Country
Geolocation
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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
    Ref nid
    7450
  • Find your Greatness

    Summary

    Lead Partner : Alba Iulia - Romania
    • Bragança - Portugal
    • Candelaria - Spain
    • Limerick - Ireland
    • 22nd district of Budapest (Budafok-Tétény) - Hungary
    • Perugia - Italy
    • Võru County - Estonia
    • Wroclaw - Poland

    Alba Iulia Municipality, Calea Motilor 5A, 510134, Romania

    CONTACT US

    Timeline

    Kick-Off Meeting

    2nd Transnational Meeting

    3rd Transnational Meeting in Alba Iulia

    4th Transnational Meeting in Wroclaw

    5th Transnational Meeting in Voru

    6th Transnational Meeting in Braganca

    7th Transnational Meeting in Alba Iulia

    8th Transational Meeting in Budafok

    9th Final Project Conference in Perugia

    Find your Greatness is a concept that reflects the most challenges addressed by AIM together with other EU local communities. Why Find your Greatness? Because the challenge is to build on the cities' potential. In the case of the partners of the project the need identified locally and which was built as a sustainable mechanism generating urban development, the need to explore and enhance the potential of the city, combining strategic marketing approach with innovative smart city tools.

    Europe's first strategic brand building program for smart cities
    Ref nid
    13509
  • 23 Action Planning Networks ready for Phase 2!

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    15/11/2022

    On 7 May, URBACT's Monitoring Committee has officially approved all Action Planning Networks to proceed to Phase 2.

    News

     

    The main objective of Action Planning Networks is to bring together between 7 and 10 cities across Europe to exchange their experience in a particular thematic urban development challenge and to share their ideas about possible solutions, during a period of over 2 years. The Phase 1 (from late June 2019 to February 2020) focused on the development of baseline studies, city profiles and the production of the Application Form for Phase 2.

    Following the Monitoring Committee's approval of the networks, cities are now ready to focus on the exchange and learning activities using a range of learning tools and approaches in line with the URBACT Method. Every partner city will consolidate an URBACT Local Group, which will co-design Integrated Action Plans for future implementation. The Phase 2 also presents a novelty for the projects, from now on cities are encouraged to undertake pilot actions (Small Scale Actions), to experiment with new ideas for projects gained from other network exchanges and in line with the cities’ network topic.

    As a consequence of the Covid-19 pandemic, the URBACT Secretariat will follow up with a series of adapted activities to support these networks and their partners, including the delivery of trainings using online formats and a 3 months extension of the network life-cycle, meaning that projects will run until August 2022. Thus, networks will respect the following calendar:

     

    • Activation Stage (May - December 2020): putting together an Integrated Action Plan roadmap
    • Planning Actions (December 2020 - December 2021): drafting the Integrated Action Plan
    • Planning Implementation (December 2021 - June 2022): finalising the Integrated Action Plan
    • Integrated Action Plans Finale (June - August 2022): sharing knowledge

     

    You can find all approved networks in the table below, the Lead Partner city is indicated is bold. To find out more about each one of the projects, check the network's webpages.
    Congratulations to the 23 approved projects!

     

    NETWORK

    PARTNERS

    DESCRIPTION

    Research, technological development and innovation

    UrbSecurity

    Leiria (PT)
    - Longford (IE)
    - Madrid (ES)
    - Mechelen (BE)
    - Michalovce (SK)
    - Parma (IT)
    - Pella (EL)
    - Unione della Romagna Faentina (IT)
    - Szabolcs 05 Regional Development Association of Municipalities (HU)

    Security and safety are two common goods and fundamental components of European democracy. This network intends to analyse strategies and concepts of urban design and planning, which could contribute to prevent segregation and anti-social behaviour. Additionally, this network wishes to co-create an integrated approach towards urban security focusing on improving citizens’ quality of life and the city’s smart, sustainable and inclusive growth towards a good living environment.

