Country
Geolocation
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  • Gen-Y City

    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

    Timeline

    Kick-off meeting in June (Torun). Transnational meeting in September (Wolverhampton) about 'Making the case for investment in creative-tech talent' and 'How to make best use of Labour Market Information'. Transnational meeting and The role of culture.
    'Transnational meeting about 'Smart Specialisation, Tech Hubs and Civic Tech Initiatives' transnational meeting in March (Coimbra); in July (Bologna) about 'Creative - Tech Talent Ecosystem Frameworks'.
    City Development Forum in January (Poznan). Final event in April (Poznan).

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

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Udine (Italy)

    CONTACT US

    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email: DMC@Barnsley.gov.uk

    Keep following our social media channels as we develop Tech Revolution 2.0 as part of the second wave of URBACT ||| Programme. 

    Follow our Twitter: @Tech_RevEu
    Follow our Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/urbact-techrevolution/

    CONTACT US

    Coordinator

    ADDRESS

    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora

    Portugal 

    TELEPHONE

    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801

    CONTACT US

    City of Rome

    tamara.lucarelli@comune.roma.it

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

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

     

    CONTACT US

    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

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

    CONTACT US

    urbact.civicestate@gmail.com

    CONTACT US

    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Piraeus

    CONTACT US

    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

    CONTACT US

    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029

     

    CONTACT US

    Riga NGO House

    CONTACT US

    City of Antwarp
    Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen

    Manchester City Council
    Manchester M2 5RT

    City of Rotterdam
    Coolsingel 40, 3011 AD Rotterdam

    City Council Bielefeld
    Bürger Service Center
    Phone +49 521 510

    CONTACT US

    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

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

    CONTACT US

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

    CONTACT US

    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

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

    CONTACT US

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

    CONTACT US

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

    CONTACT US

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

    CONTACT US

    Preston City Council
    Town Hall, Preston, PR1 2RL

    City of Piacenza
    piazza Cavalli 2 - 29121 Piacenza - Italia
    tel centralino 
    Phone +39 0523 492 111 

    City of Bilbao
    Plaza Ernesto Erkoreka nº1. 48007 Bilbao. Phone +32 944 204 200 

    City of Poznan
    plac Kolegiacki 17,
    61-841 Poznań

    CONTACT US

    Over the last decades, younger people have increasingly chosen to live in urban areas, whilst the share of older residents in cities has generally fallen. Nevertheless, the impact of wage levels and different unemployment rates across Europe has lead youngsters to move mainly to big cities. In this, sense this Action Planning network aimed on developing, attracting and retaining young local talent, particularly, the creative talent from the Generation Y - people who were born between 1980 and 2000 - within cities of all sizes.

    Developing, attracting and retaining young local talent
    Ref nid
    7439
  • 2nd Chance

    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

    Timeline

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

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

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Udine (Italy)

    CONTACT US

    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email: DMC@Barnsley.gov.uk

    Keep following our social media channels as we develop Tech Revolution 2.0 as part of the second wave of URBACT ||| Programme. 

    Follow our Twitter: @Tech_RevEu
    Follow our Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/urbact-techrevolution/

    CONTACT US

    Coordinator

    ADDRESS

    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora

    Portugal 

    TELEPHONE

    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801

    CONTACT US

    City of Rome

    tamara.lucarelli@comune.roma.it

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

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

     

    CONTACT US

    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

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

    CONTACT US

    urbact.civicestate@gmail.com

    CONTACT US

    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Piraeus

    CONTACT US

    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

    CONTACT US

    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029

     

    CONTACT US

    Riga NGO House

    CONTACT US

    City of Antwarp
    Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen

    Manchester City Council
    Manchester M2 5RT

    City of Rotterdam
    Coolsingel 40, 3011 AD Rotterdam

    City Council Bielefeld
    Bürger Service Center
    Phone +49 521 510

    CONTACT US

    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

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

    CONTACT US

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

    CONTACT US

    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

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

    CONTACT US

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

    CONTACT US

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

    CONTACT US

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

    Revitalisation of the sleeping giants
    Ref nid
    7457
  • INTERACTIVE CITIES

    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

    Timeline

    Kick-off meeting in September (Alba Iulia).
    Transnational meetings in February (Lisbon), June (Tartu) and October (Ghent).
    Transnational meeting in January (Murcia). Final event in April (Genoa).

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

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Udine (Italy)

    CONTACT US

    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email: DMC@Barnsley.gov.uk

    Keep following our social media channels as we develop Tech Revolution 2.0 as part of the second wave of URBACT ||| Programme. 

    Follow our Twitter: @Tech_RevEu
    Follow our Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/urbact-techrevolution/

    CONTACT US

    Coordinator

    ADDRESS

    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora

    Portugal 

    TELEPHONE

    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801

    CONTACT US

    City of Rome

    tamara.lucarelli@comune.roma.it

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

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

     

    CONTACT US

    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

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

    CONTACT US

    urbact.civicestate@gmail.com

    CONTACT US

    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Piraeus

    CONTACT US

    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

    CONTACT US

    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029

     

    CONTACT US

    Riga NGO House

    CONTACT US

    City of Antwarp
    Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen

    Manchester City Council
    Manchester M2 5RT

    City of Rotterdam
    Coolsingel 40, 3011 AD Rotterdam

    City Council Bielefeld
    Bürger Service Center
    Phone +49 521 510

    CONTACT US

    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

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

    CONTACT US

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

    CONTACT US

    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

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

    CONTACT US

    This Action Planning network explored how digital, social media and user generated content can improve today’s urban management in European cities, whatever size. This challenge has been tackled in two ways: as an opportunity to redefine and deepen the concept of citizenship and civic engagement today, providing a path to spark cohesion, commonalities and shared value as well as increasing sense of place. As well as a way to improve the quality of public services, in terms of efficiency and transparency, and even widen the current service chart provided by local authorities.

