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  • RiConnect

    Summary

    Lead Partner : Barcelona Metropolitan Area - Spain
    • Thessaloniki - Greece
    • Métropole du Grand Paris - France
    • Kraków Metropolis Association - Poland
    • Amsterdam Region - Netherlands
    • Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot Metropolitan Area - Poland
    • Porto Metropolitan Area (AMP) - Portugal
    • Greater Manchester

     

    Àrea Metropolitana de Barcelona - Coordinació de Planejament Urbanístic

    (0034) 93 223 51 51 CONTACT US

    All RiConnect videos are available here.

    Timeline

     

    • SEP 26-27 > Kick-off meeting | Phase 1

     

     

    • JAN 30-31 > Final meeting | Phase 1
    • JUN 29-30 > Kick-off meeting | Phase 2
    • OCT 22-23 > Thematic Meeting 1 | Reorganising how we move
       
    • FEB 04-05 > Thematic Meeting 2 | Integrating the infrastructure
    • APR 22-23 > Thematic Meeting 3 | Adding ecosystem functions
    • JUL 05-06 > Thematic Meeting 4 | Planning the metropolis
    • OCT 25-29 > Midterm reflection meeting

     

    • FEB 21-22 > Implementation meeting
    • JUL 6-8 > Final meeting | Phase 2

     

    Outputs

    RiConnect Final ReportRiConnect case studiesRiConnect chronicles

    Integrated Action Plans

    RiConnect partners

     

    Read all the local Integrated Action Plans from the RiConnect partners!

    RiConnect Avinguda del Valles - Barcelona Metropolitan Area
    Avinguda del Vallès

     

    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Barcelona Metropolitan Area
    Skawina - Krakow Metropolis Association
    Skawina

     

    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Krakow Metropolis Association (PL)
    Hel Peninsula - Gdansk Gdynia Sopot Metropolitan Area
    Hel Peninsula

     

    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Gdańsk - Gdynia - Sopot Metropolitan Area (PL)

     

     

    Lelylaan - Vervorregio Amsterdam
    Lelylaan

     

    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Vervorregio Amsterdam
    Oldham - Transport for Greater Manchester
    Oldham

     

    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Transport for Greater Manchester
    Livry-Gargan - Greater Paris Metropolis
    Livry-Gargan

     

    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Greater Paris Metropolis
    Arranha - Porto Metropolitan Area
    Arranha

     

    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Porto Metropolitan Area
    Kodra camp-to-park - Thessaloniki
    Kodra camp-to-park

     

    Read the Integrated Action Plan here.

    Thessaloniki

    Archives

    Find here all the documents created by the RiConnect network! Click on each icon to view and download the documents:

     

    RiConnect Baseline studyRiConnect RoadmapsRiConnect newsletter

    RiConnect is an Action Planning Network of 8 metropolises which aim is to rethink, transform and integrate mobility infrastructures in order to reconnect people, neighbourhoods, cities and natural spaces. We will develop planning strategies, processes, instruments and partnerships to foster public transport and active mobility, reduce externalities and social segregation and unlock opportunities for urban regeneration. Our long-term vision is a more sustainable, equitable and attractive metropolis for all.

    RiConnect - rethinking infrastructure
    Rethinking infrastructure
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  • Walk and Roll Cities: a transformation towards people-centred streets

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    15/11/2022

    Meet the URBACT cities exploring links between mobility and public space to promote sustainable, inclusive, attractive urban areas.

    Articles

    In recent decades, mobility in cities has become strongly dominated by cars. The moving and parking of quickly expanding numbers of cars led to the shrinkage of public space available for residents.

     

    In order to reverse the dominance of cars, since the 2010s many European cities have started to explore new measures to deter the use and storing of cars on streets, and support alternative uses of public spaces. Three ongoing URBACT Action Planning Networks address these issues: Space4People, concentrating on parking management and pedestrianisation; Thriving Streets, on streets as public spaces and placemaking; and RiConnect, dealing with the links between regional and local aspects of mobility infrastructures.

