• Cristina Farinha

    Freelance policy expert and researcher specialised in heritage, culture and the creative industries sector. 
    She has worked extensively from local and regional to European level in the conception, implementation, reporting and evaluation of diverse policies, programmes and organisations. Cristina has also been lecturing, training and participating as speaker and moderator in various universities, public discussions, academic conferences and workshops across Europe, USA, Africa and Middle East.
    She is interested in the strengthening of the role of culture and creativity in governance and development; the promotion of international cooperation and mobility; and the building of capacity, advocacy and entrepreneurship among professionals.

    For 27 years, Cristina's work has been focusing on how cities and regions may make strategic use of culture, in varied ways:

    -Strategic Planning: mapping, diagnosis and development of cultural and cross-sectorial strategies; 

    -Urban Regeneration and Development: creative hubs, creative industries, cultural heritage; cultural routes/tourism;

    -Governance: consultation and participatory processes; 

    -Evaluation and monitoring: impact assessment, criteria and indicators;

    -Localisation of SDGs (sustainable development goals/Agenda 2030)

    -Events and Festivals: cultural management and leadership; programming; outreach and audience development

    -European cooperation and internationalisation: partnerships; networking; mobility; cultural relations

    Experience with European programmes, initiatives and projects: European Capitals of Culture; European Urban Initiative; Horizon Europe; Erasmus+, Creative Europe, Cultural Routes of the Council of Europe; Cultural Heritage in Action; Archipel.eu (outermost regions and overseas countries and territories); EU4Culture (Eastern Partnership)

    As for URBACT, I was Member of External Assessment Panel for the URBACT IV Cooperation Programme Action Planning Networks Call in 2023.

    Available for Ad-hoc expertise missions

    Expert can perform Ad hoc expertise missions at network* and programme level in relation to:


    1. The design and delivery of (transnational) exchange and learning activities


    2. Thematic expertise:
    > Culture


    3. Methods and tools for integrated and participatory approaches:
    > Integrated and participatory design of strategies
    > Sustaining stakeholder engagement and translating strategies into actions




    Expert was an External Assessment panelist assessing the 2023 call for Action planning networks and therefore is not suitable to provide any expertise services to these networks due to the related conflict of interest.

  • Marc Caballero Císcar

    More than 20 years of experience in employment and local development strategies, research on the labour market and foresight of Vocational Education and Training (VET) needs.

    I have provided support to local and regional authorities in the design and conduction of territorial cooperation processes and strategies for local development, employment, labour inclusion, social policies, youth policies, economic revitalization, VET needs analysis, urban planning or support to entrepreneurship among other topics. I have designed and applied participatory processes, engaging citizens and local agents.

    Over the years I have participated as partner or coordinator in many European projects and initiatives (EQUAL I and II, Youth in Action, Equal Opportunities, Leonardo, Erasmus +, EaSI, URBACT) and I have managed projects co-financed by ERDF, ESF, EAFRD and EGF.

    I have worked for two URBACT networks: UrbInclusion (Municipality of Barcelona) and Kairós (Municipality of Mula), providing support for management and knowledge transfer to their Urbact Local Groups (ULG).

    Available for Ad-hoc expertise missions

    Expert can perform Ad hoc expertise missions at network and programme level in relation to:

    1. Thematic expertise:
      > Education
      > Local economy
    2. Methods and tools for integrated and participatory approaches:
      > Integrated and participatory design of strategies
      > Monitoring and evaluation for effective implementation
  • Aristeidis Sapounakis

    I am an experienced and motivated senior expert on the production of the built environment and on urban regeneration in general.

    More specifically, my credentials comprise,

    -  Extensive knowledge and deep understanding of the design, construction and social aspects of sustainable urban development,

    - 40+ year experience in architectural, urban design, planning and

    international development projects in most cases as a team leader or coordinator,

    - 38 years after being awarded my doctorate status from Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, based on my research titled ‘Environmental Information & Cognitive Needs’,

    - 24 years academic experience in teaching architecture, landscape architecture, urban design and cultural heritage management both at undergraduate and postgraduate level in the Department of Planning & Regional Development of the University of Thessaly in Volos, Greece, having been elected and serving as the Head of the Department until September 2020,

    - 24+ year experience in dealing with vulnerable social groups, and housing affordability, also serving for 13 years as the representative for Greece in the European Observatory of Homelessness organized for the European Commission by FEANTSA, paired with,

    - recognised communication, organizational, multi-tasking and problem-solving skills, extensive networking capacity with EU as well as South-eastern European bodies.

    It is needless to say that, after my retirement from academic work, I am thrilled to be among the URBACT experts, looking forward to be engaged in novel challenging assignments.


