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  • Hoe kunnen we voedselgerelateerde overgangskwesties weer op de agenda zetten?

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    22/02/2024

    De wereldwijde voedselsystemen veroorzaken ruwweg 1/3 van de uitstoot van broeikasgassen en de klimaatimpact van grote industrieën (bijv. vlees, zuivel) zet vraagtekens bij de duurzaamheid van onze eetgewoonten. Er worden nieuwe oplossingen overwogen om de overgang naar duurzamere agrovoedselsystemen te vergemakkelijken. Het ontsluiten van het potentieel van stadslandbouw en het opbouwen van gemeenschappen rond oplossingen voor biologische landbouw, stedelijke vergroening en biodiversiteit kunnen de transformatie van voedselpraktijken versnellen, zoals het URBACT Network Sustainable Food in Urban Communities duidelijk heeft aangetoond.

    In maart 2024 geven URBACT en het European Urban Initiative het startschot voor een reeks EU City Labs over lokale voedselsystemen. Op 21-22 maart staat Mouans-Sartoux in de schijnwerpers bij het eerste van drie in de reeks. Dit is hoe deze kleine Franse stad biologisch, lokaal geproduceerd voedsel heeft overgenomen en zich heeft ontpopt als een belangrijke speler in de stedelijke voedseltransitie en leider van twee URBACT Transfer Networks.

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    Wanneer in Mouans-Sartoux

    Om de verwezenlijkingen van Mouans-Sartoux op het gebied van voedingsbeleid beter te begrijpen, waarom nemen we geen kijkje in de lokale manier van leven? Tussen 2016 en 2022 evalueerde een studie gefinancierd door ADEME (Frans Agentschap voor Ecologische Transitie) de koolstofimpact in Mouans-Sartoux. Volgens de evaluatie vertegenwoordigt voedsel jaarlijks gemiddeld 2 ton kooldioxide-uitstoot per persoon in Frankrijk, terwijl dit in de stad slechts ongeveer 1,17 ton is. Bovendien is het aantal inwoners dat hun vleesconsumptie vermindert in minder dan 10 jaar gestegen tot 85%. Natuurlijk bestaat Mouans-Sartoux niet in een vacuüm. Andere Europese steden, waaronder Haarlem (NL), maken zich sterk voor wetgeving om vleesreclame te verbieden.

    Groepsdiscussie tijdens het A Table

    Groepsdiscussie tijdens het A Table ! Mouans-Sartoux Voedselforum. Bron: François Jégou.

     

    Visuele transcriptie

    In Frankrijk is Mouans-Sartoux een van de vier steden die 100% biologische maaltijden aanbieden in de kantines van openbare scholen, waar 1000 basisschoolkinderen elke dag eten. De helft van de maaltijden is strikt vegetarisch en bijna uitsluitend afkomstig van lokale producten. De gemeentelijke boerderij, op 700 meter van het stadscentrum, bevoorraadt de schoolkeukens en de drie gemeentelijke boeren oogsten 25 ton groenten per jaar. De steun van de gemeente voor de vestiging van jonge biologische producenten op gemeentegrond is een andere succesvolle maatregel die gepaard gaat met een algemene omarming van "zero food waste".

    De gemeente slaagde er ook in om het MEAD - Centrum voor Duurzame Voedseleducatie op te richten: de echte openbare voedseldienst van de stad. Het centrum zet zich politiek in voor eerlijke handel en ondersteunt de Positive Food Families Challenge.Zoals Valery Bousiges, een ouder van een basisschoolleerling, het verwoordde:"De vraag is niet wanneer er iets gebeurt rond voedsel in Mouans-Sartoux, maar wat er vandaag gebeurt."

    Tot slot bewijst het "permanente openbare activisme" van de stad zijn doeltreffendheid met de stadstuinen Citizen feeds the city. "Deze collectieve tuinen verbouwen groenten en fruit, maar bovenal zorgen ze voor socialisatie tussen de bewoners van de wijk", zegt Rob Hopkins tijdens een bezoek aan een van de zes tuinen van de vereniging, een project dat werd bedacht door het MEAD - Sustainable Food Education Centre en opgezet door de buurtbewoners.

    Twee URBACT netwerken staan op tegen biosceptici

    De "Mouans-Sartoux-benadering" werpt vruchten af, omdat ze voortbouwt op bewustwording en educatie op lange termijn voor een duurzame overgang. Maar deze overgang is geworteld in een gedragsverandering die, zelfs als erop geanticipeerd wordt, niet altijd snel of gemakkelijk is. In zijn boek L'Homnivore legt Claude Fischler uit dat we door het mechanisme van "voedselbelichaming" worden wat we eten. Dit geldt zowel fysiek als symbolisch, vandaar een verhoogde weerstand tegen elke verandering van dieet. Tenzij ons leven ervan afhangt, zoals dat ooit het geval was voor de eerste mensen, kunnen dieetveranderingen iemands identiteit in gevaar brengen.

    Zoals Andrea Lulovicovà, van Greniers d'Abondance, en Chantal Clément, van IPES FOOD, ons eraan herinneren, rust de voedseltransitie op drie kritieke pijlers: de landbouwtransitie, de verplaatsing van voedsel en de transformatie van voedselpraktijken. Het is niet genoeg om biologisch en lokaal voedsel te produceren als we onze manier van eten niet veranderen. 