     

    Under the banner of #WalkAndRollCities, these three URBACT city networks decided to set up a collaboration to explore the links between mobility and transport and public space use, and collect good practices on progressive changes in cities. Set to run until summer 2022, their joint activities include a series of three seminars, and a LinkedIn group for case studies and debates.

     

    The first URBACT #WalkAndRollCities webinar

     

    The first webinar of this collaboration was held on 29 November 2021. In his keynote presentation, Tiago Lopes Farias, CEO at CARRIS – the Lisbon Municipal Bus and Tram Operator, and associate professor at Instituto Superior Técnico, University of Lisbon (PT), highlighted Lisbon’s main efforts. The starting point was the strengthening of powers at metropolitan level – stretching over 18 municipalities, and 2.9 million people, only 0.5 million of whom live in Lisbon itself. This enabled new efforts to streamline the public transport system across the whole metropolitan area, starting with a ticketing reform to introduce a new, integrated tariff model. This was followed by efforts to establish a joint public transport company for the whole area.

     

    Cities from the URBACT networks Space4People, Thriving Streets, and RiConnect have been sharing their experiences of strengthening urban sustainability by giving more ground to active mobility modes and enhancing the people-friendly use of public spaces. Here are a few interesting examples presented during the recent webinar. (See the #WalkAndRollCities LinkedIn group for more details.)

     

    Arad (RO) implemented pilot pedestrian interventions on one of the main boulevards of the city. The majority of people supported the idea to expand walking areas, mainly as a leisure form, especially on weekends or during warmer weather. The city recognised the importance of building trust through active communication, complemented by delivery, in the form of pilot interventions.

     

    Bielefeld (DE) focused on parking management, to give public space back to people, reducing street parking and changing vehicle access regulations to the city centre. The five-month period of idea raising was followed by a five-month-long testing phase, during which opinions about the pilot projects were collected. The process will end with a four-month evaluation and decision-making phase.

     

    Nova Gorica: removing a car, installing a kiosk

    Nova Gorica (SI) aimed to restructure a square in the historic core area of the city by removing parking spaces while installing a pop-up kiosk to enhance public activities – as shown in the photo. A detailed insight into the issue of space only became possible when the vision-building period was followed with a concrete action, making the idea visible for residents. The pilot intervention sparked heavy debates between residents, which led to further changes being made.

     

    Antwerp (BE) wanted to stimulate change in a peripheral neighbourhood where the share of younger people, preferring bikes instead of car use, is increasing. The temporary installations of the city, aiming to create more space for pedestrians and slow down car traffic, however, were not prepared and discussed properly. The municipality has learnt a lot from this failed experiment: how temporary interventions should be prepared; what needs have to be taken into account; and how important it is to engage residents fully in discussions, by municipal employees who get enough resources to organise that.

     

    The Métropole du Grand Paris (FR) is aiming to calm traffic on a four-lane national road running through the centre of a peripheral municipality. The attempts to ‘localise’ the road by creating new crossings and green spaces will hopefully incentivise private actors to invest in housing and prompt the regeneration of heritage buildings. For the idea to succeed, coordination between different levels of governance is of crucial importance.

     

    Transport for Greater Manchester (UK) aims for similar interventions in a peripheral sub-centre of the Greater Manchester metropolitan area. The aim is to ‘humanise’ the entry area of a motorway by improving the crossings, creating streets for all, and introducing a quality bus service. Manchester hopes that this will lead to longer-term changes in the mobility behaviour of local residents.

     

    Then came COVID

     

    All these efforts in URBACT cities started a few years ago. Then suddenly, in March 2020, Covid-19 hit. The quickly introduced lockdown measures brought dramatic changes in the first months, which planners couldn’t have dreamt of earlier: huge decreases in car use, alongside much more intensive use of public spaces. In some cases, areas originally used by cars were even ‘stolen’ for temporary measures.

     

    A few months later, however, a very unfortunate rearrangement started: the use of cars increased again, and in many cities reached higher levels than before the pandemic – not least because people continued to avoid public transport. As a result, pressure was growing to eliminate new measures favouring walking and cycling in cities. Municipalities now face the dilemma of how to react to the anger of car drivers while listening to the (often less well-articulated) opinion of pedestrians and cyclists who are satisfied with the public places which were expanded for their use.

