Last year, a set of key stakeholders – city, universities, the academic hospital, and big employers - decided to join forces and develop an integrated strategy to attract and embed international people to Groningen, and make them feel at home. A number of concrete actions are being taken:
    - developing a cultural community platform;
    - setting up an international house in the city centre;
    - measures to ease the bureaucratic burden for internationals;
    - support for regional companies to hire foreigners or provide places for internships;
    - a buddy system, linking locals to internationals.

    Groningen is very active, a frontrunner in this field. Most importantly, it involves the international crowd in the design and implementation of every action or policy, to make sure it’s a good fit. After successfully applying for “URBACT Good Practice”, it now leads a growing network of medium sized European cities that share the same ambition. 

    Welcoming International Talent URBACT Network

    As it stands now, the cities of Bielsko Biala (PO), Debrecen (HU), Leuven (BE), Magdeburg (DE), Parma (IT), and Zlin (CZ) have joined the network. They share the fact that they are medium sized university cities, with a growing influx of internationals. They all have the strategic ambition to become more attractive and welcoming to international professionals and students, and they want to learn from Groningen’s example. The partners realise that a common vision and partnership is required to get things done; first of all between city and the university, but also with employers, cultural institutions, events etc.  This is far from easy to achieve, and there is much to be learned. The partners have their own very specific local issues, and have developed remarkable initiatives themselves already. All cities see the project as a catalyst for their own ambitions and strategies; by peer reviewing each other, they hope to be inspired and go home with fresh ideas. As the vice mayor of Zlin, one of the partner cities, put it: “we will not wait until the end of the project to change our policies: we hope to be inspired by our partner cities, and start bringing partners together from day one, developing actions together, and implementing them”.

    Main issues identified

    The partners identified a number of specific issues on which the collaboration should focus:

    • Attracting international talent (marketing of the region together)
    • Labour market integration of foreign professionals and students
    • Social & cultural integration
    • Internationalisation of urban services, facilities and amenities
    • Housing and accommodation for internationals
    • Internationalisation of higher education & research
    • The cross-cutting topic of governance: collaboration between stakeholders, involvement/engagement of internationals

    How does a tree grow - and can you transplant it?

    Transferring Good Practices is far from straightforward. In this project, we compare the best practice to a tree: a living creature, that took long to grow and flourish, and that has roots in a fertile soil. The trunk of the Groningen tree is the comprehensive strategy of the city’s key stakeholders towards internationalisation.  The projects and policy programmes are its branches and the leaves of the tree are the visible actions and results of the strategy.

    The roots of the tree are beneath the surface. You cannot see them but they are decisive for the tree’s development. They represent the underlying institutional structures that helped the partners in Groningen to collaborate: trust between the key players/stakeholders; a shared ambition to lift up the city as place for international talent; and the shared realisation that collaboration is needed in the wider region – as well as shared leadership, to take responsibility for something that stretches beyond the interest of the individual organisations/stakeholders.

    The soil stands for cultural aspects that make it possible for the tree (trunk, branches, leaves and roots) to grow. It is a main source of nutrients. In the case of Groningen, this represents the participative tradition of involving citizens (in this case: internationals) in the design of policies; and its ability to collaborate and allocate resources to the common goal, resolving any emerging conflicts of interest.  

    The tree can only flourish in the right climate and weather conditions. This includes the political climate (the city management and elected representatives supporting the policy direction) and social climate: a receptive and supportive local population that embraces internationalisation to a large extent. Weather and climate can change, with significant implications for the tree.

    What does this imply for transfer potential?

    First of all, transferring an entire tree to another place is possible but very difficult, because the life of the tree depends on so many factors. That does not mean that it is impossible. Transfer to other cities can be considered on the level of the fully integrated programme approach, or on the level of individual projects. The latter will be the easiest. Stakeholders in Groningen have highly detailed project plans which they are happy to share with other cities. Also, the digital platforms (the cultural events website Here&Now and the new general Groningen platform for internationals) are being designed under the Creative Commons licence to facilitate replication and transfer.

    The transfer of the fully integrated approach is certainly also feasible, but it will require more effort, strong political, top-level support, and may take longer to materialize, especially for cities that are in an early stage of co-ordinating their internationalisation strategies. Also, contextual factors will play an important role: the local culture of collaboration, power relations between key stakeholders, competences, etc.

    Last but not least: although Groningen is recognized as good practice, there is much to be learned from the others as well. For example, Magdeburg set up a very interesting welcoming ceremony for all new internationals; Zlin University set up a buddy system linking Czech students to international ones, to foster integration. There is much to learn from other trees in the European garden. 

    ***

    Visit the network's page: Welcoming International Talent

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