    Het voorbeeld van Mouans-Sartoux en alle andere steden in voedseltransitie voldoet aan alle drie de voorwaarden. Dit is ook de reden waarom de pionierende stad werd klaargestoomd om twee URBACT-overdrachtsnetwerken te leiden die goede praktijken, overdrachtsmodules en verhalen over duurzame lokale voedselmodellen bevorderen. Bij BioCanteens (2018-2021) en BioCanteens#2 (2021-2022) waren de volgende partnersteden en -organisaties betrokken: Gavà (ES), LAG Pays des Condruses (BE), Luik (BE), Rosignano Marittimo (IT), Torres Vedras (PT), Trikala (EL), Troyan (BG), Vaslui (RO) en Wroclaw (PL).

    De overdrachtsnetwerken van BioCanteens URBACT hadden als doel voedselverspilling met 80% te verminderen, specifiek op het gebied van collectieve schoolcatering. Via deze netwerken heeft Mouans-Sartoux goede praktijken ontwikkeld en gedeeld voor een geïntegreerde lokale agrovoedingsaanpak, die zowel de gezondheid van de burgers als het milieu beschermt. Deze praktijken en nog veel meer zijn te vinden in de BioCanteens toolbox, die een projectieve oefening bevat over de voedselsoevereiniteit van elke stad en de toekomst van haar voedselproducerende land tegen 2040, naast een simulatiespel om een gemeentelijk voedselplatform te creëren, een poster met een plan voor voedselbestuur op meerdere niveaus en het Bio Sceptics kaartspel. Het kaartspel is bedoeld om de clichés die boeren, handelaren, consumenten, gemeentelijke diensten en anderen over biologisch voedsel hebben te ontkrachten.

    Deelnemers aan het A table ! Food Forum in Mouans-Sartoux (FR)

    Deelnemers aan het A table ! Food Forum in Mouans-Sartoux (FR) die het kaartspel Bio Sceptics spelen. Bron: François Jégou.

     

    Een belangrijk resultaat van de BioCanteens Netwerken was het "A Table ! Mouans-Sartoux Food Forum". Tussen 26 en 28 september 2022 bracht het forum meer dan 150 belanghebbenden uit 10 landen samen - waaronder 50 lokale overheden, meer dan 20 ngo's en officiële structuren die betrokken zijn bij de voedseltransitie.

    De centrale vraag van het evenement was: Hoe kunnen we steden in de voedseltransitie op nationaal en Europees niveau ondersteunen? Het is de moeite waard om opnieuw te luisteren naar een aantal stemmen van het forum, die meer stof tot nadenken geven:

    - Volgens Gilles Pérole, loco-burgemeester van Mouans-Sartoux, "druist het door de Europese Marktcode gewaarborgde vrije verkeer van goederen in tegen de herterritorialisering van voedsel en de ondersteuning van lokale landbouwomschakeling. We hebben een uitzondering nodig op deze Europese code voor voedselmarkten".

    - Voedselsoevereiniteit - het centrale thema van het Forum - betekent het terugwinnen van de mogelijkheid om te kiezen wat we op ons bord leggen. Fabrice Riem, advocaat en coördinator van het Lascaux Centrum voor Overgangen, presenteerde een interessante kijk op hoe je uitzonderingen kunt operationaliseren zonder de regels te overtreden.

    - Riem en Davide Arcadipane, van de stad Luik (BE) bespraken het proces van het verdelen van openbare aanbestedingen in meerdere percelen - om de toegang van schoolkantines tot benodigdheden van kleine lokale producenten te vergemakkelijken. Riem wees erop dat dit proces, dat inmiddels gemeengoed is geworden, een manier is om de Code Overheidsopdrachten om te buigen zonder deze te ondermijnen. Het opsplitsen van aanbestedingen in 300 tot 400 percelen, zoals de stad Dijon (FR) doet, vereist echter een personeelscapaciteit die kleine steden niet tot hun beschikking hebben.

    - Kevin Morgan, van de Universiteit van Cardiff, merkte op dat als steden "hun koopkracht tot uitdrukking willen brengen om een lokaal voedselsysteem tot stand te brengen", het mogelijk zou zijn om dit te doen met behulp van de huidige plattelandswetgeving en gebruik te maken van bestaande bevoegdheden van gemeenten. Tenminste in Frankrijk is dit de manier om territoriale verankering te garanderen, om een aanbesteding voor voedselvoorziening te ontwerpen die een bijdrage vereist aan de opbouw van het lokale voedselsysteem en die uiteindelijk in lijn zijn met een Territoriaal Voedselplan.

    - Op Europees niveau wijzen de verzamelde suggesties in dezelfde richting: het is van fundamenteel belang om een directe link te creëren tussen Europa en de steden die in staat zijn om een lokaal landbouwweefsel van hoge kwaliteit op te bouwen. Vooral op het vlak van directe financiering voor publieke landbouwproductie, zoals bijvoorbeeld de mogelijke creatie van "urban leader" of "inter-rural urban leader" projecten.