     

    In Budapest, one of the newly installed bike lanes had to be redirected to the pavement in order to give back partially a lane to car drivers.

    Claus Köllinger, Lead Expert of the Space4People network, told the URBACT #WalkAndRollCities webinar: “Due to increasing car use, if nothing changes in centres, depopulation and retail extinction can happen. There are many alternative futures for central areas possible, such as Disneyland, large gastronomy bars, entertainment centres, or good mix of different functions. Wise interventions are needed to favour the last option, and this requires to push back car access to the central areas.”

     

     

    Positive visions for mobility and public space use in the post-Covid city

     

    Over the course of the webinar, important statements were articulated towards a positive vision for the post-Covid city. As Béla Kézy, Lead Expert of the Thriving Streets network, said: “Mobility – how far you can go in a given amount of time – should be replaced by Access – how much you can get in a given amount of time. The '15-minute city’ idea aims to provide access instead (or besides) mobility, for which you need proximity, diversity, density, ubiquity.”

     

    There are no standard solutions for changing existing neighbourhoods along these principles; the concrete needs of people always have to be studied and understood first. It might be useful to ease strict zoning regulations – such as allowing a café to open in a residential area – and handing over places to community functions, for example opening up existing public buildings in the evenings and putting in new community buildings wherever possible.

     

    Rebuilding a transfer station area

    Roland Krebs, Lead Expert of the RiConnect network, emphasised the need for integrated solutions. He said: “Old infrastructures, which were once in the centre of activities, are overdone by new layers, totally changing the earlier important places, making these peripheral and through-locations. Over time, transfer places become monofunctional, losing identity and human scale. The task is to re-arrange earlier-built infrastructures by new uses, urban intensification and urban regeneration, assuring more mixed functions than just stations for exchange between mobility modes. In peripheral areas, all this needs strong multi-level government cooperation.”

     

    In his keynote address, Tiago Lopes Farias addressed the question of how to build on the pandemic-created momentum of changes towards less car dominant mobility and public space use, by raising new aspects for consideration:

     

    1. Customer needs and mobility patterns will change due to teleworking, e-commerce, growing expectations of customers due to accelerated digitalisation, increased attention to the ’local’ (15-minute city), safety concerns.

    2. New mobility players are coming in, and an innovative and dynamic ecosystem will be built up, based on more electrified, shared technologies. All these need space and raise the challenge of how they can be connected.

    3. All this leads to the scarcity of space: how to better manage urban space and mobility services towards more sustainable cities. Where to put the bike-share rack, the e-roller rack within the same physical space? To whom to give parking space: residents, long-term visitors, loading of goods? But first other questions have to be asked: is the space for parking, or a bus lane, or pedestrians…?

    4. Added to all that, there is a growing pressure to reduce our carbon footprint. In Lisbon, the bus fleet will be zero emission by 2040… the first 15 electric buses are already running, but depos also have to be changed…

     

    Tiago Lopes Farias said: “We need to change, adapt how we live, plan, manage our lives. This means that also mobility patterns have to be changed. But it should be ensured that public transport remains the backbone of urban mobility, and that cities remain the centres of urban areas.”

     

    Serious barriers endangering sustainability changes

     

    The first webinar of URBACT Walk And Roll Cities ended with an emphasis on the need to connect changes in mobility and public space use to each other. The leading role has to be played by the public sector, based on the cooperation of municipalities in the metropolitan areas, in partnership with private actors and in active consultation with the population.

     

    It is, however, not at all easy to reach the envisioned changes. There are already signs in many cities of an approaching financial austerity, which would heavily affect services, public transport amongst the first. If the next decision has to be about which line to shut down or how to save money by decreasing the frequency of services, little room will remain for innovative ideas about the future. Thus, financing and resourcing of mobility services is one of the most important questions for the near future. This will be the topic of the next URBACT #WalkAndRollCities webinar, planned for the first quarter of 2022.

