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  • Gen-Y City

    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 June (Torun). Transnational meeting in September (Wolverhampton) about 'Making the case for investment in creative-tech talent' and 'How to make best use of Labour Market Information'. Transnational meeting and The role of culture.
    'Transnational meeting about 'Smart Specialisation, Tech Hubs and Civic Tech Initiatives' transnational meeting in March (Coimbra); in July (Bologna) about 'Creative - Tech Talent Ecosystem Frameworks'.
    City Development Forum in January (Poznan). Final event in April (Poznan).

    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 

    City of Poznan
    plac Kolegiacki 17,
    61-841 Poznań

    CONTACT US

    Over the last decades, younger people have increasingly chosen to live in urban areas, whilst the share of older residents in cities has generally fallen. Nevertheless, the impact of wage levels and different unemployment rates across Europe has lead youngsters to move mainly to big cities. In this, sense this Action Planning network aimed on developing, attracting and retaining young local talent, particularly, the creative talent from the Generation Y - people who were born between 1980 and 2000 - within cities of all sizes.

    Developing, attracting and retaining young local talent
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  • Procure

    Timeline

    Kick-off meeting in June (Lublin). Transnational meetings in September (Satu Mare and Nagykallo) and December (Albacete).
    Transnational meetings in March (Koprivnica), June (Candelaria), September (Koszalin), November (Prague).
    Final event in March (Bologna).

    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

    The goal of this Action Planning network was to explore how to harness the spending power through procurement of public and anchor institutions in the partner cities to bring about economic, social and environmental benefits for businesses and people which in turn will have a positive impact on the city and its local economy. The topics to be explored include: the regulations and law at both European and national level, and what cities are able to do around innovative procurement; how to analyse procurement spend and develop a procurement strategy; the use of social criteria and environmental criteria in procurement; and how to raise awareness of procurement amongst local businesses and SMEs.

    Driving innovation in public procurement
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  • SALUS W SPACE

    Italy
    Bologna

    Sustainable Accessible Livable Usable Social space for intercultural Wellbeing, Welfare and Welcoming

    Inti Bertocchi
    Comune di Bologna
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    Summary

    Salus Space will provide a multi-purpose living and working environment for 28 families up to half of whom will be migrants or refugees. 
    The project seeks to overcome the emergency approach in the refugees reception model and find new sustainable solutions, integrated into the social and economic framework. Furthermore it aims to prevent the conflicts and the perception of migrants and refugees as an economic and social burden, to fight the urban and social decay, caused by the economic crisis, to foster an open intercultural society, based on the generative welfare model and solidarity, by enhancing reciprocity between refugees and citizens and knowledge contamination and to help address demographic changes: ageing population, low birth rate, migration of young people.
     

    The innovative solution

    The project proposes to house 28 families of which roughly half will be from a migrant background in a purpose-built facility on the former Villa Salus hospital site on the periphery of the city The project will create a working community, with a generative welfare approach. The whole project is based on a collaborative approach between partners and once launched will involve collaborative management between the new community at Salus space and the City. The site will also play host to a Think Tank focusing on the inclusive economy. 

    A collaborative and participative work

    The project has a wide partnership engaging many local actors.  The partners range from specialist housing providers to a range of social cooperatives that work with specific groups – for example with migrant women. The work the city has done with the partnership is one of the most innovative aspects of the project. Together they have created a charter of values and a management plan for the site. The evolution of the project is a genuine co-creation. 
    The project has pioneered an approach to participative evaluation by training citizens in evaluation techniques. Citizen journalists, mostly from the nearby district of Savena have also been trained to write blogs and document the progress of the project. 
     

    The impact and results

    The project launches for real in January 2021. The first four years have been taken up with the demolition of the original hospital and the construction of permanent living spaces, meeting spaces and three temporary structures. Up until now working on other sites, Salus Space has been able to provide training activities in theatre skills and horticulture for migrants. The partnership have also developed a collaborative management plan for the new facility and develop a charter of values with partners. 
    The new buildings at Salus Space will be officially opened in January 2021. Soon after the first cohort of tenants can move in for a 24-month residential period.  The new site will host 28 families, up to half of whom will be from a migrant background, the rest with an Italian background. Activities on the site will include catering, horticulture, theatre, business creation as well as a think tank on social inclusion. The idea is to create a dynamic learning, working and living environment aimed at accelerating the integration process. 
     

    Why this good practices should be transferred to other cities?

    The project presents an interesting approach to migrant integration by creating a co-living and working space on the urban fringe using a former derelict hospital site. Each family living in Salus Space will have their own living space but will also participate in a range of work, cultural and leisure activities on the site that will also be a welcoming space for visitors. Salus Space will be a living community.
    For other European cities the project will be a live demonstration of how to organise new approaches to migrant integration. The governance and management arrangements are particularly interesting because the whole approach has been developed in a collaborative way with partners from the city including social cooperatives and specialist agencies. The project offers an opportunity to see a project in its early stages of implementation wrestling with real issues in real time. 
    Salus Space is also featuring in a Horizon 2020 project for innovative agriculture which is led by the University of Bologna and is part of a second H2020 bid. 
     

    Is a transfer practice
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  • More URBACT learning for better funding

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    15/11/2022

    One year on, cities say URBACT leads to more learning and more funding.

    News

    Of the 205 cities involved in URBACT sustainable urban development networks in 2018, 99% would recommend the programme to another city.

    Why? Improved urban policymaking and capacity building are big reasons, with over 95% of cities adopting an integrated, participatory approach based on their learning from URBACT. Transnational cooperation is another; 62% of cities took up a good practice from another EU city in their local Integrated Action Plan, or “IAP”.

    URBACT is considered a valuable, enriching and concrete programme which empowers city stakeholders, changes the way cities work and has a real impact at local level – even in remote areas,” says Céline Ethuin, URBACT Project & Finance Officer, who analysed the URBACT III Action Planning Network closure reports. “It’s also a gateway to other EU funds and programmes.