    - Al deze ideeën vertegenwoordigden op een praktische en operationele manier de principes van Carlo Petrini, de oprichter van de Slow Food-beweging: voedsel consumeren is veel meer dan alleen eten, het is een agrarische handeling. Evenzo is het produceren en kopen van voedsel niet simpelweg het bevoorraden van de kantines van de stad, het betekent het opbouwen van een samenhangend lokaal territoriaal voedselsysteem.

     

    Terug naar het lab

    EU City Lab Mouans-Sartoux

    Nu zal Mouans-Sartoux gastheer zijn voor het EU City Lab on Local Food Systems #1 op 21-22 maart 2024. De agenda is al online beschikbaar en inschrijven kan tot 7 maart! Dit wordt een unieke kans om meer te leren over goede praktijken op het gebied van collectieve schoolcatering, de URBACT BioCanteens en Biocanteens#2 Transfer Networks van dichterbij te bekijken en te bespreken hoe lokale projecten meer gezonde, duurzame voedselgewoonten onder burgers in verschillende landen en regio's kunnen stimuleren.

    Wilt u meer weten over het werk dat URBACT-steden in het verleden hebben verricht om duurzame lokale voedselsystemen op te bouwen? Voor een diepgaande duik in Moans-Sartoux en andere stedelijke agrovoedingspraktijken is er veel materiaal te vinden op de URBACT Knowledge Hub - Voedsel en duurzame lokale systemen

    Nog een lab gepland voor Luik in mei

    Het tweede Lab over lokale voedselsystemen vindt plaats in Luik op 29 en 30 mei.. Dit Lab zal meer specifiek focussen op overheidsopdrachten als hefboom voor duurzame landbouw en voeding, maar noteer alvast de datum.

     

    Disclaimer: Dit artikel is een update van een publicatie van François Jégou van 08/11/2022

     

  • Comment remettre les questions de transition liées à l'alimentation à l’agenda ?

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    22/02/2024

    Les systèmes alimentaires mondiaux sont à l'origine d'environ un tiers des émissions de gaz à effet de serre, et l'impact sur le climat des principales industries (viande, produits laitiers, etc.) remet en question la durabilité de nos habitudes alimentaires. De nouvelles solutions sont envisagées pour faciliter la transition vers des systèmes agroalimentaires plus durables. Libérer le potentiel de l'agriculture urbaine et construire des communautés autour de solutions pour l'agriculture biologique, le verdissement des villes et la biodiversité peut accélérer la transformation des pratiques alimentaires, comme l'a clairement montré le réseau URBACT "Sustainable Food in Urban Communities" (Alimentation durable dans les communautés urbaines).

    En mars 2024, URBACT et European Urban Initiative donneront le coup d'envoi d'une série de City Labs de l'UE sur les systèmes alimentaires locaux. Les 21 et 22 mars, le premier des trois laboratoires sera consacré à Mouans-Sartoux. Voici comment cette petite ville française s'est lancée dans l'alimentation biologique et locale et est devenue un acteur majeur de la transition alimentaire urbaine et le chef de file de deux réseaux de transfert URBACT.

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    Quand à Mouans-Sartoux

    Pour mieux comprendre les réalisations de Mouans-Sartoux en matière de politique alimentaire, pourquoi ne pas s'intéresser au mode de vie local ? Entre 2016 et 2022, une étude financée par l'ADEME (Agence française pour la transition écologique) a évalué l'impact carbone à Mouans-Sartoux. Selon cette évaluation, alors que l'alimentation représente en moyenne annuelle 2 tonnes d'émissions de dioxyde de carbone par personne en France, elle n'est que d'environ 1,17 tonne dans la ville. Le nombre d'habitants réduisant leur consommation de viande est passé à 85 % en moins de 10 ans. Bien entendu, Mouans-Sartoux n'est pas isolée. D'autres villes européennes, dont Haarlem (NL), proposent une législation visant à interdire les publicités pour la viande.

     

    Discussion de groupe lors du forum A Table ! Mouans-Sartoux. Source : François Jégou : François Jégou.

    Discussion de groupe lors du forum A Table

    Transcription visuelle

    En France, Mouans-Sartoux est l'une des quatre villes à proposer des repas 100 % biologiques dans les cantines des écoles publiques, où 1 000 enfants de l'enseignement primaire mangent chaque jour. La moitié des repas sont strictement végétariens et presque exclusivement d'origine locale. Par ailleurs, la ferme municipale, située à 700 mètres du centre-ville, approvisionne les cuisines des écoles, et les trois agriculteurs municipaux récoltent 25 tonnes de légumes par an. Le soutien de la municipalité à l'installation de jeunes producteurs biologiques sur les terres communales représente une autre mesure fructueuse, qui accompagne l'adoption générale du principe du "zéro gaspillage alimentaire".

    La municipalité a également réussi à créer le MEAD - Centre d'éducation à l'alimentation durable : le véritable service public alimentaire de la ville. Le centre est politiquement engagé dans le commerce équitable et soutient le défi des familles à alimentation positive.Comme le dit Valery Bousiges, parent d'un élève de l'école primaire, "la question n'est pas de savoir quand quelque chose va se passer :"La question n'est pas de savoir quand il se passe quelque chose sur l'alimentation à Mouans-Sartoux, mais ce qu'il se passe aujourd'hui".

