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  • Food purchase is an agriculture act!

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    Urban garden in Mouans-Sartoux (FR) - Photo by François Jégou

    An article by BioCanteen’s Lead Expert, François Jégou.

    Urban garden in Mouans-Sartoux (FR).

    Photo by François Jégou

    "These collective gardens grow vegetables and fruit, but above all they produce socialisation between the inhabitants of the neighbourhood", says Rob Hopkins during a visit to one of the Citizen Feeds the City‘s six gardens, a project that was conceptualised by the MEAD - Sustainable Food Education Centre and set up by the local residents of Mouans-Sartoux (FR).


    What the famous creator of the Transition Towns movement nicely calls as "patchwork farming" offers the potential to feed a few families in the neighbourhood, but as the URBACT Network Sustainable Food in Urban Communities has clearly shown, it actually represents an important symbolic vector for local gatherings and the transformation of the inhabitants' food practices.






    As an echo, at the opening of the "Mouans-Sartoux Food Forum - A Table!" the city’s Deputy Mayor in charge of Children, Education and Food, Gilles Pérole, shared with participants the first results of a carbon impact evaluation that was carried out at local level. Over the period between 2016 and 2022, this study was conducted under Andrea Lulovicovà's thesis at the University of Cote d'Azur and with financed from ADEME. According to the evaluation, while food represents a yearly average of 2 tons of carbon per person in France, it is only about 1.17 tons in the city of Mouans-Sartoux. The average diet of the locals has an impact of 43% of carbon emissions, when compared to the national average. In addition, the number of inhabitants eating less meat has increased to 85% in less than 10 years.


    Considering that the food sector roughly represents 1/3 of the greenhouse gas emissions in our European lifestyles, Mouans-Sartoux's food policy achievements become even more impressive. These results are also proof that when it comes to changes “the carrot and the stick approach" is not always the best solution – take for instance the Netherlands, where meat advertisements are banned. The "Mouans-Sartoux approach" is a bearing fruit, as it builds instead in the long-term awareness and education for a sustainable transition.

    A Table ! Mouans-Sartoux Food Forum - Photo by François Jégou

    Photo by François Jégou

    Group discussion during the A Table ! Mouans-Sartoux Food Forum.


    The city's "permanent public activism" is proving its effectiveness with the Citizen feeds the city urban gardens, but above all, it has proven its worth with the 100% organic and almost exclusively local canteen where 1 000 primary school children eat every day – being half of the meals strictly vegetarian. Also, the influence of "zero food waste" on families, the municipal farm located 700 meters away from the town centre that supplies the school kitchens, the three municipal agents-farmers who harvest 25 tons of vegetables per year and the municipality's support for the installation of young organic producers on communal land are among other successful measures.


    At last, the municipality has also succeeded to create the MEAD - Sustainable Food Education Centre: the city true public food service. The centre is politically committed to fair trade and it supports the Positive Food Families Challenge As Valery Bousiges, a parent from a primary school student, who we met at the start of the first URBACT BioCanteens Network in 2018, summed it up: "The question is not when is something happening about food in Mouans-Sartoux, but what is happening today. We are being asked every day!".


    The “A Table !" Mouans-Sartoux Food Forum” brought together more than 150 stakeholders from 10 countries – including 50 local authorities, more than 20 NGOs and official structures involved in the food transition – on the occasion of the closing of the URBACT BioCanteens #2 Network from September 26 to 28, 2022. The title of the event was spot on:  how can we bring the transition issues related to food back to the table and to the citizen’s attention?


    According to François Collard-Dutilleul, from the Lascaux Centre on Transitions, food sovereignty – which was the central theme of the Forum – means reclaiming the ability to choose what we put on our plates. This goes far beyond the oversimplified idea of food autonomy, which is so often put forward after the pandemic and the war in Ukraine.


    As Andrea Lulovicovà, who now works with the Greniers d'Abondance, and Chantal Clément, from IPES FOOD, remind us, the food transition rests on three critical pillars: the agricultural transition, the relocation of food and the transformation of food practices. It is not enough to produce organic and local food if we do not change the way we eat. The example of Mouans-Sartoux and all the other towns in food transition tick all three boxes. 


