• Get ready for the Innovation Transfer Networks!

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    The new URBACT call builds on almost a decade of experience supporting the transfer of effective urban solutions.

    Person writing with a permanent marker on a transparent blackboard.
    From urbact

    From 10 January to 20 March 2024, URBACT is running a call for the next generation of Innovation Transfer Networks (ITNs). These networks aim to transfer projects that were funded under Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) to other cities across the EU, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.  

    What’s in it for cities?


    Through the ITNs, it’s up to the cities who received UIA funding from 2016 to 2023 to act as Lead Partners and to transfer their experience, know-how and advice to cities interested in implementing a similar project. Using the URBACT transfer methodology – Understand, Adapt and Re-use – project partners will create a deeper, three-dimensional understanding of the UIA original practice. Ultimately, the cities in these networks will improve their capacity to design innovative solutions in an integrated and participatory way and identify funding for implementation.

    Listen to experts Eddy Adams and Matthew Baqueria-Jackson discuss the Understand, Adapt, Reuse method:

    Over a two-year period, through an organised process of exchange and learning among peers, the project partners will work together to develop a tailor-made investment plan for the implementation of the innovation project. This will be done with the support of URBACT experts and anchored by a group of local stakeholders in each city (URBACT Local Group) that gathers different profiles from within and outside the local administration. 

    In a nutshell, cities involved in this type of networks should expect… 

    ITN - what to expect


    Putting innovation transfer to the test


    Replicating innovation is never easy, but between 2021 and 2022, five pilot innovation transfer networks were tasked with testing the URBACT transfer method. Twenty cities in total were involved in these five networks, each one of them led by a city who had implemented an UIA project. 

    The pilot’s final evaluation proved the URBACT transfer method to be successful, shedding light on some important points to consider:

    •    Breaking down the UIA practice

    A transferable project is one that can be easily modularised. UIA projects are large, complex strategic interventions designed for a specific territory. While wholesale transfer is a rarity, it helps if you can break it down into its core parts. In most of the pilot networks, partners had a pre-defined list of components, which enabled them to select those that would work best in different local contexts. An analysis of the assets and barriers, produced by the network expert, helped guide these choices.

    For instance, Rotterdam (NL) was able to adapt an investment plan developed by Birmingham (UK) through the USE-IT! network. Rotterdam customised tools and methods in Birmingham’s investment plan to support the development of a procurement hub for neighbourhood work-cooperatives. Involvement in USE-IT! has also had a profound impact upon partnership working in Rotterdam with enhanced relationships between the Municipality, the Voor Goed Agency that promotes social entrepreneurship, and the Social Impact Fond Rotterdam.

    Nevertheless, there are risks that come with modularising. It may be challenging for partners to fully understand each component and reject one or more potentially impactful modules. To mitigate this, most networks offered the option of modules, but included amongst these one which all partners would agree to transfer. 

    ●    Building back up

    The point has already been made about the importance of chunking up large strategic innovation projects. Think of it like an engineer, dismantling a machine to better understand how all the component parts work – so long as you remember where everything goes when you reassemble it! 

    This approach is also helpful when transfer partners do not have the scale of funding available. They can pick those elements which they are confident of being able to finance. The risk to be aware of here is that partners may select elements which are easier, or cheaper, and potentially less innovative.


    Stepping stones on the transfer path


    The URBACT transfer method is composed of different milestones that pave the way to the transfer. The first important milestone is the transferability study. This is composed of information, data, and figures around the topic of the UIA project that are gathered following visits to each network city and with discussions with the city administration, elected officials but also other relevant stakeholders outside the city administration. All the data gathered and analysed constitute a baseline for each city, but they also indicate the transfer potential of each city, with strengths and weaknesses that need to be further worked on. This transferability study becomes the reference for the way forward in terms of network activities and learning points before the actual transfer. 

    Other milestones include capacity-building activities organised by the URBACT Secretariat, trainings with tools or thematic sessions and events like the URBACT City Festival which is a source of inspiration for cities. 

    Finally, the main tangible result of each project partner is an investment plan that features all the necessary resources and steps to follow for the implementation of the UIA practice (partly or fully). 


    Show me the money


    Transferring innovative urban solutions is very rarely a copy-and-paste process. A degree of adaptation and reuse is still needed for genuine transformation. Reuse requires resources – people, plans and, most crucially, funding.

    A new feature for the upcoming networks, cities will also have the possibility of testing actions with a small budget before including them in the investment plan.

    At the end of the five pilot networks, more than three-quarters of partners said that they would transfer at least 50% of the original UIA innovation concept. The survey also showed that 15% of the partners already had secured funds for this, whilst almost half were confident that their transfer plans would be funded by the time the pilot concluded. 


    So, where do you sign up?


    If this article has whetted your appetite, then you might like to know how your city can get involved. 

    If you are a city interested in becoming a transfer partner, you can connect here from 10 January and find the necessary resources on how you can apply by 20 March 2024.  

    And don’t forget to sign up for the URBACT newsletter and follow us @URBACT to get updates. 

    We look forward to welcoming you to the URBACT community, 

    The URBACT team


    Special thanks to Eddy Adams for bringing together the findings of the evaluation of the previous pilot networks in this article.





  • 9 navdihov s srečanja U.R. Impact v Cinisellu Balsamu

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    Med 4. in 6. decembrom 2023 smo se mudili v Cinisellu Balsamu, mestu v severnem delu metropolitanskega območja Milana, na prvem mednarodnem srečanju URBACT akcijske mreže U.R. Impact.

