POINT (25.148254 35.341846)

    Since ancient times, rivers have been the main communication routes (transportation of raw materials and products, transport of people and cultures, etc.) of inland cities. For this reason, many cities were developed mainly on river banks.

    "Thalwegs" (either streams, brooks or rivers) are the “meeting lines” of mountain masses, through which water flows, towards the deepest point of their bed. This fact produces fertile places throughout the whole period of the year, even without the evidence of existing water. With the benefits they offer, in the preservation and evolution of circle of life, they achieve in the most natural way, union (interconnection) of areas, even if they belong to different geographical regions.

    Unfortunately, however, in the logic of unrestrained commercialization and exploitation of all the "voids" of a city, of abandonment and obsolescence, which in many periods of time have prevailed (or, better, prevailed until recently), the riverside areas of many cities have remained undeveloped, functioning as elements of urban and peri-urban fragmentation.

    Urban rivers can have multiple effects, sometimes positive and sometimes negative:

    • are natural barriers to smooth and integrated urban expansion,
    • act as connection zones, removing the effects of fragmentation of the urban fabric,
    • are "bridges" connecting the urban units on both sides of their bed,
    • constitute separation zones dividing different land uses,
    • function as routes to explore the city and its history,
    • are "gateways" of communication and transport, especially for inland cities.

    In recent years, many cities and towns are redefining their relationship with their natural environment and in particular with the water element, transforming industrial and abandoned riverside areas primarily into new extrovert public spaces but also, secondarily, into residential zones, with respect towards and in interaction with the wider environment, realizing the environmental, social, aesthetic and economic benefits brought about by the integrated development planning of these riverside areas. In such areas, networks of walking routes or cycle paths can be developed that can also function as emergency corridors, areas for mild recreation, events, rest, revitalization, urban cultivation, and even gathering in cases of danger (e.g. earthquake), to act as fireproof zones etc.; and all these, in the context of an integrated urban planning.

    The proposal of the Network "OVERCOME THE BARRIERS – CITIES RE-DISCOVER THEIR RIVERS" aims to highlight and utilize the riverside areas of cities with common - if possible - characteristics so that rivers once again acquire an important role in daily life and the image of city and play an important role in "green" and "sustainable" urban revitalization, addressing an integrated plan of interventions in all aspects: housing, economic development, innovation, culture and heritage, urban design, enviromental protection and upgrade.

    We wish, through study, consultation with society's actors (stakeholders) and the utilization of experiences from good practices, to create comprehensive action plans for integrated urban revitalization through the utilization of rivers and riverside areas in our cities.

    Throughout the project’s implementation we plan to extensively consult and interact with local stakeholders and relevant academic institutions and practicioners in the field of urban design, through a participatory bottom-up approach. We also intend to use holistic approaches towards the final deliverable, which will be an Integrated Action Plan which will ensure sustainable urban development.

    In accordance with the URBACT’s guidelines and methodology we intend to develop the proposed Network around the following five pillars:

    1. Urban planning
    2. Economy
    3. Social cohesion
    4. Quality of life
    5. Governance

    We have already come to agreement with the Municipality of Malbork (Poland) and we are in advanced discussions with other Municipalities towards the formation of the Network.

    Although our experience from previous successful implementation of various URBACT APNetworks is high, unfortunately due to institutional and technical current obstacles we are not able to apply as a Lead Partner in the proposed Network. We are looking for Project Partners and for a Lead Partner for this innovative and promising Network.

    George Sisamakis
    Are you a candidate Lead Partner looking for partners
    Are you a potential Partner looking for a Lead Partner
    Your job title
    Deputy Mayor of Heraklion
    Institution website
    Urban planning


    LEAD PARTNER : Mula - Spain
    • Belene - Bulgaria
    • Heraklion - Greece
    • Sibenik - Croatia
    • Cesena - Italy
    • Ukmergė - Lithuania
    • Malbork - Poland

    Ayuntamiento de Mula - Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 8 - 30170 Mula Tel.: 968 637 510


    • KAIRÓS Baseline Study
    • Thematic Warm-ups
    • Integrated Action Plan Roadmaps



