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  • Creating identity in a new urban development area

    Malmö, located in the south of Sweden is a natural hub for people and cultures from worldwide. The city’s 350 000 inhabitants come from around 180 countries and speak some 150 different languages.

    Hyllie is a neighbourhood that connects southern Malmö with the scanian planes and Malmö´s biggest urban development project. From fertile almost bare farmland this part of the city has since 2013 developed into a dense part of the city with a prenouced focus on sustainability. Hyllie is growing fast and residential areas as well as offices, schools, pre schools, parks and street are being planned and constructed. The work with several detail plans and comprehensive plans are ongoing. The central location of Hyllie in the region will have an international character with a clear identity as a cosmopolitan Oresound region.

    Meanwhile we are now facing the challenge of Hyllie´s identity. Year 2022 7 200 people live and 11 000 work in Hyllie and Hyllie is often considered as a practical and functional district but missing urban life and activity. Hyllie is not really considered as a recreative centrality which has its own soul and advantages, it is often reduced to its shopping mall´s function instead.

    Our goal with this project is to share with other European partner that are facing the same challenge and together identify which strategies can be implemented to contribute to a more lively image of our districts for those living in them, but also the rest of the city.

    Camille Ploujoux
    Are you a candidate Lead Partner looking for partners
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    Your job title
    Team leader Hyllie
    Urban planning

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

    Amadora launches a Guide on the welcoming of migrants

    Blue Economy Forum

    BluAct Toolkit

    BluAct: The Documentary


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

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


    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela


    Municipality of Udine (Italy)


    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email:

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    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora



    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801


    City of Rome

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

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



    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

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



    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council


    Municipality of Piraeus


    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia


    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029



    Riga NGO House


    City of Antwarp
    Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen

    Manchester City Council
    Manchester M2 5RT

    City of Rotterdam
    Coolsingel 40, 3011 AD Rotterdam

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

    Improving city resilience
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  • France’s ÉcoQuartier label, an initiative to support communities for sustainable city planning

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    The concept of “écoquartier” - the term is a contraction of the two French words “quartier” and “écologique” (ecological neighbourhood) - was inspired by Northern European countries experiences of eco-districts.

    By creating a Label, delivered in four stages and according to urban sustainable development criteria, the French State wanted to push the approach one step further. The approach was successful in France, now also opened to other neighbourhoods and cities throughout the world.

    Eco-districts: historical background of the concept and first projects in Europe

    Carbon neutrality

    The Aalborg Charter, signed in 1994 by the participants of the European conference on sustainable cities, reinforces the commitment of European cities to deploy local urban development programmes in communities.

    The first eco-districts appeared at the same period. Pioneers include two eco-districts built on converted industrial wasteland:

    And one district, in which former military barracks were converted:

    Challenges of social mix and of standardisation of buildings

    Although the concept of eco-districts is a success, criticisms have been levelled at this “first generation” of projects. They are mainly accused of not being sufficiently mixed and some sociologists talk of neoliberalism and neo-communitarism that some say are nothing more than the early stages of a gentrification of these neighbourhoods (Béal V., Charvolin F., Morel Journel C., 2011). The standardisation of buildings, which meets precise environmental standards so as to make them more energy efficient, is also condemned. It may have contributed to create a standardisation of “model neighbourhoods” (Boutaud B., 2009) where the characteristics of a place, its local culture and its heritage become invisible.

    The French Ecoquartier label translates urban sustainable development principles

    France started to use the concept in the 2000s. After the Law following the ‘Grenelle de l’Environnement’ (2007), the approach was adapted and expanded to any new urbanisation project in every French town. In 2008, the government launched the « Sustainable City Plan », which comprises, among others, the ÉcoQuartier approach.

    This approach became the ÉcoQuartier label. Today over 800 French communities are members of the ‘Club EcoQuartier’. The label guarantees the quality of the projects according to fundamental criteria (on technical, governance, economical and ‘well-being’ dynamics). The approach is flexible and it allows the ÉcoQuartier frame of reference to be put in context and adapted whatever the territory and type of city, regardless of its size, context, history and culture.