    From urbact

    Mrežo U.R. Impact poleg vodilnega italijanskega Cinisella Balsama in slovenskega Bovca sestavljajo manj znana, manjša do srednje velika mesta – Szabolcs na Madžarskem, Broumov na Češkem, Târgu Frumos v Romuniji, 6. okraj Bukarešte, Mertola na Portugalskem, Murcia v Španiji, Hannut v Belgiji, Longford na Irskem in Kamez v Albaniji. Partnerji mreže U.R. Impact imajo različne izzive, ki jih bodo naslavljali s participativnim pristopom k urbani regeneraciji, še posebej pa se bodo posvetili njenim družbenim učinkom.

    Srečanje je bilo polno navdihov, nekateri partnerji so predstavili svoje dobre prakse, dobili smo kar nekaj teoretskih uvidov in si na terenu ogledali številne intervencije v Cinisellu Balsamo in v Milanu. Dovolj časa pa je bilo namenjenega tudi spoznavanju in povezovanju med partnerji.

    1.    Urbana regeneracija z družbenim učinkom


    Vodilna strokovnjakinja mreže, Liat Rogel, je predstavila izhodiščno študijo, ki jo je pripravila po obisku vseh partnerjev. Kot je povedala, se bodo v naslednjih dveh letih partnerji osredotočali na vprašanje, kako načrtovati in vrednotiti urbano regeneracijo z vidika družbenega učinka. Kot ključne aspekte družbenega učinka je izpostavila namenskost, merljivost in participacijo. Partnerji imajo vsak svoj urbani izziv, ki ga bodo naslavljali s participativno pripravo akcijskega načrta, vendar je mogoče najti mnoge presečne teme, kot so socialna vključenost, ustvarjanje prostora in identiteta mesta, beg možganov in mladinska politika, inovativni modeli upravljanja, trajnostni turizem ter dediščina in inovacije. Pozitivni cilji, za katere si bodo partnerji prizadevali, pa so pripadnost kraju, družbena kohezija, zdravo okolje in dobro počutje, javni prostori, zdrave skupnosti in gospodarska vitalnost.

    Cinisello Balsamo meeting

    Pred Villo Ghirlando, Cinisello Balsamo, foto: Petra Očkerl

    2.    Večerni program na tržnicah za močnejšo skupnost


    Partnerji so predstavili svoje uspešne projekte, ki lahko služijo kot navdih drugim mestom. V Mertoli na Portugalskem so pred pandemijo covida izjemno uspešno oživili dve lokalni tržnici. Enkrat na mesec so na tržnicah, ki so sicer živahne samo podnevi, organizirali večerni program s skupno pripravo hrane in petjem. Dogodki so bili zelo dobro obiskani in sprejeti med prebivalci, po pandemiji so nekoliko zamrli, a jih nameravajo kmalu spet obuditi.

    3.    Mestna dnevna soba za občutek pripadnosti


    Predstavniki iz češkega Broumova so predstavili prostor za občane, neke vrste mestno dnevno sobo, ki jo je omogočila angažirana skupina posameznikov. Ko je mesto pripravljalo svojo kandidaturo za Evropsko prestolnico kulture, se je v procesu participacije izkazalo, da si prebivalci želijo varen prostor, kjer se lahko srečujejo in preživljajo prosti čas. Ker občina tega ni zmogla uresničiti, je skupina angažiranih posameznikov najela lokal na osrednjem trgu in ga namenila raznovrstnim aktivnostim, ki so jih organizirali občani sami. V dveh mesecih, kolikor je bil prostor odprt (september in oktober 2023), se je v njem zvrstilo kar 48 dogodkov. To kaže, da tovrstnih prostorov v mestu primanjkuje in da lokalna skupnost potrebuje več dogajanja ter ga želi tudi sama ustvarjati. Pričakujejo, da bodo z aktivnostmi lahko nadaljevali spomladi, saj je bil projekt izglasovan za financiranje v okviru participativnega proračuna.

    4.    Urbana akupunktura: mali posegi za velike učinke


    Murcia je predstavila dva projekta. Prvi je bil izgradnja podzemnega železniškega vozla, ki bo s premikom prometne infrastrukture pod zemljo, odprl ogromen prostor v mestnem središču za druge rabe. Drugi projekt je bil URBACT DNA, v katerem so izvedli številne manjše intervencije v javnem prostoru v izbrani soseski. Gre za koncept t. i. urbane akupunkture, kjer se z manjšimi ukrepi skuša doseči kar največji možni učinek. Ukrepe so načrtovali in izvedli v tesnem sodelovanju z lokalnimi prebivalci in organizacijami, ki jih zdaj tudi vzdržujejo S tem, ko so v prostor spremembe, ki bi jih drugače izvedli v daljšem obdobju, vnesli v kratkem času, so prebivalci in obiskovalci lahko hitro dobili občutek, kako se njihova soseska preobraža.

