POINT (19.023782 50.264892)

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

    Amadora launches a Guide on the welcoming of migrants

    Blue Economy Forum

    BluAct Toolkit

    BluAct: The Documentary


    Kick-off meeting in September (Katowice).
    Transnational meetings in March (Ioanina) and October (Malmo).
    Final event in March (Rotterdam).

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


    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela


    Municipality of Udine (Italy)


    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email:

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

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    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora



    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801


    City of Rome

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

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



    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

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



    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council


    Municipality of Piraeus


    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia


    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029



    Riga NGO House


    City of Antwarp
    Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen

    Manchester City Council
    Manchester M2 5RT

    City of Rotterdam
    Coolsingel 40, 3011 AD Rotterdam

    Becoming more resilient means that a city strives to enhance its ability to bounce back and grow even stronger and better in the face of the chronic stresses and acute shocks. As such, city resilience is a continuous challenge for individuals, communities, institutions, businesses and infrastructure systems to address current trends and future transitions. This Action Planning network looked at the challenges of achieving resilience in and of our cities in a comprehensive and holistic way, by applying the lessons from the innovative governance approach of Transition Management. This approach is a process-oriented and participatory steering that enables social learning through iterations between collective vision development and experimenting.

    Improving city resilience
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  • Playful Paradigm


    Kick-off meeting
    1st TN Meeting in Esplugues de Llobregat | 2nd TNM in Udine | 1st Customized Activity in Udine: Ludobus and Social Transformation | 2nd Customized Activity, Paris, Toy Libraries Study Visit | 3rd TNM in Klaipeda
    4th TNM Viana do Castelo | TNM Online (Parts 1+2+3) | Webinar "Network Management for Tackling the COVID Crisis" | Webinar "Public Procurement" | Webinar "Manifesto of Playful Cities" | Playful Paradigm to re-think cities (virtual session @ EURegionsWeek)
    Sharing Period | Final Event 20-21 April

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


    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela


    Municipality of Udine (Italy)


    Cities offer unique opportunities for addressing the challenges of urbanization, ageing, climate change, social exclusion, only if enabling, enjoyable places are co-created. This Transfer network aims to replicate the “playful paradigm” based on gamification as an innovative concept for promoting social inclusion, healthy lifestyles & energy awareness, intergenerational & cultural mediation, place-making & economic prosperity. Games offer new strategies for engaging city stakeholders in urban development.

    Games for inclusive, healthy and sustainable cities
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  • The ‘Polish URBACT’ – the first national URBACT-style programme for cities!

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    Polish NUP Aldo Vargas tells us about an exciting national exchange programme for cities inspired by URBACT.

    Integrated approach

    Anybody who has participated in an URBACT network and worked out constructive outcomes at local level can attest to the effectiveness of the URBACT method, but also to the fact that the ways of working it inspires can often seem more like the exception than the rule of ‘normal’ administrational functioning of cities.

    Encouraging and enabling urban decision-makers and practitioners to think bigger, adopt more integrated approaches and practise co-creation in their professional life is the URBACT dream. Participating in URBACT networks is a sometimes difficult, sometimes joyful experience of breaking the silos of municipal departments and between public and non-public sectors.

    But it can be difficult to imagine how a more integrated approach to city functioning can spread among cities that have never had the opportunity to participate in an URBACT network. I want to share a story about how just such a process has started to come true in Poland through the URBACT-inspired national ‘City Partnership Initiative’.

    How did the ‘Polish URBACT’ originate?

    The ‘City Partnership Initiative’ (PIM in Polish) started in 2016 with a common initiative by the Ministry of Infrastructure (now Ministry of Funds and Regional Policy) and the Polish National URBACT Point.


    The broader European context was propitious: after adopting the Pact of Amsterdam, the first four partnerships of the EU Urban Agenda had recently started their activities and the next four partnerships were planning to recruit partners.

    At the same time, the Polish government had just started implementation of the new national Strategy for Responsible Development – of which Specific Objective II (Socially and territorially sustainable development) opened the way for targeted projects for small and medium-sized cities. The Ministry of Infrastructure already had an idea for a specific City Partnership Initiative to reach small and medium-sized cities, but was not yet sure on the details of how to run such a project.

    Meanwhile, as the Polish NUP, I was organising a national training session for the Polish cities involved in the first round of Action Planning Networks under URBACT III. Together with non-URBACT cities, ministry representatives and URBACT experts, the three-day event brought together 80 people in December 2016. Thanks to the facilitation of Piotr Wolkowinski, Lead Expert of the BoostInno network, all participants had a feeling to have raised their awareness on the possibilities offered by the URBACT method and the needs of the cities.