    Expert can perform Ad hoc expertise missions at network and programme level in relation to:

    1. Thematic expertise:
      > Culture
      > Housing
      > Urban Design
  • Anna Demeter

    First and most of all I am devoted to participative urban planning; this is how I work and how I support municipalities or civil organizations in these processes.For me, the essence of participatory planning is that we involve appropriate target groups; like residents, organizations, institutions, retailers in common thinking, in a creative, imaginative way, using the suitable participative and communication tools. Thanks to this, striking, meantime functional urban development strategies and solutions are created.To make the process successful by using the best tools, to make the voices and opinions of the affected groups heard, that is where I can show my true expertise. 

    What does participatory planning, this democratic planning method, consist of anyway? To a bit of communication, we add a pinch of social perspective and then spice it up with some strategic management contribution.

    I completed my university studies by combining these knowledges, and participatory planning   is an area where I need to skilfully apply all three elements for a given planning project to be successful. Currently I am supporting stakeholder’s involvement and communication as part of the planning of an eco-social farm operating in sustainable spirit in a rural settlement. I feel specially connected to this project because I do deem sustainability and climate-adaptive green space development a major thing and I consider myself a socially sensitive person at the same time.

    I was involved with Urbact as an external expert in SURE network on the above topic, participatory planning.Summary of participative planning results and tools in the SURE project:https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ki7ZwsW1YtWpy6vcBV-0SQ5cCKdAOc9g/view?usp=drive_link

    Since my experience shows that new methods and techniques learned in the Urbact network bring practical benefits indeed to the participating cities, I would be happy to take part again in projects taking place within the framework of Urbact.

    Available for Ad-hoc expertise missions

    Expert can perform Ad hoc expertise missions at network and programme level in relation to:

    1. Methods and tools for integrated and participatory approaches:
      > Integrated and participatory design of strategies
  • Simone Savona

    Ph.D. in Social and Psychological Sciences, Simone's efforts in recent years have focused on connecting local economic, social and administrative stakeholders in transnational networks, with the goal of creating sustainable tourism ecosystems.

    Training and exchange meetings, including those organized online with the use of creative approaches and collaborative tools, can greatly facilitate the transfer of knowledge among all actors in local economies and the sharing of best practices. Participation in the Genoa ULG's activities for the URBACT III "Tourism-Friendly Cities" project, for example, enabled Simone to identify sustainability criteria later adopted for the area by the international short-rental platform Fairbnb.coop: dozens of tourism service SMEs gained direct access to the market in innovative ways that generate a positive impact for the whole territory.

    Simone's expertise in the fields of digital transformation, green transition, circular economy, and sustainable tourism has been recognized by various chambers of commerce and local governments, within the framework of several European projects:
    - Smart Tourism (Interreg - Marittimo-IT FR-Maritime)
    - European Tourism Going Green - ETGG 2030
    - I- STARS (Insuleur)

    Simone Savona
    Available for Ad-hoc expertise missions

    Expert can perform Ad hoc expertise missions at network and programme level in relation to:

    1. The design and delivery of (transnational) exchange and learning activities
    2. Thematic expertise:
      > Local economy
  • Yuriy Vulkovsky

    Yuriy Vulkovsky has more than 25 years in culture and social innovation, both in Bulgaria and the EU, including vast experience in project management, capacity building, training and education, advocacy, applied research and need assessment, as well as building cooperation platforms with business and public authorities.

    Most recently, Yuriy Vulkovsky was a Deputy Minister of Culture of the Republic of Bulgaria (Dec 2021 - August 2022) responsible for regional cultural development and the National Fund "Culture", among others.

    As a member of the Strategy Group of the European Initiative “A Soul for Europe” (since 2006), he provided training on cultural impact management and advocacy work for cultural organisations from various countries in Central and Southeast Europe, as well as in Eastern Partnership countries. On a local level, he worked in close cooperation with national and local public authorities in the development of grant-making programs for cultural NGOs and micro-enterprises in the cultural field, including as a member of the Advisory Board of the Sofia Innovation Fund (2015-2017) and Deputy Chair of the Board of Sofia Municipality Fund of Culture and Creative Industries (2017-2019).

    Since 2014 Vulkovsky also gains vast experience and expertise in the field of social entrepreneurship and social innovation as a founder of the first Bulgarian Incubator for early-stage social entrepreneurs as part of the international network of Reach for Change Foundation. Following his achievements in the fields of social innovation he was a selected member of the GECES (the EU Commission Expert Group on social economy and social enterprises) and he was a member of the European Venture Philanthropy Association (EVPA) Policy Committee.

    Since 2014 Vulkovsky is evaluating proposals submitted under the “Creative Europe” Program and "Europe for Citizens" Program (later CERV). Since 2022 he is evaluating proposals under the “Erasmus Plus” Program too.