    Digital, social media and user-generated content improving urban governance
    Ref nid
    7465
  • Tourism Friendly Cities

    Summary

    Lead Partner : Genoa - Italy
    • Braga - Portugal
    • Cáceres - Spain
    • Druskininkai - Lithuania
    • Dubrovnik - Croatia
    • Dún Laoghaire Rathdown - Ireland
    • Krakow - Poland
    • Rovaniemi - Finland
    • Venice - Italy

    Municipality of Genoa - International Affairs Department

    CONTACT US

    Watch all the Tourism Friendly videos here.

    Timeline

    • Kick-Off Meeting - Genoa - Phase I
    • TNS Meeting - Braga - Phase I
    • Online Kick-Off Meeting - Phase II
    • e-Dubrovnik meeting - Phase II
    • Online Meeting - Phase II
    • e-Druskininkai meeting - Phase II
    • TNS Meeting - Dun Laoghaire - Phase II
    • TNS Metting - Rovaniemi - Phase II
    • TNS Meeting - Krakow - Phase II
    • Final Meeting - Venice - Phase II

    Integrated Action Plans

    Dun Laoghaire Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Dun Laoghaire - Ireland
    Druskininkai Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here

    Druskininkai - Lithuania
    Integrated Action Plan for Sustainable Tourism – Cáceres

    Read more here

    Cáceres - Spain
    Braga Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Braga - Portugal
    Krakow Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Krakow - Poland
    Integrated Action Plan for Dubrovnik as a Sustainable Tourism Destination

    Read more here !

    Dubrovnik - Croatia
    Enhancing sustainable tourism in Venice

    Read more here !

    Venice - Italy
    LOCAL COMMUNITY AND TOURISTS TOGETHER FOR URBAN SUSTAINABILITY

    Read more here !

    Rovaniemi - Finland
    Integrated Action Plan for Sustainable Tourism

    Read more here !

    Genoa - Italy

    TOURISM-FRIENDLY CITIES is an Action Planning Network aimed at exploring how tourism can be made sustainable in medium-sized cities, reducing the negative impact on neighbourhoods and areas interested by different types of tourism and its related aspects through integrated and inclusive strategies keeping a balance between the needs of the local community, in terms of quality of life and of services available, and the promotion of sustainable urban development at environmental, social and economic level.

    Local community & tourists together for urban sustainability
    Ref nid
    13465
  • 23 Action Planning Networks ready for Phase 2!

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    15/11/2022

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

    News

     

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

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

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

     

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

     

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

     

    NETWORK

    PARTNERS

    DESCRIPTION

    Research, technological development and innovation

    UrbSecurity

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

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

    Find your Greatness

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

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

    Access to and use of ICT

    DigiPlace
    (previously DI4C)

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

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

    IoTxChange

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

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

    Competitiveness of SMEs

    iPlace

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

    - Saldus (LV)

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

    Tourism Friendly Cities

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

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

    Low carbon economy in all sectors

    Urb-En Pact

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

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

    Zero Carbon Cities
    (previously ZCC)

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

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

    Environmental protection and resource efficiency

    RiConnect

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

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

    URGE

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

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

    Healthy Cities

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

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

    KAIRÓS

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

     

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

     

    Resourceful Cities
    (previously UrbReC)

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

     

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

    FOOD CORRIDORS
    (previously Rurban Food)

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

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

    Health&Greenspace

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

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

    Sustainable transport

    Space4People

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

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

    Thriving Streets

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

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

    Employment protection and resource efficiency

    SIBdev

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

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

    Social inclusion and poverty

    ROOF

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

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

    ActiveCitizens

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

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

    Access

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

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

    Genderedlandscape

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

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

    Education, skills and lifelong learning

    Cities4CSR

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

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

     

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

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  • 2020, what we’ll be looking out for

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    15/11/2022

    The URBACT Programme Experts share their thoughts and expectations.

    News
    Carbon neutrality

    The New Year is an opportunity to reflect on what URBACT will be working on in 2020. As the Transfer Networks start to share what they have learned and the latest generation of Action Planning Networks move into full operation, we asked the URBACT Programme Experts what they will be looking out for most closely over the year ahead.

    Sally Kneeshaw

    Starting in 2020, I am excited about the potential for us to truly enhance our understanding of gender equal cities across a wide range of urban challenges through the new Action Planning Networks. We did a lot of work already in 2019 with the launch of our Gender Equal Cities report. And now we are building on this by asking all the new networks to address gender-equality issues right from the beginning, including in their local stakeholder groups.

    No-one has all the answers. But now we have 203 cities in our 23 networks developing new thinking and ideas that will give us invaluable knowledge on how to tackle issues through a gender lens. We will also get particular guidance from the new Gendered Landscape network led by Umea (SE), which will specifically explore how gender inequality is manifested at local level and what cities can do to tackle it.

    I am also very much looking forward to the next edition of the URBACT Summer University for the new Action Planning Networks in Dubrovnik in July. It is always a great event, with loads of energy and really useful for building capacity. Together with the team we are busy updating the curriculum to create an interactive and stimulating introduction to integrated and participative action planning the URBACT way.

    Ivan Tosics

    One of my main topics of interest is metropolitan areas, so I am very much looking forward to seeing the work of RiConnect, an Action Planning Network led by Barcelona (ES) in 2020. Th

    is is a network of metropoles exploring how to rethink mobility infrastructure to better connect neighbourhoods and unlock opportunities for urban regeneration. I am particularly interested in how you can extend the territory of the local housing market if you make local transport systems more integrated and make the price less dependent on distance.

    I am also interested to see the findings of URBACT networks working on participatory governance and the use of participatory platforms. For example, Active Citizen, led by Agen (FR), is exploring important issues around the balance between representative and participatory democracy. Too many participatory initiatives still only give lip service to real participatory governance, so hopefully the network can show that participation means something more.

    I am also intrigued about the findings of the Transfer Networks and the possible relationship between the complexity of a good practice and the ability of cities to transfer it successfully.

    Eddy Adams

    2020 is an important year for the URBACT Programme, when we will hopefully get some more clarity on what the post-2020 European urban policy framework is going to look like. URBACT has been working through a series of City Labs to feed into the updated Leipzig Charter and we are pushing for more clarity from the European Commission on how we’re going to engage cities directly in the decision-making.