    Enfin, l"'activisme public permanent" de la ville prouve son efficacité avec les jardins urbains Citizen feeds the city. "Ces jardins collectifs produisent des légumes et des fruits, mais surtout de la socialisation entre les habitants du quartier", explique Rob Hopkins lors de la visite de l'un des six jardins de l'association, un projet conçu par le MEAD - Sustainable Food Education Centre et mis en place par les habitants du quartier.

    Deux Réseaux URBACT s'opposent aux bio-sceptiques

    L'"approche Mouans-Sartoux" porte ses fruits, car elle s'appuie sur une sensibilisation et une éducation à long terme pour une transition durable. Or, cette transition passe par un changement de comportement qui, même s'il est anticipé, n'est pas toujours rapide ni facile. Dans son livre L'Homnivore, Claude Fischler explique que, par le mécanisme de "l'incarnation alimentaire", nous devenons ce que nous mangeons. Cela s'applique aussi bien physiquement que symboliquement, d'où une résistance accrue à tout changement de régime. À moins que notre vie n'en dépende, comme ce fut le cas pour les premiers hommes, les changements alimentaires peuvent menacer l'identité de chacun.

    Comme le rappellent Andrea Lulovicovà, des Greniers d'Abondance, et Chantal Clément, d'IPES FOOD, la transition alimentaire repose sur trois piliers essentiels : la transition agricole, la relocalisation de l'alimentation et la transformation des pratiques alimentaires. Il ne suffit pas de produire des aliments biologiques et locaux si nous ne changeons pas notre façon de manger. 

    L'exemple de Mouans-Sartoux et de toutes les autres villes en transition alimentaire répond à ces trois critères. C'est également la raison pour laquelle la ville pionnière était prête à diriger deux réseaux de transfert URBACT faisant progresser les bonnes pratiques, les modules de transfert et les histoires sur les modèles alimentaires locaux durables. BioCanteens (2018-2021) et BioCanteens#2 (2021-2022) ont impliqué les villes et organisations partenaires suivantes : Gavà (ES), LAG Pays des Condruses (BE), Liège (BE), Rosignano Marittimo (IT), Torres Vedras (PT), Trikala (EL), Troyan (BG), Vaslui (RO) et Wroclaw (PL).

    Fidèles à leur nom, les Réseaux de Transfert BioCanteens URBACT avaient pour objectif de réduire de 80% le gaspillage alimentaire, notamment dans le domaine de la restauration collective scolaire. Grâce à ces réseaux, Mouans-Sartoux a conçu et partagé des bonnes pratiques pour une approche agroalimentaire locale intégrée, protégeant à la fois la santé des citoyens et l'environnement. Ces pratiques, et bien d'autres, se trouvent dans la boîte à outils BioCanteens, qui comprend un exercice projectif sur la souveraineté alimentaire de chaque ville et l'avenir de ses terres vivrières à l'horizon 2040, ainsi qu'un jeu de simulation pour créer une plateforme alimentaire municipale, un poster présentant un plan de gouvernance alimentaire à plusieurs niveaux et le jeu de cartes Bio Sceptiques. Le jeu de cartes vise à démonter les clichés associés à l'alimentation biologique, entendus par les agriculteurs, les commerçants, les consommateurs, les services municipaux, etc.

    Les participants du forum A table

    Les participants du forum A table ! Food Forum à Mouans-Sartoux (FR) jouant au jeu de cartes Bio Sceptics. Source : François Jégou : François Jégou.

    L'un des principaux résultats des réseaux BioCanteens a été le forum alimentaire "A Table ! Mouans-Sartoux Food Forum". Du 26 au 28 septembre 2022, le Forum a rassemblé plus de 150 acteurs de 10 pays, dont 50 autorités locales, plus de 20 ONG et des structures officielles impliquées dans la transition alimentaire.

    La question centrale de l'événement était la suivante : Comment soutenir les villes dans la transition alimentaire au niveau national et européen ? Il vaut la peine de réécouter certaines voix du forum, qui donnent davantage matière à réflexion :

    - Selon Gilles Pérole, député-maire de Mouans-Sartoux, "la libre circulation des marchandises garantie par le Code des marchés européens va à l'encontre de la reterritorialisation de l'alimentation et du soutien à la transition agricole locale. Il faut une exception à ce Code européen des marchés alimentaires".

    - La souveraineté alimentaire, thème central du Forum, consiste à retrouver la capacité de choisir ce que nous mettons dans nos assiettes. Fabrice Riem, avocat et coordinateur du Centre Lascaux sur les transitions, a présenté un point de vue intéressant sur la manière de rendre les exceptions opérationnelles, sans enfreindre les règles.

    - Riem et Davide Arcadipane, de la ville de Liège (BE), ont discuté du processus de division des appels d'offres publics en lots multiples - afin de faciliter l'accès des cantines scolaires aux fournitures provenant de petits producteurs locaux. M. Riem a souligné que ce procédé, désormais courant, constitue un moyen d'assouplir le Code des marchés publics sans le remettre en cause. Cela dit, le fractionnement des appels d'offres en 300 à 400 lots, tel que pratiqué par la ville de Dijon (FR), nécessite des capacités en ressources humaines dont les petites villes ne disposent pas et, par conséquent, une première distinction doit être faite en fonction de la taille des différentes villes.

