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  • Feeding change: Cities empowering healthier and more sustainable food choices

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    Common solidarity kitchen (photo credit UIA project Tast'in Fives).

    Over the last five years, the French town of Mouans-Sartoux has reduced the carbon impact of its inhabitants by more than 20%.

    Common solidarity kitchen shared within the “Gourmet Hall”, UIA project Tast'in Fives Cail (Photo credit: UIA project Tast'in Fives).
    From urbact

    Over the last five years, the French town of Mouans-Sartoux has reduced the carbon impact of its inhabitants by more than 20%! How? Simply by changing the way they eat! On 21-22 March, Mouans-Sartoux will welcome hungry participants to the URBACT and European Urban Initiative EU City Lab on Changing Habits for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System. 

    This article will review the main points of the local food ecosystem and their role in the transformation of eating behaviours. It will draw on the case of several cities to illustrate the multiple entry points into this ecosystem.


    The jewel of the cote d'azur


    Mouans-Sartoux has considerably reduced the consumption of processed industrial foods, meat and doubled the consumption of organic and local products compared to the French average!

    During an interview conducted as part of the Transfer Study of the URBACT BioCanteens in 2018: “In Mouans-Sartoux, we don’t ask ourselves if there is something happening today regarding food, but what is happening? …because the city organises something every day!”. The enthusiasm of Delphine Boissin, from the Parents' Committee of one of the city's three primary schools, is indicative of what we could call a “local ecosystem of healthy and sustainable food”. Mouans-Sartoux, leader of the URBACT BioCanteens Transfer Network (BioCanteens #1 and #2) is best known for these three canteens which serve 1,000 self-produced local and organic meals every day, thanks mainly to its municipal farm. But these jewels make the international reputation of this small town of around 10,000 inhabitants, located on the French Côte d’Azur between Cannes, Grasse and Antibes. What Delphine emphasises is that her little boy lives in an environment where quality food is a permanent and widespread concern, and this is what will lead him to adopt healthier and sustainable eating habits throughout his life!

    Local and organic canteen is the school of healthy and sustainable food in Mouans-Sartoux (photo credit Mouans-Sartoux)

    Local and organic canteen is the school of healthy and sustainable food in Mouans-Sartoux (photo credit Mouans-Sartoux)


    A local healthy and sustainable food ecosystem


    Changing our eating habits is a profound questioning of who we are. Tackling it represents a major challenge for the sustainable transition that European cities face today. Whether because of daily routines, persistence of habits, addiction to comfort, etc., the transition of consumption practices faces significant resistance from citizens. As sociologist Claude Fischler points out in his  book, L'Homnivore, this resistance is particularly strong for our diet. This is the phenomenon of “incorporation”: beyond marking a lifestyle, conferring a cultural and religious identity, food constitutes the body of the eater. 

    Behavioural scientists, who study the factors of resistance to change, emphasise that to transform consumption practices, a systemic approach is needed. Different models resulting from this research can be used by public authorities to define a range of balanced actions. We can use the following simple framework: to adopt a healthier and more sustainable diet, citizens must be aware of its importance both for their health and for reducing the impact on the environment (the motivational dimension). They must be able to access a healthy and balanced diet nearby (the capacity dimension) and finally they must encounter occasions in their life, their neighbourhood to change their practices (the opportunity dimension).


    (Re)engage the population with food


    Daily meal preparation time for a family of four was, in the 1960s, averaging at 4 hours. Today it has fallen to just over 15 minutes. This apparent gain in efficiency and practicality actually masks a progressive loss of domestic culinary capabilities: frozen foods, ready meals, take-away, etc., as already highlighted within the URBACT network Sustainable Food in Urban Communities in 2012-2014 by cities like Bristol, Brussels and Lyon, a growing part of the population is profoundly disengaged with food.

    Common solidarity kitchen shared within the “Gourmet Hall”, UIA project Tast'in Fives Cail (photo credit UIA project Tast'in Fives)

    Common solidarity kitchen shared within the “Gourmet Hall”, UIA project Tast'in Fives Cail (photo credit UIA project Tast'in Fives) 

    Faced with this disengagement, cities are seeking to set up educational programmes in schools, social centres and public places to educate residents about the benefits of a healthy and sustainable diet.

    In Lille, the Urban Innovative Action project Tast'in Fives Cail included the establishment of an ecosystem of food activities organised around a “Gourmet Hall”, a shared common “solidarity kitchen”, an incubator around cooking professions, among other things.

    Simple education and awareness-raising actions on nutrition, prevention of junk food or the impact of conventional agricultural sectors on health or the environment are necessary to motivate but not sufficient to sustainably transform eating habits. The challenge for cities is to build citizens' capacities by organising cooking workshops, visits to urban farms and culinary events highlighting local products, etc. 

    Each city is looking for local assets to promote to better engage its population with food. Lyon (FR) for example leveraged in its Territorial food plan its rich gastronomic heritage, involving its renowned chefs and culinary institutions to educate children from a young age about quality food, organising cooking events at street food markets with chefs demonstrating what can be done with ingredients from the surrounding stalls, revisiting traditional recipes to reinvent a more plant-based, light and sustainable gastronomy.

    Conversely, in a context less centred on a strong food culture in Helsinki (FI), the Ministry of the Environment carries out actions on the revitalisation of traditional food culture and the promotion of local products “because people must first be interested in food before they can change their consumption habits for a healthier and more sustainable diet.”   

    Facilitating access to healthy and sustainable food


    Here most of the families who come to see us have never bought a fresh vegetable in their life. They don’t know how to cook it and in any case if they do not have means of transport, they will not find fresh vegetables in the neighbourhood…” for the Hartcliffe Health & Environment Action Group (Hheag) which runs cooking classes in the social centre in the Hartcliffe district of Bristol, changing eating habits also involves ensuring access to quality food in all neighbourhoods of a city. To do this, cities can encourage the establishment of local farmers' markets, organic food stores and food cooperatives in different neighbourhoods. These initiatives provide residents with easier access to fresh, seasonal and locally produced foods, thereby promoting healthier diets and reducing dependence on processed and imported foods. Support for social and solidarity grocery stores, direct sales networks, participatory stores or more ambitious projects, such as experimenting with local social food security systems, make beneficial changes to diet more accessible, regardless of socioeconomic status.

    In line with Carolyn Steel's theses in her work Hungry City: How Food Shapes Our Live cities like Montpellier, Lyon or Lille are integrating the food dimension into their urban planning by promoting accessibility to food markets, the installation of local food shops, the creation of restaurants offering local and sustainable cuisine, the development of green spaces conducive to food production and the preservation of agricultural land on the outskirts of the city. Milan (IT) has implemented "Food Districts" in different neighbourhoods of the city, areas dedicated to the promotion of local gastronomy, urban agriculture and quality food products. All of these approaches aim to make food more accessible and more visible in urban spaces.