    Find your Greatness

    Alba Iulia (RO)
    - Bragança (PT)
    - Candelaria (ES)
    - Perugia (IT)
    - Wroclaw (PL)
    - Võru (EE)
    - Limerick (IE)
    - Budafok-Tétény 22nd district of Budapest (HU)

    The challenge is to build on the cities' opportunities. The partners of the project need to identify locally a strength, which was built as a sustainable mechanism generating urban development. The goal of this network is to explore and enhance the potential of the city, combining strategic marketing approach with innovative smart city tools.

    Access to and use of ICT

    DigiPlace
    (previously DI4C)

    Messina (IT)
    - Botosani (RO)
    - Oulu (FI)
    - Portalegre (PT)
    - Roquetas de Mar (ES)
    - Saint- Quentin (FR)
    - Trikala (EL)
    - Ventspils Digital Centre (LV)

    This network aims to set up an acceleration mechanism to enable cities to catch up the digitalisation opportunities in hard & soft infrastructure. Remove all the obstacles encountered by mid-sized cities in their digital journey: lack of strategic & global vision lack of technical and engineering capacities difficulties in incorporating the digital innovation. Municipalities need to guaranty the uptake of digital innovation by the local stakeholders: citizen and entrepreneurs.

    IoTxChange

    Fundão (PT)
    - Dodoni (EL)
    - Jelgava (LV)
    - Nevers Agglomeration (FR)
    - Razlog (BG)
    - Ånge (SE)
    - Kežmarok (SK)
    - Åbo Akademi University (FI)

    The objective is to encourage the creation of a network of European cities committed to the design of digitalization plans based on Internet of Things (IoT) solutions to increase the quality of life in small and medium sized EU cities, guiding us through a new age of digital transformation.

    Competitiveness of SMEs

    iPlace

    Amarante (PT)
    - Balbriggan (IE)
    - Pori (FI)
    - Pärnu (EE)
    - Grosseto (IT)
    - Gabrovo (BG)
    - Heerlen (NL)
    - Kočevje (SI)
    - Medina del Campo
    (ES)

    - Saldus (LV)

    This network aim to produce 10 different and unique robust economic development strategies, targeting their own genuine niches, and generating urban innovation ecosystems. City partners will focus on deepening the understanding of their own local economic strengths and establish strategic methods to revitalise their economy, adapt their city to the next economy and to future economic changes, establishing methodological bases for generate resilient cities.

    Tourism Friendly Cities

    Genoa (IT)
    - Braga (PT)
    - Rovaniemi (FI)
    - Venice (IT)
    - Utrecht (NL)
    - Krakow (PL)
    - Cáceres (ES)
    - Druskininkai (LT)
    - Dún Laoghaire Rathdown (IE)
    - Dubrovnik Development Agency (HR)

    This network aims to explore how tourism can be sustainable in medium-sized cities, reducing the negative impact on neighbourhoods and areas interested by different types of tourism to reach this ambitious aim, the project will create integrated and inclusive strategies which can keep a balance between the needs of the local community, in terms of quality of life and of services available, and the promotion of sustainable urban development at environmental, social and economic level.

    Low carbon economy in all sectors

    Urb-En Pact

    Clermont Auvergne Metropole (FR)
    - Bialystok Association of the Functional Area (PL)
    - CIM Alto Minho (PT)
    - Rouen Normandie Metropole (FR)
    - Elefsina (EL)
    - Galati (RO)
    - Palma di Montechiaro (IT)
    - Tampere EcoFellows (FI)

    Local authorities embrace the ambitious goal to become a zero-net energy territory within the next 30 years. Thus, the aim is to define the local action plans to become zero-net (ZNE) territory by producing and delivering local, renewable and regulated sources of energy by the implementation of an energy loop which gathers all the stakeholders of this circular economy, especially the consumers included in this fair trade business in and around the metropolitan area.

    Zero Carbon Cities
    (previously ZCC)

    Manchester (UK)
    - Bistrita (RO)
    - Zadar (HR)
    - Modena (IT)
    - Frankfurt am Main (DE)
    - Tartu (EE)
    - Vilvoorde (BE)

    The network will support capacity building of cities to establish science-based carbon reduction targets and their Sustainable Energy Action Plans (SEAPs) aligned to Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Working with 7cities to adopt different approaches to carbon budgeting and science-based targets, the network will undertake a programme of capacity building in order to support their local activities and integrated action plan and influence Covenant of Mayors' signatory cities.