    5.    Povezovanje izolirane soseske v Cinisellu


    Vodilni partner, Cinisello Balsamo, nam je na sprehodu skozi sosesko Crocetta predstavil svoje načrte v tej problematični soseski, ki je zaradi nezavidljive lokacije med večjimi prometnicami odrezana od drugih delov mesta in zato v njej poleg številnih ostarelih stanujejo predvsem slabo vključene priseljenske skupnosti. Sredstva za prenovo javnih prostorov so pridobili iz naslova celostnih teritorialnih naložb, zdaj pa si želijo vzporedno z izvedbo projekta s pomočjo mreže U.R. Impact peljati proces participacije. Zgradili bodo namreč medgeneracijski center, v katerem bodo združili dobro delujoče programe vključevanja mladih in družin ter center za dnevni program starejših občanov, in vzpostavili večje zelene površine, ki jih v soseski primanjkuje. Ker bodo zato morali obstoječe centre porušiti, se jim zdi o spremembah nujno stalno komunicirati s prebivalci. Prvi korak k povezavi soseske s preostalim mestom so že naredili, ko so zgradili javni prostor na nadhodu čez avtocesto.

    Cinisello Balsamo Crochetta

    Na nadhodu nad avtocesto v Crocetti, foto: Petra Očkerl

    6.    Mosso – hrana in kultura za družbeno vključenost


    Del srečanja se je odvijal v Milanu, kjer smo si med drugim ogledali center Mosso. Gre za prostore tradicionalne šole, ki je bila po principih gozdne pedagogike zasnovana pred sto leti in še vedno deluje. Posamezna šolska poslopja se nahajajo v velikem parku z velikimi starimi drevesi, na njenem robu pa je vrsta stavb, ki jih je mesto nedavno namenilo drugim dejavnostim. Center Mosso zdaj upravlja več zadrug, ki so prostore prenovile, njihov program pa poleg gostinske ponudbe in prostorov za kulturne dejavnosti, obsega tudi vključevanje posameznikov z različnimi izzivi na trg dela.

    Cinisello Balsamo Moss

    Restavracija v Mossu, foto: Nina Plevnik

    7.    Analiza medijskega in družbenega diskurza za boljše prostorske intervencije


    V Mossu se nam je predstavila še organizacija FROM, ki vodi procese participacije bodisi za javne akterje bodisi za zasebne investitorje. Z različnimi pristopi si prizadevajo doseči konsenz in uskladiti interese pri načrtovanju različnih posegov v prostor. Predstavili so svoj način dela, ki je usmerjeno v krepitev skupnosti in veščin javnih akterjev za sodelovanje z javnostjo. Predvsem se nam je zdelo zanimivo, da v analizo začetnega stanja in sprotno spremljanje odziva vključujejo analizo družbenega in medijskega diskurza. Pred, med in po izvajanju posega v prostor tako med drugim vodijo analize družabnih omrežij in medijev, ter glede na ugotovitve prilagajajo ukrepe. V svojem komuniciranju pa poleg tem, ki polarizirajo, vedno iščejo tudi skupne točke.

    8.    Dislocirane enote univerze za sodelovanje s skupnostjo


    Na sprehodu po soseski smo se ustavili v lokalni tržnici, kjer deluje ena od »off campus« točk Politehniške univerze v Milanu, ki so namenjene sodelovanju univerze z lokalno skupnostjo. Gre za program družbene odgovornosti univerze do mesta, ki na eni strani omogoča študentom in raziskovalcem izvajanje raziskav in soustvarjanje praktičnih projektov s skupnostmi ter na drugi strani podpira urbano regeneracijo območij, v katerih se nahajajo. Točka NOLO na tržnici Mercato Communale deluje tri leta, od začetka koronakrize. Med številnimi drugimi projekti so v času koronakrize pomagali pri načrtovanju gostinskih vrtov lokalnim gostincem ter podprli ustanovitev združenj lokalnih trgovcev.

    Cinisello Balsamo

    Off Campus Nolo, foto: Nina Plevnik

    9.    Odpri trgi za več pešcev in druženja


    Ogledali smo si tudi dva od več kot 40 trgov, ki so v okviru projekta Piazze Apperte (odprti trgi) zaprli za motoriziran promet, opremili z zelenjem, klopmi, stojali za kolesa, mizami za namizni tenis in drugim urbanim pohištvom ter odprli za ljudi. Namen je bil pridobiti več varnih javnih površin za pešce, kolesarje in preživljanje časa na prostem, saj teh v mnogih soseskah primanjkuje. Začasne ureditve, s poslikavami po tleh, ki so jih izvedli prebivalci sami, postopoma spreminjajo v stalne.

    Cinisello Balsamo

    Eden od odprtih trgov, foto: Nina Plevnik

    Ob spoznavanju zanimivih in navdihujočih praks so udeleženci na delavnicah tudi razmišljali o izzivih, ki jih bodo v svojih akcijskih načrtih naslavljali. Na delavnici so spoznali metodo »Teorija sprememb«, s pomočjo katere so razmišljali o družbenih učinkih, ki si jih želijo doseči. Na srečanju pa ni manjkalo dobro znanega italijanskega gostoljubja s sproščenim vzdušjem in ob dobri hrani.


    Besedilo: Petra Očkerl, Nina Plevnik

    Naslovna fotografija: Nina Plevnik


  • How “Dissonant” Cultural Heritages can foster Democracy in European cities.

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    The history of Europe has generated an heritage that sometimes is controversial and complex due to belong to totalitarian regimes or contentious borders. This heritage has been called “Dissonant”, addressing the problematic link between the physical elements like architectures, neighbourhoods, monuments, urban public spaces, and the historical and political values those elements represent.

    ARCHETHICS Network opens a depth reflection on the Dissonant Heritage present in many European cities. It allows to experience the complex and diverse history of Europe (focusing in particular on the Twentieth Century) and, through a critical examination of the past, come into the present to promote democratic and solidarity values.