    Changing eating habits also requires cities to take into account the diversity of urban populations. For each cultural community, the preservation of culinary traditions, respect for food prohibitions, the organisation of supply chains for traditional products and specific distribution stores, etc. are strong identity vectors to take into account and activate so that the evolution towards a healthier and more sustainable diet is a reality for everyone. Within its Good Food food strategy, the Brussels-Capital Region places emphasis on promoting culinary diversity by supporting a multitude of initiatives such as the Green Canteen project of “social catering” associated with “cooking workshops” and “solidarity meals” or training for professionals in the health and social sector by focusing on food adapted to the social and cultural diversity of their audiences. 

    Green Canteen Project (Photo credit Green Cantine van Brussels)

    Green Canteen Project provides a catering service at free prices, for citizens and institutions working for social projects, “workshops” places to meet, share and learn healthy, environmentally-friendly cuisine and enriched with various cultural references and “solidarity meals” table d’hôtes organised in support of projects and events for a fairer society (Photo credit Green Cantine van Brussels)


    Participative food governance


    Cities are involving their citizens in the elaboration of their local food governance in order to motivate their involvement and concerns on key challenges such as food precariousness, impacts of junk food on health conditions or maintenance of the city food sovereignty. These participative food governance result in adopting policies and regulations that promote the production, distribution and consumption of healthy and sustainable foods. Such policy measures can involve, among others, strict standards for public canteens and mass catering, restrictions on advertising of unhealthy foods and tax incentives for businesses engaged in delivering sustainable food products. 

    In Liège (BE), more than 400 stakeholders in healthy and sustainable food such as urban farms, community gardens, peri-urban farms, food cooperatives, etc. created the Liège Food-Land Belt. The city draws on the strength of civil society to promote small-scale food production in urban and peri-urban areas, thereby reducing dependence on food imports and supporting local producers. In 2022, Liège founded the Conseil Politique de l’Alimentation (Food Policy Council) . The initial impetus was to build their food governance, cities equip themselves with participatory bodies made up of experts, civil society actors and citizen representatives, which have the effect of strengthening the involvement of populations in the management of their food.

    Launch of the Food Policy Council on December 8, 2022. Initiated by the Liège Food-Terre Belt, the 24 municipalities of the district brought together within Liège-Métropole, and the University of Liège, the CPA aims to coordinate various initiatives which aim towards the development of the sustainable food sector in the territory (photo credit Liège-Métropole Food Policy Council)

    Launch of the Food Policy Council on 8 December, 2022. Initiated by the Liège Food-Terre Belt, the 24 municipalities of the district brought together within Liège-Métropole, and the University of Liège, the CPA aims to coordinate various initiatives which aim at the development of the sustainable food sector in the territory. (Photo credit Liège-Métropole Food Policy Council)

    School canteens and municipal administration restaurants have a very important role to play in activating good eating practices. Jumping from Liège back to Mouans-Sartoux, the canteens of the three primary schools are for pupils a real school of healthy and sustainable food: involvement of children with cooks to achieve “0-waste”, demonstration that the savings made in reducing food waste makes it possible to finance quality organic food, tangible experience for the children of the city's food sovereignty project when they pick the fruits and vegetables at the municipal farm that they will eat in the canteen, etc. The children's experience extends to all families who, for example, go so far as to reproduce good recipes from the canteen to cook dishes at home that are healthy, sustainable and appreciated by children.


    Systemic approach: To what effect?


    But does all this work and what are the effects produced in terms of transforming eating habits? Cities are starting to share the results of evaluating their food transition strategies. For example, the Brussels Capital Region carries out surveys on the evolution of the behaviour of Brussels residents in terms of sustainable food. At the start, mid-term and at the time of renewal of its Good Food #1 strategy reporting progress on multiple dimensions of the local food ecosystem affecting the change in eating habits such as the success of citizen self-production, the labeling of canteens and restaurants, the promotion of short circuits and the dissemination of a quality offer in food businesses. One-third of the 1,000 Brussels residents surveyed in 2016, 2018 and 2020 say they have changed their eating habits over this period of time to consume a lot of sustainable food, but this development is struggling to reach more vulnerable groups, the price of healthy and sustainable food remains the major obstacle for nearly three-quarters of the population.

    In Mouans-Sartoux, the study cited at the beginning of the article which covers the period 2017-2022 shows the systemic advantages linked to the development of more sustainable practices within territorialised systems: food represents on average 2t of carbon per person per year in France, it is only around 1.17t in Mouans-Sartoux. The average diet of residents has an impact of 43% compared to the national average and the number of residents eating less meat has increased by 85%.

    Children from Mouans-Sartoux primary schools who participate in the town's municipal farm in harvesting vegetables that they will soon eat in the school canteen (photo credit town of Mouans-Sartoux)

    Children from Mouans-Sartoux primary schools who participate in the town's municipal farm in harvesting vegetables that they will soon eat in the school canteen (photo credit town of Mouans-Sartoux)

    Cities are leveraging their food assets and capital to activate all these dimensions of their food ecosystem at once. This article shows the variety of possible entry points: organic and local canteens like in Mouans-Sartoux, the gastronomic tradition as in Lyon, the revitalisation of neighborhood food culture as in Lille, citizen participation and awareness of food issues as in Liège, the promotion of culinary diversity as in Brussels, a coordinated commitment of stakeholders and civil society as in Bristol. Other systemic entry points are also possible: food markets as a hub for quality food in neighborhoods like in Lisbon and in Cagliari, the development of urban and peri-urban agriculture as in Montpellier, differentiating approaches for sustainable and inclusive food as in Milan, the promotion of urban beekeeping as inLjubljana, the development of community vegetable gardens such as in Rome, and so on. 


    EU City Labs: What’s next on the menu?


    The examples covered in this article represent entry points that are important to trigger the transition of populations' dietary practices and are intended to remain dominant provided that all these dimensions emerge at once, i.e., a complete ecosystem balancing motivations, capacities and opportunities to change one's food habits.

    Later this month, from 21-22 March, Mouans-Sartoux will host the EU City Lab on Changing Habits for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System. The EU City Labs are knowledge-sharing events co-hosted by URBACT and the European Urban Initiative. The Mouans-Sartoux edition is the first of three events taking place in different cities, focused on procurement, agri-food and land use, and other elements for cultivating thriving local food systems in urban areas.

    Interested in meeting with other cities, representatives and organisations working on this issue? Consult the full programme and register here

    Want to read more from URBACT experts on food and related topics? Visit the URBACT Knowledge Hub.



  • Streets to summits: exploring the urban agendas of the Spanish and Belgian Presidencies

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    European Union flags at the European Commission Berlaymont building.