    Environmental protection and resource efficiency

    RiConnect

    Barcelona Metropolitan Area (ES)
    - Porto Metropolitan Area (PT)
    - Krakow Metropole Association (PL)
    - Paris Metropolitan Area (FR)
    - Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot Metropolitan Area (PL)
    - Amsterdam Region (NL)
    - Transport for Greater Manchester (UK)
    - Thessaloniki Major Development Agency (EL)

    The overall goal is to rethink, transform and integrate mobility infrastructure aiming at reconnecting people, neighbourhoods, cities and natural spaces. The project will develop planning strategies, processes, instruments and partnerships, fostering public transport and active mobility, reducing externalities and unlocking opportunities of urban regeneration with the objectives of structuring the territory, and achieving a more sustainable, equitable and attractive metropolis.

    URGE

    Utrecht (NL)
    - Riga (LV)
    - Oeste CIM (PT)
    - Copenhagen (DK)
    - Granada (ES)
    - Munich (DE)
    - Kavala (EL)
    - Prato (IT)
    - Nigrad (SI)

    URGE (circUlaR buildinG citiEs) aims to design integrated urban policies on circularity in the building sector – a major consumer of raw materials – as there is a gap in knowledge on this topic. The result is an in-depth understanding of this theme and a first plan for a tailor-made methodology that allows the circular dimension to be widely integrated in the large construction tasks the URGE partnership is facing. URGE thus accelerates the transition towards a circular economy.

    Healthy Cities

    Vic (ES)
    - Anyksciai (LT)
    - Bradford (UK)
    - Alphen aan den Rijn (NL)
    - Falerna (IT)
    - Farkadona (EL)
    - Loulé (PT)
    - Pärnu (EE)
    - Malta Planning Authority (MT)

    This network aims to deepen the relationship between health and the urban environment, planning actions that focus on improving the population’s health, while developing a rigorous health impact assessment methodology around it. Urban Planning can become a health generator on many grounds, and this network of cities reflects the multiplicity of possible approaches to tackle the issue: green areas, mobility, social cohesion or promotion of sports are some examples.

    KAIRÓS

    Mula (ES)
    - Belene (BG)
    - Cesena (IT)
    - Malbork (PL)
    - Roskilde (DK)
    - Heraklion (EL)
    - Šibenik (HR)
    - Ukmergè (LT)

     

    The ultimate goal is to represent a moment of change, improving the urban environment of cities involved, developing heritage-led urban regeneration. It will enhance the potential of heritage in small and medium cities developing strategies for economic and social cohesion, inclusion and sustainable urban development. This network fosters the transnational exchange of experiences to test an innovative policy framework, combining a sound integrated approach with a real transformation purpose.

     

    Resourceful Cities
    (previously UrbReC)

    The Hague (NL)
    - Bucharest 3rd district (RO)
    - Ciudad Real (ES)
    - Mechelen (BE)
    - Cáceres (ES)
    - Patras (EL)
    - Oslo (NO)
    - Opole (PL)
    - Vila Nova Famalicão (PT)
    - Zagreb (HR)

     

    This network seeks to develop the next generation of urban resource centers to promote the positive economic, environmental and social impacts for the circular economy. They facilitate waste prevention, reuse, repair and recycling. The centers also work as connection points for citizens, new businesses, researchers and the public sector to co-create new ways to close resource loops at the local level.

    FOOD CORRIDORS
    (previously Rurban Food)

    Coimbra Region (PT)
    - Alba Iulia (RO)
    - Córdoba (ES)
    - Larissa (EL)
    - Szécsény (HU)
    - Bassa Romagna Union (IT)
    - Tartu Tartumaa Arendusselts (EE)
    - BSC Kranj and Gorenjska (SI)

    Recent experience suggests that it is necessary to promote a transition towards regional food systems. This network encourage the creation of a network of European cities committed to the design of food plans that extend from the urban and periurban areas through a corridor that facilitates urban-rural re-connection. This approach enhances production and consumption environments founded on a base of economic, social and environmental sustainability, integrated into development policies.