    1st Core Network Meeting - Ready for Action!

    From urbact

    Why a project on Dissonant Heritage?

    The Municipality of Cesena in Italy decided to lead the ARCHETHICS network to explore challenges and opportunities of dissonant heritage and increase awareness in Europe of its value and potentiality, with a special attention on the heritage dating from the 20th century. Cesena recently joined the working group on the Action 10 of the Partnership on Culture and Cultural Heritage of the Urban Agenda for the EU and ATRIUM, the Cultural route of the Council of Europe on Architecture of Totalitarian Regimes of the 20th Century in Europe’s Urban Memory. By setting up a project on Dissonant Heritage, the city of Cesena is willing to contribute to the mentioned working group of the Urban Agenda and to ATRIUM.

    With the purpose to enhance the discussion at European level, the city of Cesena together with other eight cities co-designed ARCHETHICS, the first URBACT Network dealing with Dissonant Heritage. It provides a space for dialoguing on the possibilities offered by this complex heritage to strengthen the value of democracy and open new opportunities for society, urban and regional development, cultural tourism, and education. Indeed, despite the huge potential of the dissonant heritage sites, in many cities of Europe they are neglected and abandoned. ARCHETHICS is willing to address novel approaches for Dissonant Heritage in order to ensure a better understanding for managing this challenging heritage and open new possibilities for new cultural and tourist routes.

    The ARCHETHICS Network

    ARCHETHICS patners map

    ARCHETHICS brings together nine European cities of different sizes that share the presence of Dissonant Heritage that is very diversified in terms of typologies. In some cases, it is submerged or sleeping, discussed and controversial; it is located in different urban contexts, in the city centre or in rural areas; it has different states of conservation and belongs to different eras.

    The cities of Krakow (PL), Gdansk (PL), Kazanlak (BL) and Permet (AL) focus on social realism period by putting in the spotlight case studies about work neighbourhoods, cultural civic centers, propaganda monuments and buildings, symbolic heritages representing the communism and socialist ideologies. The city of Leipzig concentrates its research on the former Matthäikirchhof area, the urban area belonged to “Stasi”, during the Est Germany period. The cities of Cesena (IT) and Leros (EL) focus on dissonant heritage sites, built during the fascist period. Cesena is willing to study some educational and industrial buildings, war infrastructures, while Leros focuses on the military town of Portolago and iconic buildings. Betera (ES) proposes to analyse an air-raid shelter and a trenches area belong to the Spanish Civil War. Vilanova de Cerveira (PT) chose the Cerveira Castle, a border infrastructure, positioned in the city centre, now completed abandoned.

    Four Dimensions to investigate the Dissonance

    Architecture, People, History and Ethics are the four project dimensions to explore the potential of Dissonant Heritage. Indeed, they help to address the multi-perspective understandings of the past and vision new possibilities for the future. Through these dimensions, ARCHETHICS is willing to activate urban communities to boost their interest on their dissonant heritage and foster a reflection on a possible transformation or a valorisation of those heritages into places for locals and visitors, where sharing knowledge, setting up urban laboratories and promoting a critical touristic visiting.

    ARCHETHICS will organise two masterclasses with historians, architects, and experts to follow up the four dimensions. History and Ethics will be explored by proposing a novel storytelling approach that consider important common stories and official histories, through the lens of the multi-perspective, gender and diverse approach. Architecture and People dimensions will be studied by advising new opportunities of linking between those two represented by community planning and participation approach.

    ARCHETHICS visual identity

    Looking ahead: a contribution for European democracy and civic participation

    The nine cities partner of ARCHETHICS are committed to deliver high Integrated Actions Plans for managing their Dissonant Heritage through the support of their local stakeholders and activists through a participative working group, called URBACT-ARCHETHICS Local Group. Throughout 24 months of project development the cities partner will have the possibility to work at local and transnational level with the support of URBACT experts, Dissonant Heritage experts and International Organisations. They will participate at five transnational meetings and will have the possibility to share their results during an international final event.

    City coaching and bilateral exchanges will be also organised to foster exchange and learning and promote innovation in cities.

    At Network level, ARCHETHICS will also develop some project outputs. Among them, a city guide with practical tools to manage Dissonant Heritage through the four project dimensions and a Charter & common glossary on Common vision on ethical/cultural approach for Dissonant Heritage.

    ARCHETHICS dissonant heritage EX GIL


  • Suomalaisten APN-kaupunkien keskustelutilaisuus Tampereella

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    URBACT meeting in Tampere

    Parikymmentä URBACT-hankkeissa toimivaa tai sen parissa muuten vaikuttavaa kotimaan kansalaista kokoontui 8.9.2023 Tampereelle livenä tai etänä vaihtamaan kokemuksia alkaneen uuden ohjelmakauden tiimoilta. Keskustelutilaisuuden järjestivät URBACT IV -ohjelman Suomen yhteyspiste (Alue- ja kuntatutkimuskeskus Spatia, Itä-Suomen yliopisto), työ- ja elinkeinoministeriö ja Kuntaliitto.