     

    All the materials of the first webinar will be available on the URBACT Walk And Roll Cities LinkedIn group, open to all. Join up to discover new information about Walk And Roll Cities, and contribute with innovative ideas for improving mobility and public space in towns and cities across the EU.

     

     

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  • 23 Action Planning Networks ready for Phase 2!

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    15/11/2022

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

    News

     

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

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

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

     

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

     

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

     

    NETWORK

    PARTNERS

    DESCRIPTION

    Research, technological development and innovation

    UrbSecurity

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

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

    Find your Greatness

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

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

    Access to and use of ICT

    DigiPlace
    (previously DI4C)

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

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

    IoTxChange

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

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

    Competitiveness of SMEs

    iPlace

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

    - Saldus (LV)

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

    Tourism Friendly Cities

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

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

    Low carbon economy in all sectors

    Urb-En Pact

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

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

    Zero Carbon Cities
    (previously ZCC)

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

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

    Environmental protection and resource efficiency

    RiConnect

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

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

    URGE

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

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

    Healthy Cities

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

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

    KAIRÓS

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

     

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

     

    Resourceful Cities
    (previously UrbReC)

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

     

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

    FOOD CORRIDORS
    (previously Rurban Food)

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

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

    Health&Greenspace

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

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

    Sustainable transport

    Space4People

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

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

    Thriving Streets

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

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

    Employment protection and resource efficiency

    SIBdev

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

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

    Social inclusion and poverty

    ROOF

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

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

    ActiveCitizens

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

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

    Access

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

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

    Genderedlandscape

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

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

    Education, skills and lifelong learning

    Cities4CSR

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

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

     

    -

     

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

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  • Rethinking the mobility infrastructure of Europe's metropolises

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    15/11/2022

    RiConnect is exploring more efficient, equitable, and attractive metropolitan mobility systems.

    Articles

    The fundamental aim of mobility infrastructure has always been to connect people, link settlements and structure the territory. Humanity’s history is the history of mobility infrastructure. Without paths, bridges, tunnels and roads, there are no stories to tell.

    But looking at Europe now, where most population lives in urban areas, often surrounded by overused, congested, noisy, and air-polluting mobility infrastructure we must ask ourselves: How did we get here? How should we begin to address this issue?

    Metropolis

    Cities are growing. Today’s global population is increasingly urban and this trend is expected to continue. Less than 30% of the total human population lived in cities in 1950 and over half of all people do so today. In 2050 the world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion and it is estimated that 70% of the total will live in urban areas. In the European context, despite the fact that Europe is not expected to grow, the urbanisation process is unstoppable, and almost 85% of the European population will live in cities by 2050, making the reality of the European community majorly urban.

    From an urban point of view, when we say cities, we mean urban areas organised around multiple cities; in other words, a complex structure of cities -few or many- that works as a whole; that is, a metropolis.

    Flows

    If we wonder why cities grow, we can answer that people mainly move to urban areas to access all the opportunities the metropolis has to offer.

    Urban area’s appeal resides in the extensive array of services available for their citizenry - everything we need and everything we want - from the most functional to the most spiritual. People will therefore try to access them in the quickest and most comfortable ways.

    People move, as they already did in the past, they do today and will continue to do so in the future. From subsistence-driven migration in the past, to the contemporary new-nomadism of our digital and interconnected era, including daily commutes today, people’s movement within the urban area are increasing substantially.

    People still move driven by subsistence – food or labour – but also do so to access to knowledge, education, culture, leisure activities and due to social relations.

    Regardless of its driving force, movement is a vital element in people’s lives. People don’t move to cities to be isolated, hence the importance of providing and organising mobility and accessibility for everybody and everywhere.

    The right to mobility is, in fact, the right to the whole city. And it is not only a functional element but also a fundamental and structural value in the way to an inclusive and non-discriminatory society.

    Infrastructure

    Paradoxically, not all metropolises today ensure the adequate connectivity of everybody to the places they may need to commute to. This is so because metropolitan mobility infrastructure design and use has mostly revolved around the use of private cars, with the exception of train tracks.