    Find out what’s in store for cities during the next EU policy cycle.


    European Union flags at the European Commission Berlaymont building.

    From urbact

    The last few years have been defined by transition, planned or not, and 2024 will be no different. Voting in June and November will welcome a new European Parliament and European Commission, which, in turn, will influence proceedings for the EU’s Cohesion Policy post 2027. 

    Looking ahead to a new EU policy cycle, it is worth zooming in on the Council Presidency of the European Union. Every six months, a Member State oversees the Council of the EU, the co-legislating body alongside the European Parliament. In December 2023, the Spanish Presidency concluded its term, passing on the torch to the Belgian Presidency, which will run until 30 June 2024.  

    What are the achievements of the Spanish Presidency in furthering sustainable urban development policy under the Urban Agenda for the EU (UAEU)? What roles will cities and local actors play in building on these achievements under the Belgian Presidency? And how do URBACT cities fit into all this?  

    Read on for some answers as well as next steps. 


    State of play: cities & EU urban policy 


    Before looking at the Spanish and Belgian agendas, let’s orient the discussion around cities in the EU policy landscape. According to the latest statistics a substantial percentage of Europeans live in urban areas, and cities account for around 75% of global emissions. Belgian Minister of Climate, Environment, Sustainable Development and Green Deal Zakia Khattabi attests to the essential role of cities in developing solutions to cross-cutting, interconnected challenges. ‘By implementing policies to improve air quality, support a local economy and sustainable food supply, and strengthen the resilience of their territory in the face of the increasingly violent effects of climate change, cities have the power to inspire change on a larger scale, to ensure a just and sustainable transition for our societies.’ 

    If most citizens live in characteristically urban environments, logically, EU policies cannot overlook the diverse needs and challenges of its cities and towns. Furthermore, these policies need to engage and empower cities to address these challenges locally. Over the years, there has been an accumulated focus on urban issues in Europe and internationally. In 2020, we welcomed the New Leipzig Charter, introduced under the German Presidency of the Council of the EU, and urban issues have appeared prominently in the 2021-2027 EU Cohesion Policy. It is generally accepted that urban policy solutions are interconnected and transversal – just look at the Urban Agenda for the EU, the European Green Deal, the Paris Agreement, UN Sustainable Development Goals, the 2030 Agenda and New Urban Agenda, Habitat III principles.  

    In this context, let’s turn to the Spanish Presidency of the Council of the EU and its contribution to a common EU legislative framework for sustainable urban development. 


    The Spanish Presidency: defining next steps of the Urban Agenda for the EU 


    Running from 1 July to 31 December 2023, the Spanish Presidency set out a programme and priorities for a greener, healthier, more inclusive and competitive Europe. There were many achievements, but this article will focus on the accomplishments in the realm of urban affairs

    Through its meetings, events and initiatives, the Presidency singled out cities and local municipalities as critical actors in furthering the objectives of the Urban Agenda of the EU and the European Green Deal. A milestone came in the form of the Gijón Declaration, which advocates for a collaborative, multi-level governance approach by involving local municipalities, national and EU actors.  

    The declaration was adopted on 14 November 2023 during an informal ministerial meeting on housing and urban development hosted by the Presidency.

    Informal Ministerial Meeting on Housing and Urban Development

    Informal Ministerial Meeting on Housing and Urban Development. Source: EU2023ES.


    Ministers pointed out that 8.7% of the EU population pays over 40% of their income on housing. If all households living in market-rate rented accommodation are taken into account, this percentage rises to 20.8%. In response to this, the declaration makes explicit reference to the right to decent, affordable housing as an aspect of sustainable, healthy and inclusive ‘built environments’.  

    While in Gijon, ministers took part in a specific session on the Urban Agenda of the EU, agreeing on two new topics for UAEU partnerships:  

    - Water-sensitive city 

    - Housing decarbonisation, heating and cooling local plans 

    The call for these new partnerships has not been launched yet, but both topics were identified because they represent hefty challenges to urban development (namely, water scarcity, flood risks, decarbonisation of buildings, etc.). For further insights on the second topic, our article on the last EU City Lab elaborates on energy sharing and energy communities. Ministers proposed other new topics to be considered in the future, including urban sprawl, skills for urban transitions, and more.  

    It is understandable that the Spanish Presidency would push sustainable urban development during its mandate, given that Spain has its own strategic document on urban planning. Under the Spanish Urban Agenda, local municipalities are encouraged to develop action plans in line with the Urban Agenda for the EU, UN 2030 Agenda and cross-cutting EU initiatives, priorities and themes.  



    URBACT at the Spanish Urban Forum 


    The second Spanish Urban Forum was held in Granada from 16-17 October 2023. During the Forum, the National URBACT Point in Spain organised a special workshop for Spanish beneficiaries of the latest call for Action Planning Networks to connect and exchange best practices on the Action Planning process. The session was attended by representatives of 15 municipalities from across the country. The same day as the workshop, the Spanish National URBACT Point also chaired a roundtable session on the URBACT IV programme: a success for Spanish municipalities, which involved contributions from Luis Pedro Arechederra Calderón (Spanish Ministry of Finance) and five municipalities. Participants recognised the potential of focus groups and URBACT tools to support local municipalities developing action plans under Spain’s urban agenda. 

    Round table during the II Urban Forum in Granada.

    Roundtable during the II Urban Forum in Granada. Source: URBACT Spain.



    The Belgian Presidency: a place for cities at the (negotiating) table 


    One month into the Belgian Presidency, we can see a couple throughlines emerging from the EU urban development policy framework set out by the Spanish Presidency. Following in Spain’s footsteps, the Belgian Presidency intends to put cities and local municipalities at the centre of European urban policy for this programming period and beyond 2027. During the Presidency, the Brussels-Capital Region will chair the ‘Environment’ and ‘Urban Policy’ Councils. Antoine de Borman, CEO of (the regional administration on urban development), weighs in on the anticipated role of cities: ‘From the very beginning, we have developed our Presidency programme with cities and important urban European networks. The result is a programme dedicated to European cities.’  

    Both Presidencies share thematic priorities for the EU 2024-2029 strategic agenda (e.g. housing, territorial cohesion). It is also worth noting that Belgium plans to advance negotiations on new legislation related to the green transition, including items pushed forward by Spain (i.e. general guidance on the Urban Wastewater Treatment Directive). 

    A series of high-level and stakeholder meetings have been planned around urban development policy, starting on 24 January with ‘A European urban policy fit for the future’ in Brussels (read on for more on this). Between March and April, there will be the Urban Agenda Thematic Partnerships Group meetings, followed by the Urban Agenda for the EU Lab (24 April), to name a few upcoming meetings. 


