POINT (-0.996584 37.625683)
  • MAPS – Military Assets as Public Spaces

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

    Amadora launches a Guide on the welcoming of migrants

    Blue Economy Forum

    BluAct Toolkit

    BluAct: The Documentary

    2ndChance on Facebook

    2ndChance on Twitter


    Kick-off meeting in June (Varazdin). Transnational meeting in October (Cartagena).
    Transnational meetings in January (Koblenz) and May (Espinho).
    Final event in April (Serres).

    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 

    The Action Planning network MAPS (Military Assets as Public Spaces) was focused on enhancing former military heritage as key elements for sustainable urban strategies, combining both functional and social aspects. Highlighting the potential of the dismissed military areas can be deemed as the new symbols of a more conscious and participatory urban planning.

    Redefining the military heritage
    Ref nid
  • Urban Heritage within URBACT projects

    Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

    Culture and Heritage are key topics for URBACT cities: from renovations of historic buildings to new management methods.


    This article gives an overview of the rich history of URBACT networks dealing with Urban Heritage.

    Historic buildings and urban landscapes

    Urban Heritage related work in the first years of URBACT covered many different angles, concentrating on historic buildings and urban landscapes - for example: the HerO (2008-2011) project. Another sub-topic of heritage dealt with specific areas of cities, such as abandoned military assets (REPAIR, 2008-2011) or ports (CTUR, 2008-2011). Finally, Heritage areas were discussed according to their current functions, how centrally located buildings with heritage values can be used to fulfil important functions such as offering well-located sustainable and affordable housing for the city’s population (LINKS, 2009-2012).

    A detailed account of all these projects was given in the first URBACT Project Results publication.

    At the time, the Heritage topic was managed by one of the Thematic Pole Managers: Philip Stein. The following summarises his thougts, remembering back to this period:"It is difficult to assess exactly what cities involved in the HerO, REPAIR and subsequently LINKS projects achieved in an ongoing perspective at local level. However, we can be fairly sure that while cities like Regensburg (DE), Utrecht (NL), Firenze (IT) and Bayonne (FR) would drive their experience and learning forward. The other partners made major gains in capacity building and opening their governance context to alternative methods and solutions."

    Cultural Heritage as an essential component of the integrated approach to urban development

    It was very important that URBACT was able to provide a new and effective platform for cities to explore how cultural heritage constitutes an essential component of the integrated approach to sustainable and participative urban (and rural) development.

    The HerO project was particularly important in pushing this message forward. It included strategic implications and designed integrated cultural heritage management plans as a valuable blueprint for historic towns and urban landscapes to follow.

    LINKS demonstrated that heritage and citizen engagement needed to be included in discussions about housing and energy conservation, as well as affordable renewal.

    REPAIR provided iconic examples of regeneration and reuse targeting former "military" sites and facilities, making real contributions to economic and employment opportunities, innovative SMEs and amenity.

    Steering the debate away from simply conservation of monuments and sites, or designation of protected areas, even World Heritage designation, allowed sights to be focused on emerging issues like the interaction between tangible and intangible heritage - and its importance for our cities, as well as the fight against exclusion. It also flagged up the potential of bottom up heritage approaches, now generally accepted (Horizon 2020, Faro Convention etc) but then embryonic.

    Beyond physical aspects of Heritage

    A few years later other aspects of dealing with physical heritage came to the forefront.

    The CASH project (2010-2013) dealt with the energy efficiency of affordable housing stock – some in heritage areas.

    The aforementioned LINKS project dealt with the creation of a better functional mix and improvement of heritage areas, with particular attention to keeping the original population of these areas, i.e. avoiding gentrification.

    These ideas were transferred to medium and smaller cities by the SURE project, developing tools like placemaking, social enterprise, community development.

    In the next round of URBACT the heritage-related physical aspects have lost momentum. On the other hand, this was when knowledge hub projects started, some of them addressing Heritage at least indirectly – such as the Building energy efficiency in European cities (2013) project or the Sustainable regeneration in urban areas (2015) project.

    These projects have demonstrated the difficulties of balancing different aspects, making it clear that too strong economic or environmental focus could compromise the achievement of social or heritage protection goals.

    In the last round of APN projects (finished during 2018) the SECOND CHANCE network dealt with the potential re-use of large historic buildings.

    Temporary use and participation

    The REFILL network explored the different forms of temporary use of underused buildings, while the MAPS network concentrated on the potential of military heritage areas. One of the cities of MAPS was Cartagena (ES), with a strong community acting in the targeted neighbourhood.