    Bio Sceptics card game

    Bio Sceptics card game

    Card game called ORGANIC SKEPTIC: We all have a good reason to distrust organic certification The cards are spread over the table, with a myth busting messages

    Bio Sceptics


    In his book “L'Homnivore”, Claude Fischler, explains that through the mechanism of “food embodiment”, we become what we eat. This applies both physically and symbolically, hence an increased resistance to any diet changes. Unless our lives depend on it, like they once did for the first humans, dietary changes can threaten one’s identity altogether.


    We have seen such a resistance about organic food in all partner cities from the BioCanteens #1 and #2 Networks: "organic food is not reliable, not useful, not healthy, not sustainable, not...". To acknowledge that it’s scientifically proven that organic is better for your health and for the planet, it means to become aware of the fact that the conventionally grown food that most of us eat every day is poisoning – not just for us, but also for the world.


    To explore the hidden psychology behind organic food, the BioCanteens team has developed the "Bio Sceptic" card game, which gathers the scepticism clichés heard from farmers, traders, consumers, municipal services and others. The game provides the knowledge and arguments of field actors, toxicology and certification experts to reduce any misconception towards organic certification.


    Organic certification is essential for the food transition, human health and societal resilience. It is not without its problems and it can certainly be improved. Playing with stakeholders in the territory, the game consists of finding all the argument-cards responding to each mistrust-card. Thus, discussing them, opening the debate, targeting the main controversies, defusing some misunderstandings or irrational fears and, most importantly, highlighting some concrete problems that still need to be solved.


    Participants of the A table ! Food Forum in Mouans-Sartoux (FR) playing the Bio Sceptics card game - Photo: François Jégou

    Photo: François Jégou

    Participants of the A table ! Food Forum in Mouans-Sartoux (FR) playing the Bio Sceptics card game.



    But what are all these cities in food transition doing and how can we support their movement at national and European level? During the second part of the Mouans-Sartoux Food Forum, participants were asked these questions in the marketplace booths, where an open-air market was set up to promote exchange and provide some food for thought.


    In these booths participants were invited to discover the journey from cities in transition, particularly the BioCanteens #1 and #2 partner cities: Gavà (ES), LAG Pays des Condruses (BE), Liège (BE), Rosignano Marittimo (IT), Torres Vedras (PT), Trikala (EL), Troyan (BG), Vaslui (RO) and Wroclaw (PL). These partners have adapted and transferred Mouans-Sartoux’s Good Practices in different ways.


    During this process the cities have also gathered their own local Micro-Good Practices when cooking and in terms of food education in the canteens. In the booths, interested visitors could also check the BioCanteens toolbox, which is composed of a projective exercise on the Food Sovereignty of each city and the future of its food-producing land by 2040, in addition to a simulation game to create a Municipal Food Platform, a poster outlining a Multi-Level Food Governance Plan and the Bio Sceptics card game.

    Market place at the A Table! Food Forum in Mouans-Sartoux (FR) - Photos: François Jégou

    Photos: François Jégou

    Market place at the A Table! Food Forum in Mouans-Sartoux (FR).

    In one particular booth, participants were asked to consider what actions should be taken to amplify this movement of cities that are committed to food. Among the suggestions that were collected, innovative trends emerge. Examples include the recognition for cities of a food competence, of a role as active producers of the food system and not only as organisers, the use of pre-emption rights as a resort for municipalities to acquire agricultural land and the consolidation of the status of public agent farmers.  See a snapshot of the ideas below:




    The suggestions have been clustered in five categories: - Local civil servants - Funding - Regulations - Land - Networks

    At the European level, the suggestions that were collected point to the same direction: it is fundamental to create a direct link between Europe and the cities that are capable of rebuilding a high-quality local agricultural fabric. Especially in terms of direct funding for public agricultural production, as for example the potential creation of "urban leader" or "inter-rural urban leader" projects.