    - Kevin Morgan, de l'Université de Cardiff, a noté que si les villes veulent "exprimer leur pouvoir d'achat pour mettre en place un système alimentaire local", il serait possible de le faire en utilisant les lois rurales actuelles et en s'emparant des compétences existantes des municipalités. Au moins en France, c'est la façon d'assurer l'ancrage territorial, de concevoir un appel d'offres pour la fourniture de denrées alimentaires qui exige une contribution à la construction du système alimentaire local et qui, en fin de compte, est conforme à un plan alimentaire territorial.

    - Au niveau européen, les suggestions recueillies vont dans le même sens : il est fondamental de créer un lien direct entre l'Europe et les villes capables de reconstruire un tissu agricole local de qualité. Notamment en termes de financement direct de la production agricole publique, comme par exemple la création potentielle de projets "leaders urbains" ou "leaders urbains inter-ruraux".

    - Toutes ces idées représentaient, de manière pratique et opérationnelle, les principes énoncés par Carlo Petrini, le fondateur du mouvement Slow Food : consommer de la nourriture est bien plus qu'un simple repas, c'est un acte agricole. De même, produire et acheter des aliments ne se limite pas à approvisionner les cantines de la ville, il s'agit de construire un système alimentaire territorial local cohérent.

     

    Retour au laboratoire

    EU City Lab

    Mouans-Sartoux accueillera le EU City Lab sur les systèmes alimentaires locaux #1 les 21 et 22 mars 2024. L'agenda est déjà disponible en ligne et les inscriptions sont ouvertes jusqu'au 7 mars ! Ce sera une occasion unique d'en apprendre davantage sur les bonnes pratiques dans le domaine de la restauration scolaire collective, d'examiner de plus près les réseaux de transfert URBACT BioCanteens et Biocanteens#2 et de discuter de la façon dont les projets locaux peuvent stimuler des habitudes alimentaires plus saines et durables parmi les citoyens à travers différents pays et régions.

    Souhaitez-vous en savoir plus sur le travail passé des villes URBACT en matière de création de systèmes alimentaires locaux durables ? Pour approfondir les pratiques agroalimentaires de Moans-Sartoux et d'autres villes, vous trouverez de nombreux documents sur le URBACT Knowledge Hub - Alimentation et systèmes locaux durables

     

    Un autre laboratoire prévu à Liège en mai

    Le deuxième Lab sur les systèmes alimentaires locaux est prévu à Liège les 29 et 30 mai. Celui-ci portera plus spécifiquement sur les marchés publics comme levier de l'agriculture et de l'alimentation durables, mais notez bien la date.

     

    Disclaimer : Cet article est une mise à jour d'une publication de François Jégou du 08/11/2022.

  • Sipping coffee in Sligo: How a commitment to community and attention to detail turned things around for downtown—one cup at a time

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    Members of the Cities@Heart network
    06/12/2023
    07/12/2023


    The year is 2013 and few residents of Sligo, Ireland have heard of a BID, or Business Improvement District. Stakeholders in the local commerce sector operated independently and seldomly in cooperation with the County Council. Fast forward to December 6, 2023 when a group of 26 individuals from ten different countries all over Europe touched down in Sligo to glean best practices for city centre management. Sligo’s remarkable success story provided a fitting backdrop for the first transnational meeting of the Cities@Heart URBACT Action Planning Network.

    Ongoing

    Members of the Cities@Heart network and meeting attendees

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    Formed in 2023 and piloted by the Greater Paris Metropolis as Lead Partner, the network Cities@Heart brings together 10 different local governments working to create tools for the improvement of city centres. The first network-wide gathering since the URBACT IV launch in 2023, this transnational meeting was a new step in the network journey, an opportunity to exchange and to observe the policies of host partner Sligo County Council and Sligo Business Improvement District. Following 10 different Baseline Study Visits conducted by Lead Expert Mar Santamaria Varas, this meeting also represents the network’s shift from the preparatory to activation phase.

    Network Map

    Meeting in the Land of Heart's Desire

    The first transnational meeting provided project partners the opportunity to obtain feedback on their baseline study visit in the form of the presentation of an overarching methodology to ground the study and set the course for the following two years of inter-european collaboration.

    To kick off the first morning of workshops, participants shared their experiences in the realm of public-private partnership. In Portugal, the budgetary risks taken to build one of the most ambitious road networks in Europe, both per capita and in area, led to some citizens being distrustful of the public-private paradigm. In Krakow (PL), the city approached the Wesoła District’s revitalization with workshops on prototyping solutions for shared spaces to build a sense of community and responsibility for its development among citizens. In Celje (SI), a vacant storefront was left to the use of local stakeholders, providing a successful brick-and-mortar testing ground for new ideas or projects. Back in Sligo, the public-private partnership has proved to be fruitful: the business perspective encourages an objective data-driven approach and the public sector can intervene to implement holistic policy improvements.

    Project partners participating in a morning workshop

    If we can make it in the city centre, we can make it anywhere

    A city centre is a microcosm of social functions and represents the most intricate iteration of urban complexity. While each project partner experiences their city centre in a different way, the network Baseline Study represents the structure of all city centers using a matrix contrasting 7 challenges with 5 indicators.