    To hear about these benefits from the cities themselves, we caught up with Athens (EL), Morne-à-l’Eau (FR), Almelo (NL), and Bologna (IT), all of which completed URBACT networks in 2018.

    First some introductions…

    Athens (EL) investigated the reuse of vacant urban spaces during the URBACT REFILL network. Local coordinator Nicholas Karachalis says the city now links temporary use with social challenges such as immigration or youth unemployment, integrating the approach into mainstream local policies. The recent Athens Resilience strategy includes REFILL’s outcomes as a priority.

    Next stop Morne-à-l’Eau (FR), in the ‘ultra-peripheral’ Caribbean. This town is using sustainable urban mobility plans defined during the URBACT CityMobilNet network to improve traffic conditions, air quality and social inclusion. Local project coordinator Linda Docan says despite the challenges of distance, Morne-à-l’Eau embraced URBACT, its methods for co-creation, citizen mobilisation and joined-up policy development. Elected officials and agents are increasingly asked to share their CityMobilNet experiences at home and abroad.

    Almelo (NL) and Bologna (IT) were both in the URBACT Procure network on harnessing the power of local public spending. As a result, Almelo’s local project coordinator Maarten Visscher says his city gained new procurement policy guidelines – and a lasting enthusiasm for increasing local spend by involving regional suppliers. Discovering the 5% local spend rate was “an eye-opener for local politicians”. In Bologna, which has a broad URBACT experience, local project manager Marino Cavallo says Procure has brought green and sustainable criteria into the procurement process for local businesses and public administrations.

    How about longer term benefits? Are cities adopting and implementing local integrated action plans made under URBACT? Is URBACT a step towards more funding and bigger EU programmes?” The answer: a resounding “Yes”! 

    On completing URBACT networks in 2018, more than 80% of cities started implementing the local plans they’d built during the project, with 48% securing at least some financing. URBACT reports show many cities go on to apply to EU programmes such as INTERREG Europe, Horizon 2020, Erasmus Plus, Creative Europe, or Urban Innovative Actions (UIA).

    Athens

    In Athens, for example, “One of the important next steps already being implemented is a pilot initiative called Polis Square (Polis2) that was partly based on REFILL,” says Nicholas. “Its aim was to test the viability and impact of citizen and culture-led city interventions facilitated by the Athens municipality in specific areas and empty shops. One of the funded projects is the Traces of Commerce project at the ‘Stoa Emporon’ that was already in operation during REFILL, while others, such as the ‘Plateia Theatrou’ project, were new.

    Athens’ UIA project Curing the Limbo also draws on URBACT REFILL methodology and involves local stakeholders who met through URBACT. The project promotes social innovation and the temporary use of buildings, empowering stranded refugees who have been granted asylum. The municipality of Athens is also active in projects funded by other programmes such as Interreg and H2020, including the cultural heritage partnership ROCK.

    URBACT has definitely improved participation in other European programmes such as UIA, but was also a very inspiring journey in terms of transnational exchange,” Nicholas adds.

    Morne-à-l'Eau

    Morne-à-l’Eau obtained financial support for its IAP in parallel with its development. So, actions linked to creating nature areas, parking places, and e-mobility benefit from designated “ecological transition” funding. Linda says one IAP objective is to improve people’s living environment by encouraging “gentle wandering”. Here the main action is to renovate public lighting, co-financed under ERDF 2014-2020 within a large call for projects launched by the Guadeloupe Region managing authority. Other financial partners are the French state, the Guadeloupe region, and electricity operator EDF.

    Taking part in URBACT increased our awareness of other programmes such as Horizon 2020, BEST and LIFE,” says Linda. “It’s very likely that the work with URBACT and resulting IAP facilitates access to certain funding.

    Morne-à-l’Eau will keep using URBACT’s methodology in new projects. These include: an atlas of communal biodiversity, sharing and improving knowledge on local biodiversity using participatory science actions; and Mornalo Vélo Soleil, experimenting bike-sharing and developing the territory’s bike plan.

    Almelo

    For Almelo, “URBACT Procure has been really helpful, as it’s a framework which we can refer to in applications for EU funding,” says Maarten. Recently, Almelo highlighted procurement’s ability to unlock local potential in an H2020 call for projects on making cities healthier.

    Almelo is seeing a more “integral approach” to new projects, with more awareness of long term effects, and of the power of procurement, especially at strategic, management level. Through their focus on procurement, Almelo also got involved in a large national initiative on conditioned based maintenance of infrastructure, part of their IAP.

    URBACT is a programme we are interested in because it's more about capacity building and policy development, instead of the usual investments subsidies,” explains Maarten. “In particular it’s valuable because it also stimulates the European awareness of our organisation and employees.”

    Bologna

    As for Bologna, the URBACT Procure network made a “fundamental” contribution to training envisaged in the action plan. For example it enabled dozens of officials from municipalities and public administrations of the Bologna metropolitan area to follow a high-level course by a successful business school. They learned techniques in green procurement and were able to innovate internal organisational processes.

    Thanks to URBACT Procure, the Metropolitan City has been included in a European Union DG Grow pilot group on innovative procurement issues”, reports Marino. Bologna will also focus on public procurement and green procurement in a new H2020 project, Belt, on energy labelling, linking in with local and national institutions and businesses.

    Another URBACT network that Bologna completed in 2018 was GEN-Y CITY, bringing local government, scientists, businesses and residents together to develop, attract and retain local, young, creative talent. Encouraged by this experience, and the improvements URBACT was bringing to their city, Bologna went on to join a new URBACT Transfer Network, Urban Regeneration Mix, about bringing life back to historical areas – and citizens back to regenerated areas.

    Overall, URBACT’s working methodology has promoted collaboration and integration between partners to draw on better and better good practices – and provides helpful teamwork procedures, says Marino Cavallo. “Every URBACT project brings new pieces to build the future of our metropolitan area, knowledge that brings benefits especially in the long term.

    Has your city seen positive knock-on effects after completing an URBACT network? Share your story with us! Send an e-mail to communication@urbact.eu

    For more accounts from cities in URBACT networks read “Cities in Action – Stories of Change”.