    Health&Greenspace

    Hegyvidék 12th district of Budapest (HU)
    - Espoo (FI)
    - Limerick (IE)
    - Messina (IT)
    - Breda (NL)
    - Poznań (PL)
    - Santa Pola (ES)
    - Suceava (RO)
    - Tartu (EE)

    As a response to the various health risks related to rapid urbanization and the densification of cities, this network project promotes health-responsive planning and management of urban green infrastructure with an overall aim to bring health and wellbeing benefits for citizens across Europe. The network applies a holistic approach that addresses the main functions provided by urban green infrastructure that deliver health and social benefits.

    Sustainable transport

    Space4People

    Bielefeld (DE)
    - Arad (RO)
    - Badalona (ES)
    - Nazaré (PT)
    - Turku (FI)
    - Guía de Isora (ES)
    - Panevèžys (LT)
    - Saint-Germain-en-Laye (FR)
    - Sérres (EL)
    - Valga (EE)

    This network improves quantity and quality of attractive public spaces in urban areas. For this, it tackles the main public space use being transportation in 3 aspects: improving user experience and adding space to pedestrian networks and (semi) pedestrianised places, upscaling intermodal hubs to urban centres of mixed use as well as reducing and optimising parking in public space. The project takes a user-centric approach by users assessing and creating future use and design of public space.

    Thriving Streets

    Parma (IT)
    - Antwerp (BE)
    - Igoumenitsa (EL)
    - Klaipèda (LT)
    - Nova Gorica (SI)
    - Oradea (RO)
    - Santo Tirso (PT)
    - Radom (PL)
    - Southwark London Borough (UK)
    - Debrecen Economic Development Centre (HU)

    This is a network that addresses the bottlenecks in sustainable urban mobility. The project will focus on the economic and social benefits of sustainable mobility, rather than on the widely demonstrated environmental effects. The network argues that working with local amenities and social networks at neighbourhood level could unlock the hidden demand for active mobility in cities, and thus act as enabler of behaviour change towards more resilient and liveable neighbourhoods.

    Employment protection and resource efficiency

    SIBdev

    Heerlen (NL)
    - Aarhus (DK)
    - Baia Mare (RO)
    - Fundão (PT)
    - Kecskemét (HU)
    - Pordenone (IT)
    - Zaragoza (ES)
    - Võru Development Centre (EE)

    This network aims to explore how social impact bonds can be used to improve public service delivery in areas such as employment, ageing, and immigration. Often, the delivery of services is hindered by fragmented and siloed agencies and budgets, financial and political shorttermism, and an aversion to risk and difficulty creating change. The social impact bond is a promising model that ameliorates these issues by increasing collaboration, prevention, and innovation.

    Social inclusion and poverty

    ROOF

    Ghent (BE)
    - Braga (PT)
    - Glasgow (UK)
    - Thessaloniki (EL)
    - Liège (BE)
    - Odense (DK)
    - Poznań (PL)
    - Toulouse Metropole (FR)
    - Timisoara Department of Social Assistance (RO)

    This project aims to eradicate homelessness through innovative housing solutions at city level. It will exchange knowledge on how to gather accurate data and make the conceptual shift from the symptomatic management to the actual ending of homelessness, with Housing First and Housing Led as guidance model. This network will guide the partner cities towards integrated local action plans linked to the long-term strategic goal of Functional Zero (no structural homelessness).

    ActiveCitizens

    Agen (FR)
    - Bistrita (RO)
    - Cento (IT)
    - Dinslaken (DE)
    - Hradec Králové (CZ)
    - Santa Maria da Feira (PT)
    - Saint-Quentin (FR)
    - Tartu (EE)

    The aim of this network is to rethink the place of the citizens in the local governance by finding a balance between representative democracy and participatory democracy. This network of European small and medium-sized cities, with the same expectations and similar challenges, will notably take into account, to do this, new digital tools while integrating the issue of citizens away or not comfortable with digital tools.