    • Thematic workshop on Economy: Cultural Heritage as a Driver for Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Job Creation
    • Thematic Workshop on Space: Valorisation and Adaptive Reuse in the Heritage City
    • Thematic Workshop on Attractiveness: Re-imagining the heritage city: from local identity to destination marketing
    • Thematic Workshop on Social Cohesion: Accessibility and inclusiveness in historic quarters
    • Peer-Review and study visit to Bologna
    • Re-thinking Malbork as a heritage city. On-site peer review. Malbork [PL] May 25-26 2022
    • The KAIRÓS journey on heritage-driven urban regeneration. KAIRÓS final conference. Mula [ES], 27-28 April 2022




    Integrated Action Plans

    Heraklion IAP From research ... TO ACTION

    Read more here

    Heraklion - Greece
    Taking Mula to new heights

    Read more here !

    Mula - Spain
    Revitalizing Ukmergė old town by giving voice to the local community

    Read more here !

    Ukmergė - Lithuania
    Converting Belene into a desirable place to live

    Read more here !

    Belene - Bulgaria
    Reinforcing a city perspective to heritage

    Read more here !

    Malbork - Poland
    IAP Šibenik Green, smart and inclusive Old Town

    Read more here !

    Šibenik - Croatia
    The City Gate

    Read more here !

    Cesena - Italy

    KAIRÓS is an URBACT Action Planning Network focused on cultural heritage as a driver for sustainable urban development and regeneration. In ancient Greek KAIRÓS means the propitious moment, and this is the moment to test an innovative policy framework, combining a sound integrated approach with a real transformation purpose. To meet this challenge, the KAIRÓS model pursues the proper assemblage of five key dimensions, namely: space, economy, social accessibility, attractiveness and governance.

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  • Global Goals for Cities

    Lead Partner : Tallinn - Estonia
    • Klaipèda - Lithuania
    • Braga - Portugal
    • Bratislava - Slovakia
    • Gävle - Sweden
    • Glasgow
    • Heraklion - Greece
    • La Rochelle - France
    • Manresa - Spain
    • Reggio Emilia - Italy
    • Schiedam - Netherlands
    • Veszprém - Hungary
    • Solingen - Germany
    • Mouscron - Belgium
    • Trim - Ireland
    • Ozalj - Croatia
    • Jihlava - Czech Republic
    • Dzierżoniów - Poland
    • Véliki Preslav - Bulgaria



    • Kick-off meeting
    • Participation at the 2022 World Urban Forum in Katowice (PL)
    • Localising Sustainable Development Goals Conference in Manresa (ES)




    • How EU cities can localise SDGs through integrated action planning

      Global Goals For Cities Lead Expert Stina Heikkila shows URBACT cities taking steps to link local and global sustainability goals.

    • Senioral policy in Dzierżoniów and the goals of sustainable development

      The Sustainable Development Goals have been defined by the United Nations (UN) in the document Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This document lists 17 Sustainable Development Goals and related activities that are planned to be achieved by UN member states. The goals are achieved not only at the government level - the sectors of science, business, non-governmental organizations and ordinary citizens also have a great influence.

    • From Vision to Transformative Actions for the SDGs: co-creation of integrated actions in Manresa

      Around one hour and a half from Barcelona by train, in a hilly area of the Bages county, is Manresa - a small-sized city with around 78 000 inhabitants - one of several partners of similar size in the Global Goals for Cities network. On 21 April, I had the chance to stop by and attend one of Manresa’s URBACT Local Group (ULG) meetings organised by the local coordination team. Here, I share a few highlights of how the ULG and the participatory process is helping to shape the priorities of the Manresa 2030 Agenda and the integrated action plan that is currently in the making.  

    • Video from the transnational meeting in Gävle

      A very nice and colorful short movie showcasing our three full workdays in Gävle.
      Authors: partners from Mouscron, Christophe Deneve.

    • Insights from REGGIO EMILIA

      The city of Reggio Emilia (Italy) was the co-host of the 7th Transnational Meeting, which was held between 23-25 May 2022 in Sweden, along with the cities of Gävle (Sweden) and Dzierżoniów (Poland).