    The suggestions have been clustered in four categories: - Funding of the project - Public markets - Territories - Networks




    The last part of the Forum reflected upon a key question: what about the food exception? “We cannot buy food for community canteens like we buy pens”, says Gilles Pérole. “The free circulation of goods guaranteed by the European Market Code goes against the re-territorialisation of food and support for local agricultural transition. We need an exception to this European Code for food markets".


    This hypothesis was already raised in early 2021, notably on the occasion of the BioCanteens #1 Network’s Final Event – “COP26 is already today, join the movement of European cities committed to democracy and food sovereignty”. Fast-forward to today this debate is still subject to controversy. Among the different voices that were heard during the Forum, Fabrice Riem, lawyer and Coordinator of the Lascaux Centre on Transitions, presented an interesting take on how to operationalise exceptions, without breaking the rules.


    While Davide Arcadipane, from the city of Liège, described the process of dividing public tenders into multiple lots – in order to facilitate the access of school canteens to supplies coming from small local producers – Fabrice Riem pointed out how this process, which is now commonplace, represents a way to bend the Public Procurement Code without undermining it. That being said, splitting tenders into 300 to 400 lots, as practiced by the city of Dijon (FR), requires a HR capacity that small cities do not have at their disposal and, therefore, a first distinction has to be made in terms of the size of the different cities.


    Still according to Fabrice Riem, "the relocation of food must not become localism, clientelism or favouritism. The European Market Code is a protection to which it is perhaps dangerous to make an exception, and also perhaps unnecessary”. If cities want to “express their purchasing power to bring about a local food system”, to use Kevin Morgan Cardiff University’s scholar own words, it would be possible to do so using current rural laws and seizing existing competencies from municipalities. At least in France, this is the way to ensure territorial anchoring, to design a call for tenders for food supply that requires a contribution to the construction of the local food system and that, ultimately, are in line with a Territorial Food Plan.


    The applicant would then need to reply to questions in their bid like: when you supply this canteen, how do you contribute to the construction of the local food ecosystem? This is still a potential scenario, which should still deserves further work and that still respects the Public Procurement Code. Riem’s legal terms translated the systemic nature of food and it echoed the position that was taken by other speakers during the Forum.


    For example, Léa Sturton, from the MEAD, explained how Mouans-Sartoux asks its suppliers to describe the logistical routes and transportation system in an appendix to their offer. Benoît Bitteau, Member of the European Parliament, explained that when subsidies are paid to small agroecological farms, they do not discredit the value of their food production but, on the contrary, they rather constitute the remuneration for their secondary work of caring for natural areas and preserving biodiversity.


    All these ideas represented, in a practical and operational way, the principles that are outlined by of Carlo Petrini, the founder of the Slow Food movement: consuming food is much more than just eating, it is an agricultural act. Likewise, producing and buying food is not simply supplying the city's canteens, it means building a coherent local territorial food system.





    Interested on the topic of food? Check out URBACT's Knowledge Hub.
    Would you like to join an URBACT Action Planning Network on this topic? Share your project idea in the Partner Search Tool!

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  • ROOF

    Lead Partner : Ghent - Belgium
    • Braga - Portugal
    • Glasgow
    • Liège - Belgium
    • ODENSE - Denmark
    • Poznań - Poland
    • Thessaloniki - Greece
    • Timisoara - Romania
    • Toulouse Métropole - France


    Housing Department, City of Ghent +32 9 266 76 40




    • Phase 1: Kick-Off Meeting in Paris (FR)

    • Final meeting phase 1 in Ghent (BE)
    • Phase 2: Kick-Off Meeting in Glasgow (UK) - online
    • ROOF workshop on storytelling - online
    • ROOF workshop on advocacy - online
    • Transnational meeting in Odense on data - online
    • Winter School Braga - online
    • Transnational meeting in Timisoara & Poznan - online
    • Advocacy network meeting discussing proposal of housing first/funding key messages for Europe - online
    • Advocacy network meeting discussing proposal of data key messages - online
    • Transnational meeting in Thessaloniki - online
    • Transnational meeting in Toulouse - online
    • Final event in Liège
    • Final event in Ghent



    • ROOF Methodology - Why arts?

      The ROOF Call for Artists project - how did we do it?