    These parallel trends all leant towards the creation of a national initiative supporting exchange and networking among towns and cities in Poland towards the identification of local solutions for integrated sustainable urban development. The initiative would aim to combine the broader European approach to national urban policies with targeted support at the local level to provide city authorities with specific knowledge to address their identified needs.

    How does the Polish URBACT operate?

    The initiative was allocated a budget of 600 000 Zlotys for each network (approximately € 136 400 ) over three years and was designed to support many of the same actions as URBACT networks, including exchange and networking meetings among cities, PIM Local Groups of stakeholders in each participating city, and thematic experts to support each network.

    The discussions at the URBACT seminar helped formulate possible areas of interest of city networking and exchange in Poland and the appropriate working method of the City Partnership Initiative, based largely on experiences of the URBACT method and the EU Urban Agenda Partnerships topics.

    All cities participating in a network were expected to develop an integrated action plan (called a ‘City Action Initiative’ in the Polish context). Like URBACT Integrated Action Plans, these should be a co-designed set of concrete solutions to previously identified local challenges and problems.

    On top of that, each network as a whole had to develop an Improvement Plan, a set of recommendations for the Ministry, to feed into future urban policies at the national level.

    The City Partnership Initiative was given some more specifically defined objectives by the Ministry of Infrastructure:

    • Strengthening and encouraging partnership cooperation and exchange of knowledge between cities;
    • Capacity building among city officers and decision-makers;
    • Knowledge capitalisation and developing bottom-up system solutions;
    • Dissemination of the principles of social participation in city management;
    • Involving cities in the implementation of national and European urban development goals.

    An initiative of this scale needed a thorough preparation of its building blocks. The Ministry, in close cooperation with the National URBACT Point, which provided the necessary knowledge, prepared a set of programme documents. These included “Rules of realisation of the City Partnership Initiative”, a “Guidebook for City Action Initiatives” and a “Guidebook for Local Partnerships”.


    The PIM network on Urban Regeneration was led by Katowice and counted 11 Polish cities.

    A first round of pilot city networks in Poland

    The initiative launched its first call for city networks in 2017, focused on three pilot thematic networks on: 1. Urban Mobility; 2. Urban Regeneration; and 3. Air Quality.

    The call was open to all urban areas in Poland, as well as associations of local governments. The initiative applied no restrictions on city size, but was clearly targeted and marketed at building the capacity and knowledge of small and medium-sized cities in Poland, which are starting to experience serious waves of depopulation.

    Over 105 applications were received, indicating a high demand for this type of project. Of these, a total of 34 cities and associations of local government were selected across the three networks. Each network had an appointed thematic expert, designated by the Ministry. Their role was, as in URBACT networks, to support each network with substantive knowledge.

    At each phase of the works of the three pilot networks, the National URBACT Point provided knowledge and know-how based on the long experience of cooperation with cities. However, the quantity of work quickly forced the Ministry to also open a call for an external body to provide practical support in the facilitation of the PIM Local Groups and guide them on a more daily basis.

    Network meetings were organised on a regular basis, as well as combined meetings of the three networks together. For those used to URBACT national and transnational networking meetings, these occasions had a familiar atmosphere of friendly collaboration!

    The final meeting of the three pilot networks took place in October 2019. A report was prepared to summarise their achievements, to finalise the Improvement Plans of each network, to compare the effectiveness of both the PIM and URBACT programmes and formulate the broad lines of the future activities of the project.

    Szczecin zamek4

    Szczecin Metropolitan Area was Lead Partner of the Urban Mobility network of nine Polish cities.

    What have been the results so far?

    The PIM initiative was an opportunity to test a new model of developing municipal initiatives and solutions for the development of towns and cities in Poland, based on exchange, partnership and cooperation. Its results have been entirely positive.

    The PIM has succeeded in initiating cross-sectoral and multilevel cooperation around urban policies, involving representatives of the public, social and private sectors. It has proved to be an accelerator for municipalities to join efforts and establish cooperation in specific dimensions of urban policies.

    This cooperation between local government units participating in the project allowed for the implementation and creation of better, more interesting and more inspiring ideas for the development of cities with the support of local stakeholders. The initiative gave the opportunity to practise new forms of cooperation with residents and consultation methods, as well as the opportunity to test innovative solutions in specific areas of urban policy –  conducting pilots in local conditions.

    All this might sound normal for URBACT veterans, but is an important leap forward for so many cities in Poland that had never had the opportunity to experience it.