    City mayors sign on with the Belgian Presidency 


    A key outcome of the the 24 January meeting, mentioned above, was the Brussels Declaration of European Mayors, signed by 41 mayors from 19 European countries. The declaration can still be signed here. Margit Tünnemann, Senior Policy Officer, URBACT Secretariat, present at the meeting, states that: ‘This comes at the right time, at the beginning of the Belgian Presidency, when the debate on the future European policies is gaining momentum’, adding, ‘It sends a strong signal for an ambitious European urban policy that is not only designed for cities, but clearly made together with cities.’ 


    Hitting closer to home 


    The Belgian Presidency programme has announced that it will foster urban transitions and combat specific challenges – e.g. urban sprawl and density. Two aspects of territorial cohesion will be emphasised: (1) tackling land artificialisation, urban sprawl and soil sealing and (2) review of the 2030 territorial agenda.  

    The right to affordable, quality and sustainable housing is a critical element of the Brussels Declaration of European Mayors which, according to de Borman, reflects ‘a strong demand from cities to tackle the issues of housing, social inequalities and also cooperation between urban and rural communities.’ 

    Much like the Spanish Urban Agenda and contributions to the Urban Agenda for the EU, the declaration also endorses a coordinated, multi-level approach as essential for a sustainable urban model. 



    URBACT on the frontlines 


    There might be an extensive legacy of contributors to European urban policy, some mentioned above. The achievements of the Spanish Presidency, and the priority actions of the Belgian Presidency, serve to push the urban agenda to the next level.  

    The URBACT programme is on track and will continue to offer cities support to tackle pressing issues through cooperation with each other and European partners. According to Tünnemann, ‘It is good to see that many of the URBACT cities are addressing precisely these burning issues and are working together to develop solutions for better and affordable housing, for a sustainable energy system or for healthy and regional food.’ Starting in March, URBACT, together with the European Urban Initiative, will continue to support current partnerships on different thematic areas with the three EU City Labs on ‘Local Food Systems’


    EU City Lab Mouans-Sartoux


    Over the next months, URBACT will support the Belgian Presidency, bringing URBACT cities’ knowledge and perspectives to the table at the Urban Agenda steering meetings. In June, URBACT will participate in the Urban Development Group (Namur) and the Director-Generals for Urban Matters (Brussels) meetings. The URBACT programme will continue to share knowledge and develop local actions through networks on related topics as well as offer opportunities for cities to join urban agenda partnerships.  

    What’s next on the agenda? You can visit the URBACT website to stay updated on insights from our thematic experts, networking and partnering opportunities, events and more. 



  • Innovation Transfer Networks: the search is on for project ideas

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    Partner Search Tool - Innovation Transfer Networks

    URBACT’s call for Innovation Transfer Networks is open, and with it, the Partner Search Tool is ready to help cities develop European partnerships.  

    An image of a a magnifying glass on a notebook, and above this the logo of the URBACT Innovation Transfer Networks.
    From urbact

    URBACT’s call for Innovation Transfer Networks is open, and with it, the Partner Search Tool is updated and ready to help cities develop European partnerships. 

    Running until 20 March 2024, this call for networks is slightly different from other URBACT calls: the pool of available project ideas is based on Urban Innovative Actions projects carried out between 2016 and  2023 and only those cities can lead the transfer network. This is a unique opportunity to adapt a newly tested innovation to your city. 

    There are currently over 20 topics to choose from, covering urban poverty, migration, housing, security, renewable energy, land and air quality, culture and heritage, demographic change and digital transition. 

    We’ve taken a closer look at the pool of ideas, to help you identify the ones that could interest your city the most.




    Energy poverty is a priority topic in many European cities, particularly as energy prices spiked following Russia’s ongoing war of aggression in Ukraine. Getafe (ES) has developed a new, data-driven model to identify and prevent energy poverty, collaborating across departments to identify hidden poverty. Targeted actions can then be carried out at the level of the individual, building or neighbourhood. Getafe showed that the approach was effective in reducing energy vulnerability. Does this sound like a tool your city could use? 

    Building on the participatory approach to energy transition, Leidel (BE) has put a local energy community in place, to provide affordable, renewable, locally-produced and autonomously managed electricity for citizens. RE/SOURCED builds on the momentum for clean energy across Europe, in line with the Clean Energy for all Europeans package. Its results are highly relevant for other cities putting circularity and citizens and the centre of the energy transition.


    Air/soil quality


    Cities looking to make advances in the quality of the air or the soil should look at three innovative actions in particular. Baia Mare (RO) proposes a revolutionary approach for reclaiming heavy metal-polluted land using plants and returning the land to the community. An adaptable dynamic platform and toolkit can help you determine the best use for the land. Two Italian cities have developed citizen-centric and data-led models to improve air quality. Ferrara (IT) has set up low-cost sensors and mobile air quality stations to map high emission zones and transform them into urban green forests. Portici (IT) also developed a widespread monitoring system based on citizen science, combined with educational activities and events to promote behavioural change.


    Digital tools


    Digital tools have been put to use in cities to support policy and decision-making in different domains. Vienna (AT) has developed ICT solutions to set new standards in building applications and planning permissions. The tool can be adapted to other permit processes in cities – making bureaucracy more efficient, more transparent and more cost effective. Heerlen (NL) has created an innovative digital platform to enhance public space, foster community engagement and revitalise local areas. It crowdsources public maintenance tasks, which citizens can carry out in return for credit that can be used in local shops and bars. A digital approach was also taken by Ravenna (IT) for an urban regeneration process in one neighbourhood, Darsena. Combining collaborative data collection, the digital infrastructure supports decision-making, storytelling and promotion. It has shown increased engagement in Darsena’s evolution from an abandoned dockland to an attractive urban ecosystem. The network could focus on adapting both the technological and methodological processes to other cities. 

    Rennes (FR) has taken on the issue of e-government solutions directly, designing a portal for the use and re-use of data while guaranteeing privacy and public service interests. The Reusable Urban Data Interface is 100% open source and ready to scale up to cities seeking to harness local data. 


    Jobs & skills


    The emphasis on green and digital transitions means that the skill profiles of the workforce in a city must adapt and evolve to these transitions. Eindhoven (NL) faces a paradox that, despite high economic growth, there is a significant shortage of qualified personnel, particularly in low-carbon technology development. The Platform4Work redesigns the employment journey, developing a ‘skills passport’, restructuring educational programmes and bringing employers and jobseekers closer together. Aveiro (PT) positions itself as a territory of digital innovation, but has faced severe shortages of digital skills. The city set up the first Tech City Living Lab to attract and retain talent through STEAM education, training, technology and addressing local challenges. Cuenca (ES) uses its specific location within a forest region to build an innovative bio-economy sector, combining training, research, and the incubation and acceleration of forest-related businesses. The award-winning model can be transferred to other EU cities with a forest or other niche bio-economy sector. 