      The fields of arts/creativity and homelessness don’t immediately seem to fit together – one is about celebration, joy, expression; the other about poverty, trauma, isolation. And yet, these worlds are colliding together more and more in powerful and unexpected ways. 

    • Gent OCMW

      Housing First in Ghent: why tailor-made guidance is so important

      Housing First in Ghent: why tailor-made guidance is so important

    Integrated Action Plans

    ROOF Integrated Action Plan - City of Ghent

    Through the ROOF project, Ghent takes the ambition to end homelessness for legal residents by 2040. The Integrated Action Plan is a long term policy plan that describes the vision, the model and the necessary actions to reach the goal of Functional Zero. Read more here!

    Ghent - Belgium
    Toulouse Metropole (FR)
    ROOF Integrated Action Plan - Toulouse Métropole

    Toulouse Metropole benefits of an institutional commitment in policies contributing to the eradication of homelessness, at national, regional and local level making it easier to mobilise stakeholders. Read more here!

    Toulouse Métropole - France
    Ending Homelessness Across Europe - ROOF Integrated Action Plan Glasgow (UK)
    Co-design, collaboration and storytelling to prevent homelessness

    In recent years, Glasgow has made significant progress in addressing homelessness. The Glasgow Rapid Rehousing Transition Plan (RRTP) runs until 2024. Read more here!

    Glasgow - UK
    ROOF Pozńan Integrated Action Plan
    ROOF Integrated Action Plan - City of Pozńan

    As part of the project, the Housing Affairs Office created a Local URBACT Group to co-design an integrated strategy. Read more here!

    Pozńan - Poland
    Towards ending homelessness in Timisoara - ROOF Integrated Action Plan
    ROOF Integrated Action Plan - City of Timisoara

    High costs of living in Timisoara makes it very difficult for one person receiving minimum wage, disabilities benefits, social benefits, minimum pension or working half time. Read more here!

    Timisoara - Romania
    ROOF Liège Integrated Action Plan
    ROOF Integrated Action Plan - City of Liège

    The City of Liège has a long experience in the field of homelessness. Until the 2000s, the approach was mainly emergency oriented: low threshold reception, street work and accommodation. Read more here!

    Liège - Belgium
    ROOF Odense Integrated Action Plan
    ROOF Integrated Action Plan - City of Odense

    At the start of 2009, there were 4 998 homeless people in Denmark and at the last count in 2019, there were 6 431 homeless people. Read more here!

    Odense - Denmark
    ROOF Thessaloniki Integrated Action Plan
    Social and Affordable Housing and Combating Housing Exclusion and Homelessness in Thessaloniki

    Housing in Greece has been dealt with primarily as an individual matter with sporadic and defunct interventions in the field of social housing. Currently, Greece has 0% social housing stock, an exception among all EU countries. Read more here!

    Thessaloniki - Greece
    Braga House of Skills - ROOF Integrated Action Plan
    Braga House of Skills

    The House of Skills project aims to create an innovative permanent housing solution to gather people who are homeless or at risk of housing and social vulnerability. Read more here!

    Braga - Portugal

    To end homelessness through innovative housing solutions at city level is the main driver from the Action Planning network. It is not about managing homelessness, but rather putting an end to it using the Housing First model and gathering accurate data. ROOF aims to achieve the strategic goal of Functional Zero (no structural homelessness).

    ROOF - Ending homelessness
    Ending homelessness
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  • BioCanteens#2




    LEAD PARTNER : Mouans-Sartoux - France
    • Liège - Belgium
    • Gava - Spain
    • Wroclaw - Poland


    • Kick-off meeting
    • A Table ! Mouans-Sartoux Food Forum

    What's new

    News & Events

    BioCanteens#2 Transfer Network is about ensuring the distribution of sustainable school meals in participating cities as a key lever towards the development of an integrated local agri-food approach, protecting both citizens’ health and the environment. The project aims to transfer Mouans- Sartoux’s Good Practice in the field of collective school catering, to other highly committed cities across Europe.

    Education - Food - Environment - Local Economy - Governance
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  • ‘Housing First’: how two URBACT cities in Belgium implement the right to housing

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    Find out how two Belgian cities are fighting homelessness as part of the URBACT ROOF network.