    From metropolises like Greater Paris (FR) or Krakow (PL)  to smaller cities like Fleurus (BE), for each partner, the diverse challenges may be more or less acute depending on the local context and the means available. Indeed, an imbalance in one of these topics or challenges can greatly aggravate the local context in the city centre, as evinced by the diagrams below.

    Network tool

    To showcase Sligo’s strengths and best practices, the meeting focused on the management of data and local commerce in the city centre. Sligo is a lovely town nestled in a blustery corner of northwest Ireland, minutes from the Atlantic Coast and known for being a literary “land of heart’s desire” with poet W.B. Yeats as a native son. Yet, none of these attributes bring to mind words like “innovation” or “world renowned”. Public policy in Ireland is centralised in Dublin and towns “west of the Shannon” are considered out of the purview of the national stage. In fact, Sligo had historically been “left behind” by urban development schemes deployed elsewhere in the Republic of Ireland.

    Urban solutions with a human approach

    This brings us back to the coffee anecdote… After living and working abroad in the U.S.A. and Australia, Sligo native Gail McGibbon decided to return home. In order to start what would become Ireland’s fourth BID, Gail McGibbon went to work in a seemingly slow way: meeting for a cup of coffee with likely every single business owner in the town, having no other overt objective than sharing a chat. In her seminal work, The Death and LIfe of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs posits, “there must be eyes upon the street, eyes belonging to those we might call the natural proprietors of the street." While this declaration has taken on a “big brother” connotation since the book’s publication in 1961, the principle rings just as true today. In every city centre, there is a need to be aware of what is happening in the street and with our neighbors or shopkeepers to make sure all are safe and provided for. Indeed, neighborliness proved to be the perfect ingredient to kick-starting the town’s transformation.

    As Chief Executive Officer Martin Lydon explained, in a post-pandemic society, Sligo is leveraging cultural shifts to become a destination for young professionals, students and families seeking proximity to nature and a high level of services. Looking to attract a pool of potential inhabitants keen on finding property in the more affordable western coast of the country, Sligo has invested in a place branding campaign, infrastructure to increase connectivity and the tourism sector, inaugurating their National Surf Centre and a network of cycle paths.

    Turning the local economy around

    Now in 2023, the Sligo BID is healthy and counts 758 members. The BID and Sligo County have worked together tirelessly to introduce innovative measures for data collection, property management, tourism policy and event nightlife. Sligo has developed a Welcome Ambassador Programme, won the Purple Flag Award for night time economy, the label of Coach Friendly Destination and continues to attract international visitors curious about the town’s policies. In the end, Sligo’s shortcomings would eventually become strengths. The lack of urban sprawl meant that the town and county could promote closeness to nature and life at a human scale. The local counter-culture turned out to be a good thing for the health of the town’s high street district.

    Project partners visit the city centre


    The human-ness at the origins of Sligo’s strategy is well reflected in the national Irish Town Centre First strategy which is based at the LGMA and places pragmatism and open dialogue at the forefront. One of the measuring tools of the programme, the Town Centre Health Check Programme, is a public document that serves as an objective evaluation of the town’s progress in implementing best practices. National Coordinator Mairead Hunt presented the country’s policy at the transnational meeting in Sligo and highlighted three core principles: understanding the place, defining the place and enabling the place. The national meeting of Town Regeneration Officers shies away from speeches by elected officials and focuses on peer-to-peer learning.

    Soft approach, hard data

    And yet, Sligo’s strategy didn’t stop at a friendly chat. The county and BID got to work monitoring, measuring and adapting their strategies. Brían Flynn, Town Regeneration Officer, presented the town’s creative use of data in developing their policies. In 2023 the Irish business platform GeoDirectory released data on commercial vacancy in the country. At 25.4%, the rate in Sligo was listed as the highest in the country. In order to curb the negative press and further investigate the truth behind this report which seemed incomplete to local officials, the town decided to collect its own data in the form of a comprehensive land-use policy survey. The study is still being carried out but the town has already gained valuable knowledge on the vacancy profile of downtown property and 16 landowners have discovered the national Croí Conaithe scheme for refurbishment of vacant buildings.

    Brían Flynn presents Sligo’s data policies

    In turn, after witnessing Sligo policies first-hand through a series of site-specific visits and presentations, the network conducted a workshop on the subject of information gathering to address issues all along the chain of data management: identifying data sources, collecting data and data governance. While obtaining data can be simpler than expected, data-driven policy requires vision and advanced planning in order to identify independent sources of information and a successful, manageable tool for translating data into actionable proposals for city improvement.

    Network partners enjoy a performance of traditional Irish music at the Tourism Bureau

    An inaugural meeting for the network and for new URBACT participant Sligo, the event was opened by Cllr. Gerard Mullaney, Cathaoirleach of Sligo County Council and attended by Irish National URBACT Point Karl Murphy and Kristijan Radojčić of the URBACT Secretariat. The meeting was drawn to a close with a hike to glimpse the breathtaking vistas at the summit of the Knocknarea rock formation, providing a bird’s eye view of the Atlantic coast and the Sligo town centre.