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  • URBAN REGENERATION MIX

    Timeline

    Phase II Kick-off meeting Łódź 21-23 Januray / Transnational meeting Zagreb 02-04 April / Transnational meeting Toulouse 17-19 June / Transnational meeting Łódź 17-19 September/ Mid-term reviev &Transnational meeting Bologna 10-12 December
    Phase I Kick-off meeting Łódź.
    Transnational meeting Braga 3-5 March/ Concluding Network Exchange and Learning seminar Birmingham 20-22 October (online meeting)
    URM Final Virtual Conference: Let's do it together - How to revitalisea city with its residents? 20-21 May

    The Good Practice to be transferred through the URBAN REGENERATION MIX Transfer network is a collaborative city model that increases the participation of city residents, promotes their equal involvement and strengthens relations between the main stakeholders in urban regeneration processes. The network will focus on the study, identification and application of key success factors that bring back life to degraded urban areas and help to realise the potential of their inhabitants.

    Improving the social dimension in process of urban regeneration
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  • How to design and co-create greener cities?

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    15/11/2022

    Chantal van Ham, European Programme Manager Nature Based Solutions and Katharina Dropmann of International Union for Conservation of Nature Brussels European Regional Office share their enthusiasm for the EU Horizon 2020 project GrowGreen and nature based solutions as seen at URBACT City Festival, through examples from Bologna (IT), Manchester (UK) and Stavanger (NO)

    Articles
    Carbon neutrality

    Building cities may be humans’ greatest achievement, but at the same time they pose great threats for the future of the planet. For hundreds of years, people have called cities their home. Settlers started to make use of land alongside of rivers, in coastal areas and on fertile soil, providing increasing prosperity and wealth. Cities became the centre of commerce, culture and livelihood. Today, we depend on these complex systems.

    Cities are an essential platform for communication, interaction, creativity and innovation, however, the relation between humankind and cities has always been a double-edged sword. As a result of industrialisation, the overexploitation of natural resources and unsustainable land use, cities face rising temperature and sea levels, natural disasters and extreme levels of pollution. Cities consume more than half of the world’s energy and cause over 70% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. At this critical crossroads, it is essential to benefit from the creative and innovative power of cities in responding to these challenges and exploring the value of nature as a part of the solution in combatting climate change and its impacts.

    Not only vital for the world’s major capital cities, it is also vital for small and medium-sized cities, to have a platform for exchange, as they are equally important in creating sustainable change: “think global, act local”. The URBACT City Festival gave cities a unique chance to be in the limelight and exchange experiences. On the 13th of September 2018, Bologna (IT), Manchester (UK) and Stavanger (NO) presented their approaches to using the ground-breaking concept of nature-based solutions to respond to a range of challenges in their cities, and to meet national, as well as global sustainable development goals. These cities understand that nature-based solutions adapted to their unique local context, are highly valuable in fighting climate change impacts and improving quality of life for their citizens.

    Introducing nature-based solutions

    Many cities are already active in improving their green footprint and creating a more sustainable attitude for future development by cutting emissions, using renewable energy and reducing pollution. However, we need to think further. Now, more than ever, there is a need to reconnect with and integrate nature in the urban fabric. Nature-based solutions are actions to protect, manage, and restore natural or modified ecosystems that aim to support addressing society’s challenges in sustainable ways. Nature-based solutions are a new and largely untapped opportunity for cities to obtain not only ecological but also social, economic and health benefits. By delivering multiple co-benefits through enhanced ecosystem services, such as air and water quality and biodiversity, climate mitigation and adaptation, jobs and economic opportunities, nature-based solutions are crucial to increase the quality of life in urban areas.

    Bologna – how to combine cultural heritage with today’s most pressing environmental challenges

    In Roman cities, the sense of dense urbanity is distinctive. Winding alleys, towers and especially archways characterise Bologna and reveal its great history. In the face of increasing water scarcity, extreme weather events like heat waves and heavy rainfall in urban areas, Bologna is an outstanding example of a city that is able to protect its cultural heritage while adapting to climate change by implementing highly innovative solutions. Bologna is a coordinator city of the EU Urban Partnership on Sustainable Land Use and Nature Based Solutions and strives to promote nature-based solutions as a tool for building sustainable and liveable urban areas. The Bologna Local Urban Environment Adaptation Plan (BLUEAP) was developed as a template to identify vulnerabilities related to climate change and to design a scalable information system about the risks of climate change. This EU Life+ Project can be considered a good practice for results achieved and the methodology used can be useful for other cities.

    The City of Bologna shaped different nature-based solutions pilot actions, which explore and test the concept of the Adaptation Plan and assesses their efficiency on a small scale. The EU Horizon 2020 project ROCK implements measures including a roof garden for the historical Opera House and “greening” the University’s Scaravilli square. The project considers historic city centres as extraordinary laboratories to demonstrate how cultural heritage can be a unique and powerful engine of regeneration, sustainable development and economic growth for the whole city.

    Manchester - how to prevail naturally over flood risks 

    As one of the frontrunner cities of the EU Horizon 2020 project GrowGreen, Manchester focuses on tackling high surface water flood risks by increasing sustainability and business opportunities to create a healthy, liveable and climate resilient city. The project supports local partners and stakeholders to design and deliver a detailed green infrastructure masterplan for one of the neighbourhoods, West Gorton. To create green and blue spaces in urban areas with the overarching aim to manage water through water cycles and enhance the quality of life in the city, Manchester has developed several funding schemes and programmes. Since 2016, businesses and government in Greater Manchester promote green and blue Sustainable drainage solutions (SuDS) as an opportunity to manage wastewater more effectively and save costs. If implemented at a city wide level it not only improves mental and physical health, air quality and decreases surface flood risks, but it also offers direct financial savings, which can be re-invested. This successful concept can serve other European cities and sets an exceptional example to invest in nature for solving water management problems.