    2020 is also the big year for the Transfer Networks to share their results. We will have a series of events where we’ll hear about the content of the good practices and also what cities have learned about how you can transfer them effectively in practice. I am particularly excited to hear more about some of the small-scale innovation that I know has been going on to make ideas work in different contexts.

    For the new generation of Action Planning Networks, I also think it is really exciting that they have explicit scope in 2020 for small-scale experimental actions as part of their work. I think this can create some real lessons and inspiration from URBACT on what can be achieved by local-level action in cities.

    Laura Colini

    I am delighted that URBACT now has for the first time a network on homelessness (ROOF), that I hope to follow really closely in 2020. The ROOF Action Planning Network, led by Ghent (BE), emerged as a result of our work with the EU Urban Agenda Partnership on Urban Poverty and the City Lab we organised in Paris at the end of 2018.

    We are also currently working on a joint activity on housing with ‘Urban Innovative Actions’ that aims to share knowledge about municipal schemes for implementing the right to housing. It will be looking at: community-based models (such as cooperatives and community land trusts); ‘no one left behind’ models supporting the most vulnerable members of society; and fair financing schemes.

    I am also really keen to see what messages and lessons we can draw out in 2020 on topics of education, migration, anti-discrimination and integration of ethnic minorities, which are present to different degrees in several URBACT Transfer Networks, such as Rumourless Cities, OnStage, ON BOARD and Volunteering Cities.

    Marcelline Bonneau

    I am particularly excited that the circular economy is going to be such a strong focus for URBACT in 2020. We have two new Action Planning Networks focusing on issues that will support a real reflection on how cities can move further away from a linear economy to more circularity: Resourceful Cities and URGE.

    Resourceful Cities led by The Hague (NL) will be promoting ‘next generation’ urban resource centres that recover unwanted materials to create resource loops at local level. We need to see what can be learnt about integrating such resource centres into city strategies covering all aspects, including waste management, citizen involvement and behaviour change. Meanwhile, URGE led by Utrecht (NL) will be focusing specifically on the re-use of materials in the construction industry.

    I will also be interested in the ongoing progress of URBACT networks working to transfer good practices that incorporate important aspects of circularity. Tropa Verde aims to transfer a good practice from Santiago de Compostela (ES) on encouraging citizens to re-use and recycle. BioCanteens is working to transfer Mouans-Sartoux’s (FR) good practice on sustainable local food and reducing food waste.

    Ania Rok

    I am really pleased that the new Action Planning Networks will be making the environment a much stronger topic for URBACT in 2020. Networks focused specifically on the circular economy and climate are exciting new topics for URBACT. We can play a key role in sharing examples and lessons not just from the bigger cities with the most experience, but also from smaller cities and those working in a different context, including where the national level is not so favourable to climate action.

    Marcelline has already talked above about some circular-economy-related networks. I will also be interested to see the progress of the Zero Carbon Cities, Action Planning Network led by Manchester (UK) which is focused on climate action and specifically establishing science-based carbon reduction targets contributing to the EU’s strategic vision for carbon neutrality by 2050.

    I also want to mention Tourism Friendly Cities, Action Planning Networkled by Genova (IT), which is a great example of how URBACT can address crucial urban issues that can fall through the cracks between other programmes. It’s about so many social, economic and environmental aspects, including affordability of housing, safety and security, jobs, the local economy and environmental sustainability – with crucial impacts on the sustainable use of local resources and waste management.

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  • Digital cities: Amsterdam’s ecosystem of cooperation

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    15/11/2022
    RUnUP Lead Expert report following the opening conference in Gateshead, February 2011.
    Articles
    City Branding

    The role of the EU in the digital market started gaining more importance during the Estonian European Presidency in the second semester of 2017 to some extent. Google, Facebook and Apple were forced to start paying taxes for transactions carried out in EU countries. This strengthened the position of the Digital Single Market, an EU strategy to ensure access to online activities for individuals and businesses under conditions of fair competition, consumer and data protection, removing geo-blocking and copyright issues. Furthermore, the EU Urban Agenda is looking into ways to improve funding, policy and knowledge within the process of Digital Transition, for which the responsible partnership of Member States, cities and relevant NGOs should soon publish an Action Plan.

    These international debates are locally translated in cities, which are confronted with many of the daily externalities of digital platforms and applications. The City of Genoa challenged Airbnb to pay local tourist taxes as hotels do, bringing the case to national court. The action forced Airbnb to enforce the taxation payment to individual room renters. The City of Ghent together with Ghent University are working on developing their own internet platform ensuring data ownership in the public domain. The City of Alba Iulia, as part of the national Smart City Strategy, is creating a local platform to establish a regular collaboration with key ICT players. Clearly the relationship with these companies is very relevant for cities but the way in which each one approaches them is kaleidoscopic.

    The City of Amsterdam has taken on a front runner role, establishing a relationship with the large ICT companies that moves from conflict to cooperation, following the “Polder Model”. In fact, Amsterdam signed an agreement with Airbnb in order to monitor the number of nights rented out on the platform by each apartment, enforcing severe fines on owners transpassing the established limit. The city has also created a Smart City Amsterdam multi-stakeholder platform bringing together all relevant stakeholders from public, corporate, civic and research sectors, a cooperation that contributed to the nourishing of an impressive innovation ecosystem. In November 2017, as part of an Interactive Cities partners’ site visit, we organised a series of meeting with City Departments and local stakeholders in order to better understand the Amsterdam digital strategy.

    Platforms for urban cooperation

    In 2016, Amsterdam received the European Commission’s Innovation Capital Award: a recognition resulting from years of work in building an innovation ecosystem the city. This work also corresponds to the transformation of city policies, moving from top-down masterplanning towards a focus on creating an economically strong and sustainable, as well as a creative and just city. Digital  innovation is at the core of these policies, generating new partnerships and tools to help the city’s transition to a knowledge-based economy. One key element of the city’s digital transition is its digital infrastructure: the Amsterdam Internet Exchange is one of the main hubs in Europe, and an important reason for many companies choosing Amsterdam as their European headquarters. But even more important in this transition is a densely interconnected network of civic initiatives, enterprises and institutions.