    Access

    Amsterdam (NL)
    - Dublin (IE)
    - Lisbon (PT)
    - Riga (LV)
    - Sofia (BG)
    - Tallinn (EE)
    - Vilnius (LT)
    - London Greater Authority (UK)

    This network addresses the importance of inclusive cultural policies. A challenge all cities in this project face is that culture does not enrich or empower all people equally. We need to gain a better understanding of our communities in order to engage all citizens in our cities. We have identified four topics to work on that will enable us to gain that understanding and support us in reaching all population groups in the participating cities from the west, east and south of Europe.

    Genderedlandscape

    Umeå (SE)
    - Frankfurt am Main (DE)
    - Panevèžys (LT)
    - Trikala (EL)
    - La Rochelle (FR)
    - Barcelona Activa SA (ES)
    - Celje JZ Socio (SI)

    Creating conditions for gender equality through a holistic understanding of how gender inequality is created in the specific place. This network creates an exchange on challenges faced by cities with an understanding of gender inequality that is globally understood but locally contextualised.

    Education, skills and lifelong learning

    Cities4CSR

    Milan (IT)
    - Bratislava (SK)
    - Budaörs (HU)
    - Guimarães (PT)
    - Molina de Segura (ES)
    - Nantes Metropole (FR)
    - Rijeka (HR)
    - Kekava (LV)
    - Sofia (BG)
    -Vratsa (BG)

    Through intensive capacity building of local actors, the network will increase collaboration among municipalities, businesses and the civic society in order to promote sustainable, inclusive & innovative urban change. The project aims at increasing the role and added value of companies’ CSR activities at local level, towards urban regeneration and social innovation, with a special emphasis on education, in order to better address emerging and unmet local needs.

     

    -

     

    Interested in finding more about the approved networks and what they will do? Watch the URBACT Method video and check out the Action Planning Network's infographic!

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  • It's time to Find your Greatness

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    15/11/2022

    Eight cities have joined the URBACT Action Planning Network (APN) 'Find Your Greatness' aiming to boost their sustainable urban development by defining their strategic brand position and increasing their attractiveness and competitiveness.

    Articles
    City Branding

    The need for city branding

     

    Cities are competing for people, resources and business, therefore a demand for a unified city strategy has been constantly increasing. Since the 1990s, city branding has been a key factor in urban development policies. Cities all over the world take specific actions to manipulate their image and perceptions, both in the eyes of the inhabitants and those of potential tourists, investors, users and consumers.

    While capitals and other large cities typically enjoy the advantages of a strong metropolitan vibe, population diversity and higher financial resources, mid-sized and smaller towns and cities often struggle to attract attention. Without making themselves recognisable on the broader regional or global map, they can face decreasing recognition, relevance and competitiveness on the global market.

    City branding is a complementary tool to strategic urban planning. It defines what the place is (brand essence), what the place would like to become (brand vision), what differentiates the place (positioning), the voice of the place (personality) and key messages and experiences (emotional benefits). A strong integrated city brand provides strategic guidelines for city growth, sets priorities for capital investment and services, and is a vehicle for long-term sustainable urban development.

     

    Building on an URBACT success story

     

    Alba Iulia in Romania was a partner in the URBACT CityLOGO network (2013-2015). Through this, it improved its promotion locally and abroad, and witnessed a significant increase in interest from national and international tourists, business developers and investors.

    These results inspired Alba Iulia Municipality to want to develop their thinking even further. It launched the idea of a network of small and medium-sized cities in Europe to exchange and learn on city branding, marketing and communication. The ‘Find Your Greatness’ APN was the successful result, a partnership of eight cities launched in late 2019: Limerick (IE), Perugia (IT), Braganca (PT), Candelaria (ES), Wroclaw (PL), Budafok (HU) and Voru (EE), led by Alba Iulia (RO).