    URBACT APN meeting in Tampere

    From urbact

    Tilaisuuden aluksi vastikään valittuihin uusien APN-hakkeisiin kuuluvien suomalaiskaupunkien edustajat esittelivät hankkeitaan. Samalla kartoitettiin käsityksiä Malmössä pidetystä ohjelman kick-off -tapahtumasta. Suomalaiset ovat ohjelmassa hyvin mukana (8 kaupunkipartneria ja Åbo Akademi), ja ensimmäistä kertaa myös APN-hankkeen pääpartnerina on suomalainen kaupunki (Espoo). Suomalaiset hanketoteuttajat näet tästä.

    Jatkokeskustelun virikkeeksi Olli Voutilainen (TEM) esitteli kotimaisen ja eurooppalaisen kaupunkipolitiikan ajankohtaisia kuulumisia. Kuluvan hallituksen kaupunkipoliittiset linjaukset herättivät huomiota: innovaatioekosysteemit ja MAL-sopimukset jatkuvat, teemakohtainen sopiminen kehittynee ja myös ns. allianssimalliin suurten kaupunkien ja valtion välillä ollaan hakemassa muotoa ja sisältöjä. EU-tasolla kiinnostavaa on Eurooppalaisen kaupunkialoitteen (EUI) eteneminen ja kotimaisen EUI-yhteyspisteen toiminnan käynnistyminen lähiaikoina.

    Niilo Rinne (Porin kaupunki) ja Kimmo Rautanen (Åbo Akademi) esittivät puheenvuorot URBACT-veteraanien näkökulmasta. Molemmat korostivat kaupungin sitoutumista ja hankkeiden jatkuvuuden turvaamisen merkitystä sekä toivat esille URBACT-ohjelman työtapojen (URBACT-metodi) ja asiantuntija-avun hyödyt. Päätteeksi pohdittiin tapoja vahvistaa kotimaisten URBACT-toimijoiden yhteistyötä ja tiedonvaihtoa kuluvalla ohjelmakaudella. Tilaisuuden lopuksi tutustuttiin Silva Vuopposen (Ekokumppanit Oy / Tampereen kaupunki) johdolla Naistenlahden voimalaitoksen kehittämistoimintaan.

  • Passar dos problemas às ações

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    O que é o novo Quadro de Planeamento de Ações do URBACT?

    From urbact

    Universidade URBACT


    Um aspeto crucial de qualquer jornada de planeamento-ação é o desenvolvimento de ações coerentes e bem descritas, enquadradas pelo desafio político que a cidade enfrenta. De facto, é a parte mais demorada do processo para qualquer município que pretenda implementar ações-piloto e operacionalizá-las a longo prazo. O mesmo acontece com as cidades URBACT. Conforme salienta o estudo sobre os Planos de Ação Integrados, realizado em 2022, os municípios só podem beneficiar de um documento que defina coerentemente porquê, quando, como e por quem pode ser abordado um desafio político associado ao desenvolvimento urbano.

    O registo das ações é a parte mais simples

    table15Especialmente para a nova etapa das Redes de Planeamento de Ação, em que o foco principal das cidades é o desenvolvimento conjunto de Planos de Ação Integrados com os respetivos Grupos Locais URBACT, a fase de desenvolvimento de ações é aquela em que as partes interessadas despenderão mais tempo, em que se divertirão mais, em que se envolverão com mais pessoas e em que enfrentarão o maior escrutínio dos respetivos pares transnacionais e locais. Mas o que são boas ações, como são desenvolvidas e como podem ser registadas? 



    Alavancar as ferramentas do URBACT

    table 10No âmbito do Caixa de Ferramentas (Toolbox), o programa aproveitou a ocasião da Universidade URBACT 2023, que teve lugar em Malmö (Suécia) entre 28 e 30 de agosto, para lançar uma nova ferramenta. O Quadro de Planeamento de Ações permite a qualquer cidade registar o progresso da respetiva jornada de planeamento de ação, destacando dados e informação essenciais. Composta por quatro secções interligadas, as cidades da Rede de Planeamento de Ação experimentaram esta ferramenta, no último dia do evento, para recolher conteúdo para os respetivos Planos de Ação Integrados.

    A primeira secção apresenta o contexto local, as necessidades e a visão partilhada, aspetos que foram explorados pelos participantes da Universidade no primeiro dia do evento. A segunda secção apresenta o quadro lógico global, bem como a ligação que mantém com uma abordagem integrada. As duas últimas secções destinam-se a definir mais pormenorizadamente as atividades específicas, e um quadro de execução, para qualquer plano de ação integrado.


     O que são boas ações?

    Embora o Quadro de Planeamento de Ações seja uma ferramenta fundamental para registar os resultados do ciclo de planeamento de ação, também pode ser utilizada como um mecanismo para informar a criação de ações. Há cinco fatores essenciais que as cidades devem ter em conta quando criam ações para que sejam lógicas, coerentes e boas.

    Primeiramente, as ações devem ser enquadradas por uma apresentação clara e concisa do problema e do contexto. Pode ser uma apresentação no Quadro, utilizando a ferramenta Árvore de Problemas como referência ou pode ser outra representação visual do contexto e da ênfase do projeto, como este exemplo de Razlog (Bulgária) da rede IoTXchange. No exemplo que se segue, é claramente descrito o modo como as principais considerações, ou problemas que Razlog enfrenta em relação à mudança tecnológica, informaram as áreas de incidência do Plano de Ação Integrado da cidade.