    In the current group of Transfer Networks the ongoing COME IN project offers a good opportunity to show a new approach to heritage areas: the organisation of special events, e.g. festival-type actions, carefully prepared with the help of volunteers to raise the interest of residents of old buildings which can in the longer term develop into bottom-up organizations and push for heritage renewal.

    The URBAN REGENERATION MIX project deals with historical areas from the point of view of collaboration, increasing the participation of residents, fostering their equal involvement into the urban regeneration processes. The good practice is the regeneration of a heritage area in Lodz.

    A collaborative online tool: Remaking the city

    In order to show good practices regarding place-based challenges in European cities, URBACT has developed a new online tool: Remaking the city. The aim of this tool is to help cities get ideas on how to make the most of their underused and/or problematic spaces. The empty/underused buildings challenge is one of the five space-related challenges, and good practices on heritage re-use can be found here too.

    The "Guardian Houses, Leipzig” practice shows how is it possible to get new tenants for vacant buildings.

    The "Regulation of civic use of urban commons/common goods, Naples (IT)” practice shows what type of public regulation can be introduced for the reuse of public vacant buildings through bottom up initiatives.

    The Tool-kit project of Brussels (BE) describes the innovative practice of deploying a regional fine for neglected heritage on top of the municipal tax and the possibility that the city can go to court to force the owners of heritage to carry out renovations.

    URBACT’s work in the European Urban Policy Framework

    Looking a bit outside of URBACT, the H2020 project OPEN HERITAGE is based on the statement that heritage should not be considered as a top-down defined term but much more as an open issue which should be co-developed with the affected population, creating ’heritage communities’.

    URBACT-related endevaours may have contributed to the fact that the Urban Agenda for the EU has launched a new round of partnerships including one dealing with Urban Heritage. Laura Colini, who is involved in this partnership from the side of URBACT summarises the work in the following way: "In this partnership, cultural heritage is seen as 'a powerful tool for achieving social, ecological and economic goals'."

    The partnership looks at actions which concern integration of environmental, tourism, and recreational activities.

    It looks at the following topics:

    • management of tourist flows and its impact on historic cities;
    • cultural industries as savoir faire, arts & craft but also innovation in arts and culture;
    • adaptive reuse, transformation, revitalisation and the reconversion of urban space focussing on community-based solutions for it;
    • financial sustainability and funding;
    • resilience of cultural and natural heritage, considering as patrimony the agricultural productions in cities, nature in urban environments;
    • integrated & disciplinary approach for governance, community-based approach through the mobilisation of citizens to work on the creation and enhancement of cultural heritage;
    • cultural services and culture for inclusive cities rethinking the use of pubic libraries, schools and museums to be accessible and usable for all parts of society, whether they are part of the city for generations or newly arrived migrants, women or men, young and old natives.

    Culture is a cross-cutting topic

    Thinking of heritage in terms of public policies is a challenging task due to its cross-cutting topic: culture – one that affects all our society, overarching all aspects of urban life. As in the past, the topic of heritage will give good opportunities to future networks to collaborate for more sustainable urban development.


    Read more:

    Contribute to Remaking the City!

    From urbact
    Ref nid
  • An old fortress brings new cohesion

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

    Today, locals and tourists — many arriving on cruise ships — enjoy Cartagena’s waterfront and Art Nouveau architecture, as well as archaeological sites, from a Phoenician shipwreck to a huge Roman theatre.

    But few visitors venture into the more run-down areas. Cartagena joined the URBACT MAPS network while facing increasing social and economic fragmentation. The city wanted fresh ideas to boost year-round tourism — while becoming more collaborative, inclusive and resilient, with the benefits of tourism reaching even the poorest neighbourhoods.

    One such district is Los Mateos, which sits below the abandoned 18th-century fortress Castillo de los Moros. Here, 21% of adults are illiterate, and 24% are unemployed. “As an inhabitant of Cartagena, Los Mateos was a ‘forbidden’ neighbourhood... considered dangerous and insecure. I remember my first visit — for the MAPS project — as a tense moment... I looked around with distrust,” says María Peñalver, Professor at the Polytechnic University of Cartagena. When they joined the network, the city set up a group of local stakeholders (URBACT Local Group) to reflect and act on the use of the abandoned fortress while revitalising the district. Acting as a coordinator of this group, Ms Peñalver soon discovered many people in Los Mateos were enthusiastic about improving their own neighbourhood. “They had determination to change things, generosity... I decided to collaborate with them as much as possible and accompany them in this challenge until the end,” she recalls.