    Network partners hike the Knocknarea rock formation

    With one meeting completed and the new year well on its way, the URBACT Cities@Heart network has three transnational meetings planned in Granada (ES), with the Quadrilatero Urbano Association (PT) and in Cesena (IT). Ensuing transnational meetings and those of Urban Local Groups (ULGs) will allow the network to share learnings and experiment small-scale actions over the next year.

    Network members :

    • The Greater Paris Metropolis, France
    • The City of Cesena, Italy
    • The City of Granada, Spain
    • The City of Osijek, Croatia
    • Amfiktyonies, a business development organization representing the City of Lamia, Greece
    • The City of Celje, Slovenia
    • The City of Fleurus, Belgium
    • The City of Sligo, Ireland
    • The Krakow Metropolis Association, Poland
    • The Quadrilátero Urbano Association, Portugal

     

     

  • EU City Lab on Public Procurement for More Local, Seasonal and Sustainable Food

    Join us in Liège to learn how public procurement can become a leverage for more sustainable local food systems! 


    The EU City Lab on Local Food Systems #2 is a knowledge-sharing event co organised by URBACT and the European Urban Initiative (EUI), with support from the host municipality of Liège (Belgium). It will take place from 29 to 30 May 2024. 


    The event will focus on Public Procurement for More Local, Seasonal and Sustainable Food. Through discussions and knowledge-sharing, thematic sessions, “walkshops” and group activities, the event aims to explore how public procurement can become a leverage for the sustainability transition of local food systems in European cities. 

     


    This City Lab is a unique opportunity to:

     

    __Find out how Liège succeeded in learning from peer cities and adopting new Good Practices in the field of collective school catering, as part of the URBACT BioCanteens#2 Transfer Network

     

    __Discover the approaches experimented by other EU cities to foster public procurement as a leverage of sustainability in local food systems.

     

    __Visit sites in Liège and exchange with locals about citywide food sustainability, citizen engagement actions and learning communities

     

    __Improve your understanding of the EU landscape around local food systems

     

    __Bring back home inspiring lessons and concrete tools to spur transformation in your city


    The event will gather city representatives and urban policy experts from across Europe working on the green transition of local food systems.  


    Register now to join them in Liège!

     

    … and stay tuned for the event’s programme and more practical information to prepare your participation. 

     

     

    The Liège event is the second in a series of three EU City Labs on Local Food Systems:


    __The EU City Lab #1 on Changing Habits for a Healthy and Sustainable Food System will take place in Mouans-Sartoux, France, on 21-22 March 2024.

     

    __The place and date of the next EU City Lab #3 on the Sustainable Land Use for Agri-food will be announced soon.
     

    Belgium

     

    Join [u]s for the EU City Lab on Local Food Systems #2 by URBACT and European Urban Initiative!

    URBACT Programme
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  • 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.
    08/02/2024

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

    Articles

    European Union flags at the European Commission Berlaymont building.

    From urbact
    On

    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 perspective.brussels (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
    19/01/2024

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

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

     

    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. 

     

    Culture/heritage

     

    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!


     

     

     

     

  • Meld je aan voor de oproep voor Innovatie-overdrachtsnetwerken van 10 januari tot 20 maart 2024!

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    12/01/2024

    URBACT lanceerde op 10 januari 2024 een oproep voor Innovation Transfer Networks, een uitgelezen kans voor Europese steden om een innovatief project dat is voltooid in het kader van Urban Innovative Actions over te dragen en aan te passen aan hun lokale context.

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    Ontdek alle informatie over de oproep - de taakomschrijving, de potentiële hoofdpartnersteden en de projectideeën die moeten worden overgedragen, evenals de data van de informatiesessies op Europees en nationaal niveau op urbact.eu/get-involved 

    Het nationale contactpunt van URBACT organiseert op 8 februari in Brussel een informatiesessie om alles te weten te komen wat je moet weten over deze oproep tot het indienen van voorstellen.

    Bekijk ondertussen de infographic om meer te weten te komen over de Innovation Transfer Networks en de mogelijkheden die ze bieden!

    ITN infographics

     

  • Candidatez pour rejoindre un réseau de transfert d'innovation du 10 janvier au 20 mars 2024 !

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    12/01/2024

    URBACT lance un appel à candidature pour des réseaux de transfert d'innovation le 10 janvier 2024. Une opportunité exceptionnelle pour les villes européennes de transférer et d'adapter à leur contexte local un projet innovant réalisé dans le cadre des Actions Innovatrices Urbaines.

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    Découvrez toutes les informations relatives à l'appel - les termes de référence, les villes partenaires potentielles et les idées de projet à transférer, ainsi que les dates des sessions d'information au niveau européen et national sur urbact.eu/get-involved  

    Pour connaître toutes les informations sur cet appel à candidatures, le point de contact national URBACT organise une session d’information le 8 février prochain à Bruxelles.

    En attendant, jetez un coup d'œil à l'infographie pour en savoir plus sur les réseaux de transfert d'innovation et les possibilités qu'ils offrent !

    ITN infographics

     

  • CALICO

    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)
    1241175
    0
    Are you a candidate Lead Partner looking for partners
    Yes
    Are you a potential Partner looking for a Lead Partner
    Yes
    Your job title
    Project Manager
    Institution website
    https://be.brussels/en
    Housing
    New model for community-based care homes
  • A Place to Be-Come

    A Place to Be-Come was an innovative and participatory project to revitalise public spaces in the centre of Seraing (Belgium) for the benefit of everyone, thus combatting social exclusion and isolation.