    table 3

    Em segundo lugar, as ações devem ser enquadradas por uma lógica de intervenção clara e coerente. Em seguida, os problemas identificados anteriormente devem ser objeto de uma visão global clara e de um conjunto de objetivos estratégicos SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Timebound - específicos, mensuráveis, alcançáveis, realistas e calendarizados). Isto define claramente o que a cidade pretende alcançar. Mais uma vez, utilizando o exemplo de Razlog, existe uma ligação clara entre a visão, as áreas de incidência e os objetivos estratégicos:

    table 4

    Depois, as ações devem refletir a abordagem integrada do URBACT. As cidades devem indagar (entre outras coisas) se as ações abordarão os desafios económicos, sociais e ambientais; se refletem os três temas transversais do URBACT: igualdade de género, digital e verde; e se se aplicam a todos os níveis espaciais: bairro, município e região. O Fundão (Portugal), da rede SIBdev, tem uma forma muito interessante de demonstrar visualmente a abordagem integrada e de ligar os respetivos objetivos globais às partes interessadas, aos setores fundamentais e, por último, às ações:

    table 5

    Após estas etapas, as ações propriamente ditas devem ser apresentadas de forma clara, sucinta e estruturada. De acordo com a experiência anterior, as cidades URBACT detalharão geralmente três tipos de ações: haverá ações práticas e de projeto, tal como a organização de eventos ou a instalação de novos sinais de trânsito; haverá ações de processo, tal como o desenvolvimento da capacidade das empresas sociais para apresentarem propostas de oportunidades de contratação ou o desenvolvimento de novos sistemas tecnológicos; e haverá ações orientadas para a mudança cultural, tal como o desenvolvimento de Painéis de Cidadãos.

    table 6La Rochelle (França), da rede Genderedlandscape, fornece um bom exemplo de um Plano de Ação Integrado, que apresenta cada ação numa página, utilizando os princípios do Quadro como base. A ação de organizar um Webinar sobre a Igualdade de Género no Local de Trabalho está bem descrita e é acompanhada por informação sobre o formato do webinar, quem o organizará e as principais partes interessadas a quem o webinar será dirigido. Inclui também informação mais ampla sobre o responsável pela ação, os recursos financeiros necessários para a realizar e os riscos de execução, como ilustra a imagem. 

    Do mesmo modo, a cidade do Fundão apresenta uma descrição clara de uma ação centrada no desenvolvimento de um sistema de transporte adaptado que procura ligar a população idosa aos serviços gerais na cidade. É acompanhada dos resultados esperados, dos potenciais recursos, das organizações responsáveis e das partes interessadas em geral.

    Por último, cada ação deve ser acompanhada de um indicador que permita à cidade medir o progresso no futuro. Os indicadores podem ser quantitativos – um número ou uma percentagem – ou qualitativos – uma mudança na perceção ou no processo. Na Universidade URBACT, a rede GenProcure utilizou o Quadro de Planeamento de Ações para criar uma ação específica para apoiar as empresas detidas por mulheres a acederem a formação com vista a oportunidades de contratação, com um indicador de acompanhamento do aumento da percentagem de empresas detidas por mulheres que celebram contratos de aquisição.

    Desenvolvimento de ações

     Há uma série de ferramentas que uma cidade pode utilizar para desenvolver as respetivas ações locais de forma integrada, que podem incluir:

    1. OPERA – uma técnica utilizada para o brainstorming num grupo de várias partes interessadas, como o Grupo Local URBACT, em que os membros concebem ideias, discutindo-as depois em pares, explicando-as seguidamente ao grupo mais alargado, com a classificação das mais importantes, e organizando-as por ordem de potencial concretização.
    2. Os passeios de exploração e inspiração são uma técnica utilizada para criar ideias novas e inspiradoras – mais frequentemente realizada em projetos físicos, e que pode ser uma maneira informal de reconhecer algo que não tenha sido considerado antes.
    3. A Lego e a Playmobil podem ser utilizadas para modelar o aspeto que os bairros poderão ter no futuro e para incluir partes interessadas de todas as idades no planeamento de ações.
    4. A previsão é uma técnica utilizada para olhar para o futuro e refletir de forma quantitativa e qualitativa sobre o aspeto que o problema poderá ter daqui a 10 ou 20 anos, por exemplo.
    5. Os Laboratórios de Implementação são frequentemente utilizados após a definição de objetivos e ações e como forma de explorar quem deve participar na realização, no financiamento e na monitorização.
    table 13


     Considerações finais


    O Quadro de Planeamento de Ações é uma ferramenta realmente útil e fácil de utilizar pelas cidades da Rede de Planeamento de Ação, mas também pelas outras cidades. Poderá ajudar as cidades e as redes a começarem a pensar logicamente sobre os Planos de Ação Integrados locais, a apresentarem sucintamente os resultados dos exercícios realizados para identificar os problemas e as partes interessadas, e a interligarem as diferentes fases do ciclo de planeamento de ação. À medida que as cidades começarem a desenvolver as respetivas ações, será também útil para identificar e priorizar ações específicas a testar e, posteriormente, desenvolver planos de implementação.


    Com base na Universidade URBACT, este artigo mostra como o método e as ferramentas URBACT podem ajudar as cidades a identificar problemas e a visualizar ambições para iniciar qualquer processo de planeamento-ação.