    • Video from transnational meeting in Solingen

      A short video of our first physical meeting in Solingen, Germany.
      The meeting was dedicated to the next phase of action planning and implementation on governance, partnerships, and policy coherence levels.

    • First face-to-face meeting in Solingen

      Together with the cities of Tallinn and Heraklion the TM#6 was hosted by Solingen and was held from April, 6 to April, 8 in the Theater and Concert Hall in Solingen. After one year of work in
      the GG4C project participants from 14 different countries took the chance to meet in person.

    • Insights from Heraklion, the co-host of TM6

      The city of Heraklion was the co-host of the 6th Transnational Meeting which was held between 5-8 April 2022 in Solingen, Germany along with Solingen and Tallinn.

    • SDG Story: Gävle

      Gävle and the other 18 cities (from 19 countries) of the EU URBACT pilot network ”Global Goals in Cities” (GG4C) are already one year into the 20 months project on localising the SDGs.

    • SDG Story: Mouscron

      Just halfway towards our goals following the marked route, the AGRI-URBAN Network (URBACT III Programme) held a transnational meeting in the Swedish city of Södertälje from 21 to 24 May 2017. A turning point in the agenda of this project, the meeting focused on the AGRI-URBAN topics linked to the experience of this city and also put the emphasis on shaping the Integrated Action Plans of all partners of the project with the participation of their respective URBACT Local Groups. Watching this video, produced after the visit, you can discover how inspirational was this Swedish city in the project design and later, fostering innovative actions in other partner cities involved in the development of local food systems.
    • SDG Story: Tallinn

      Guidelines for the implementation and monitoring of the sustainable development goals in the framework of Tallinn 2035 Development Strategy.

    • SDG Story: Jihlava

      Jihlava vision concept: aim is to be safe, socially cohesive, green and accessible city.

    • SDG Story: Bratislava

      Where are we coming from?

      Even though the first mention of Bratislava appears in 907, Bratislava is one of the youngest capitals in Europe (1993).

    • SDG Story: Reggio Emilia

      Where are we coming from? The city profile.

      Reggio Emilia is renowned in educational circles, with the philosophy known as the “Reggio Emilia Approach”; for pre-school and primary school children developed in the city shortly after World War II. At the same time, contemporary art, ancient monuments, and exhibitions such as Fotografia Europea have made the city rich in culture and social change —supported by the business community, services and the university. The city is connected by high-speed train to Milan, Bologna and Florence, and is within 45 minutes’ reach to all those cities. Reggio is the city of relations with Africa, the city of cycle paths and of Parmigiano Reggiano.

    • SDG Story: Veliki Preslav

      The third newspaper of tomorrow is here and it's from Veliki Presav, Bulgaria.
      Very inspirational article of how the city looks like beyond 2030, and as they declare - Veliki Preslav will be the most sustainable small city in their land.

    • SDG Story: Klaipėda

      In the visioning phase of our network, partners worked hard to co-create their visions for localizing the SDGs in their cities. The stories tell their vision for how to localise the SDGs in their cities.
      Here you can get a glimpse of Klaipėda - vibrant, smart, inclusive.

    • SDG Story: Heraklion

      In the Visioning phase of our URBACT Global Goals for Cities network in the second half of 2021, partners worked hard to co-create their visions for localizing the sustainable development goals in their cities.
      We’re happy to launch our ,campaign showing the diversity and creativity of the 19 stories.
      First up: Newspaper of future Heraklion -smart, resilient and livable city.

    • The RFSC a relevant tool for the city partners of the GG4C network

      In the course of the life of the Global Goals for Cities (GG4C) network, the 19 city partners used an existing self-assessment tool: the RFSC, or Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities. Based on European principles for sustainable and integrated urban development, the tool available online was used during the diagnosis and visioning phase of the network (as an analytical tool), and partners will use it again in the planning phase (as a planning tool). What is the RFSC? And what did it bring to the network?

    • The Citizen Committee of the La Rochelle Territory Zero Carbon project: How to build trust?

      On January 25, La Rochelle Urban Community presented to the Global Goals for Cities partners its ‘La Rochelle Territory Zero Carbon’ (LRTZC) project towards 2040, highlighting the following main characteristics and innovations : a shared and multilevel governance, an evaluation and financing tool 'the Carbon Cooperative', and a citizen co-construction approach through the establishment of a Citizen Committee.