    All the partner towns and cities are aware that they need to become visible, to communicate their brand vision and to increase their competitive position. At the same time, each city has its own profile, challenges, objectives, and expectations.

    Alba Iulia wants an updated branding and marketing strategy that would include smart city developments. Limerick has just launched its city brand and would like to

    achieve improved ownership of the brand by Limerick’s inhabitants and to use this to build community spirit.

    Perugia wants to enhance its strategic brand positioning, building on its cultural heritage - including its great Etruscan walls - and other cultural assets. Braganca looks for an update of its marketing and communication strategy that would position it as the first choice for digital and smart industry development, tourism and gastronomy, attractive natural environment and high quality of life in Portugal.

    Candelaria, on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, attracts mass pilgrimage to venerate the ‘Virgin of Candelaria’ in its famous Basilica di Candelaria. The municipality would like to diversify and enrich its touristic and gastronomic offer in order to achieve a more economically efficient and sustainable tourism.

    The main focus of thematic brand development of Wroclaw is its important industrial heritage of trams, tram lines and tram depots. Meanwhile, the basis for the thematic branding of Budafok, the 22nd district of Budapest, is its long and rich wine tradition, including a unique heritage of 130 km of wine cellars. It seeks to further exploit its sparkling wine production and thematic wine tours combined with gastronomic and cultural events.

    Voru, the smallest partner city in the network is aiming to define its identity as a safe, relaxing and family-friendly town that is also a smart town, making it an attractive location to develop a business, to live and to visit.

     

    City branding: a challenging topic

     

    Already, my visits to the network’s partner cities, site visits and meetings with politicians, municipality administrations, business entities, academics, NGOs and media representatives have highlighted the complexity of the project theme.

    Generalising across the individual situations of each city, we have been able to identify the following groups of themes/policy challenges that will be addressed by international learning and exchange in the 2nd phase of the project:

    • Branding, brand strategy and logo development
    • Marketing and communication strategy development
    • Use of smart e-solutions in marketing and communication fitting in the smart city programme
    • Building community spirit
    • Innovative, creative, digital (smart) business development
    • Cultural and industrial heritage protection, promotion and exploitation
    • Tourism, excursions and experience-based activities
    • Green and sustainable development

    Half of the towns and cities have already developed either overarching or thematic brands, with a visual identity, and marketing and communication plans. Each has good practices, knowledge and experiences to share; and each has also a need to enrich their understanding, learn new skills and knowledge, and develop new ideas to be introduced into their local actions.

     

    Some busy years ahead

     

    Despite the complexity of the challenges, in each partner city I have found a strong commitment from all stakeholders and project teams to work intensively and professionally in the project and to achieve its objectives. ULGs – URBACT Local Groups have been formed in all partner towns and cities. In most, participation and co-creation are already applied methods in city governance and decision-making.

    Integrated Action Plans (IAPs) for each project partner city will be the main output of the network, setting out the objectives, policy challenges, actions and expected results of improved branding for each city. Each IAP will be complementary to the broader urban and strategic development plans of the cities. In other words, the strategic development vision of cities will be supported by their strategic brand vision.

    This will need to be communicated to citizens, visitors, business developers and investors. The final effect should be increased satisfaction and quality of life of citizens.

    Cities gathered in the Find your Greatness network are aware of the importance of brands, branding and marketing and are also aware that this will require their full engagement during the project duration and afterwards. They recognise and highlight that there is no shortcut in the definition of a strategic brand vision or its practical implementation to build the image of the city.

    Network
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  • The importance of procurement to city economies

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    15/11/2022

    This article explores why procurement is increasingly being seen as a way of addressing some of the economic, social and environmental issues facing our cities. It does this through reflecting on: the legislative framework for procurement; the activities of the Procure network; the importance of understanding where procurement spend goes; and how social considerations can be more effectively embedded into procurement processes.