    Stavanger – a green city that is leading the way

    Stavanger, the fourth biggest and most densely populated city of Norway, is one of the nation’s leading oil industry cities and its Continuous Urban Green Structure is a true green miracle. As member of the EU Urban Agenda and thanks to a very strong leadership and dedicated network of planners and initiatives, Stavanger developed over a period of more than 50 years a continuous public green infrastructure throughout the whole city. Since 1965, several legally binding green infrastructure action plans were adopted, undergoing multiple stages of implementation with the vision to create a coherent green trail system across Norway supported by the Norwegian Trekking Association and the central government. Since then, Stavanger’s responsible communities have put a lot of effort into preserving green areas and constructing new trails.

    Today, more than 99 % of the citizens have access to the green trails within 500 meters from their home. Stavanger’s green structure is based on sound knowledge of the relationship between green urban infrastructure, public health and the health of the urban environment at large. Secrets for its success are: a great vision, political determination and courage, as well as the ability to implement the plans. Stavanger’s next steps focus on targets and indicators for nature-based solutions and green infrastructure and to collaborate with other cities to invest in new solutions.

    What could be easier than just helping nature in what it does best?

    Nature-based solutions present an innovative approach that respects the usability, multi-functionality and ecological benefits of green and blue spaces in urban areas. Through their integration in complex urban systems, we are one step closer to ensure human wellbeing and economic benefits to society. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go – more cities need to develop and test new ways of integrating these solutions in their planning processes to improve strategies, spread ideas and build alliances for action. It is pivotal to attract public and private stakeholders to invest in nature-based solutions and to improve assessment methods for mapping ecosystem services to be able to make the business case. In order to attract more investors and raise financing to scale up the implementation of nature-based solutions, GrowGreen is organising a conference on innovative financing for creating greener cities in March 2019.

    Magda Kubecka, one of the trend spotters who actively followed the discussions at the URBACT City Festival to identify ground breaking ideas and solutions for the future concluded: We need to deliver nature as part of everything we do in cities - it’s not a nice to have, it’s essential and crucial.” Nature-based solutions allow us to breathe fresh air, clear our heads and co-create greener more liveable cities. They benefit us all now and beyond, will benefit future generations.  

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  • From nature lovers to nature activists

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    15/11/2022

    How cities are reclaiming nature for citizens (and vice versa)

    Last Saturday I fell asleep in the park, basking in the unexpected rays of sunshine. I was grateful for this small patch of green, right in the centre of the city, and – judging by the crowd of people around me, with their kids, picnic blankets and Frisbee discs – I was not alone. Most city dwellers would agree that nature in the city is precious. Trees and parks, rivers and ponds, birds and butterflies – they all make our hearts sing (and real estate prices soar) but are we ready to turn our appreciation into action?

    Not all nature lovers are ready to be nature activists. Luckily, there is a lot local governments can do to support this shift, reaping not only environmental but also social and economic benefits. The research on ecosystem services and nature-based solutions confirms that nature is key to addressing many societal challenges, including e.g. human health and well-being, resilience and climate adaptation or food security. However, the tasks of protecting, managing and restoring nature should not be left to experts alone.

    Engaging with people, in a true URBACT spirit of participation and co-creation, can bring new ideas, resources and opportunities. That is what four URBACT Good Practice cities, Bologna (Italy), Guimarães (Portugal), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Strasbourg (France) have proven during the “Nature in the City” panel at URBACT City Festival 2017 in Tallinn.

    (Crowd) funding a greener city in Bologna?

    Articles
    Carbon neutrality

    The city of Bologna (Italy) showcased their ambitious resilience strategy, looking to prepare the city for the impacts of the changing climate. Raffaela Gueze, responsible for sustainable development in Bologna, explained how the process of developing the strategy, combining long-term planning with quick-win experiments, benefited from broad stakeholder involvement. The audience in Tallinn was especially interested in Bologna’s experience with OpenGAIA, a crowd funding platform that allows citizens to sponsor the planting of new trees in the city.

    The platform was an experiment, building on an earlier experience involving private companies as sponsors for new urban green in exchange for carbon offsets. As people behind the most successful initiatives emphasize, the main win of the “crowd-funding” campaign is not necessarily the funding but rather the crowd, in this case a group of people committed to greening the city. It would be interesting to see whether more cities follow in Bologna’s footsteps, inviting citizens to co-sponsor urban greening initiatives, and what the long-term impact of those initiatives is.

    A number of cities are currently experimenting with crowd funding tools for sustainability-related initiatives, e.g. the city of Ghent (Belgium) that used its municipal crowd funding platform to support projects addressing climate adaptation, offering match funding from the city to those that were most popular.

    However, citizens cannot be the only ones investing in urban nature. In order to build new resilient infrastructure, new financial instruments are needed and also here Bologna’s experience can inspire others. Thanks to its work on the strategy, the city was able to access the Natural Capital Financing Facility technical assistance to prepare a feasibility study for climate resilient infrastructure in the city.

    The superpowers of citizen scientists in Guimarães

    Guimarães (Portugal) has succeeded in building a strong partnership for biodiversity, involving public authorities, private sector, research institutions and – perhaps most importantly – citizens, especially the youngest inhabitants of Guimarães. How did they manage to do it? According to Carlos Ribeiro, Executive Director of Laboratório da Paisagem, an important element was addressing citizens as co-producers of knowledge thanks to a custom-designed app. Biodiversity GO! allows everyone to document existing species of plants and animals. By inviting people to become so called “citizen scientists”, Guimarães managed to turn the exercise of inventorying local species into a fun, community-based activity.

    Citizen science, the idea of involving the public in scientific research, is not new. It has been long used also for environmental projects, e.g. collecting bird migration records or tracking marine debris. However, recent years have seen a surge in its popularity, with new digital tools opening up exciting possibilities to facilitate especially data collection and analysis.