    • Debating the future of Schiedam

      The future of the city of Schiedam is a recurring topic in the city council and the executive board and, of course, also in the city. These views and discussions have been reflected in the city vision for some time now.

    • Jihlava's successful collaboration with developers

      Every new construction in the city burdens the surrounding area with growing demands on transportation, social and health infrastructure, and other needs for a functioning urban society. Such externalities can be relatively reliably quantified, predicted or simulated. However, cities often must develop and maintain the infrastructure themselves. Is there a method to share costs with private developers and collaborate to build more sustainably with the needs of the citizens in mind?

    • Glasgow’s Journey towards the 2030 Agenda

      Race to net zero and climate resilience: localising the SDGs through meaningful participation and co-creation.

    • Manresa 2030 Agenda: localising the SDGs through meaningful participation

      Since the end of 2018, Manresa is working on its local 2030 Agenda: an integrated sustainability strategy to respond to the environmental, social, and economic challenges of the current decade. A strategy whose design, implementation and monitoring must be shared with all the local stakeholders and citizens.

    • Awareness-raising around the SDGs – a practical example from La Rochelle Urban Community

      On 25 November, Stina Heikkilä had the opportunity to participate in an exciting event organised by our Global Goals for Cities partner La Rochelle Urban Community: the bi-annual Participatory Forum for Actors for Transition (Forum Participatif des Acteurs de la Transition). For this Forum, the team from La Rochelle Urban Community had planned an “SDG edition” with the aim of raising awareness about the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs among local stakeholders.

    • Ozalj best practices on meaningful participation

      The city of Ozalj was the co-host of the 4th Transnational Meeting which was held virtually between 24-26 November 2021 along with Manresa and Glasgow. Our main theme was Meaningful participation and co-creation and each co-host city shared best practices and introduced other cities to local customs.

    • Trim: Raising awareness of the SDGs

      The courthouse in Trim stands in the centre of the town, with the castle in the background, it is a reminder of the history and heritage of Trim. Both grey stone buildings have been here longer than us and could tell a story or two.

    • In Swedish: Gävle is developing urban sustainability

      Nätverket Global Goals for Cities arbetar med Agenda 2030 och de globala målen. Gävle kommun ska tillsammans med 18 andra städer i nätverket under kommande två år skapa och dela kunskap för att utveckla den urbana hållbarheten.

    • Klaipeda Case Study: Virtual hackathon “Unlock SDGs”

      To achieve Agenda 2030 and make sure that we leave no one behind, everyone needs to get involved in the work towards a more sustainable world. Youth continuously are an important factor in this work. The Klaipeda city has Forum of Youth Ambassadors, which is a new body put in place with the hope of creating lasting and strong youth engagement. The forum is designed to generate ideas for the Youth Affairs Council of Klaipėda, which consists of 7 youth representatives and 7 municipal representatives.  This process is in progress according to national law.

    • Mouscron: Story of Transnational Meeting

      On September 28th, the transnational meeting with the co-host cities of Trim, Mouscron and Klaipeda was held by videoconference (thanks to covid…). Nevertheless, it was an opportunity for us to practice our English. 
      Through this activity, we were able to learn more and discover local traditions. We were therefore able to introduce other cities to our customs and to share with them our culture. 

    • URBACT cities join forces in a quest for global sustainability

      A new URBACT network aims to lead the way in delivering on the UN SDGs in cities. Find out why this matters.

    The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015 as a universal call of action to protect our planet, end poverty and ensure peace and prosperity for all by 2030. "Global Goals for Cities” is a pilot network and strategic partnership aimed at accelerating progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in 19 cities of the EU, through peer learning and integrated action planning. The partnership is funded through the European Regional Development Fund's URBACT III European Territorial Cooperation programme.

    Strategic partnership for peer learning and planning to localise SDGs
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  • 23 Action Planning Networks ready for Phase 2!

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



    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!





    Research, technological development and innovation


    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

    (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.


    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


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

    - 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


    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.