    The formula of the project allowed for effective learning – the greatest results were achieved when the participants worked together, when they were driven by joint discussions with people with different experiences. Network partners had the opportunity to avoid mistakes or use proven solutions.

    For example, larger municipal units, more advanced in implementing policies related to air quality, urban mobility and revitalisation, showed smaller cities how to implement comprehensive policies, building the capacity and competence of officials from smaller centres.

    In addition, the initiative enabled enhanced collaboration between participating cities and the national level - to streamline a new communication channel that allows better, more effective adjustment of urban policies created in the national ministries to the needs of local self-government communities.

    Bazylika w Białymstoku - Emilia Ernst

    Bialystok Funtional Area took over the role of Lead Partner of the Air Quality network from Nowy Sącz.

    Further information

    Drawing on this experience, a new call of the Polish ‘City Partnership Initiative’ is expected to be launched by the end of 2020 for three new networks, the topics of which are yet to be defined.

    Cities have already signalled their interest in participating in the project. The new call will also develop further the ties with EU urban policies at national level.

    As this initiative has demonstrated its attractiveness to cities and the ministry responsible for urban affairs, other countries have started to work on similar initiatives, aimed at involving more cities in new ways of developing local level urban policies.

    Anyone interested in more information about this initiative can contact the National URBACT Point in Poland or the representative of the Ministry listed on the Polish NUP website.

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    Kick-off meeting

    Thirteen years ago, the EMMCA was founded in L'Hospitalet as a new model of music school that uses music as a tool for inclusion and social change. The ONSTAGE Transfer network follows the Good Practices, which has an innovative methodology engaging civic society. Making a difference from traditional music schools, the project gives equal opportunities to all inhabitants of L’Hospitalet to access music courses, involves primary schools and creates a space for social cohesion, tackling local issues such as exclusion, youth unemployment and school dropout.

    Music schools for social change
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  • Welcome to the European Playful Cities!

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    Games offer unique opportunities for engaging stakeholders in contemporary cities says Ileana Toscano. While European cities face challenges of ageing, climate change and social exclusion, we need to find enjoyable ways to co–create solutions. The URBACT Playful Paradigm transfer network is based on the use of “games” for promoting social inclusion, healthy lifestyles and energy awareness, place-making and economic prosperity.

    What’s in a game?


    An easy tool as a “game” can help cities to face contemporary challenges. Ageing population, migration, social exclusion and climate change are the main challenges tackled every day by European Cities. Cities need to define enjoyable and easy tools for engaging citizens and stakeholders. A Paradigm based on the use of “games” and “gamification” could be the answer.

    The Municipality of Udine (IT) has developed an urban practice focusing on the use of games as flexible, innovative place-making paradigm for fostering an equitable and democratic society. Games are used as vehicles for addressing healthy lifestyles and energy awareness. Games foster the inclusion of migrants, the involvement of elderly people and promote a better relationship between parents and children.

    Games in Udine have become an urban policy priority that enables citizens’ participation and a peaceful civic environment. The ‘Playful Paradigm’ initiatives are part of a comprehensive strategy that the Municipality has been implementing for years under the umbrella of the Healthy Cities Project (World Health Organization) and the European Covenant of Mayors for Climate & Energy.

    “Playful Paradigm” is one of the 25 Transfer networks funded by URBACT. It aims to adapt and reuse the good practice of “games for fostering inclusion, health and sustainability” in other 7 European cities: Cork (IE), Klaipeda (LT), Esplugues de Llobregat (ES), Larissa (EL), Novigrad (HR), Bratislava (SK) and Katowice (PL).

    Why are games so important for cities?

    Paolo Munini, chief officer for gaming activities of Udine Municipality, says “Games are essential for child development. Games are also important for elderly people because they maintain the physical and cognitive activity and prevent mental cognitive decay. Playful activities are powerful tools when applied in cities. Games can be used for working in deprived neighbourhoods with local community or in schools with students. They can trigger the participation of civil society, engaging citizens and local associations.

    The gaming approach could open opportunities for urban renewal. This is why Udine Administration uses “games” as a flexible co-created place-making paradigm. This innovative gaming approach works with participation to stimulate responsible change, and promote an healthy environment, by turning urban settings into incubators of sustainability and wellbeing (physical, mental and social/relational).

    In Italy the importance of games was recognized by the National Law 328/2000 (“La legge di riforma dei Servizi Sociali - Dal centralismo sociale al federalismo solidale”) that introduced the possibility of launching the Ludobus-initiatives in cities. The “Ludobus” is a van full of games moving through city neighbourhoods and bringing playful activities making games available to local population. In Udine the Ludobus began as a grass-root initiative thanks to a voluntary organization and later turned into a permanent activity, managed and funded by the Municipality. In Italy the Ludobus-initiative was a starting point to raise awareness on the value of games and to implement the first ‘gamification’ policies and actions in many cities.