    Just as crowd funding is not merely about money, citizen science – as promoted by Guimarães – is about much more than knowledge. In addition to the community building effect of the inventory exercise, playing with the app turns an abstract concept of biodiversity into a personal encounter with local plants and animals. It is also a clever response to our culture’s obsession with digital tools. Instead of complaining that kids spend hours staring into screens of various sizes, why not show them what hidden superpowers their smart phones have?

    The value of crowd sourcing it that it allows to look for knowledge beyond that of local administration and academia. For instance, the representative of Sheffield (UK), awarded with an URBACT Good Practice label for their Urban Waterways Strategy and Action Plan, emphasized the contribution of anglers and kayakers, everyday users of Sheffield waterways, to developing a successful strategy.

    Ljubljana : A capital of bees

    Personal encounters with nature are part of everyday experience of the inhabitants of Ljubljana, the 2016 European Green Capital. The proximity to nature is one of the Slovenian capital’s greatest assets. Rural areas cover 2/3 of Ljubljana’s total area, including 826 active farms. In recognition of this close relationship, the city - as probably the only capital in Europe - employs a special advisor for rural development, Maruška Markovcic who was our guest in Tallinn. The project that Maruška introduced, Bee Path, is an excellent example how nature protection can be a starting point for addressing community cohesion, education, food security, economic development and tourism, as well as urban design and planning.

    The initial premise of the project was simple: protect the bees to safeguard biodiversity. However, in a city with a strong commitment to sustainable development and a vibrant beekeeping culture – including approx. 300 active beekeepers! – the idea quickly snowballed. Initiated by the city administration, the project now involves a long (and growing) list of partners: beekeeping associations and other civil society organizations, universities and research institutes, private companies, schools, cultural institutions, as well as individual citizens.

    How do you involve museums in biodiversity protection, make beekeeping a tourist attraction and get architects to design open source beehives? The secret to this cooperation is pursuing a common goal of safeguarding Ljubljana’s beekeeping culture, while respecting differing interests of each of the partners. Bee Path is not about involving others in the implementation of a plan, devised by local government or external experts. On the contrary, everyone is invited to contribute their ideas and activities in support of a broadly defined shared goal. The openness, while requiring a lot of facilitation effort from the side of the local government, results in the involvement of unusual suspects and brings about fresh ideas.

    Waving the right flag in Strasbourg

    The question of mobilizing around a common goal and winning support from others is key. How to convince organizations and people, sometimes those sitting across the corridor from us, that working to protect nature can help them reach their goals, whether it’s social cohesion, better image of the city or new business opportunities?

    A good case in point was the story of “All united for biodiversity” charter, initiated by the Eurometropolis Strasbourg (FR) in 2012 and now gathering 75 signatories, mostly from the private sector. Susanne Brolly, project manager for Zero Pesticide Strasbourg and Nature in the City portfolio, recalled that the charter beginnings were not easy. It turned out that biodiversity protection was not high on the agenda of locally based companies producing shoes or chocolate and it was difficult to convince them to sign the charter. However, Brolly quickly learned that what companies appreciated was an opportunity to involve their employees in team building activities and, seen from this perspective, tree planting, nest building or bee keeping were obviously very attractive proposals. Today 88% of signatories involve their staff in biodiversity-related activities which in turn contributes to more people becoming aware of nature-friendly management practices.

    The charter signatories are not only companies but also public institutions. For instance, Strasbourg is now embarking on a project with the local prison to offer gardening workshops to women prisoners, providing them with new skills, improving their mental health and wellbeing, as well as contributing to better management of green spaces within the city. This is another illustration of multiple benefits related to nature in the city, easily accessible to cities all over Europe.

    These examples provide the opportunity to look at nature in the city from a different perspective, beyond technical solutions, environmental impact assessments or sustainability indicators. These are all important and often addressed by local, national and European projects but I wonder if, by outsourcing environmental debates to experts, we have lost something valuable.

    The four cases are all in different ways trying to reclaim nature for citizens (and vice versa), while bringing in scientific expertise to support those efforts. Focusing on crowd funding and crowd sourcing knowledge, as well as on building coalitions where each partner chooses their own path to move towards a common goal, we were reminded of the power that nature has in bringing us together. This power can be harnessed by each and every city, regardless of their size, geographical location or financial capacities, and URBACT Good Practice cities are here to help you.

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  • Building an effective entrepreneurship eco-system

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    15/11/2022

    How can cities create effective programmes for promoting enterprise and entrepreneurship? How should cities respond to some of the structural changes currently taking place in the business start-up market?

    With an estimated 100 million businesses starting up across the globe annually, an increasing number adopting innovative business models (built, for example, around the ‘sharing’ or ‘gig’ economy) and the number of sole-trader businesses increasing annually, this is clearly a highly active and increasingly disruptive marketplace.

    Among all URBACT Good Practices, Glasgow (co-operative entrepreneurship), Bologna (creative entrepreneurship), Piraeus (marine sector based entrepreneurship); and Barcelona (inclusive entrepreneurship) provide interesting examples on how to create impactful city-wide ‘ecosystems’ for promoting enterprise and entrepreneurship.  

    What are ‘entrepreneurship eco-systems’?

    Articles
    Digital transitions

    ‘Entrepreneurship eco-systems’ are essentially the ‘building blocks’ for stimulating entrepreneurship which can be adapted in a city to create a stronger or lesser environment for fostering entrepreneurship.

    The concept of places needing to think about such eco-systems has been widely developed by Dan Isenberg, the founding executive director of the Babson Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Project and a former professor at the Harvard Business School.

    In his Forbes Magazine article, Isenberg suggests that the place-based ‘entrepreneurial eco-systems’ are made up of the culture of the city; the business enabling policies; the strength of local leadership; the availability of suitable finance for business; the quality of human capital; venture-friendly markets; and a range of institutional and infrastructural support.

    Why ‘entrepreneurship eco-systems’ are becoming increasingly important

    Wider structural changes within society are blurring the traditional boundaries between employment, enterprise and entrepreneurship.

    Shifts in technology, connectivity and the wants and expectations of both employers and employees are creating significant changes to the nature of work and the formal and informal contracts that exist between employer and worker (see, for example, Preparing for the Future of Work, World Economic Forum, 2016).