    Cities must use all of the resources available to them to improve citizens’ quality of life, whether digital, physical or cultural. In Újbuda (HU), culture and digital platforms were combined to create a bottom-up creative cultural resource management tool to strengthen social cohesion. Alongside the digital sphere, a physical cultural institution was created, integrating local cultural and technological initiatives, bringing together the local community, public and private sectors. Cities can explore low-budget interventions as well as major investments. Chalandri (EL) focused on an ancient monument – in their case, the Hadrian Aqueduct – as a vehicle for urban regeneration and revitalising community life. Using a cross-sectoral approach, it co-creates local projects and cultural events with communities, valorising local history and improving care of water and natural resources. It can be adapted to other cities with different types of local heritage, to build trust and nurture communities. In Tilburg (NL), the city uses culture as an agent for social transformation. Developing a cultural ecosystem in an ethnically mixed and disadvantaged area helps bridge the gap between those in the margins, and the public services they interact with. More than 3 000 young people were reached through 150 projects, with positive effects on health, behaviour and public safety. 


    Social inclusion


    Many cities are taking innovative and participatory approaches to tackling long-standing issues of social exclusion. Seraing (BE) takes on isolation and community-building through an experimental project to revitalise public spaces in the town centre. An inclusive urban planning process and training of local residents reinvented the spaces, resulting in ongoing civic projects. A more tailored approach was tested in Landshut (DE) to overcome the vicious cycle of single parents unable to work due to lack of childcare. Focusing on healthcare professions, which require long and flexible work hours, the city developed a new form of flexible childcare. Single parents receive training in childcare to look after the children of healthcare workers, in an interconnected building. This represents a novel approach to tackling the shortage of skilled workers in some professions that disproportionately affect women. 

    Verona (IT) is tackling loneliness, brought about by changing demographics and an erosion of family networks. By developing a ‘loneliness index’ and activating community resources in a combined approach, they aim to identify and reduce symptoms of loneliness for increased wellbeing.  

    Brussels (BE) is taking on the affordable housing headache that many citizens face through a co-housing project, developed within the framework of a Community Land Trust. By separating the ownership of the land from the ownership of the housing built on it, speculation is removed, and focus is put on ensuring accessible housing for those often neglected: low-income families, older people, homeless people, and single mothers. 

    Utrecht (NL) is proposing to share its innovative approach to the reception and integration of newcomers in the city, particularly asylum seekers. By revising completely how newcomers are housed, integrated and trained, they create meaningful encounters beyond the labels of ‘refugee’ or ‘local’. The flexibility and focus on the local immediate surroundings of reception centres will enable any city that joins the network to develop their own version which connects their locals and newcomers.  


    Urban security


    Making urban spaces safer at night is an issue for many European cities. We want to look at two cities offering new approaches to community-based urban security. Piraeus (EL) has developed an holistic model, establishing local collaboration for crime prevention, an online platform to assess physical and cyber threats, and spatial interventions to secure and beautify vulnerable buildings. Turin (IT) focuses on a multi-disciplinary approach to manage public spaces and improve residents’ perception of safety at night. Actions to boost the territorial potential, involving local communities, made neighbourhoods more liveable in the evening. 



    Which one is for you?


    These cities are looking for partners to transfer these practices and concrete innovation outputs. You can use the partner search tool to get in touch with any of the cities to find out more and develop your network together. 

    The Get Involved page has all you need to apply for the URBACT Innovation Transfer Networks!






    CALICO is a cohousing project of 34 dwellings offering a generational and social mix, developed within the common and anti-speculative framework of a Community Land Trust (CLT), in the Brussels Capital Region (Belgium). It also integrates an innovative community-based model of care.


    CALICO is the result of a collaboration between different housing actors, local and regional authorities, and academic partners. The housing project is organised in three clusters.


    Firstly, the “gender” cluster rents dwellings to older women and single mothers. The initiators and residents of this cluster are responsible for putting gender issues at the centre of the housing project.


    Secondly, the "Community Land Trust" cluster sells dwellings to low-income families and rents to older people (+50 years) who are unable to obtain mortgages. It also provides two housing units dedicated to Housing First for homeless people. The CLT also owns the land under the whole housing project, thus guaranteeing its permanent affordability.


    Finally, the "care" cluster offers intergenerational cooperative dwellings, and also birth and end-of-life facilities, integrated within the housing clusters, which provide an empathetic and familiar environment for people at these life stages. One common space is open to the residents, and another is managed as a meeting place for people with mental health issues and where local initiatives are held, therefore making CALICO a fully-fledged player in the local urban fabric. 


    What SOLUTIONS did the Urban Innovative Action project offer?


    - Affordable and quality housing through the CLT-model, i.e. by separating the ownership of the land from the ownership of the housing built on it, as well as an anti-speculative resale formula; 


    - Multilevel governance: land owned by the CLT foundation (anti-speculation + social character), housing cooperatives ensuring a democratic management of the assets and an ethical financing, social management by Social Real Estate Agencies offering flexible management of social rented housing, and grassroots associations supporting community management of the project; 


    - An intergenerational and social mix of the residents to tackle unequal access to affordable housing, including housing for (older) women and single parent-families; 


    - A model of co-design and participation with residents, empowering and involving them from day one in the decision-making process; 


    - Integration of gender and care dimensions.

    What DIFFERENCE has it made at local level?

    The CALICO project started as a bottom-up project. It builds on citizens’ action, looking for new solutions for urban development and affordable housing, based on the principles of the commons. Over the course of the project, the initial partnership has been widened.


    A partnership with Rézone, a regional mental health network enables them to have a safe space for people with mental health issues that is open to the neighbourhood. The project also works with local neighbourhood committees, with organisations active in the field of soft mobility, community kitchens, and many more groups.


    At CALICO, there are also birth and end-of-life facilities open to the wider neighbourhood and designed to welcome anyone who wishes to go through these ‘life passages’ naturally and in connection with others, accompanied by professionals and volunteers. The project inspired civil society actors to launch a Housing deal, aiming to replicate the approach as a new way of providing housing.  

    What PARTICIPATORY APPROACHES have been put in place for the project?


    - The Community Land Trust Brussels (CLTB) developed an exemplary approach involving future residents in the design of its housing projects (empowerment). In the case of the CALICO project, it was impossible to fully apply this methodology, as the Urban Innovative Action programme required the projects to be delivered within three years; 


    - A long series of co-design and training workshops with the future residents have been set up, both within their own cluster and with the three clusters together. In these workshops, decisions about the use and management of shared spaces, a community charter, a governance structure and a community care model have been designed;  


    - The co-design workshops led to a series of community-led initiatives, initiated by the residents with support of CLTB. A weekly community kitchen and bi-weekly participatory childcare activity and bicycle workshops are organised; 


    - Integration of birth and end-of-life facilities managed by the inhabitants (volunteers); 


    - Management of the building (co-ownership) and community life is the responsibility of CALICO residents.    