    The Toy Library

    “Games are tools for social inclusion” says Furio Honsell, member of the Regional Assembly of The Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia and Mayor of Udine for 10 years (until May 2018). “We decided to establish a permanent Toy Library in Udine, which could also play the role of a hands-on science museum. The idea was to have a meeting space for families, elderly people, children, for all. The Toy Library has been a successful initiative and has provided answers to concrete needs of citizens to be active subjects and not mere passive spectators. The permanent toy library is a truly place for empowerment.

    In 2012 the Municipality of Udine decided to make the Ludobus-initiative a permanent experience, opening a “public Toy Library” in the city centre. Since 2013, 40.000 people have visited it. It is fully accessible and there is no age, gender or language restriction. It has become the emblem of social inclusion, cognitive stimulation, entertainment and lifelong learning in the city.

    During these years, the Municipality has invested about EUR 150 000 a year for the maintenance and equipment of the infrastructure and staff.

    Udine leads the way

    Since 2010 the City of Udine has been the leading city of the Italian Playful Cities Movement (GIONA), coordinating and sharing knowledge and experience with about 30 cities in Italy willing to implement ‘gamification’ strategies. Udine is also a member of the national association “Ali per Giocare”, which gathers private and public organisations at national level.

    On 25 November 2017, Udine launched the Italian National Games Archive aiming to establish the first Italian classification of traditional and modern games. The cataloguing activity of the Archive will rely also on crowd-sourcing in the coming years. The National Games Archive has been financed by the Autonomous Region of Friuli Venezia Giulia with an amount EUR 400 000 (for the period 2016-2020), according to the Regional Law n. 30/2017 ‘Regulations for promoting the right to play and to engage in play, physical and recreational activities’. It is worth mentioning that the Archive’s location was meaningfully chosen to be in Udine’s regenerated slaughterhouse.

    Moreover, Udine has a rich yearly calendar of events where games and ‘gamification’ strategies are meaningfully put into practice. The events are very popular across the region and bring many visitors to Udine. For example: CamminaMenti – Move your minds - run in community centres for dementia prevention and inclusion of elderly people, as well as the Energy in Play annual Fair, the World Games Day, Pi Day, Darwin Day, The library of living books, etc.

    Can gaming control gambling?

    A healthy gaming habit prevents the problem of gambling” says Munini. “The Municipality of Udine is developing a new project funded by Friuli Venezia Giulia Region to counteract the problem of gambling and promoting healthy games

    Gambling is increasing, especially among youths around Europe. According to the GuardianAbout 370,000 (12%) children in England, Scotland and Wales have gambled in the past week, the commission found. (...) They spent an average of £10 on gambling a week, more than a third of their £28 income from work or pocket money, with 8% claiming to have spent more than £40. Almost 1% of children aged between 11 and 16, or about 25,000, are defined as problem gamblers, with a further 36,000 at risk of developing a problem.

    The Municipality of Udine has been promoting an innovative project to fight gambling. Bars, Pubs and restaurants have been engaged by providing a tool-kit of “healthy” games replacing “slot-machines”. Unfortunately, the latter are more and more present in public venues, especially in deprived urban areas. Low income households are more deeply affected by gambling, which contributes to further deprivation. The introduction of healthy games in such areas can therefore be seen as an important form of prevention and protective factor for the most disadvantaged.

    Furio Honsell sums it all when he says that “to those who claim that games can be excellent tools for something else, I like to state that games are pointless and they don't have ulterior motives, much as music, mathematics, poetry, and love. But they can bring forward excellent fruit.

    From urbact
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    Project launch
    Project completed

    Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe (EVUE) focuses on the development of integrated, sustainable strategies and dynamic leadership techniques for cities to promote the use of electric vehicles. Urban initiatives to encourage the public and business to use EV's will contribute to EU clean air and car fleets targets, making cities more attractive and competitive.  Between 2009 and 2013, nine citiesacross Europe: Beja, Katowice, Frankfurt, Lisbon, London, Madrid, Oslo, Stockholm, Suceava and Zografou, supported by the URBACT programme, worked together to share knowledge and experience of how EVs can be implemented in the urban environment under the EVUE project. 

    Further activity has been undertaken through Pilot Delivery Network funding to look at the outcomes from the Local Action Plan process. EVUE II concludes in March 2015.

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