    Translating the urban sustainable development principles without standardising the neighbourhoods, this is what the 20 ÉcoQuartier commitments want to ensure. These 20 commitments also highlight citizen involvement (commitment 4: “Take into account the practices of users and the constraints of all stakeholders in the options of design and conception”) and social diversity (commitment 7: “Implement the conditions of social and intergenerational diversity, living well together and solidarity”).

    The ÉcoQuartier label is delivered in four stages:

    • label stage 1 - project stage
    • label stage 2 - under construction
    • label stage 3 - delivered
    • label stage 4 – confirmed

    This approach with stages allows communities to benefit from a number of resources, expert support, dedicated training, and regional exchange days with other communities and partners. It also gives national visibility to their projects. This will soon give also European visibility thanks to the Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities.

    A tool to spread sustainable development that has similarities with URBACT

    In order to spread sustainable development across France, the ÉcoQuartier approach uses similar methods to that of the URBACT programme. The two approaches share the same objective of bringing together multiple actors and offering the possibility of working together so as to create resilient territories capable of adapting to face climate challenges. The two approaches also offer support to territories that want to become more welcoming and dynamic.

    Mouans-Sartoux: a city committed to becoming more sustainable

    Mouans-Sartoux, located in the South of France, provides an example of the benefits of being involved in initiatives such as URBACT and Ecoquartier in order to scale up and improve policy making. Involved in the AGRI-URBAN URBACT network (which supports urban agriculture), the city has also been awarded the URBACT Good Practice label for its experience in “healthy and locally produced collective school catering. Mouans-Sartoux also eventually decided to invest in the ÉcoQuartier approach. Mouans-Sartoux signed the ÉcoQuartier Charter in 2017, and achieved so far the label – stage 1 - for its Plaines Chapelle neighbourhood.

    Exchanging with other cities: a virtuous loop for Strasbourg Euro-metropole

    Sharing one’s experience is a crucial asset that both URBACT and ÉcoQuartier approaches provide. Regional events, national days, trainings, seminars, etc. are organised and allow different actors to network. Together, they participate in the dissemination of good practices and the creation of a virtuous loop.

    Strasbourg Eurométropole has been committed for a long time to the preservation of biodiversity. 2014 winner of the ‘Capitale Française de la Biodiversité’ (national French award for Biodiversity) and “Best city for biodiversity 2017”, the municipality is also a member of the Club ÉcoQuartier, with the ÉcoQuartier du Danube (label stage 2) and the ÉcoQuartier de la Brasserie (label stage 3). Alain Jund, Vice-president of Strasbourg Eurométropole and Deputy Mayor of Strasbourg, chairs the ÉcoQuartier national committee. Strasbourg Eurométropole has joined the URBACT EGTC network (development of trans border strategies of urban development) and was labelled URBACT Good Practice city’ for its Biodiversity Charter. The city is also a member of the BOOSTINNO network on social innovation.

    Shared governance and citizens’ involvement

    The URBACT and EcoQuartier approaches promote shared governance. URBACT Local Groups gather key stakeholders from the public and private sectors. Similarly, the ÉcoQuartier approach involves a wide range of internal partners (with a requirement to ensure a transversal approach in the services) and external partners (actors of the project: inhabitants, users, managers, planners, promoters, economic operators, associations, institutional partners, social housing).

    Successful engagement of local community in the renovation of the city

    Les Mureaux, Ile de France

    The municipality of Les Mureaux, located in the Ile-de-France region, was awarded the ÉcoQuartier label – stage 4 in 2017. As a partner between 2009 and 2013 of the URBACT CASH network on affordable housing, the municipality mobilised both experts and associations for its urban renovation project. The city emphasised an integrated and participative approach, in particular for the design of the Parc Molière, based on a widespread consultation of inhabitants, future users and managers. The kitchen gardens, the play areas and the sports fields were also imagined with the inhabitants, within a system of support and awareness.