    As population increases, the urban area grows, and infrastructures that once lay stretched apart, now are getting closer and closer, especially in the suburbs. Roads and other tracks are not integrated with the city around it. They are not accessible to everyone and their use doesn't adapt to the new mobility requirements arising from the current citizen's contemporary lifestyle.

    These mobility infrastructures generate fragmentation, disconnections and other negative externalities. They usually consist in high-speed fenced roads with few traffic-light crossings, separating neighbourhoods and causing discontinuities in green spaces. They are often overused, therefore inefficient even for car mobility, and have no exclusive lanes for public transport or for active mobility, which makes them doubly ineffective.

    Also, they produce externalities that directly affect the nearby population, such as low-quality space around them, pollution and noise. Other externalities such as climate change, driven by excessive energy consumption and CO2 production, end up affecting the whole community. Nobody wants to live in such a place!

    Better cities

    If mobility operating patterns remain based on car use, as they are today, the existing infrastructure will continue to be insufficient, as it is already proving to be on many accounts today. To realise this, we must simply look around and see how congested cities’ connecting roads are or count the hours lost by suburban commuters in daily displacements.

    Instead of adapting mobility infrastructure to an increase in car use, what if we betted for optimising infrastructure we already have?

    "While metropolises grow, we have two options: to further increase the space allocated to infrastructure, which, in most cases, is unfeasible in many aspects, or to rethink, transform and integrate existing mobility infrastructure with the city around it, making it more efficient, equitable, sustainable and spatially attractive while reducing social segregation among other externalities”. This, says Joan Caba (urban planner at AMB and the project’s coordinator), is the main goal of RiConnect Action Plan Network.

    RiConnect is an Urbact III’ Action Planning Network (APN) composed of 8 metropolitan entities: Area Metropolitana do Porto (AMP), Obszar Metropolitalny Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot (OMG-G-S), Stowarzyszenie Metropolia Krakowska (SMK), Major Development Agency Thessaloniki SA (MDAT), Vervoerregio Amsterdam (VA), Métropole du Grand Paris (MGP) and Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), led by Area Metropolitana de Barcelona (AMB).

    RiConnect is a network of metropolitan authorities that want to address a particular issue - the right to mobility- that affects all citizens, mending possible disconnections between the centre and peripheral areas and uniting the city as a whole.

    Cities that are rethinking the urban mobility infrastructure within them are blooming in Europe. They have already begun to restructure the use of the streets, recovering the space that had been allocated to cars and using it to foster public transport and active mobility.

    However, few have done so on a metropolitan scale.

    The metropolitan authorities are essential for making future decisions that take into account the interests of all parties. Without their commitment, it would be impossible to achieve the main goal, which requires leadership and management capacity of the benefits for several municipalities.

    So far, eight metropolises have already committed to doing so.

     

     

    The Street-Path-Road-Highway-Street story

    It is interesting to observe the dynamics of roads connecting metropolitan cities. This road here started as a path, maybe even a dirt track that stretched away from a street in the town centre. As the city surrounding it started to grow, it became a road at the edge of the city’s centre, but also became the main street for the neighbouring cities. As the cities grew, cars, scooters, trucks and buses started circulating along fresh pavement that covered the dust and cobblestones that once defined it.

    This paved road eventually became a fenced highway, but the unbearable traffic transiting along it made the villages decide to build a bypass to divert its traffic, with the intention of recovering the highway-road-path as the city’s main street. However, it continued being a road in the cities’ suburbs. That is why both municipalities agreed to transform the highway into a broad metropolitan avenue connecting both towns, to bring back the concept behind the first paths and roads that connected them.

    While cycling, Oriol Ribera, urban planner from the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, showed us a similar metamorphosis: "The C-245 could transform after C-32 construction. It used to be a fenced four-lane road only for cars, and now it will change into a four-lane road, two of them for cars and the other two exclusively for buses and parallel lanes for bikes and pedestrians on both sides. The roundabouts will transform into urban squares. This transformation will increase the surroundings development potentialities instead of reducing them".

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