    Working with residents and stakeholders — including presidents of local associations, and council representatives — Ms Peñalver helped the local group produce an Integrated Action Plan in line with the city’s strategic objectives. Dubbed ‘Re-starting from heritage’, it defines:

    • actions to improve social cohesion and inclusion in Los Mateos district. These include sport and painting competitions and a botanic garden around the fortress with the involvement of citizens and students of the district;
    • reusing the Los Moros fort to increase Cartagena’s cultural offer. Actions include guided touristic and sport tours;
    • an urban planning reference model based on a participatory approach, to use in other marginalised areas. Actions also include a cleaning campaign at the fortress with the involvement of inhabitants, transformation of three empty urban plots into public spaces.

    The Integrated Action Plan is crucial, because for the first time in history Los Mateos district has an integrated project to work together in the same direction for a better future,” says Francisco Sáez, Municipal Urban Technical Advisor.

    Visible changes

    After a workshop in Espinho (PT) with MAPS partner cities, Cartagena developed its own urban governance model — now featured in the integrated plan for use across the city. This set of mechanisms link the municipality with local stakeholders and inhabitants, creating a platform for actions to improve the city.

    The local group tested the model on designing and implementing mock-up projects involving inhabitants in regeneration efforts in and around the Los Moros fortress.

    You can already see results: Los Moros hill is a new a green area for the city, with new accesses to the fortress; colourful facades decorate the streets; attractive public areas have replaced empty urban plots. Los Mateos is a place to visit.

    Above all, says Ms Peñalver, MAPS showed Cartagena “a new way to improve the urban quality of neglected areas, placing the inhabitants as the epicentre of change”.

    Without MAPS, she believes decision-makers and citizens would still be ignoring Los Mateos, underestimating the castle’s potential to boost integrated urban regeneration — and the benefits of working collaboratively. Los Mateos’ inhabitants would be unaware of their own potential to improve their quality of life, given the necessary support.

    Everything learned from the URBACT approach has been new for the city of Cartagena, and useful for developing our vision for the Integrated Action Plan,” Ms Peñalver explains.

    Political backing

    The mayor Ana Belén Castejón supports the Integrated Action Plan, encouraging all political parties to approve it at an upcoming council Plenary Session. Next, Cartagena hopes to apply for a new URBACT call to focus on Los Mateos’ regeneration


    You can find the Cities in Action - Stories of Change publication just here.

    From urbact
    Ref nid
  • Former military areas as hubs for urban innovation

    Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

    The development of a series of Integrated Action Plans (IAPs) for the reuse of the former military assets, but also in the development of real innovative solutions, to encourage the use of this particular type of heritage are the main focuses of the MAPS project. At the same time, MAPS involves diverse stakeholders in the design and in the implementation of the IAPs through actions such as Open days, sport events (for professionals and amateurs), awareness raising at city level of the military heritage, involvement of the local schools to strengthen the ongoing project in the city.

    Rediscovering former military sites through public events


    Military sites in MAPS cities have different sizes. Some of them are large urban areas, and some others concerns few blocks, some are located in the city centre as in Piacenza, other in the periphery or dotting the urban area in several places as in Koblenz. In common, all these areas have one characteristic: they have all being secluded from eyes and feet of most inhabitants. One of the main challenges was therefore to rediscover those sites, spark curiosity in potential users and encourage creativity to re-approriate those places for the public good.

    Organising public events on site to involve the inhabitants and a variety of stakeholders in the actions for the reuse of the former military areas quickly appeared as a pre-requisite for the successful design of Integrated Action Plans. “How can one attract the inhabitants or stakeholders to the military areas and involve them in co-designing the IAP?” became therefore one of the first question to answer for the partner cities. We started to think about several actions, happenings and events, which would sparks the attention of local inhabitants. Partner cities in MAPS designed public events to attract people in the former military camps, able to gather ideas and suggestions for potential reuse, while linking these proposals to plans or projects ongoing in the cities.