    Traduzido do texto em inglês submetido por Matthew Baqueriza-Jackson em 14/09/2023

  • Promoting the 30-minutes Territories - Challenges and Ambitions for Small and Mid-size Communities

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    From urbact

    About one third of Europe´s population is living the rural areas and half of the rural territory is close to regional hub cities. This is the context where the URBACT Action Planning Network ECONNECTING gets active: we seek to establish strategies and actions for those rural-urban functional areas, fostering the integration of urban sustainable development, well-being, and robust social connections with active citizen participation. The initiative will engage nine European cities from distinct countries in collaborative efforts to shape their "proximity territories." Through a cooperative planning process, ECONNECTING aims to harmonize those urban and rural dynamics while prioritizing on mobility and accessibility of those areas, create vibrant public spaces for the people, all based on environmental consciousness and community engagement.



    Our partners during the Transnational Meeting in Orihuela
    Our partners during the Transnational Meeting in Orihuela


    Challenges and Opportunities for Rural Development

    The development of rural areas in the European Union poses a complex challenge, as highlighted by the Rural Vision set by the European Commission. While these territories are characterized by their natural beauty and strong communities, they grapple with various obstacles. With over 341 million hectares, constituting 83% of the total EU area, rural areas encompass agricultural land, forests, and natural spaces. Despite their significant contribution, they face demographic challenges, marked by an aging population, with the lowest shares below 50 years. Moreover, rural areas confront a heightened risk of poverty and social exclusion, surpassing urban counterparts. Although the employment rate has risen, the increase is attributed to a decrease in the rural active population, underscoring the need for sustainable job creation. Gender disparities persist, with a notable employment gap between men and women, and having the women trapped with the caring activities with no access to jobs because of lacking caring facilities. Additionally, there is a growing disparity in education, as the share of tertiary-educated individuals in rural areas lags behind cities, exacerbating the urban-rural educational divide. Furthermore, rural residents trail in basic digital skills, emphasizing the necessity for comprehensive development strategies to bridge these gaps and ensure the holistic progress of rural regions in the EU.


    Our sessions during our first Transnational Meeting in Orihuela
    Our sessions during our first Transnational Meeting in Orihuela


    Insights from ECONNECTING's Baseline Study Visits

    Over the past six months, we embarked on a comprehensive journey to visit every project partner affiliated with ECONNECTING. This tour-de-force led us to diverse and often remote cities and village locations in Montenegro, Estonia, Greece, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Slovenia and Hungary, each emblematic of the challenges stemming from inadequate public transportation services, compounded by the proximity of a central hub city. The on-site visits illuminated a multitude of shared challenges among our partners, emphasizing the imperative for holistic and collaborative solutions. Car dependency, inadequate public transportation networks, and a prevailing car culture dominate the urban and rural landscapes. The lack of safe cycling and pedestrian infrastructure further hinders alternative modes of transportation, contributing to the connectivity challenges between suburban and rural settlements. The dispersed population and settlements exacerbate these issues, creating unequal access to services in rural communities and fostering a sense of isolation. A common objective among the partners is to address these challenges by implementing and enhancing green public transport infrastructure, improving cycling and pedestrian pathways, and promoting active mobility. Additionally, there is a shared commitment to raising awareness, improving connectivity between urban centers and rural settlements, ensuring equal access to services, developing innovative mobility solutions, and creating appealing and accessible public spaces. Through concerted efforts, the ECONNECTING partners aim to overcome these challenges, achieve shared objectives, and address common learning needs to foster a more sustainable mobility behavior and enable a more inclusive urban and rural development.


    Our Project Partners of ECONNECTING
    Our Project Partners of ECONNECTING


    Our hypothesis for bridging these gaps involves the establishment of accessible regional hubs designed to serve rural areas, fostering connections through sustainable mobility solutions.

    In the project initiation phase, we pinpointed four crucial topics that now serve as our guiding pillars: a) the 30-minutes Territories, b) Accessible and Welcoming Cities, c) Green Community and d) Good Governance. These constant discussions around these themes facilitate an integrated, multisectoral planning approach. This ongoing dialogue not only refines our strategies but also promotes a holistic perspective, fostering adaptability and innovation within our Action Planning Network. By consistently addressing these key topics, we establish a resilient framework that enables us to navigate challenges and capitalize on opportunities effectively. This integrative approach ensures the sustained success and coherence of our project initiatives.


    Emerging Topics of the URBACT Action Planning Network ECONNECTING
    Emerging Topics of the URBACT Action Planning Network ECONNECTING


    A Dialogue-Oriented Approach to Integrated Action Plans

    The innovative planning process within the ECONNECTING project is characterized by a dialogue-oriented approach, ultimately guiding the development of Integrated Action Plans. This process adheres to the URBACT methodology, a framework founded on participatory tools and co-creation methodologies that actively involve a diverse array of stakeholders in the planning process.

    the ECONNECTING Plannig Process at a glance
    The ECONNECTING Plannig Process at a glance


    By fostering collaboration and inclusivity, the methodology ensures that the perspectives and needs of various stakeholders, including local communities and authorities, are taken into account. The planning process embraces experimentation and testing of novel tools, seeking to explore the efficacy of transit-oriented development within the context of rural-urban linkages. This approach enables the project to adapt and refine strategies based on real-world experimentation. Moreover, the planning integrates mobility planning with urban planning and strategic management, fostering synergy between these domains. This holistic approach not only enhances the efficiency of the planning process but also facilitates the expedited implementation of crucial investments for the ECONNECTING partner cities, ensuring a swift and comprehensive approach to sustainable urban and rural development.

  • Is it all about the parents?