    A central actor of this ecosystem is Amsterdam Smart City (ASC), a public-private partnership organised within the Amsterdam Economic Board that includes 11 partners, including public authorities, knowledge institutions, civic spaces and private companies: the Amsterdam Municipality, the Amstelveen Municipality, the Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Pakhuis de Zwijger, the Waag Society, Amsterdam Arena, post.nl, KPN, Liander, Engie and Arcadis. Amsterdam Smart City was born from the recognition that despite of the presence of many start-ups and smart citizens with ideas in Amsterdam, demand and supply do not easily find each other. ASC aims at filling this gap: initiated by the public sector and funded by the private sector, it is representative of a specifically Dutch governance structure, working with a variety of stakeholders on key urban transition elements, helping Amsterdam position itself as a competitive and future-proof European region with an improved liveability.

    ASC acts as an innovation platform both in a digital and a physical sense, offering space to share initiatives in the domains of infrastructure and technology, the circular city, energy, water and waste, governance and education, citizens and living, and mobility, with digital connectivity and data as transversal themes. In recent years, it has shifted from a curated website towards an open platform where anyone can upload projects or products and can initiate actions and different forms of cooperation, helping initiatives gain visibility within Amsterdam and beyond.

    Amsterdam’s innovation ecosystem stands on many pillars and ASC’s members themselves act as platforms of knowledge and exchange. Waag Society, for instance, is a laboratory for technological innovation and open government initiatives, aiming at bringing ICT knowledge and skills to public administrations, opening public data to communities and developing platforms that enable citizens to provide feedback to administrations or to connect with each other in fair economic exchange. Representative of this latter ambition is Fairbnb, a spin-off of a Waag Society project that aims at creating a platform for responsible tourism that benefits local communities instead of extractive mechanisms. Another member of the partnership, Pakhuis de Zwijger is a physical venue with over 600 events a year that has in the past years become one of the main centres to discuss the future of cities in Europe and beyond.

    To frame the discussion within the Amsterdam Smart City ecosystem, academic partners like the University of Applied Sciences and AMS Institute lay out the theoretical frameworks, bring in existing knowledge and evaluate projects.  But the ASC partnership is only the core of a broad network of initiatives, organisations and platforms for public-private-civic cooperation in Amsterdam, including engagement projects like De Stem van West, collecting proposals for Amsterdam West, digital participation tools like Open Stadseel, or matchmaking and management platforms like Transform City. 

    When bidding for the Innovation Capital Award, Amsterdam’s was the only proposal that included many stakeholders as opposed to a solely municipality-driven application. The iCapital award proved the success of the “Amsterdam approach,” that is, getting on board a variety of actors to discuss solutions for the city’s challenges. The award allowed the partnership putting forward the bid to strengthen and expand their ecosystem: two thirds of the prize was reinvested in local initiatives by city makers, active citizens and social entrepreneurs addressing themes of health and talent, through “Amsterdammers, Maak je Stad,” an accelerator programme for urban initiatives.

    Platforms for marketing

    Platforms are not only used in Amsterdam to foster cooperation between actors of the region, but also to attract tourists and investors to the city. The promotion of the city as an attractive destination is at the centre of a city marketing strategy which saw a continuous evolution in the strategic use of different social media platforms.

    The creation of a coherent digital storytelling portal, presenting interesting stories and viral contents to be shared through a social media ecosystem managed by the Amsterdam Marketing in collaboration with the City Hall, is the final result of a process involving communication professionals, developers, social media strategists committed to enhance the city experience for locals and visitors. Small experiments on new functions and contents and fast learning from failures are decisive elements for the success of this social media strategy which is continuously refined and adapted to the changes of algorithms decided by the big companies. The selection of the content to be shared on social media and the choice of the platforms where this content is promoted, play a relevant role in a cross-channel strategy with different targets, such as residents, visitors, business and talents. To tell the same story with different emphasis on different channels is the choice made by Amsterdam, which is constantly improving the personalization of research and the connection with locals, in order to make their tools not only a showcase of the city attractions but useful resources to find events and discover new venues.

    In order to focus on users’ needs and provide them with more personalised information, new functions such as a chat bot on Facebook Messenger called Goochem were recently created to better guide users through all the different events organized in Amsterdam. Launched in Dutch in beta version last August, the chat bot is a perfect example of the interactions among different databases made possible by software applications combined with social media functions. The dialogue with development companies and Facebook to get the chat bot approved involved also the Privacy Commission of Amsterdam in order to guarantee high data protection standards.

    The strong connection with the ICT and social media strategy of the city will lead to the realization of new functions similar to Goochem (whose desktop version is going to be launched in 2018), with the aim of better guiding users through the enormous amount of information available on the IAmsterdam platform. Social media are contributing in a decisive way to foster the engagement of the users around the content published on the website, which is the most visible outcome of a branding strategy started in 2004 to present the city as innovative and creative. Social media are used as data entry points (only 5% of the visitors land on the webpage) and the analysis of the interactions provides useful information on the needs and the opinions of visitors and residents. The objective is to drive quality traffic on the website focusing on different categories of users reached mainly organically and just with a limited investment on social media advertisement. Quality content and great use of photos and videos (often live streamed) are contributing to make the Amsterdam pages more visible and engaging. These elements are contributing to include in the digital storytelling also original content such as the campaign on neighborhoods or the one on cultural diversity called 180 Amsterdammers, which are completing urban storytelling with fresh stories going beyond the traditional tourism promotion.    

    From experiments to strategies

    These partnerships carried out by Amsterdam are not fixed models but a trial and error process trying to establish a way forward, also for other cities, when dealing with the challenges of digital transition. Building a local ecosystem with public administrations, knowledge institutions, private companies and civic organisations does not only make Amsterdam more participated and competitive, but it also strengthens the position of the Municipality when negotiating with multinational ICT companies. In the meantime, for digital strategies to be effective, they must be connected to other relevant policies and actions carried out within the administration. Nevertheless, the way is still not fully defined, not for Amsterdam, nor for other cities.