     

    In this context, several actions were carried out at the neighbourhood level. Local workers were hired and trained in the management of green spaces, to make these spaces more pleasant for citizens and to bring more biodiversity into the heart of the city. The project team also trained interested citizens and municipal agents in these new techniques, which use nature as an ally.

     

    The project aimed not only to reinvent, but also to reinvest in these spaces. Residents were invited to invest in new meeting places and creativity in the heart of the neighbourhood, in order to develop civic or economic projects and contribute to revitalising their neighbourhood. This axis would be chosen for the transfer network.

     

    Finally, the project team also proposed to make existing services more visible to citizens, using a mobile app and a website to centralise this information and facilitate access to it. 

     

    What SOLUTIONS did the Urban Innovative Action project offer?

     

    1. Nature-based trainings to address the lack of knowledge of managing new green spaces, including native species and the preservation of biodiversity. 

     

    2. Development of soft skills for the design of parks and other public areas. An alternative approach is proposed to reduce anti-social behaviour. A comprehensive psychosocial diagnostic of the neighbourhood was conducted in parallel to an inclusive urban planning process to design innovative urban developments. 

     

    3. The creation of places for socialisation in neighbourhoods requiring an increase in social cohesion and the empowerment of the people frequenting these places. This dynamic was first tested in a temporary location, and then transposed and improved in the final location: the Maison du Peuple. 


    What DIFFERENCE has it made at local level?

     

    The project proposed transversal solutions, both at the level of stakeholders and sectors of activity, within a multidisciplinary approach. All links in the chain were involved, from strategic designers to operators and final users. As this was an experimental approach, the project team learned from mistakes and adapted iteratively to increase the impact on the ground and on people.

     

    Following this experience, several stakeholders having gained experience, embarked on new ambitious projects. Several diagnostics and various research actions were implemented to measure impact and to obtain feedback along the way, helping to adapt the solutions to current and verified needs. This research notably dealt with citizen participation, psychological ownership of public spaces, and the identification of missing links in supporting vulnerable populations. All the results are available on the project wiki (https://aplacetobe-come.enpoche.be/aplacetobe-come/contenu/wiki). 

     


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

     

    One of the key objectives in the project was to engage local communities, stakeholders, and residents in decision-making processes related to urban planning and development. This included methods such as community workshops, town hall meetings, surveys, focus groups, and collaborative design sessions. For example, nature workshops for citizens and associations have been organised to further integrate nature into the heart of the city. Simultaneously, residents have been invited to invest in new meeting and creativity spaces in their neighbourhoods to develop citizen or economic projects, contributing to the revitalisation of their area.

     

    Regarding the "People's house" of Seraing, the goal is to establish a dynamic where it is no longer the institutions but rather civil society that becomes the driving force. The city's institutions are present solely as technical managers to facilitate cohesion between various projects from both citizen and economic entities.

     

    The challenge the city aims to address with this project is to foster the emergence of autonomous governance and management for the space and the projects. This grassroots involvement is integral to the success of these programmes, fostering a sense of ownership and engagement among residents. 


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


    The project epitomises integrated urban development, by concurrently tackling economic, social, and environmental dimensions. With a holistic approach, these initiatives actively involve the community in decision-making, promoting inclusive economic strategies, social cohesion, and environmental sustainability. Collaboration among diverse stakeholders, including local government, community groups, academia, and businesses, is a key emphasis. Continuous monitoring and evaluation processes enable adaptive responses to challenges. These programmes acknowledge the interdependence of urban issues and strive for resilient and sustainable development, enhancing the overall well-being of Seraing and its residents.

     

    City-parks are a great example of this approach, as they have been reimagined to make them more accessible and pleasant for citizens, as well as to encourage more biodiversity into the heart of the city. To achieve this, public reflection and design workshops were held in spaces provided by the city, facilitating the reappropriation of these communal places by the citizens. 


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

     

    Our model establishes a deep connection between citizens and their surrounding environment, whether it's biodiversity, collaborative opportunities through dedicated and purposeful places and spaces provided by the city, or the ability for them to design, iterate, and develop new forms of sustainable and viable activities together.

     

    This methodological approach aims to foster residents' empowerment by instilling a sense of ownership, which is vital for the success and enduring impact of any public project. Here, civil society takes the lead in adapting and developing solutions for their own urban challenges, with continuous support, monitoring, and evaluation from the city. 

    The transfer network would focus on transfer towards places of socialisation (the places to be renovated in the project which perpetuate the dynamics of this project) and reappropriation of their neighbourhoods by the residents.

    Julien Brebonne
    AREBS (Association for the Economic Redeployment of the Seresian Basin / Agence pour le redéploiement économique du bassin Sérésien)
    64000
    0
    Are you a candidate Lead Partner looking for partners
    Yes
    Are you a potential Partner looking for a Lead Partner
    Yes
    Your job title
    Chef de projet
    Institution website
    https://www.seraing.be/
    Urban poverty
    Improved social inclusion by enhancing public spaces through local skills development