    He is Salzburg Global Seminar Fellow (2007) and Marshall Memorial Fellow (2011). As an acknowledgement of his work, he was selected as one of the 40 under 40 European Young Leaders in 2014.

    Yuriy Vulkovsky is a validated senior expert (to support the implementation of the European Structural and Investment Funds) by the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (EU Commission) in the fields of:

    13. Labour Market
       - 1.7 - Business incubators and micro-enterprises

    28. Tourism and Culture
       - 1.7 - Culture

    8. Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship
       - 1.7 - Corporate Social Responsibility
       - 2.7 - Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship

    Yuriy Vulkovsky
    Available for Ad-hoc expertise missions

    Expert can perform Ad hoc expertise missions at network and programme level in relation to:

    1. Thematic expertise:
      > Culture
      > Social Innovation
  • Alice Lunardon

    Sustainable City Expert, with a focus on mobility and transport. Creator of a EU-wide project about railway stations and sustainable cities, the "Sustainable City Promoter".

    Wide experience in urban planning and mobility, first working in french railways (SNCF) and then at the EIT Urban Mobility, always helping cities in implementing sustainable transport projects, tests and pilots of innovative solutions, and addressing the policy and governance gaps. 

    Strong business development skills combined with an entrepreneurial attitude and strategic thinking for developing and managing innovation, and create impact. Self-starter, able to link stakeholders to create added value and new projects. Successful in leading new ideas and activities between R&D and business.

    C-Level access, able to develop and maintain relationships with clients, and deeply understanding clients’ needs. Excellent operational leadership facilitating fact-based decision-making and guiding communication. 

    PhD candidate on the topic of urbanism and railway stations for more sustainable cities at TUM Munich, already published a paper focussed on mobility issues: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2667091723000031


    Available for Ad-hoc expertise missions

    Expert can perform Ad hoc expertise missions at network and programme level in relation to:

    1. Thematic expertise:
      > Mobility
  • Dina Ntziora

    I am an expert in culture and community engagement, specializing in transnational projects focused on community-led initiatives and co-creation. With a rich background in cultural management, creative community engagement, audience development, and event production, I possess extensive experience in administration and planning. My true passion lies in leveraging public spaces within cities to foster neighborhood transformation and community revitalization through inclusive projects driven by the community.

    I firmly believe in the power of the arts and cultural institutions to promote cultural diversity and facilitate intercultural dialogue. Consequently, my mission revolves around advancing creative place-making, community building, and the development of public spaces that promote overall health, happiness, and well-being. By investing in the assets, inspiration, and potential of the local creative community, I strive to inspire collective reimagining and reinvention of public spaces, positioning them as the heart of every community.

    Throughout my career, I have successfully produced both physical and digital spaces for artists and creatives to showcase their work. Additionally, I have established international cultural networks that foster collaboration, facilitate the exchange of experiences and knowledge, and provide support for the cultural sector. I am dedicated to engaging with people, places, buildings, temporality, and change to create resilient spaces that encourage participation, embrace diversity, and foster experimentation.

    Available for Ad-hoc expertise missions

    Expert can perform Ad hoc expertise missions at network and programme level in relation to:

    1. The design and delivery of (transnational) exchange and learning activities
    2. Thematic expertise:
      > Culture
  • Marion Cugnet

    Passionate about sustainable urban development and innovation applied to places, I am an independent consultant with over 15 years of experience working with cities, research & innovation organisations, universities and businesses, providing strategic advice and expert support in designing, developing and delivering collaborative projects and strategies, helping them develop successful funding applications  across Europe and in the UK. 

    I have been involved in the URBACT programme in various capacities including for capacity-building as an expert at the URBACT e-University 2022 delivering a webinar on fundraising strategies for cities, as  a trainer at the 2019 URBACT Transfer Network Campus for local authorities, and a facilitator of a transnational workshop on participatory action planning at the 2013 URBACT Summer University; working with Networks as ad hoc expert supporting the Resourceful Cities Network Integrated Action Plan peer review and as a project partner and ULG coordinator for URBACT Markets.  I also led programme-level studies for URBACT and Urban Innovative Actions. I have extensive experience working as an assessor for European programmes. In my work, I use design thinking and participatory policy and action planning methods and tools, always advocating for a collaborative exchange and learning approach.

    Marion Cugnet_URBACT expert
    Available for Ad-hoc expertise missions

    Expert can perform Ad hoc expertise missions at network and programme level in relation to:

    1. The design and delivery of (transnational) exchange and learning activities
    2. Thematic expertise:
      > Digital Transformation
      > Finance and Resources
    3. Methods and tools for integrated and participatory approaches:
      > Integrated and participatory design of strategies
      > Securing funding and resourcing