    These changes are giving rise to a whole new generation of freelancers.

    Overlay on top of these changes some of the wider shifts in society – including slow wage growth, the increasing high-cost of living in some of the world’s major Cities and the growth in the freelancer community – and it’s easy to see how these changes can support the future growth of some of Europe’s smaller and more peripheral cities (for an example, see The Four Trends That Will Change the Way We Work By 2021, Fast Company, 2015).

    These changes are also giving rise to a whole new vocabulary.  Phrases like the ‘independent workforce’ have emerged to describe the range of different contracting relationships that individuals can have with business. The number of solo-entrepreneurs - or ‘solopreneurs’ – is on the rise. Phrases like side-giggers have emerged to describe individuals who work in the sharing economy, whilst also holding down a traditional job, on a part-time basis.

    Udacity, the innovative online education provider that works in partnership with leading tech companies like Google, AT&T, and Facebook has coined the term ‘nano-degree’ and ‘nano-job’ to describe the short-term nature of individuals learning needs and the short-term nature of some work assignments in the tech industry.

    Rethinking traditional employment, enterprise and entrepreneurship programmes is necessary

    With the blurring of lines between employment, enterprise and entrepreneurship, many forward-thinking cities are having to re-think the traditional employability and entrepreneurship programmes they have previously provided for their residents.

    Employability programmes increasingly need to include more content on enterprise and entrepreneurship, to try and support participants to acquire the skills needed to survive in today’s more complex labour market.

    Similarly, Entrepreneurship programmes need to adapt to be better suited to the increasing number of freelancers and sole traders joining their programmes, and to take account of innovative new business models that businesses might adopt. You only have to search for ‘Tools for Solopreneurs’ on the internet to see how fundamentally different their support needs are from more ‘traditional’ businesses.

    But the changes needed are much more widespread than that.

    Ultimately, because of the changing nature of the relationship between employer and individual, cities also need to try to embed a much deeper culture of enterprise in their entire population, to try and ensure that they are equipped with a more independent, resilient and self-reliant outlook and also possess the necessary problem solving, business and creativity skills needed to survive in this new world of work.

    The processes for collaborating with young entrepreneurs has had to become more collaborative and ‘experiential’ than ‘traditional’ start-up programmes – to encompass hackathons, service jams and meet-ups, rather than relying solely on classroom-based training courses and advice sessions.  

    Tips and Tricks from URBACT Good Practices    

    The Good Practices of Glasgow (co-operative entrepreneurship), Bologna (creative entrepreneurship), Piraeus (marine sector based entrepreneurship) and Barcelona (inclusive entrepreneurship) have each taken a different approach to business support, which other cities can take inspiration from.  

    •       Establishing a strong ‘generalist’ support system: Barcelona Activa’s Inclusive Entrepreneurship Good Practice offers a ‘universal’ service that is ‘available for all’ in the city which – between 2004 and 2016 - has supported over 100,000 participants, established over 18,000 companies and created over 32,000 jobs. It operates on the basis of being open to everyone and delivers a mix of online, one-to-many and face-to-face support services to anyone looking to start their own business. In addition, they offer specialist support services for particular nice groups they want to encourage, like women entrepreneurs and people from ‘disadvantaged’ backgrounds.



       
    •        Stimulating social entrepreneurship: Glasgow’s Co-operative City Good Practice has developed a city-wide approach to co-operative development, which is building new partnerships between public services and local people to foster greater co-design and delivery of local services and giving a wider group of residents of the city a direct experience of running, or being a shareholder in a social enterprise. The scale of the reach that Glasgow’s programme has achieved is impressive, helping local residents think about how social entrepreneurship can support their community to tackle local challenges. Stimulating social entrepreneurship in communities to help people overcome particular challenges can help individuals gain the experience of running a business, without necessarily having to carry all of the risk
      (because they are working in partnership with others).



       
    •        Supporting creative & cultural industries: Bologna’s IncrediBOL! Creative Innovation Good Practice programme provides a range of tailored support to creative businesses to support them to start up, has received over 500 applications over the last 7 years, supported over 80 businesses, which have a survival rate of 81%. The methodology for delivering support to businesses that apply to the programme is through a widely publicised business plan competition, which has been particularly successful in stimulating creative business ideas from the market, and investing in successful projects which have built the cultural fabric of the city (further building Bologna’s reputation as a cultural hotspot and attracting more creative talent).



       
    •        Building on your cities sector strengths and strategic assets: Piraeus’ Blue Growth Good Practice is a programme, which seeks to stimulate the growth of innovation and entrepreneurship in the marine sector in Piraeus. It seeks to strengthen and build upon some of the sectoral specialisms and strategic (topographic) assets of the city. As a sector based innovation programme, it also works around a business plan competition, supporting successful applicants to start-up.

    The four Good Practices also share a number of key characteristics, that make them stand out as Good Practice entrepreneurship programmes, namely;

    •        Their high levels of awareness / deep market reach: All of these programmes have managed to reach deeply into their target communities and create a high level of awareness and interest in their programmes, inspiring and making possible the aspirations of fledgling entrepreneurs. Achieving high-levels of awareness and market reach is important to drive up demand for entrepreneurship and help people understand where they can get support.

       
    •        Their approach to supporting entrepreneurs to grow their business. All of these programmes offer tailored and bespoke support to the people that go through their programmes, connecting them to the specialist support they need to succeed and/or stimulating other important components of the eco-system of support, to ensure aspiring entrepreneurs have access to the help they need to grow their business;

       
    •        Their work on stimulating a strong enterprise culture in their city. All 4 Good Practices also focus on trying to stimulate a change in the enterprise culture of their cities, by working in partnership with a range of stakeholders and agencies in their cities to widely promote the benefits of entrepreneurship.