    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.


    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.

    (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.


    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


    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


    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


    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).


    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.


    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.


    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


    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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  • Memories can't wait, heritage as urban regeneration by Lead Expert Miguel Rivas

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    Can heritage be an engine for urban development?

    by Miguel Rivas, KAIRÓS Lead Expert

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    Memories can't wait. This is the title of a song by Talking Heads, which relates to Kairós, the name of the new URBACT Action Planning Network on cultural heritage. In ancient Greek, Kairós means the ‘propitious moment’. It is indeed a call to action. And the way this network is addressing heritage has much to do with people and the (collective) memory. 

    In modern heritage management, the concepts of valorisation and adaptive re-use to contemporary issues are as relevant as the notion of preservation. The scope can range from just the building or monumental artifact to the idea of the broader urban cultural landscape. These trends are paving the way for heritage to play an important role as a driver for urban development.

    Other concepts and lines of work are accelerating the relevance of this approach, ranging from sustainable urban development as the prominent framework for today´s urban policies to increasing community empowerment. In this context, the purpose of Kairós is to build up and test an integrated approach for heritage-led urban development and regeneration that can serve a variety of specific challenges and circumstances. We set out a sample here below.

    Facing dereliction and decline of historic neighbourhoods

    What Mula, a mid-sized town in Southeast Spain, and Heraklion (180,000 inhabitants), the administrative capital of the isle of Crete (Greece) have in common is that both feel the urgent need to stop and revert the vicious circle of degradation and decline. In both cases, this is affecting some of their historic neighbourhoods, in particular  Mula´s ‘upper historic quarters’, dating from medieval times, and, in Heraklion, the ‘Aghia Triada’ (Holy Trinity), one of the last city fragments that still retains much of its historical character dating back to the late medieval and early Ottoman cities.

    A shrinking and ageing population seriously impacts both districts, meaning that the once traditional social fabric has greatly disappeared. Massive degradation of the housing stock and lots of abandoned properties, alongside a process of social decay and conflict have caused a subsequent poor image of the area and, thus, economic decline. Rehabilitation and regeneration schemes, with a poorly integrated approach, have been tried in both cases, with scarce results so far. 

    If we move to Lithuania we find Ukmergé,  a shirinking medium-sized city, halfway between the capital, Vilnius, and Kaunas. Its cultural memory is so closely linked to Jewish urban culture and heritage that the old town has never really been brought back to normal life since the tragedy of the Holocaust,during which about 10,000 members of the town's Jewish community were massacred.

    The historic district of Aghia Triada, Heraklion (EL)

    The current local government has promoted a number of physical rehabilitation projects over the past few years, but they still need to be framed into a comprehensive and more ambitious strategy for Ukmergé´s old town regeneration. This would raise the confidence and interest of dwellers, investors, shop owners and entrepreneurs.

    Conditions in Sibenik, on the Croatian coast, are quite different to Ukmergé. The city has rapidly become a renowned tourist destination. However, a priority of the local government is to achieve a more sustainable urban development model for its unique, Venetian-style old town. Currently, it is being negatively affected by depopulation, tourism-driven gentrification and a lack of urban vitality during the low season.

    Looking at the future through the lens of memory

    Other cities in the Kairós network do not face degradation and decline specifically, but rather want to take advantage of the potential of a number of heritage assets for new urban developments and opportunities. After years investing in their historic downtowns, Cesena in Northern Italy and Roskilde in Denmark are now interested in how best to connect those city cores with new heritage-driven district developments or re-developments.

    In the city of Cesena - 97,200 inhabitants - intends to re-use its urban industrial legacy (in this case, the former Arrigoni factory) as the spatial foundation for a multi-functional urban regeneration of the area surrounding the railway station. This will include a campus development, new workplaces, housing, new public spaces and a sustainable mobility scheme. Whereas in Roskilde - a commuter town 30 km west of Copenhagen with 97,200 inhabitants - the next flagship project in the town will be the transformation of a former 19th century psychiatric hospital complex of 58 ha into a new liveable and vibrant neighbourhood.