    In fact, whilst the Dutch capital city has a strong leverage with big players, due to its strong public administration structure and tradition in relating to private sector, how should other cities with a weaker position, for example small and medium sized cities, build a relationship with such stakeholders? As the Interactive Cities project comes to its conclusions, partners are exploring different aspects of this question. Throughout Europe, new strategies are being built through prototypes carried out in different cities, for this reason creating an overview of what is happening in Europe, and beyond, is essential. For this, the Action Plan of the EU Urban Agenda partnership on Digital Transition will be very valuable. At the same time, a permanent observatory would be useful, with a more capillary and stable network of cities debating on such issues and regularly feeding into EU policies. This could be help integrate the existing European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities and the EU Open Data Portal. 

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  • URBACT, another paradigm for European cities

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    15/11/2022

    With the integrated urban development approach promoted by the URBACT European programme, new models for improving our cities together are currently under construction. This is the narrative of a story that is already over fifteen years old.

    (Translation of an article published in French in the magazine Urbanisme, issue n° 404, Spring 2017)

    By Emmanuel Moulin, Head of the URBACT secretariat, and Eddy Adams, URBACT Programme expert

    Articles
    Education

    The official publications of the European Union (EU) on the city in Europe (Cities of tomorrow, 2011, 6th cohesion report, 2014; The state of the European Cities, 2016) present a rather pessimistic panorama, nine years after the crisis of 2008. The key aspects of this are well known: increase in disparity and poverty /1, massive unemployment in the South of Europe especially among the young /2, the concentration of development in the metropolises with small and medium-sized cities often in difficulties /3, the financial challenges of cities and falling public investment, inappropriate administrative boundaries and problems of regional governance, growing environmental and quality of life issues /4...

    Recently, new issues have taken centre stage, including the influx of migrants and the digital transformation of society. Faced with these issues, cities all over Europe are reinventing their mode of operation; faced with the weakness of representative democracy, especially among the young, in low-income districts, in many cities in the East of Europe, they are seeking to build and implement their policies in a different way /5.

    Rebuilding a trusted relationship between local stakeholders and citizens is essential and requires the elected representatives and administrators of cities to reinvent their role. They are having to gradually move away from a command and control role to the role of facilitator, making co-building of policies possible. This is a new contract the municipal authorities are having to sign with inhabitants and local stakeholders. And it is precisely at this juncture that URBACT, supporting integrated urban development, comes in.

    Integrated urban development

    The European regional cooperation programme URBACT /6, co-funded by the European Union's 28 States, Switzerland, Norway and the European Commission, is working for the cities to strengthen their capacities and design and implement integrated policies. With the networks of cities it funds, it has been promoting an integrated, participative approach to urban development among elected representatives and local stakeholders for fifteen years. In this it holds a unique position among the urban initiatives launched by the European Union during the programming period 2014-2020 /7.

    The integrated approach to urban development has been gradually developed since the beginning of the millennium, with important steps like the Leipzig Charter signed by the Union's Member States in 2007, which attempted to formalise it for the first time. It is based on the principle, on the one hand, that in order to respond to sustainable development issues, the social, economic and environmental aspect of a local policy must be considered as a whole, and, on the other hand, that policy integration can only be done locally /8.

    In its methodology with the cities, URBACT draws on the notion of horizontal and vertical policy integration. The region is the place and the local stakeholders are the implementers of this integration. The vertical integration of policies within a city requires the various municipal services and local agencies to work together closely. Therefore, a project to build a site to host activities must be designed and implemented by incorporating planning (choice of site), social (training, employment measures) and economic (support to business) aspects. Vertical integration puts the focus on a co-production of policies and actions with the local stakeholders concerned (inhabitants, associations, public and private-sector partners). It also underlines the need to mobilise the competent higher level authorities and the State upstream to ensure they work together.

    The URBACT programme often encounters cities that want to work differently but that don't have the know-how or the tools to make the necessary changes. It has therefore created an environment for city employees that favours learning through practice.

    Thus the city of Amersfoort (Netherlands) has shared "Sustainable food for Cities" among the network /9 in which its shared governance model and its experience were involved in helping inhabitants design and shape urban regeneration initiatives. One of the city council's bywords is "enabling", to gain the trust of and finance groups managed by inhabitants, to improve their neighbourhood. Another important component is the emphasis put on encouraging municipal employees to leave their offices and act as leaders of resident groups. This concept called free-range civil servants by Lucas Bols, the mayor, has inspired many cities outside those involved in the URBACT programme.

    The city of Genoa (Italy) is currently managing the "Interactive Cities" network /10 which explores the impact digital tools have on governance. The trust issue is again at the heart of this work, especially in this period in which it is so elusive. A central component of the network's activities is the use of digital tools to encourage residents to participate. There again, URBACT plays the role of an urban laboratory for experimentation.

    It is therefore in its implementation that integrated urban development reveals its true nature. Taken seriously, it is revolutionising how things are done. It needs horizontal preparation and the application of decisions, which cannot be taken for granted, even in the most advanced cities. In this sense, it reveals a very strong democratic requirement; it is therefore hardly surprising that URBACT primarily mobilises stakeholders in innovation and social transformation in its networks.

     

    Practical solutions within reach

    Most of the time, changes in attitude and ways of doing things appear in organisations little by little. URBACT proposes networked learning with tailored measures in which discussion between "peers" from different cities sharing similar issues is central.

    Learning by doing is one of the programme's fundamental principles. URBACT works based on its participants' practice, following the formula of the organisational theorist Karl E. Weick, which says "we are much more likely to act our way into a new way of thinking than we are to think our way into a new way of acting". /11

    By adapting the classic project development cycle, the cities involved in the URBACT network are encouraged to design new solutions to their problems. This learning first takes place in the transnational networks that presently take various forms /12 and that are strongly supported by targeted expertise and methods.

    The networked activity hinges on ad hoc capacity building activities aimed at local practitioners and stakeholders of the cities involved, centring on the design and implementation of integrated strategies and action plans. These activities are organised both at national level, taking the specific contexts (languages, urban policies) into account and in a transnational framework.