    Creating successful entrepreneurial eco-systems requires a whole-system approach

    What these four Good Practices demonstrate is how creating a widespread change in the enterprise culture of a city can be a complex and challenging task, that requires strong leadership from city administrations, highly effective partnerships and the stimulation of crowd actions through an ‘ecosystem’ approach (for an explanation of eco-system thinking, see ‘What I Learned from Trying to Innovate at the New York Times’, John Geraci, April 2016) 

    A city cannot just focus on delivering one or two great entrepreneurship programmes targeted on a few niche sectors of the community, but needs to ‘conduct’ the market like the conductor in an orchestra - to incentivise behaviour change amongst communities, individuals, agencies, influencers and sub-cultures, to try and achieve an overall change in the macro-culture of the city.

    In addition to considering the whole-system, it is also important to think about the way different programmes incentivise people to think about starting their own business and how these programmes work together as part of a coherent customer proposition.

    In adopting the approach used by the URBACT Good Practices, other cities can create powerful support ‘systems’, which could work together to inspire and make possible the aspirations of their entrepreneurial residents.

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  • Managing climate change in the city

    Italy
    Bologna

    A climate adaptation plan designed and implemented with local stakeholders to increase resilience on a metropolitan scale

    Giovanni Fini
    Senior expert
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    Summary

    Within the framework of the EU Life+ Project BLUEAP (Bologna Local Urban Adaptation Plan for a resilient city), the City of Bologna (IT) identified and analysed risks, hazards and main vulnerabilities related to climate change, water scarcity, heat waves, extreme weather events. Drawing on its local vulnerabilities, Bologna's Adaptation Plan in 2015 outlined the strategy and actions in the management of green space and water by the different levels of government in the territory. The Plan consists of a local strategy and an Action Plan that translates these strategies into measures. Strategy and Plan make reference to a medium-term time frame until 2025. In the light of the plan a package of integrated pilot actions has been launched: drinking water saving and water treatment, collection and storage of rainwater, targeted use of plant species to improve the microclimate and reduce air pollution, pre-emptive insurance against risks. The plan was the final step of a participatory process which started with a study of the urban area in terms of ecosystems, population, population distribution and census, production activities, natural resources and of its main vulnerabilities related to climate change. The process continued with the ranking of potential risks and with stakeholder engagement to define actions for the Climate Adaptation Plan.

    The solutions offered by the good practice

    The Bologna Adaptation Plan can be considered a good practice for results achieved not only as a planning instrument, but also as a concrete collaborative action plan of the City which represents an example for cities that share Bologna’s climate conditions and urban and social environment. The structure of the Plan can be replicated in other medium-size cities, as well as some actions which are more suitable to their uses and needs. As the Plan is the final step of a participatory process which led to its editing, the whole process can be considered a good practice. The process starts with a downscaled climate analysis, a study of the area in terms of ecosystems, population, population distribution and census, production activities, natural resources and its main vulnerabilities related to climate change. Ranking of potential risks are derived from such vulnerabilities. Afterwards the stakeholder engagement process led to the identification of actions for the bottom-up editing of the Plan, together with a top-down engagement leading to more effective governance through collaborative problem solving, also with public-private partnerships.

    Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

    Adaptation to climate change needs a cross-cutting approach for successful implementation, as many issues and actors are involved. Adaptation is also strongly linked to sustainability in a broad sense, as every action has to be considered in terms of its economic, human and social costs and benefits. From this perspective, the Bologna Adaptation Plan is committed to the values of a more sustainable environment for urban living and health. The decrease of vulnerable populations exposed to the effects of climate change is one of the key pillars of the Plan. All the actions aiming to increase resilience to heat waves, for example, also have an important impact on social cohesion. As already pointed out, Bologna’s practice takes a holistic approach to improving resilience actions, whose effectiveness is considered in relationship with the environmental compartments and the social and environmental tissue. For example, all the actions to strengthen resilience to drought take into account the interaction with bodies of water and are strongly related to measures to increase soil permeability in more vulnerable areas. The integration of actions and measures from a local to a metropolitan scale was possible only through a strong stakeholder involvement of decision-makers, public bodies, companies, citizens and research institutes. They all were involved in different roundtables with specific themes, in restricted sessions and workshops.

    Based on a participatory approach

    Bologna enjoys a tradition of environmental protection and the creation of participation pathways aimed at developing action plans, the sharing of objectives and the definition of steps. The Adaptation Plan has been built with a participatory course of collaboration, in which individuals are also actors of the plan’s steps. Starting with documents prepared within the project, a map of stakeholders in the territory was created. The individuals involved in the plan belong to Public Authorities, public and listed companies, the world of training, universities and schools, specialist agencies, service managers, multi-utilities, consortia, trade associations, consumer associations, environmental and territorial protection associations, businesses and foundations. From the intersection of vulnerabilities and individuals involved, a course of involvement was developed. The course included various meetings according to the categories to which the stakeholders belong (politicians, citizens, representatives of the production sector) and the phases of implementation of the steps outlined in the Plan. The political commitment was essential for the implementation of the actions, first of all because it involved directly many decision-makers and the city council as a whole, which officially approved the Plan. Moreover, an active political involvement strengthened the efforts made with all the stakeholders, as it gave full legitimacy to the process leading to the Adaptation Plan itself.

    What difference has it made?

    The Bologna practice achieved some results, as 10 pilot actions carried out successfully. Some of them are described below and concerned the Municipality Regulations, with the insertion of “New targets for water saving in the Building Code”, the “New arboreal varieties more adaptive to climate change in the Municipality Green Code”, and the “New guidelines for sustainable drainage” aimed at integrating the municipality guidelines for public works with SUDS technologies applicable to the local context of Bologna. A promotional campaign (“Green-up Bologna”) focused on the promotion of planting and terrace horticulture. The “Sustainable management of rain water in a new commercial building (Via Larga)” was planned within the Urban Building Plan (PUA). An agreement with an important insurance company increased information and knowledge transfer in the reduction of damages and losses in the Bologna area. A very important goal, even if not directly measurable, is the impact of the Adaptation Plan on the planning activity of the local authorities. Resilience is starting to become a point of discussion in decision-making and technical planning on the ground. Furthermore, thanks to the BLUEAP project, a new project called “RAINBO” started in 2016 and some actions of the Plan are now under evaluation for financing by the EIB (European Investment Bank).