    Belene is a small Bulgarian town located in the central part of the Danubian plain, one of the least developed regions in the European Union. At present, the Municipality has the firm determination to make their cultural and natural heritage - notably the spectacular Persina Nature Park - work for the city strategy. In particular, it plans to regenerate and develop the city´s Danube riverfront as a new hotspot for residents and the visitor economy, which is almost inexistent so far.

    Conversely, the Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork, Poland, is likely the most visited tourist attraction in the country. It is the largest castle in the world measured by land area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. The main challenge of Malbork City Council is to expand the benefits associated with the high inflow of visitors to the castle  (over 800,000 people in 2019) to the whole historic city, which remains underappreciated. This will call for a wider approach to the urban heritage, beyond the monuments and landmarks and much closer to the concept of ‘historic urban landscape’.

    Malbork´s Teutonic Castle (PL)

    The Kairós five-pillar model

    To meet these challenges, the eight cities mentioned above agreed to share a common action-research work plan within the Kairós network. The integration of the following five key dimensions aims to provide a new policy framework enabling real transformation on the ground:

    • Governance - in particular participatory approaches and enabling regulatory frameworks for heritage valorisation in mid-sized towns and cities.
    • Space - valorisation and adaptive re-use of urban heritage, including multi-functionality and specific urban planning solutions for historic quarters.
    • Economy - entrepreneurial itineraries, business models and technologies related to heritage valorisation and heritage-led urban development and regeneration.
    • Attractiveness - re-imagining the ‘heritage city’: from local identity to sustainable destination management.
    • Social Cohesion – addressing accessibility and inclusiveness of historic quarters.

    We think this is the right time, at the beginning of the EU´s new programming period 2021-2027, to put into practice this Kairós five-pillar model. Whilst impressive cultural heritage has long been part of the European urban culture and the European ‘brand’,  there is now greater awareness of the multifaceted nature of heritage-driven urban development and regeneration, and the benefits associated with these strategies. So, let´s move on to action. Memories can´t wait.

    The KAIRÓS Model

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  • Smart city strategic plan


    Implementing smart city practices through interdisciplinary cooperation

    Costis Mochanakis
    Director of Organisation, Programming and ICT
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    The city of Heraklion (EL) has developed a strategic plan that includes three pillars: Smart City, Resilient City and Cultural-Touristic City. The first, “Heraklion: Smart City”, encompasses a good practice developed by the Municipality of Heraklion in cooperation with the city's major stakeholders. Its purpose is to apply internationally recognised smart city practices to fully realise the potential of the city's assets while strengthening areas in which the city has traditionally been lacking. The exceptional element is that these smart city practices are being implemented on an interdisciplinary level. Major stakeholders are working together like never before to realise these goals, spanning interdepartmental gaps between institutions and services. Through this collaboration, effective and sustainable smart city initiatives have taken root bringing positive results and new opportunities - from extensive broadband networks to e-government services and support for volunteers and entrepreneurs.

    The solutions offered by the good practice

    Any changes within a city affect the individuals, organisations, communities and businesses that make up that city. It only makes sense, then, that all of these stakeholders be involved in the governance of the city. The solution that this smart city strategy has provided for Heraklion is a Smart City Committee formed in 2011, a first for Greece, which is chaired by the Municipality of Heraklion and has representation from many of the city’s major stakeholders. This committee has provided a framework within which stakeholders of all types (businesses, transportation organisations, citizen groups, public services and individual citizens) can formulate a common vision for the city and can also be involved in the decision-making processes. Projects of each individual stakeholder can then be aligned with this common vision, and can even overlap and be compatible with those of other stakeholders, increasing their value. Joint ventures between stakeholders will allow for larger and more ambitious endeavours that can benefit the city further. In a period of economic turmoil and financial austerity, such a strategy has proven to be all the more needed and its benefits are even more profoundly felt. Specific solutions that have resulted include information and communications technology infrastructure to promote citizen connectivity, volunteer and social inclusion initiatives, public forums that promote entrepreneurship and ambitious interdisciplinary and inter-stakeholder projects that promise to vastly improve the city.

    Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

    Heraklion’s Smart City Strategy has built on the sustainable and integrated approach by providing the tools and the context for the integration that is necessary to sustainably deal with urban challenges. As a result of its strategy, according to a study by the European Parliament’s Directorate General for Internal Policies, “Mapping Smart Cities in the EU,” Heraklion has been deemed strong in the following three smart city axes: governance, economy and citizen participation. Within these three axes the integrated and sustainable approach that Heraklion has adopted allows it to flourish in this way. Practical examples include Heraklion’s participation in the Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy and the city’s Sustainable Urban Development Plan. The latter has been approved by the city council and has been ratified by the Regional Government of Crete as well. This is a project that has been granted over 14 million euros of European funding to provide for long-term sustainable urban design and development. Additionally, the enabling of participatory government has allowed challenges to be solved in an integrated fashion. Solutions have not been tailored only to the needs of a specific group of people, or only to maximise economic benefits or only to provide for a single social need. This holistic approach has allowed for solutions to positively affect all parties involved, from individual citizens, to businesses, to communities and to the city as a whole.

    Based on a participatory approach

    The adoption of a smart city strategy and a common vision required the participation of all related stakeholders. This first materialised in 2009 with the leadership role of Heraklion in the Icarus Network, a network of cooperation between municipalities of Crete and of the islands of the Aegean which developed the “Charter of Obligations of Municipal Authorities to Citizens in the Knowledge Society”. In 2011, the first Heraklion: Smart City Committee was formed and chaired by the Municipality of Heraklion with the representation of stakeholders including higher education and research institutes, transportation and business sector organisations. In 2015, the second Heraklion: Smart City Committee was convened with the backing of the City Council. This long-term committee has representation from the Foundation for Research and Technology (FORTH), the University of Crete, the Technological Educational Institute (TEI) of Crete, the Heraklion Chamber of Commerce, the Heraklion Urban Buses (KTEL) organisation, individual experts and delegates from all political groups represented in the City Council. The purpose of the committee is to facilitate the collective management of the city's strategic objectives as opposed to allowing the independent development and management of individual objectives of each institution. In this way, the committee is able to aid in capitalising on the benefits of a participatory approach to the development of smart city projects and initiatives.

    What difference has it made?

    The smart city strategy has made a noticeable difference. Some examples are: 1) Broadband infrastructure has reached 100% coverage. Private telcos have been given right-of-way to create their own fibre optic networks. The Municipal fibre optic network connects over 60 schools and many public services serving over 18,000 students and 5,500 public servants. Heraklion also boasts the nation’s largest municipal Wi-Fi network, which has been in continuous operation since 2008, 2) e-Government – Heraklion provides citizens with over 160 e-services via the municipality’s portal. It is ranked third among municipal portals in Greece according to and second during the summer tourist season. There is a plethora of additional sites with which visitors can interact with the city including, and, as well as a Heraklion City App, 3) The support of multiple volunteer groups has also been a result of the smart city initiative. The City Council has set up specific committees to support the participation of volunteers. These volunteer groups organise community outreach events that help the city especially in this time of financial austerity, 4) The Dimoskopio is a multidisciplinary organisation whose vision is to promote and support entrepreneurship and innovation to improve the economic climate of the city.

    Why should other European cities use it?

    Heraklion is a medium-sized municipal area with an urban population of around 150,000 and a rural population of around 25,000 located geographically at the edge of the European Union. As a city, it is a vibrant tourist destination and boasts over 4,000 years of history and culture. It also has a strong specialised economy with its unique agricultural products. There are many cities in Europe that share a similar profile with that of Heraklion. This is why we believe that the Heraklion: Smart City Initiative would be very interesting for other European cities. Heraklion’s successes in this endeavour, especially in the strong points mentioned above, can become an example and a point of reference for similar cities. The experience that Heraklion has obtained through this endeavour has created a set of case studies and good practices that can be used by other cities to create or supplement their own Smart City Strategy. The appeal of participating in URBACT comes from the exchange of information and best practices that will mutually benefit all parties involved. Heraklion has weak points that require attention and a lot of work, and participation in URBACT will also give Heraklion the opportunity to benefit from the best practices of other cities. It is this very exchange of experiences between cities that make the presentation of these best practices interesting for all parties involved.

    Is a transfer practice
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