    URBACT's summer universities are a central component of this training system. Each of them brought together hundreds of participants involved in the URBACT networks from all over Europe, who worked together to draw up an integrated action plan to meet the challenges of a fictitious city created for the occasion. The results were impressive and the summer universities have been a foundation stone for participants to build further experience on.

    These various components that have been built over time constitute the "URBACT method" of working transnationally with the cities (see inset); in Quito, in October 2016 at Habitat III, the third United Nations conference on building and sustainable urban development. The European Commission presented the diffusion beyond Europe of the URBACT method for transnational learning as one of its three commitments to cities.

    In Europe and beyond, local councils are looking for new approaches for working with citizens. Elected representatives and local councils are busy redefining their functions and the way they act. URBACT is looking to help local authorities in this transition through the sharing of good practice and capacity building activities, drawing on its long experience.

    Thus a community of practice has gradually been built /13, now well established, which brings together several thousand practitioners from all Europe. It is a vehicle for the transformation of practices in Europe's cities, constituting a true exercise of local democracy.

    A knowledge exchange platform

    The transmission of the knowledge acquired within the URBACT community of practice towards a much larger circle of urban stakeholders not involved in its networks (other cities, States, Regions, public and private stakeholders, research) is a particularly complex challenge. How can we transfer knowledge stemming from a practice without being put in a position to put it into practice? URBACT has nevertheless taken it on and will draw increasingly in the future on its website urbact.eu as a platform for exchange of knowledge on urban development, with articles, blogs and thematic publications that summarise acquisitions of emerging knowledge. Furthermore, national URBACT points /14 provide the chance to link up in the national language with the country's cities and stakeholders in the 24 countries of the European Union.

     

    Since 2015, URBACT has also developed a new concept for its European conferences, now called the "URBACT City Festival" /15. Unlike the summer universities, which are transnational activities strictly reserved for the beneficiary cities of the URBACT networks, funded to participate in them, the city festivals are open to all cities and all urban stakeholders in Europe, whether or not they are involved in URBACT.

    These festivals are designed to be interactive places of discussion nourished both by the experience of the URBACT networks, by external contributions and by the practices of the host city. The next edition is scheduled for the 4th and 5th October 2017 in Tallinn (Estonia) and will be the chance to present the "good practices" of cities in Europe, selected from an open URBACT call. When the European Union /16, launched its Urban Agenda with the aim to secure better sharing of knowledge between cities, European Union Member States and the Commission, they already had, in URBACT, a key tool with which to both promote city practices and make their know-how available to all levels of governance.

    For URBACT, the crux lies in finding out how the programme can also contribute to the wider transfer of knowledge and recommendations from its cities to an even wider audience of European Union Member States and other stakeholders. The twelve thematic partnerships of the Urban Agenda /17 for the European Union that bring together each of the States, cities and organisations or programmes, including URBACT, to draw up, over a three-year period, an action plan for funding, regulation and exchange of knowledge, are the beginnings of a response.

    This is the chance for the programme, through its representatives in these partnerships, field experts, local council managers involved in the URBACT networks, to broadcast the message of the cities and the local stakeholders they work with daily. The programme's various capitalisation tools could furthermore be mobilised in a targeted fashion to encourage and support the wider adoption of practices in integrated sustainable urban development.

    Thus URBACT is gradually taking shape as the European platform for exchange of knowledge between cities and the other urban stakeholders in Europe: the European union, Member States, Regions, research institutions, etc. The message is simple: for city stakeholders, there are specific solutions within reach. By knocking on the right doors and taking the time to share with our peers in Europe, together we can learn to do things differently.


    The URBACT method

    For fifteen years now, URBACT has been developing principles, methods and tools for learning by cities through transnational networks. Three types of network bring together five to twelve cities for two to three years. The integrated action plan design networks and the networks to implement these plans are currently in progress. A call for proposals for good practice transfer networks will be launched in September 2017 based on previously selected cities.

    The main components of this method are as follows:

    • the production and implementation by the cities of action plans integrated in the context of local groups that bring together all the stakeholders concerned (residents, associations, public and private partners, etc.);

    • learning within the networks through transnational meetings, peer exchange, study visits;

    • national and transnational training courses (summer universities);

    • a network support expertise, 100% funded by the programme;

    • the application of an assessment method with impact and result objectives, indicators and a progress monitoring mechanism;

    • the capitalisation and dissemination of the knowledge and practices of the city networks through conferences, seminars and publications.

    All the information is available on the website www.urbact.eu


    1/ Cf. "Against divided cities", URBACT, 2013.

    2/ Cf. "Better cities, job generation for a jobless generation", URBACT, 2013; "Urban youth, more jobs", URBACT, 2015.

    3/ Cf. "Shrinking cities", URBACT, 2013.

    4/ Cf. "Energy efficiency" and "New mobility mindset", URBACT, 2013; "Sustainable regeneration in urban areas", URBACT, 2015.

    5/ Cf. "How cities can rebuild trust in politics through meaningful public engagement", on the URBACT website.

    6/ The URBACT III has a budget of 96 million Euros for the period 2014-2020. It is managed for all Europe by a Secretariat of fifteen people located in France in Saint-Denis in the premises of its management authority, the General Commission for Territorial Equality (CGET).

    7/ Urban Innovative Actions, Urban Development Network.

    8/ Cf. the Barca report "Place based approach", available on the Internet.

    9/ Network of the URBACT II programme (2007-2013) which was managed by the Brussels region, on sustainable food.

    10/ One of the twenty networks funded by URBACT III, which brings together ten cities from nine countries. Started in October 2015, it will end in May 2018.

    11/ "We are much more likely to act our way into a new way of thinking than to think our way into a new way of acting" (Karl E. Weick)

    12/ Cf. inset below.

    13/ The URBACT programme has organised three summer universities, in Krakow in 2011, in Dublin in 2013 and in Rotterdam in 2016.