    Open Days

    Open Days were one of our first actions. After many years the former military camps opened the doors and invited the citizens to discover what was behind the wall. The cities of Piacenza, Varaždin, Szombathely offered site visits illustrating the history of the place, small workshops to familiarise participants to the idea of the IAP and collect suggestions. In other cases, cultural associations were involved to create parallel events, some of which foreseen the realization of large scale 3D models of the place to better explain the potentiality of the area. These activities have been useful to involve stakeholders in the challenges for the reuse of former military camps. ‘Touching with their own hands what it is the problem!’ helped reinforce the work of URBACT Local Groups and test mechanisms for the implementation of the IAPs.

    Racing through former military assets

    The city of Espinho mixed together sports and social cohesion to give and collect information from the inhabitants of the city toward the challenge of the reuse of the former military assets: a foot race (non-competitive) that has touched all the military installations (former or still in use) present in the area. The organization of the event was supported by the municipality with the cooperation of the members of the URBACT Local Group (ULG). The purpose of the event was to create interest in the idea of the Integrated Action Plan: development of the “Atlantic park”, in which the former military installations, and the well-being, represent the core of the action. Involve the participants in a “dynamic survey” about the suggestion from the ULG, this was the message from the partners: the participants at the race have been invited, when approached to the military installations, to interact with an exposition (large panels), vote for the proposals elaborated by the ULG, and move to another places.

    Beside this specific activity, however, there were already other existing events (whit a consolidate story), that could be used as a “stage”, or small seed, for the regeneration of the former military camps. In particular the city of Cartagena has decide to insert Los Moros castle, as a place to reach, in the Ruta de las Fortalezas (fortress trail), a sport event that are able to attract 3.8000 people, from all Europe, to run and visit the system of fortifications that in the past defended Cartagena. Also in 2018 the castle of Los Moros will be one of the places of this sport event, and thanks to these the memory of the castle, and the Los Mateos neighbourhood, will returns within the “collective imagination” of the inhabitants of Cartagena, foreigners, and people from other parts of Spain.

    Moving beyond the temporary

    Temporary events are very important to reactivate the attention of the public opinion on these forgotten places, but how is possible guarantee a continuous attention over the time on this places, before the IAPs is fully implemented? A suggestion comes from the city of Cartagena, thanks to the development of a botanic garden, on one of the slope of the hill of the Los Moros castle, and from the city of Piacenza whit the involvement of the high schools in the assessment of the former Pontieri workshop.

    In the city of Cartagena the project it was made possible by the collaboration between the municipality, the Repsol foundation, the local cultural association CREECT and the local ULG. The project has planted more than 1,200 trees, involving on the field, more or less 350 participants (families, local inhabitants from Los Mateos district, students, and Scout associations). Now the next step, and challenge, is about the maintenance. In the project idea the municipality have in charge the irrigation of the garden, but the maintenance of the trees will be made by the inhabitants of the Los Mateos district. To support this action, the local ULG, has provided the design of activities to give to the inhabitants the useful information to guarantee the maintenance of the trees and at the same time increase the urban quality of the area (castle and district).

    Different, but complementary, approach for the municipality of Piacenza that have decided to involve some high schools of the city in one of the first action of the future IAP: the evaluation of the state of repair of the former Pontieri workshop and the increase of the urban awareness. Two classes of Technical Institute for Surveyors and the College of Arts will be engaged in the mapping of each building and open space in the former military area, that now is property of the City Council, and in the development of videos narrating the former Pontieri workshop, introducing visions and inspiring ideas for the future use of the area. The outcomes of this action will be the bases, in terms of information, to drive the implementation of the IAP: the first, from the technical point of view, the second for the dissemination of the cultural and contemporary values expressed by the area.

    Urban Acupuncture to adapt urban development strategies

    Obviously, to be able to realize these ’small public projects’, involve a large audiences, and transmit a ’consistent message’, about the future reuse of the former military heritage, it means having a strong integration, within the public administrations, between the departments and the people, that work to achieve the final result, a consistent IAP. All the partners have strengthened ongoing plans or projects, developed by local administrations, integrating into these (or vice versa) the suggestions that emerged from the IAPs. Since the former military areas are an important element of the urban fabric for all the partner cities, it was impossible not to look at the local context (ongoing plans or projects) and to design a new independent vision, which would not be connected to the constellation of existing tools.

    For that reason the  ‘small public projects’, previously presented, are to be considered as having a snow ball effect that will drive the future IAPs and the integration with the other urban tools. Probably, if repeated over time, they will function as ‘urban acupunctures’. They will be useful for remembering that a part of the city is changing and that involving new urban actors and better developing co-design actions between all the stakeholders is a key success factor.

    From urbact
    Ref nid