    Articles
    Local Economic Development

    Context

    The process of purchasing goods and services (procurement) has historically been seen as a bit of a challenge for municipalities and other institutions within our cities, especially when it comes to linking it to the achievement of wider local economic, social and environmental benefits. The process of procurement can and has been seen as bureaucratic, legally complex, isolated from other functions in municipalities, difficult to engage with for Small to Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), and extremely competitive.
     
     
    However, that perception and culture is in a time of change – procurement is suddenly seen as one of the key levers cities have at their disposal to stimulate local economic development and address social and environmental issues.  I have been talking about the importance of procurement in contributing towards wider outcomes for the last ten years. Indeed Manchester City Council in the UK, with whom I have been working with for the last 8 years, have seen levels of procurement spend with Manchester based business and organisations increase from 51.5% in 2008 to 73.6% in 2016 (see chart below); together with an array of wider benefits delivered by the supply chain. 
     
     
     
    Business and organisations increase, Manchester, United Kingdom, 2008 - 2016
     
     
    There are also sporadic elements of good practice across Europe. We are now however moving towards procurement being part of mainstream policy around the Urban Agenda for the EU. Indeed procurement is a specific theme of the emerging Urban Innovation Partnerships and a theme which cuts across other aspects including around economic development and poverty. 
     
    Part of this mainstreaming of procurement has been driven by legislation and particularly the 2014 European Procurement Directives. Previously and rightly, the Directives were framed by the importance of compliance, competitiveness and price in procurement processes, decisions, and the delivery of goods and services. This remains in the new Directives, but is importantly supplemented by three key considerations:
     
    • First, the Directives seek to encourage more flexibility in procurement – this includes the ability to engage with potential suppliers before a good or service goes to the market;
    • Second, the Directives seek to enhance the engagement of SMEs in the procurement process – making them more aware of opportunities, encouraging them to bid, and ultimately winning contracts;
    • Third, the Directives actively encourage purchasers to consider how procurement can be used to address wider social and environmental goals.
     
    The Procure network
     
    This mainstreaming of the importance of procurement in part framed the development of the Procure network as part of the URBACT III Programme. Led by Preston City Council from the UK, we felt that there was a real opportunity to think through how the process of procurement could be undertaken differently in cities so that the benefits it brings for local economies, business and residents could be maximised. 
     
    Importantly, the Procure network is not just focused upon the procurement processes adopted by municipalities. Instead, the network and particularly the URBACT Local Groups (ULGs) also include institutions which we are defining as ‘anchor institutions’ (this includes universities, health organisations, housing organisations, and large businesses). These are organisations across the public, commercial and social sectors which: will have a large number of jobs; will spend a lot of money purchasing goods and services; and which are unlikely to leave that locality as result of their scale or because of the fact they are embedded there.   
    Over the course of the two years of the Procure network we are seeking to encourage our cities to understand:
     
    • How the European Procurement Directives and associated national level law influences the design of goods and services and their procurement;
    • Where their existing spend goes – the extent to which it is in their local economies, with particular sectors of business, and with SMEs;
    • How they can be innovative in procurement and particularly how social and environmental criteria can be embedded in the process;
    • How SMEs can be engaged in the process and supported to bid for opportunities;
    • How the impact of procurement spend and its contribution to wider outcomes can be measured and monitored.
    Our network is however not starting from nothing – the baseline study suggested that each of the cities had at least started on the process of progressing how they undertake procurement, the key is maximising that through the transnational meetings, the activities of the ULGs, and the development of the Integrated Action Plans (IAPs).
     
    Some examples include:
     