    How does the project tackle different aspects with an INTEGRATED APPROACH?


    In the project, land is considered as a common good. By separating ownership of the land from the ownership of the building, and by managing that land as a commons, the CLT model guarantees permanent affordability. The multi-stakeholder governance model also guarantees the continued alignment of the use of land with the needs of future generations.  


    Specific measures have been taken to ensure an intergenerational and social mix of the residents. Due to the unequal access to affordable quality housing, the project focused on three vulnerable groups: older people, (single) women and people with a migratory background. Two homes are also devoted to Housing First for the homeless. Through co-design and participation, residents are involved from the outset in decision-making processes. 


    Passifhaus building standard are applied to all new construction. However, studies have shown that often, especially in a social housing context, much of the energy gain is lost by incorrect use. Therefore, the project team organised several training sessions and tools to help residents use their passive house technology in the most optimal way. The cohousing approach involves sharing as a way of life, for example, residents collect food waste and organise a weekly community kitchen. To promote sustainable mobility, bicycle lessons have been set up by CLTB residents to teach others, mainly migrant women, to use a bike.

    Why should other European cities use the solution the project explored?


    The CALICO project offers a different form of intergenerational cohousing, with respect for gender equality, which provides affordable rental and owner-occupied dwellings through the Community Land Trust framework, and also birth and end-of-life facilities open to the neighbourhood.


    The project is complex and responds to many challenges of public governance, housing rights, social cohesion, social justice, community care, etc. The objective is not so much to insist on the singularities of the project, which are certainly potentially inspiring, but rather to put into perspective the basic principles of the project that could form the basis of a public land policy in favour of community-led housing projects. 


    Rebecca Bosch
    Regional Public Service Brussels (Brussels Housing)
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  • Das war die 21. EU-Woche der Regionen und Städte

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    Europäische Woche der Regionen 2023

    7000 Besucher:innen, 500 Sprecher:innen und 220 Workshops. Das sind die trockenen Zahlen – inhaltlich lieferte die Europäische Woche der Regionen und Städte aber noch viel mehr.


    Logo der European Week of Regions and Cities

    From urbact

    Eingangsbereich bei der EWRCVom 9. bis 12. Oktober 2023 wurde in Brüssel zur europäischen Kohäsionspolitik präsentiert, diskutiert und ausgetauscht.

    Thematisch standen der Abbau von Hindernissen für die grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit, Energiewandel auf der lokalen Ebene, soziale Innovation, postindustrielle Regionen, regionale Talententwicklung für regionales Wachstum und Wachstum in Klein- und Mittelstädten im Fokus.

    Neben den thematischen Sessions war die permanente Ausstellung der einzelnen Initiativen, Programme, diverser Institutionen und Verwaltungen Dreh- und Angelpunkt der Europäischen Woche der Regionen und Städte. Unter anderem waren auch URBACT und die Europäische Stadtinitiative (EUI) prominent vertreten. Neben thematischen Sessions rund um die Themen des Klima- und Energiewandels, stellte URBACT erste Informationen zum nächsten Call vor und die EUI präsentierte Portico, die zentrale Wissens- und Austauschplattform rund um städtische Themen.



    Informationen aus erster Hand zum nächsten URBACT Call für Innovationstransfernetzwerke


    Erste Informations zum nächsten Call
             Informationen aus erster Hand zum nächsten Call

    Die URBACT-Sessions widmeten sich Fragen zu einer gerechten Energiewede mit und für Bürger:innen und der Nutzung von Technolgoie für den grünen Wandel. Außerdem wurde aufgezeigt, wie das öffentliche Beschaffungswesen als strategisches Instrument für die grenzüberschreitende Zusammenarbeit genutzt werden kann.

    Von großem Interesse waren außerdem die Details zum nächsten Call im Januar 2024: Dieser öffnet am 10. Januar 2024 und konzentriert sich auf Innovationstransfernetzwerke. Das Ziel dieser Netzwerke ist es, erfolgreiche Lösungen aus Projekten der Urban Innovative Actions aus der Förderperiode 2014-2020 in andere Städte zu übertragen. Bis März sollen interessierte Stadtgemeinden mit abgeschlossenen UIA-Projekten verkuppelt werden und gemeinsam einen Projektantrag einreichen. Die detaillierten Bedingungen werden am 10. Jänner veröffentlicht. Von April bis Juni ist die Bewertungsphase angedacht und mit 1. Juli ist der offizielle Start der genehmigten Netzwerke avisiert. Derzeit laufen im Hintergrund die Bemühungen seitens des URBACT Sekretariats, Städte mit erfolgreichen UIA-Projekten als Leadpartner für den Call zu gewinnen.


    Portico: die zentrale Wissens- und Austauschplattform


    Vorstellung Portico
    Portico wird Interessierten vorgestellt

    Ein weiteres Highlight für alle Urbanist:innen und Stadtbegeisterte war der Launch der Wissens- und Austauschplattform Portico. Diese bündelt, thematisch an der Leipzig Charta orientiert, praktische Tools und hilfreiches Wissen für eine aus EU-Sicht zukunftsfähige Stadtpolitik und -entwicklung. Die Datenbank ist jetzt schon reich befüllt, da die bereits entstandenen Outputs der Urban Innovative Actions, der Urbanen Agenda für die EU und von URBACT mit aufgenommen wurden.

    Eine weitere hilfreiche Sektion ist das „urbane Panorama“ auf Portico, wo sämtliche EU-weiten Initiativen vorgestellt werden, die sich mit dem urbanen Raum auseinandersetzen. Dazu gehören natürlich die EUI und URBACT, aber auch EUROCITIES als Netzwerk oder Driving Urban Transistions (DUT) als Forschungsförderungsprogramm. Zuletzt ist auch eine Community Section im Aufbau, die den Austausch zwischen Interessierten in Zukunft fördern soll.

    Ganz egal, ob aktiv in EU-Programme involviert, allgemein an dem Thema interessiert oder neugierig: ein Blick in die Wissens- und Austauschplattform Portico lohnt sich auf jeden Fall!



    Neben vielen spannenden Vorträgen und Impulsen war natürlich auch genügend Zeit zum Austausch mit anderen Teilnehmer:innen. All jene, die diese Woche verpasst haben, können sich hier die Videoaufnahmen der high-level Sessions ansehen. Auch die Fotos sind frei zugänglich.



    Dieser Textbeitrag wurde von Alexander Barnsteiner - Urban Contact Point für die EUI in Österreich - verfasst. Er hat an den Sessions rund um städtische Themen im Rahmen der European Week of Regions and Cities teilgenommen.