    Morne à l’Eau, Guadeloupe

    The willingness to include local residents in the preparation and implementation of projects is omnipresent at Morne-à-l’Eau, a municipality involved both in the ÉcoQuartier approach and in the URBACT programme (CityMobilNet network).

    Located on the Island of Guadeloupe, in the West Indies, Morne-à-l’Eau organised discussion workshops between local residents and the consultancy office in charge of the urban development project for the ÉcoQuartier Cœur de Grippon. This bottom-up work reassured local residents, answered their questions throughout the process and ensured a better undertaking of their expectations.

    The Label Eco-quartier assesses the engagement of the community with its stage 4 label award process

    The fourth and final stage of the Ecoquartier label assesses the successful involvement of local actors throughout the project. Three years after achieving the ÉcoQuartier label - stage 3, a visit of the neighbourhood and a meeting with local stakeholders are organised by experts mandated by the ministry. This self-assessment approach combining local residents and users of the territory is designed to constantly improve and recognise actions taken on a long-term basis by the community.

    In 2017, five ÉcoQuartiers were awarded the stage 4 label. A film shows the improvements on those four neighbourhoods, voicing out the experience of its residents.

    An international future for the French Ecoquartier Label?

    In 2014, at the World Urban Forum, a number of Latin American cities got in touch with the services of the French ministry for support to implement the ÉcoQuartier label in their countries. Already, in Japan, the Morino neighbourhood in the city of Funabashi was awarded the label stage 3 in 2016.

    Why not in Europe? Would EcoQuartier be a good topic for an URBACT Network?


    An article written by Delphine Gaudart and Sarah Petrovitch, Master student in Cultural and Political Geography, at Paris-Sorbonne University, having written a research paper on smart cities and currently trainee within the Ministry of Territories Cohesion in the unit animating the French EcoQuartier label.

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  • Can nature make your city climate-resilient?

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    Among the headlines of summer 2017: disastrous floods in the South of England, Istanbul and Berlin, extreme water scarcity in Rome, wild fires damaging homes on the Croatian coast, the Côte d'Azur and elsewhere… The magnitude and frequency of these and other events indicate that climate change is already a reality, and the impacts will be even bigger in the future. Yes, we need to reduce greenhouse gases to limit climate change, but equally urgent: we need to adapt to the remaining impacts. All cities, depending on their geographical position, are likely to experience prolonged and more intensive heatwaves or droughts, more frequent wild fires, coastal flooding, or an increase in the frequency and intensity of heavy rainfall with the associated threat of urban flooding, river flooding or landslides. How can cities cope with these huge predicted impacts of climate change in the future, even when they are faced with tight budgets? Can nature be a solution?

    Malmö enjoys its green infrastructure solutions

    Climate adaptation

    Malmö, Sweden’s third largest city, has a long tradition of coping with excessive rainwater, going back long before climate change adaptation came on the agenda. The solutions have become even more important now with the projected increase in the number and intensity of extreme rainfall events. Just across the Øresund, Copenhagen was heavily flooded by an immense cloudburst in 2011. Damage costs mounted up to 800 million EUR. Such an extreme event could also hit Malmö. On a smaller scale, the neighbourhood of Augustenborg in Malmö already experienced frequent flooding from an overflowing drainage system in the 1980s and 1990s. Instead of extending the sewage system, the city experimented with green and blue infrastructure: vegetation and water. This solution comprises several kilometres of water channels and retention ponds, green roofs on new and retrofitted buildings, and green areas redesigned to better store and drain rain water or delay its discharge. Only excess water is led into the sewage system. As a result, problems with flooding have ceased. At the same time, the area has become much more attractive to its residents.