    Partners in ROOF – and other related URBACT networks – have been contributing their experiences to the UIA-URBACT initiative ‘Cities engaging in the right to housing’ since early 2020. In this article, Zoé Lejeune of the Belgian National URBACT Point, tells us about how the right to housing has been implemented in Liège and Ghent.

    The situation on the ground

    On the streets of Liège and Ghent (BE), field and social workers, volunteers and other first-line teams walked around the city on the night of 27 October 2020, visiting the main spots where homeless people usually rest, sleep or wait for the daylight to come… In order to carry out an accurate count of homeless people, the King Baudouin Foundation had financed a census as well as a questionnaire designed to get to know the public better so as to be better able to support them.

    This counting of homeless people is a first step towards designing the most suitable public responses. All in line with the #HousingFirst objective adopted by these two Belgian cities in the URBACT ROOF network: to provide a solution for long-term homelessness, usually combined with drug addictions and mental health problems.

    The objective is that in order to build coherent local policies, we need to know our homeless as well as possible. More than an enumeration, it’s a census. We went looking for information to have multiple profiles. And we want to do it every two years,” says Arnaud Jacquinet, coordinator of the Relais social du Pays de Liège (RSPL), the organisation in charge of projects aiming at helping homeless people in the city.

    Experimentation with ‘Housing First’ in Belgium

    The ‘Housing First’ concept was first formalised in the early 1990s in New York by an American psychology scholar who was convinced that the right to housing is a fundamental right, but also a key first step for ending structural homelessness. This concept ran counter to the prevailing view that other socio-personal challenges needed to be overcome first before someone would be ‘ready’ for their own house.

    The ‘Housing First’ paradigm is not just about providing housing, but about providing key services and respecting core principles alongside the housing. The ‘Housing First’ concept in Europe identifies eight core principles, which are the drivers of the system in Belgium, including choice, person-centred planning and flexible support for as long as is required.

    Eight core principles of the ‘Housing First’ Concept in Europe. Source:

    For almost a decade now, the Federal Ministry in charge of the fight against poverty has financed a ‘Housing First’ experiment in Belgium. Launched in 2013, the initiative was originally piloted in Belgium’s five largest cities: Antwerp, Ghent, Brussels, Liège and Charleroi.

    Housing is provided first, but alongside additional support – firstly by social and health workers, then by integration coaches for professional purposes, which is key. “The HF project induces a paradigm change at the level of social action and this is not easily accepted by all stakeholders,” comments Arnaud Jacquinet.

    ‘Housing First’ in Belgium: It works!

    Within the set of long-term solutions to end homelessness, ‘Housing First’ has proven to be a key component in supporting the most vulnerable groups in Belgium and, since 2013, 18 projects have adopted the approach in different Belgian cities, including four in Brussels.

    Renaud De Backer, Coordinator of the national ‘Housing First’ Lab provides further details: “Concerning the experimental phase, we have consolidated data for 378 people in three different controlled trial groups. In the ‘Housing First’ target group, after two years, 93% of them are still in housing. In comparison, only 48% of people in the classic help system are in housing. Since this experiment, more than 855 people are rehoused by ‘Housing First’ Belgium and 86% of them are still in housing”.

    ‘Housing First’ in Belgium: it works! Source: ‘Housing First’ Lab Belgium

    Many local stakeholders believe that we’ve reached a real political momentum in Belgium with great opportunities for ‘Housing First’ to become more mainstream: “HF is mentioned in all regional and federal policy statements. It is the first time that four Belgian governments have cited the same programme, the same ambition, which is not yet common but which identifies a horizon in the fight against homelessness,” continues Renaud De Backer.

    Ongoing barriers to roll-out

    Unfortunately, local experts and social workers identify several substantial barriers to further rolling out of ‘Housing First’ implementation in Belgium. These include:

    • a lack of resources;
    • potential competition between vulnerable groups in accessing housing solutions in a context of inadequate supply – social companies have insufficient resources to renovate or build new housing, while more and more households are added to waiting lists;
    • insufficient development or recognition of complementary solutions in the private sector; and
    • insufficient housing sector knowledge about the ‘Housing First’ mechanism.