     
    • Preston (UK) has measured where the procurement spend of their anchor institutions goes in geographical and sectoral terms;
    • Albacete (Spain) has started to link procurement to job creation through including clauses in contracts around creating employment opportunities;
    • Almelo (Netherlands) are working with business networks to develop the skills and capabilities of SMEs to enable them to bid for procurement opportunities;
    • Koszalin (Poland) have linked what they want to achieve through procurement to the priorities of their Development Strategy;
    • Lublin (Poland) has a dedicated procurement office and procurement plan which gives potential suppliers notice of upcoming opportunities;
    • Candelaria (Spain) look to co-design goods and services with residents of the city through community panels and prior to any procurement process being undertaken;
    • The Metropolitan City of Bologna (Italy) has been innovative in procurement through actively considering green issues, social responsibility and the role of SMEs in contracting;
    • Koprivnica (Croatia) is seeking to encourage SMEs to bid for opportunities by reducing the number of quotes required for tenders below 20,000 Euros;
    • Nagykallo (Hungary) have engaged with businesses prior to procurement to make them aware of opportunities;
    • District 9, Prague (Czech Republic) advertises all procurement opportunities on the municipality website;
    • Satu Mare (Romania) are undertaking some lotting of procurement opportunities to encourage smaller businesses to bid. 
     
    The importance of spend analysis
     

    Central to the activities of the Procure network to date has been setting the context for the Integrated Action Plans. Prior to cities doing any work around maximising the impact of procurement through social and environmental criteria and through the engagement of SMEs, they need to understand three contextual factors. First, they need to understand the legislative framework in which the action plan is being developed – this encompasses European and National level law and local level policy. Second, they need to understand the ways in which they can be innovative in procurement and what they can do around local economic, social and environmental issues. And third, they need to understand their existing position in terms of where their spend goes.

     
    As emphasised in the URBACT method for action planning evidence is crucial to the development of any strategy.  If cities are serious about progressing the way in which they undertake procurement and they want it to reap more benefits in local economic, social and environmental terms then they need to understand the existing nature of their spend and where it goes. Spend analysis is best undertaken at the end of a financial year and existing data can be used and added to in order to identify the following:
     
     
    • The geography of spend – in this, they might be interested in the proportion of their suppliers and the proportion of their spend which is with businesses and organisations based in their municipality boundary; in their wider city-region or region; or/and in their country. They might also be interested in the proportion of spend which is leaking out of their municipality boundary or city-region.
    • The sectors of spend – in this, they might be interested in the proportion of spend which is with organisations in the construction or communications sector, for example or with consultants. This can in turn be linked to the geographical analysis to identify the sectors where there is lots of spend in their municipality or city-region; and in turn the sectors where there is leakage out of the local economy and gaps (sectors where there is very little local spend).  
    • The nature of spend - In this they might be interested in the proportion of their spend which is with SMEs or Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), for example. This can in turn be linked to the geographical analysis to identify the extent to which suppliers based in the municipality or city-region are SMEs or NGOs.
    • Sharing this data with local stakeholders in accessible ways, for instance with infographics, helps to increase understanding of the impact of public expenditure, and generate better awareness of procurement as a tool to achieve policy goals. 
    Maximising benefit through procurement
     
    All of our partner cities are currently in the process of undertaking their spend analysis and setting the wider context for their Integrated Action Plans. Once done on this we will start to scope how they can embed social criteria into procurement processes and really start to maximise benefit through procurement. There are a number of ways of doing this including:
     
     
    • Commissioning – in the design of goods and services, anchor institutions can ask potential suppliers to develop products which address particular outcomes such as reducing crime;
    • Tender process – in the tender process, anchor institutions can set percentages of the selection decision which will be assigned to social considerations, for example 10% and then ask potential suppliers questions around these criteria;
    • Tender decision – in the decision, anchor institutions can score against social considerations;
    • Monitoring – anchor institutions can monitor the extent to which suppliers are delivering against social considerations. 
    The Procure network partner cities are not the only ones undertaking work around promoting the importance of procurement to city economies, but it does need to be scaled up. In fact, we believe progressive procurement activity should be at the forefront of all policy activities where economic, social and environmental factors are of key importance. This includes the delivery of infrastructure projects, the spend of anchor institutions, and the delivery of projects including the URBACT Implementation Networks. It is potentially one of the most powerful, but perhaps under used tools to achieve an integrated approach.  
     
    Over the course of the two years of the network, we will look to change practice around the process of procurement in our 11 cities, and to contribute to examples and proof of concept to share with other cities. It must be noted however that behaviour change across Europe will take much longer to ensure that the importance of procurement to city economies is realised. 
     
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