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    From urbact

    The answer to this short and simple question is YES. At least it was a YES when the SCHOOLHOODs team met at the URBACT Summer University in August 2023 and performed a problem tree analysis to identify the main challenge underlying the network’s policy challenge. Which is on the question “why do so many children get driven to school by car” despite the known negative consequences related to school trips performed by parents driving their kids to school.

    Taking a closer look at the challenge, the problem of more and more children getting driven to school by car quickly got more complex. But let’s take a step back and see what these negative consequences and the underlying dynamics that led to this situation are. Concerning the effects of school trips by car, the story is quickly told: driving our children to school by car adds more cars to the classical traffic peaks in the morning, at the time, when the transport network is at its capacity limits anyways. It adds to the problem of air and noise pollution, which is specifically critical, since the transport sector is the only sector that fails reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But even more significant, school trips by car increase the challenge of too little physical activity of children and youth. Which in turn hampers our children’s healthy development in terms of physical, cognitive, and social competences.

    These effects, especially the negative prospect to our children’s healthy development, should alert us to change the way we act. But this is not the case. And it gets even more questionable why we do not act and change the way our children “go” to school when reflecting on how today’s parent’s generation got to school themselves. We did a simple survey at local stakeholder meetings of all our network cities asking, “how did you go to school when you were a pupil”? The overwhelming majority answered, “I walked” or “I used public transport”. Only in very few cases the answer was “by car”, and there were reasonable motives behind like for security reasons (not to be mistaken for safety reasons like traffic is too dangerous). We, as today’s parent generation, do not reflect on our own experience as pupils but take different modal choices for our children’s school trips. At least to a certain extent. Our main concern was then to find out about the “whys”. Since obviously something changed in between the time of parent’s own childhood and today. The question is “what are the underlying dynamics that led to today’s challenge of school trips by car?”.

    Digging deeper during our self-analysis of our 8 network cities as well as more global trends, we identified four dynamics:

    Urban development and urban sprawl
    Urban development of the last decades detached the figure of land-take and population development. New developments were low-density ones increasing the distances people have to cover for their daily needs. In addition, the city development followed the model of separated functional districts instead of mixed-use areas which further increased travel distances.

    Increased motorisation rates
    Urban development favoured trips by car to allow covering the longer distances in the given travel time budget (which is a constant of 1-1,5 hours per day that does not change). Cars became affordable at the same time. Together, urban structures, transport networks and the affordability of cars resulted in a sharp increase of car ownership since the 1960’s in the western EU Member States and accelerating with the fall of communism regimes in the “new” EU Member States.

    The rise of the car culture
    With the increasing role of cars for moving in our cities, cars themselves got fashionable and became a status symbol. Car ownership got detached from the mere role of a transport mode and became a way to express our “way of life”, being tied to personal values or emotional attachment. The development of car culture was driven by car industry commercial activities but as well by the entertainment industry producing movies, broadcastings and stories tying people emotionally to cars. In addition, car ownership takes a significant role to showcase economic prosperity, especially in the countries former under communist rule.

    Social convenience
    These three factors determine a highly relevant further dynamic: it became comfortable to use the car, it became a habit. Both, our interviews in our network cities as well as research results highlight that comfort and convenience form a major motivation for parents to take their children to school by car. Road safety concerns, that are often mentioned as a reason for the choice of cars, are given as a reason, but do largely not form the main motivation. Road safety certainly is a challenge, but it is mostly visible directly in front of schools at school start (and partially at lessons’ end) out of the parents arriving at the school by car and creating a traffic mayhem for 30 minutes.

    These major dynamics are visible in all our SCHOOLHOODs network cities. But the analyses in each city add specific local challenges:

    The role of the teachers: the common point is that teachers and headmasters are decisive to take influence on school trips. But interest and attitude of both vary from city to city and range from taking a supportive role, to being indifferent, to supporting car centric schemes.

    The role of neighbours to the school: neighbours, like residents and businesses, might welcome traffic calming measures or see them as a potential threat to limit their own mobility options.

    The interest of pupils in walking or cycling to school: Many of our cities report a strong interest of pupils to walk or cycle to school, but some cities know that pupils are reluctant to walk or cycle and prefer to be driven by car. Cycling abilities of pupils forms a problem itself as well.

    The role of school locations: in some cities, school locations hamper the accessibility by walking or cycling from traffic or terrain specifics. In other cities, school locations concentrate in the centre multiplying traffic capacity problems by the number of schools in the area.

    The topography of the cities: general conditions for walking and cycling are highly different ranging from flat and dense city structures to disperse and hilly settlements structures.

    The provision of transport services and infrastructure: the level of public transport service ranges from an excellent European champion to very limited public transport availability with long intervals and only little operating hours. The same range applies to the provision of walking and cycling infrastructures in the network cities.

    How is the answer on “is it all about the parents” now?

    Taking a look at this question, the answer needs to be changed from YES to PARTIALLY. The problem is more complex and has to include more stakeholders than parents, needs to work with the provision of transport services as alternatives to private car use and has to review the infrastructure conditions around schools and within the transport network to schools.

    In short, our work is with PEOPLE, TRAFFIC, and INFRASTRUCTURE. Consequently, we address all 3 topic fields:

    For our work with PEOPLE, we invest in better understanding the motivations of parents for their modal choice to create fitting motivational activities to arrive at a behaviour change in the end. We will combine the transport world with motivators from other professions like health, economics, economics, sports, and psychology. We will include teachers and headmasters but also neighbours of the school neighbourhood in this to motivate them to become role-models and supporters to our work on safe, green, and happy trips to school.