  • URBACT en la European Week of Regions and Cities (EWRC)

    Join URBACT at the #EURegionsWeek

    El programa URBACT estará presente en la Semana Europea de las Regiones y las Ciudades, el evento anual de la Comisión Europea durante el que las ciudades y regiones muestran la importancia de la gobernanza local en las políticas de cohesión europeas.

    URBACT contará con un stand durante todo el evento y organizará 4 sesiones distintas:


          - ¿Cómo pueden las regiones y ciudades impulsar una transición energética justa con y para sus ciudadanos?

             10 de Octubre de 9:30 a 11:00. Session code: 10PL23521

          - Uso de la tecnología para acelerar la transición ecológica en su región y ciudad

             10 de Octubre de 11:30 a 13:00. Session code: 10PL23523

          - Prepárate para la próxima convocatoria URBAC de Innovative Transfer Actions (ITN)

             11 de Octubre de 11:30 a 12:30. Session code: 11WS23529

          - Romper barreras utilizando la adquisición de innovación (innovation procurement) como herramienta estratégica

             11 de Octubre de 16:30 a 17:30. Session code: 11WS23239


    No olvidéis registraros antes del 28 de septiembre.


    La Iniciativa Urbana Europea, también estará presente en el evento con varias sesiones que se pueden consultar aquí.

    Además, en este enlace puedes encontrar el programa completo del evento.


    El programa URBACT estará presente en la European Week of Regions and Cities que tendrá lugar en Bruselas del 9 al 12 de Octubre, incluyendo una sesión para ir preparando la próxima convocatoria del programa: Innovation Transfer Networks (ITN), entre otras novedades.

    European Commission
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  • European Week of Regions and Cities 2023

    EWRC 2023

    The 21st edition of the European Week of Regions and Cities (#EURegionsWeek) takes place on 9-12 October 2023. This year, the agenda features 200+ sessions. All activities will happen in person in Brussels. This edition will focus on six topics:


    - Regions in post-industrial transition
    - Retaining talent for regional growth
    - Small and mid-size urban centres driving growth
    - Breaking barriers to cross-border cooperation
    - Local energy shift for security and sustainability
    - Promoting social innovation


    URBACT's sessions at the #EURegionsWeek


    How can regions and cities drive a just energy transition with and for their citizens?

    10 October, 9.30 - 11.00 (CET)

    More information



    Use technology to accelerate the green transition in your region or city!

    10 October, 11.30 - 13.00 (CET)

    More information



    Get ready for the next URBACT call for Innovation Transfer Networks

    11 October, 11.30 - 12.30 (CET)

    More information



    Breaking Barriers Using Innovation Procurement as a Strategic Tool

    11 October, 16.30 - 17.30 (CET)

    More information

    • European Week of Regions and Cities

    Thriving regions, stronger Europe





    European Commission
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    Open to a wider public
  • Can public procurement be a leverage for local food transition?

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    Can public procurement leverage local food transition - COVER

    Discover how cities have taken on the challenge to push for more organic, local and sustainable food systems.

    From urbact

    URBACT cities and networks have been very active in the development of innovative approaches and solutions when it comes to public procurement and gender-sensitive responses. Their practical insights and experience are told in the different modules of the Strategic Public Procurement Online Course. Some municipalities have also taken advantage of it to re-think the ways we produce, distribute and consume food. Read on to see how cities are taking matters into their own hands.



    Food Public Procurement: what and why?


    Food procurement relates to the provisioning of food, via catering services (with or without supply), canteens, and vending machines. It targets the public sector and sectors managed by public authorities: school and childcare centres, health and welfare centres (including hospitals), senior or retirement homes, and public administrations.

    Paying attention to the way this food is purchased by public authorities is crucial.  The overall environmental impact of the food system is undeniable: it contributes to 1/3 of GHG emissions globally and drive up socio-economic and health inequalities. In addition, within the agricultural sector in Europe, livestock farming is responsible for 78% of biodiversity loss and 81% of global warming. Food waste of the catering sector is also estimated to account for 14% of all EU waste, accounting for almost 12.5 million tonnes. Energy produced effectively by the catering sector could, for example, achieve savings of more than 20% leading to a saving of EUR 95 million (80 million GBP) per year and reducing national energy consumption by over 4 000 million kWh per year.

    In terms of economic impact, the current food system sustains unfair working conditions practices for farmers and their respective difficult to access land and to sustainable production. Not to mention the working conditions of migrant workers. With regards to the fact that, on average, 85 million meals are catered every day in the EU (over 50% through contract catering), and that there are about 3.7 million vending machines in Europe that are run by around 10 000 different companies (mostly SMEs and family businesses that employ directly more than 85 000 people and many more in supportive industries), sustainable food procurement in public institutions provides an enormous potential to push market demand for greener products.



    In terms of social and health-related impact, the current mainstream food system has led to a higher risk for disease and mortality in Europe: unhealthy diets are responsible for 49% of cardiovascular diseases, with an estimated annual cost of EUR102 billion for health systems and society; and with 16-22% of EU school-age children are overweight, 1/4 of them are obese. Last but not least, 36.2 million people, including children, cannot afford a quality meal every second day, which could be compensated by healthy school meals to a certain extent.

    As such, using food procurement strategically can impact the whole society directly. First by promoting the purchase of certified (ideally organic) products, seasonal products, reducing the called "food miles", and reducing packaging and food waste. Procurement can lower pesticides and antibiotic residues in food air and water pollution and greenhouse emissions. Then by promoting the purchase of certified (ideally fair trade) local products. Procurement can support the fair retribution of producers, boost local economy and employment, supporting local entrepreneurship and innovation, increase or convert organic production. And finally, by promoting the purchase of sustainable products and healthy meals and raising awareness. Procurement can contribute to the reduction of obesity, health problems, boast local communities’ prosperity and wellbeing.


    The EU Framework for Sustainable Food Procurement


    When addressing food procurement, the first strategic frameworks which come to mind are those related to the EU (green) Public Procurement: the EU public procurement directive, the EU Green Public Procurement criteria, the Communication on public procurement for a better environment, Public Procurement for a Circular Economy. Good practice and guidance, and the  Food & catering – GPP Product Sheet.