    Why should other European cities use it?

    Our practice would be interesting for other European cities committed to climate change adaptation. Even if adaptation topics need to be assessed locally, the methodology used for vulnerability and adaptation strategy assessment and implementation can be shared and discussed with other cities. The city of Bologna successfully experienced an exchange of good practices related to adaptation to climate change within the “City Twinning” programme promoted by the Mayors Adapt initiative. The two visiting cities (City of Lleida, Spain, and the Union of Terra di Leuca, Italy) came for a two-day visit to learn from Bologna’s experience with urban adaptation to climate change and to share common challenges as a result of climate change: water management (water scarcity, storm water, waste water, water supply, flooding); heat waves and urban heat islands, extreme water events that affect urban agriculture and biodiversity as well as posing hurdles to public health. The twinning visit was very fruitful for all the partners, and highlighted the need to build closer contacts between cities engaged in climate change adaptation topics. Knowledge transfer and peer-to-peer networks represent an important step to spread the good practice and to learn from other city experiences, with a special regard of methodologies used and problems encountered.

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  • IncrediBOL! Creative innovation

    Italy
    Bologna

    An innovative support scheme for Cultural and Creative Industries

    Giorgia Boldrini
    Head of Urban Marketing Unit, City of Bologna
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    This project, active since 2010, boosts the cultural and creative sector in the Emilia-Romagna region (IT) using a simple formula: small grants + spaces + tailor-made services. Known in Italian as INCREDIBOL! (l’INnovazione CREativa DI BOLogna – or “Bologna’s creative innovation”), the scheme involves a network of 30 public and private partners. It is coordinated and managed by the Municipality of Bologna and financed by the Emilia-Romagna Region. 
    Every year INCREDIBOL! launches an open call for projects in the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) sector. Through this call, selected cultural and creative professionals in their startup phase receive small grants, rent-free spaces, promotion and tailor-made training and consultancies to fill any gaps in their entrepreneurial skills. INCREDIBOL! also provides constant feedback and evaluation of the winning projects. The aim is to retain the region’s creative talents and promote CCIs as a driver for innovation and economic development.

    The solutions offered by the good practice

    INCREDIBOL! acts through different policies and actions:

    • Strategic use of the public heritage: through the spaces provided to its winners, INCREDIBOL! regenerates different areas of public real estate creating small "creative clusters";
    • Integrated and participative approach: INCREDIBOL! is based on a large public-private partnership, which over the years has also been extended to the winners of the previous editions, who have become mentors for new CCIs;
    • Vertical integration: INCREDIBOL! is a project of the City of Bologna, but acts in close cooperation and with the support of the Emilia-Romagna regional government throughout the whole regional area;
    • Environmental problems: INCREDIBOL! encourages the development of new economies based on CCIs, usually "green" and characterised by a low impact on the environment;
    • Social inclusion: promoting social and non-technological innovation, INCREDIBOL! helps the implementation of inclusive policies and actions on the city;
    • Sustainable economic development: promoting "spillovers" between the creative sector and traditional sectors, INCREDIBOL! helps the innovation of the traditional economic sectors.

    Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

    INCREDIBOL! features an integrated approach that takes into account economic development, culture, urban regeneration, youth policies, social innovation. A good example of INCREDIBOL!’s integrated approach is the strategic use of public heritage: free spaces offered to young creatives in some deprived areas of the city have given young entrepreneurs a chance to set up their activity in a physical place. At the same time, the areas have experienced the settlement of a small creative cluster and small-scale regeneration processes have started. On a bigger scale, the major presence of creatives enhances social cohesion and safety in the areas. The project features a win-win holistic approach: based on the cooperation of dozens of different actors from different fields, and an audience of active stakeholders, its effects have become relevant for the whole city, not only for the target group. The "INCREDIBOL! approach" has demonstrated its success and has been adopted in other initiatives as a good practice.

    Based on a participatory approach

    INCREDIBOL! is an ever-evolving network of public and private partners (30 at the moment, including the local university, Academy of Fine Arts, Chamber of Commerce and many private partners including entrepreneurs, consultants, incubators, training providers) which offer free services and participate in defining the evolution of the project.

    Each partner contributes, according to its own specialisation, in a win-win approach able to create positive effects with a small budget, which includes dedicated support staff and a strong communication campaign. Several “senior winners” are actively involved in the project, dedicating their specific expertise to projects selected in recent rounds of the INCREDIBOL! call.

    What difference has it made?

    INCREDIBOL! has been the first support scheme for CCIs established in Italy, and since 2010 it has been evolving according to the changing needs of the sector. INCREDIBOL! is based on an integrated and holistic approach that considers creativity not only as a sector, but also as a driver for economic development, urban regeneration, quality of life, social innovation and city attractiveness.

    So far, INCREDIBOL! has selected 82 winners aged under 40 through five calls for entrepreneurial projects, and has been upgraded to a stronger regional dimension thanks to the support of Emilia-Romagna region. It has assigned 27 public buildings to creative professionals and companies in Bologna. Lastly, it has supported, through dedicated calls for internationalisation projects, small urban regeneration projects and has provided assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries per year.

    The mortality rate of INCREDIBOL! winners after three years is now 4% of the total, a very low index compared to other entrepreneurial sectors or support schemes.

    Why should other European cities use it?

    In addition to the issues addressed and solutions offered, which are of interest to most European cities, INCREDIBOL! has set a new approach for the public sector: more horizontal, informal and flexible and less dependent on high budgets (the average financial budget per year is 100,000 euros, but the global value of the project has been estimated at 500,000 euros).

    It is also able to speak the language of the creative community and to shape the identity of the project according to their needs, becoming a good example of what Charles Landry has termed "creative bureaucracy". We also like to call it an example of "frugal innovation", a demonstration of how small-scale projects can generate bigger impacts with a win-win approach.

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