    14/ 500 European cities, 10,000 local stakeholders have participated in URBACT's activities since it was created. Over 250 European experts are identified in the URBACT experts pool. Many of them have put the URBACT method into practice.

    15/ For France, the national URBACT point http://urbact.eu/france is held by the General Commission for Territorial Equality.

    16/ The first URBACT city festival took place in Riga (Latvia) and brought together 470 participants from all over Europe and beyond from 6th to 8th May 2015.

    17/ The European Agenda for the European Union was launched by the Member States of the Union and the European Commission in May 2016 by means of the Amsterdam Pact. Through cooperation between the Commission, the Member States and the cities, it aims for a better use of funding, improvement of the legal framework for cities' actions and their knowledge, in particular through discussion. URBACT is a key stakeholder, both through its coordination bodies and the twelve thematic partnerships that form this agenda.

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  • How community-based social activism can develop, retain and attract young creative-tech talent in Europe’s cities

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    15/11/2022

    GEN-Y City is an URBACT III Network exploring how European cities can develop, retain and attract the young creative-tech talent they need to thrive and prosper. One of the major findings coming out of the project is that the way in which city administrations engage and collaborate with young people on the design of the city and delivering public services can influence young people’s career choices and their commitment to stay in a city. Here Jim Sims, Lead Expert for GEN-Y City, offers commentary on young people’s attitudes and behaviour related to urban activism.

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    Despite a growing population, changing demographic structures and the impact of globalisation mean that many employers around the globe are facing the imminent challenge of having to recruit from a shrinking labour pool.

    This will obviously lead to greater competition for talent, something that is likely to become particularly acute in sectors that require high levels of skill that are priorities for jobs, growth and investment in the EU, such as the digital economy. The increasing ‘war for talent’ in these creative-tech sectors is in danger of significantly eroding Europe’s prosperity, as some of the best people are persuaded to relocate to more prosperous global hotspots.

    This issue is particularly acute for businesses that operate in many of the smaller and more peripheral cities in Eastern and Southern Europe that are currently suffering from high levels of unemployment and significant out-flows of young people. Certain intermediate cities living in the shadow of large Metropolitan cities are also affected. The partner cities in GEN-Y City represent a spread in terms of different regions, economies and challenges.

    Market Failure across the entire value chain of traditional careers guidance

    For many of these cities, traditional public policy interventions to try and influence young people to choose careers which add value to the local economy - or to work in the local area - are struggling to sustain their impact. The reasons for this are complex, but include;

    • Increasing demand for higher-level and elementary skills, (i.e. at both ends of the skills spectrum) in larger cities across Europe, which has resulted in a ‘hollowing out’ of some tech communities in many smaller, more peripheral cities and a fight for survival, in those businesses that remain;
    • Increasing financial pressures on education, careers, youth and community services, which has resulted in large service cuts in some cities and the emergence of somewhat of a 'bunker mentality' (1) amongst the staff responsible for delivering these services, as they try to protect what remains; and
    • Increasing competition for young people’s attention from mass media, including narrow-cast ‘on demand’ media platforms like You-tube and Netflix, which enable users to select the programmes they want to watch. 

    Taken together, these pressures have created deep-rooted market failures across the labour market in the worst hit cities, from the provision of careers information, advice and guidance; the demand for creative-tech skills; and the supply of people with these skills.

    However, to address these market failures, we also need to understand some more fundamental changes in the consumption patterns of young people;   

    The increasing importance of tech-driven, crowd actions in shaping young people’s behaviour

    Firstly, this point about the pervasiveness of multi-media communications – and the fact they may influence and distract young people from pursuing the careers that the local economy needs - is an issue urban policy makers need to consider when designing public services. 

    Because humans are essentially social animals, we are increasingly influenced by multi-media communications, social networks and crowd behaviours, so public policy specialists need to move away from trying to establish single ‘corporate’ service delivery models for addressing these market failures. Instead, they should try to establish eco-systems which can influence the behaviour of whole markets. 

    In adopting this approach, policy makers should try and create sufficient ‘market-based’ capacity across a whole range of agencies that can work collectively to stimulate crowd actions and drive behaviour change, rather than thinking of issues as organisational problems.

    In the current tight financial environment, this eco-systems approach can be a challenge for some cities – but can also provide opportunities to achieve economies of scale and collaboration – which is where great programmes like URBACT come into play, helping cities establish multi-agency governance structures, integrate policies and involve residents in developing strategies and plans. The URBACT Local Groups in GEN-Y City are successfully bringing together the key players to drive change.

    The changing nature of young people’s personal motivations

    However, in addition to the above challenges, a more fundamental issue which policy makers need to understand is the shift in the attitudes of young people and the way in which they consume services.

    Young people’s consumption patterns are fundamentally different from their predecessors. Changing financial, demographic and sociological drivers are shaping young people into the ‘experience over ownership’ generation. In simple terms, an unfortunate, and largely unforeseen, combination of financial, demographic and sociological factors, such as high levels of unemployment and lack of affordable housing, has impacted on young people, forcing many of them to delay their progression into home ownership and/or having a family. In many cities, this, in turn, has given rise to stronger desires for experience over ownership.

    In some quarters, this has led to the current cohort of young people being referred to as ‘Generation Rent’.

    Technology is also increasingly important to young people, particularly for forming social networks and drawing inspiration about their life choices. Technology plays an increasingly important part in young people’s lives today – shaping their attitudes, helping them to communicate, establish and maintain their social networks, meet partners, shop and to enable social activism.

    However, the more fundamental challenge with technology is that it has also given rise to a stronger need for immediacy amongst young people.

    For example, a 2012 worldwide survey by Cisco (2) discovered that 90% of Gen-Y surveyed, check their emails, texts and social media accounts using their smartphones before they even get out of bed. The same survey also found that, globally, one in five Gen-Yers will check their smartphone at least once every ten minutes, to ensure they aren’t missing out on anything. 60% of people questioned checked their devices for emails, social media updates, or texts compulsively or subconsciously and 60% of the compulsive users stated that they wished they didn’t feel so compelled to check their devices. 40% of the respondents surveyed said they would experience a withdrawal effect if they couldn’t check their device.