    Stress on the housing market forces precarious groups to compete at the bottom of the market. Financialisation and policies that favour the market create and perpetuate this situation. Exclusionary policies that favour owners and investors should be turned towards more inclusive policies that guarantee affordable housing for all” argues Steven Vanden Broucke, URBACT Local Group coordinator in Ghent.

    Advocating for ‘Housing First’: the URBACT ROOF network

    These and other challenges are at the heart of the work of the ROOF network – an URBACT Action Planning Network set up in 2019 by the city of Ghent. At the local level, each of the nine EU partner cities is designing an integrated action plan: this means working in a transversal and multidisciplinary way. All stakeholders come together around the table, with the goal to eradicate homelessness in the long term by making the shift to long-term housing. Today, the ROOF network partners are Braga, Ghent, Glasgow, Liège, Odense, Poznan, Timisoara, Thessaloniki and Toulouse Métropole.

    We hope that, together with Liège, we will be able to move the national policies in Belgium, because we have the French-speaking and the Flemish-speaking parts together,” says Patricia Vanderbauwhede, coordinator of the URBACT ROOF network. But the goal is of course to contribute to ending homelessness in all ROOF network and European cities. To do so, ROOF also advocates on the right to housing for all at the EU level . And ‘Housing First’ is one of the key solutions to be advocated!

    Cornerstones of the work and advocacy undertaken by ROOF are:

    • The need for a multilevel approach to expand the ‘Housing First’ model

    Cities play a central role, but key opportunities in terms of housing – both public and private – need to be supported by regional, national and even EU policies and funding opportunities. Having a national strategy to support ‘Housing First’ has proven key to the success of the projects in countries where it has spread widely. Sensitising MEPs and building partnerships and coalitions of urban stakeholders are key objectives of ROOF’s partners.

    • Identifying the right stakeholders, especially in the housing sector

    Setting up partnerships and reaching a better collaboration between services (housing, social action, emergency, professional support, etc.) depends on the local context and opportunities, looking for strengths in the partners and having privileged access to the services concerned. URBACT provides cities with a method and tools – such as co-creation and participatory approaches – to set up global solutions, with the right political support.

    • Numbers: quantifying homelessness and knowing the target audience of the programme

    There is a need for leveraging ‘Housing First’ at different levels to show first what the problem is and know it better, and then to show that the ‘Housing First’ solutions actually work better than social emergencies, which need to focus on their very own tasks and target audience. The counting, or census, is a first step to evidence the issue as a key component of the housing strategy for cities. For this, the ROOF city partners have worked a lot around the ethos light methodology, developed by FEANTSA – the European Federation of National Organisations working with the homeless.

    • Local, national and European advocacy: implementing the right to housing

    The strength of URBACT is to have cities from different countries, in different parts of Europe, all supporting the same model and promoting the need for further funding of these solutions. “There was not a lot of political framework around ‘Housing First’ so that’s what we’re trying to do with ROOF, to put it on the political agenda… to make sure that all levels work on homelessness, in a way that benefits the cities,” says Patricia Vanderbauwhede.

    I think it’s the role of cities to translate the local reality to the upper levels. Because in practice, it’s us working with the people who are on the streets. It’s us who can feel what is working and not, what is needed and not. There, we have a very important role to play: to be a constructive partner of the upper governmental levels,” continues Steven Vanden Broucke.

    Further information

    ‘Housing First’ is but one of the key solutions for ending long-term homelessness and many other innovative solutions and collaborations will emerge in the coming months and years. Building on their joint ‘Cities engaging in the right to housing’ initiative over the course of 2020, UIA and URBACT are set to launch a new platform in spring 2021 featuring inspiring city case studies on collaborative housing, fair finance and other housing issues. Keep an eye out for updates!

    Recent URBACT articles:

    See also several other inspiring projects on cities engaging in the right to housing in Belgium:

    Cover photo credit: Jeroen Adriansens & Bruno van herck ©

    From urbact
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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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