    Yet, Food Procurement can also rely on a range of other EU initiatives, to further develop innovative solutions:

    1. European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork Strategy
    2. The Action Plan for the Circular Economy, the EU waste directive, the EU Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy, the Directive on single-use plastics, and the Directive on packaging and packaging waste
    3. The EU Strategy on nutrition, overweight and obesity-related health issues
    4. Food 2030 research and innovation policy framework


    Key URBACT cities’ solutions


    Some URBACT cities have been exemplary in seeking to identify practical solutions for the transition of their food procurement processes. Below some city cases:


    Engaging users and the market in Liège


    The city of Liège (BE), partner in the BIOCANTEENS#2 Transfer Network developed a strong knowledge of their local producers, while adapting the needs of their local canteens to their local offer. The city starts all its tendering processes by an analysis of the needs with the food users, such as canteens managers and cooks: products used, their quantities, frequencies and other relevant factors. The research then focuses on local producers and enterprises that could potentially respond to these needs, leading to drafting specifications corresponding to both needs and offer.

    Market engagement also enables the city to build the capacity of the market to meet their requirement(s), inform on the design of the procurement and contract, and help suppliers to submit quality bids. This process also tests the maturity of the market, the feasibility of the procurement, the level of technical and product innovation, the type of exiting composition and the concern about sustainability. Once the city is certain that producers can deliver healthy and diversified meals, the tenders integrate a new selection criteria.

    It is important to note that market engagement is legally possible under Article 40 of Directive 2014/24/EU, provided that legal consideration are taken into consideration, as transparent and non-discriminatory process, not providing unfair advantage, keeping a record of all market engagement activities, giving equal access to all suppliers and treat all suppliers equally.


    Training, supporting, monitoring and control in the Region of Brussels-Capital


    The Region of Brussels-Capital (BE), was the Lead Partner of the URBACT II Sustainable Food in Urban Communities Network, which designed a complete training and support for school canteens and caterers: awareness-raising for future catering professionals, pilot projects with catering companies, training schemes, support with communication tools and equipment, and access to a help desk. This scheme is linked to the Good Food labelling of canteens, part of the Region Sustainable Food Strategy – the Good Food Strategy that is now in its second version.

    The Region also published detailed Guidelines for canteens which stress the importance of control and monitoring, in order to ensure that the contractor commitments are respected in the delivery of contracts. It can take the form of an administrative monitoring (e.g. on a trimester basis), as well as -surprise (bi-)monthly check at the place of production (in case of on-site production). A third check is only necessary if there is any doubt about a possible problem. The guidelines also distinguish canteens with food prepared on the spot or delivered, describing criteria in concrete details and technical clauses.


    Combining procurement solutions for more sustainability in Torres Vedras


    As part of its Sustainable School Food Programme, which aims to provide healthy school meals in a social, ecological and sustainable way, the city of Torres Vedras (PT) a partner of the BioCanteens original Transfer Network looks out at food procurement concerns for its municipal kitchens, which prepare 1 400 meals per day. The city seeks to purchases raw food material exclusively and directly from local producers and suppliers, with the following combined solutions:

    1. Lots for raw food material: organic fruits, conventional fruits, organic vegetables, conventional vegetables, meat, fish, grocery, bread and eggs.
    2. Decision criteria applicate a percentage for: price, samples for quality evaluation, technical data sheets of the products, freshness related to the food transport time (minutes).
    3. Mandatory conditions for supply: bulk products (if applicable), specific capacity of the suppliers, and replacement of non-acceptable products by quality issues.
    4. Mandatory documents: price, products data sheets, document to evaluate freshness through the distance of the food production/storage.

    Indeed, the 2014 Directives allow contracting authorities to both: exclude companies from tendering for not meeting certain conditions (exclusion criteria); and select the most suitable companies to bid based on technical ability and previous experience in relation to the subject matter of the contract (selection criteria).


    Creating a whole food ecosystem using procurement as a lever in Mouans-Sartoux


    Mouans-Sartoux (FR), is a flagship URBACT city that has achieved and shared its secret recipe for years now, especially as the Lead Partner of both editions of the BioCanteens Transfer Networks. As part of its overall transition, it has used procurement as a main tool to ensure the coherence of its entire food ecosystem. By combining lots, market engagement, use of labels, weights and criteria, in its tenders it has sought the pave the way and leading role cities can play. Yet, procurement is only one of the tools used to this end, and the dynamics go beyond food itself (see the image below). The experience of this city has been told using different formats (kitchen micro-good practices, Education Micro-good practices, set-up of a Maison de l’Alimentation Durable, among many others) and stories.



    What if my city wants to go further?


    Then above-mentioned examples are all accessible for interested readers to consult. And the cities that were used as examples for this article will undoubtedly be happy to share more about their experience. Other material can be found as part of the StratKit Interreg Baltic Sea project, the EU Food Policy Coalition paper on sustainable public procurement of food, and, the Manifesto for establishing minimum standards for public canteens across the EU.

    Last but not, least, URBACT will carry on the debate and reflections on the subject of food procurement in the course of this year. So, stay tuned and be sure to check the URBACT Knowledge Hub!






    URBACT Knowledge Hub


    Get more food for thought in the URBACT Knowledge Hub!



  • Freight TAILS


    Kick-off meeting in June (Suceava). Transnational meeting in October (Umea).
    Transnational meetings in February (Parma), April (Gdynia), May (Maastricht) and October (La Rochelle).
    Final event in May (Split).

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


    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela


    Municipality of Udine (Italy)


    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email:

    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:




    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora



    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801


    City of Rome

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

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



    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

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



    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council


    Municipality of Piraeus


    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia


    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029



    Riga NGO House


    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


    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

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


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


    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

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


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


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


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


    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


    Westmisnter City Council
    Phone +44 020 7641 6500

    Devoted to discovering Tailored and Innovative Logistic Solutions (TAILS) for the successful management of freight, this Action Planning network aimed on rethinking how freight can shape almost every aspect of our urban lives. The air we breathe, the noise we hear, the traffic we experience, the productiveness of our cities’ businesses, the quality of our surroundings and the liveability of our neighbourhoods. Everything can relate to a single question: how can we make freight transport more effective in cities?

    Tailored approaches for innovative logistic solutions
    Ref nid
  • 2nd Chance

    Lead Partner : Naples - Italy
    • Brussels - Belgium
    • Caen - France
    • Chemnitz - Germany
    • Dubrovnik - Croatia
    • Genoa - Italy
    • Gijon - Spain
    • Liverpool
    • Lublin - Poland
    • Maribor - Slovenia
    • Porto - Portugal

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



    More videos are available here.


    Kick-off meeting in June (Liverpool). Transnational meeting in October (Chemnitz).
    Transnational meetings in July (Gijon) and December (Brussels).
    Final event in April (Naples)

    The challenge of this Action Planning network is the activation of vacant buildings and building complexes for a sustainable urban development by self-organised groups. In many European cities smaller and larger derelict sites, underused premises, so called “voids” can be found in or near the city centre. These sites often have a negative impact on their surroundings, nevertheless they present a great opportunity: they can be used to complete a compact settlement structure, to provide space for needed functions in the city.

    Revitalisation of the sleeping giants
    Ref nid