    Over a third of users surveyed admitted that they had used their smartphone in the toilet, and one in five admitted to texting whilst driving. 70% of Gen-Y respondents stating that mobile apps were important to their daily life.

    The rise of social activism for personal fulfilment, rather than civic pride

    These issues are also impacting on how young people view Social Activism.


    YouthfulCities has shown that young people increasingly want to live in safe, playful, tolerant, liveable and affordable cities. Contrary to popular perception, young people regularly rank safety, affordability and ease of transit as the three most important characteristics they look for in a city. Affordability and ease-of-transit largely score well because of low wage growth, with many young people increasingly turning to rented accommodation and public transport to get around. Where they have grown up surrounded by racial diversity, most young people are also known to be more socially aware and more tolerant of other lifestyles. That said, YouthfulCities have also found that only 17% of young people surveyed feel that their city governments are listening to them although 55% of them want to participate in meetings about the future of their city. GEN-Y Cities are learning from each other better methods to engage young people, such as design thinking workshops in Poznan and primary research on city associations for young citizens in Klaipeda.

    However, young people are increasingly less interested in participating in democratic or civic processes (like Youth Parliaments, for example).

    Whilst young people do have an activist bent, their activism is different from the idealism and rebellion characterised by their parents in the 1960s and ’70s. Its less about kicking against institutions, but more about knowing their own inner priorities and making a strong commitment to live by them in the face of adversity. Some authors have referred to it as form of ‘self-activism’. Young people treat themselves and their dreams almost like causes.

    Social and political activism has become more individualised, ad-hoc, issue specific and less linked to traditional societal challenges. Whilst personal authenticity, altruism and community are still important for young people today, it is this generation’s consumer activism that makes them a unique challenge for marketers and civic leaders. Young people don’t just want to buy brands, they want buy-in to what a brand believes in. They don’t buy features, or benefits, they buy movements.

    Whilst young people want to work for employers that are committed to values and ethics and are strongly entrepreneurially minded, research also suggests we have seen generational increases in self-esteem, assertiveness, self-importance, narcissism, and high expectations. These analyses indicated a clear cultural shift toward individualism and focusing on the self, with linked reductions in political interest, government, public officials, or to support ‘political’ campaigns. In general, today’s young people possess tremendous energy, creativity, and a strong desire to help others, but the bonds that bind them to their community are much more strongly influenced by consumerism, technology and individual desires than previous generations, rather than a strong commitment to the common good and the place in which they reside.

    Harnessing these issues to inspire young people into creative-tech careers

    So how can urban policy makers understand and better harness these changes to encourage young people to work on their city, deliver services that inspire young people to pursue creative-tech careers and deliver more impactful and inspirational careers services?

    Well, a number of cities are trying to use collaborative digital tools to encourage young people to solve public policy problems and at the same time using these kinds of events to inspire young people into creative-tech careers. For example;

    • Global Service Jams: Dundee City Council is using GlobalGovJam 2017 to involve citizens in redesigning public services;
    • City Hackfests: The City of Atlanta has organised a citywide hackathon to focus on problems that affect the local government and the community, encouraging others to come up with solutions;
    • Coding Challenges: Six forward-thinking city authorities across Europe are currently working with data technologists and designers, under the ‘Code for Europe’ banner to leverage technology to innovate their services;
    • Digital Strategy Labs: D-CENT is a Europe-wide project creating next generation democracy tools and applications that are decentralised, privacy-aware, and enhance citizens’ rights. D-CENT is trying to change the decision-making processes and makes it easier for citizens and social movements to participate in the political process and change things;
    • Urban Polls: Before registering as a political party, Guanyem Barcelona, developed a citizen platform and actively used Urban Polls to promote participatory democracy, to involve residents of a district of Barcelona to shape the areas future; 
    • Civic Accelerators: The Points of Light Civic Accelerator, in Atlanta, is the first national accelerator program and investment fund in the country focused on "civic ventures" -- for-profit and non-profit start-ups that include people as part of the solution to critical social problems;
    • Open Challenges: Barcelona City Council and Citymart organised an international call for businesses and entrepreneurs to propose their innovative solutions to six different challenges to transform public space and services in the city. As a radical departure from many competitions, the BCN Open Challenge committed to contract the winning solutions.;

    GEN-Y City partner Genoa is focussing its actions on the exploitation of the so called “third spaces” for the development of a vibrant atmosphere to make the city more attractive to young talents. Many of the partners, including Nantes and Kristiansand, will look at ways to keep graduates in the city after their studies for instance by encouraging entrepreneurial activity, including social enterprise.

    These kinds of activities build on young people’s increasing interest in co-creating their city, social responsibility and entrepreneurial solutionism. They use creative problem solving, team building and digital maker skills to both solve issues or problems that cities have, but to also inspire young people to pursue creative-tech careers.

    These kinds of activities also help cities deliver against the priorities of the Urban Agenda for the EU, most notably in the fields of Jobs and skills in the local economy and Digital transition.

    And so, we understand that it is possible to harness young people into Social Activism, but that requires a very personal and quite aspirational cause-based appeal which responds to young people’s goals for self-actualisation and entrepreneurial solutionism rather than social good just for social good’s sake.

    GEN-Y City is an Urbact III Network led by the City of Poznan (PL), involving Bologna (IT), Genoa (IT), Sabadell (ES), Granada (ES, Coimbra (PT), Nantes (FR), Wolverhampton (UK), Kristiansand (NO), Klaipėda (LT), Daugavpils (LV) and Torun (PL). Other Urbact III Networks also looking at these subjects include Techtown, and Interactive Cities.


    (1) 'Bunker mentality' is an attitude of extreme defensiveness and self-justification based on an often-exaggerated sense of being under persistent attack from others.

    (2) The Cisco Connected World Technology Report 2012.

     

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  • CityLogo

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    CityLogo is a transnational learning experience on citybranding and -marketing in modern urban politics. It is about a better positioning of cities in the (post) crisis economic arena and reinforcing the communication dimension in urban management.

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