    The city has used this approach again in Western Harbour, a new residential area built on a former brownfield. It copes with rainwater mostly with the support of the many green roofs, green areas, water channels and retention basins. Water has become a playful feature in the urban design of the area, which was co-created with the future residents right from the planning phase. The design also helps mitigate climate change thanks to low-energy housing and the integrated generation of renewable energy. All of this has made the area extremely popular not just to its residents, but also to lots of other citizens and tourists who enjoy the nice seaside area. This long-term valuable experience and knowledge is an asset that Malmö shares with other cities as a member of the URBACT network Resilient Europe.

    Indeed, nature-based solutions can be a key tool for climate change adaptation. They comprise green infrastructure of all kinds but also solutions that allow natural processes, like floods, to happen without harm, e.g. by building floating or elevated houses. While Malmö is already enjoying the many benefits of green infrastructures in boosting quality of life, Hamburg and Copenhagen have recently calculated that they urgently need nature-based solutions to cope with climate change. They simply cannot extend the technical infrastructure – their sewage system – to the extent that it can cope with the amount of water expected under heavy cloudbursts. Costs for such a solution would be astronomically high, if feasible at all. Instead, green areas, green roofs, storage areas or streets as temporary waterways will take their share of water, storing, draining or delaying the discharge, thus relieving the sewage system. Calculations show that today’s solutions as we know them won’t do the job in Europe’s climate of the future, but a combination with nature-based solutions can work.

    Rotterdam opts for multi-functionality in its dense urban setting

    Rotterdam also has to cope increasingly with water – from a rising sea level, more torrential rain, and river flooding. There are not many places the water can go, as much of the area is low-lying and water needs to be pumped away. That makes the city very vulnerable and dependent on a functioning technical infrastructure. The city needs storing capacity to delay the discharge of water during heavy rainfall, but space is scarce in the Netherlands, where almost every square meter is used either for houses or for agri- and horticulture. In addition, as a dense city, Rotterdam aims to be both energy and transport efficient, and liveable and attractive. In its search for innovative solutions, Rotterdam came up with a range of ideas that are being explored further in the context of the Resilient Europe network. Some are swimming structures like the solar-powered floating pavilion in the Rijnhaven that copes with different water levels, others are roof-top farms or the famous water squares. Their special design offers multiple uses and benefits: Normally, these squares are dry and include playgrounds, sports facilities, nice places to meet or take a break, but under heavy rainfall they fill up with water and protect the surrounding from flooding, and are attractive in a different way.

    Nevertheless, such innovative ways to deal with climate challenges are not always easy to establish. While planners were enthusiastic, citizens were concerned: For example, would the area still be safe for their children? The planners had to find ways to overcome these barriers, build trust and convince. Meanwhile, the first water squares have been established, and they are highly appreciated.

    Combinations of green, grey and soft measures to make Vejle climate-resilient

    Water forms part of the identity of Vejle in Denmark too. It comes from all sides: the rising level of the Baltic Sea, combined with storm surges, elevates the risk of coastal flooding. And the rising number and intensity of heavy rainfall events brings more water from the sky and the streams. Important assets of the city, like the harbour, the city centre and some infrastructure are vulnerable, and the sewage system is not prepared for extremely high water loads. Current measures alone, like the soft measure of today’s well-functioning emergency responses, won’t suffice in the future.

    The city already uses green infrastructure in several areas. However, as great and effective as it is, green infrastructure alone cannot deal completely with future impacts in Vejle, in particular in the event of storm surges. Hence, the city is actively searching for new and innovative solutions combining green, grey and soft measures. Its district project ‘Fjordbyen’ will serve as a laboratory for climate change adaptation and flood control and explore how water can also be an asset for the quality of the area, not just a risk. Innovative solutions where water can be embraced can improve knowledge, economic growth and welfare for local people.

    A common factor for these, and similar examples of climate-resilient solutions in cities across the EU, is that they see climate change adaptation as part of a bigger concept. As well as collaborating in the Resilient Europe URBACT network, Rotterdam, Vejle, Glasgow, Bristol and Thessaloniki are also part of the global 100 Resilient Cities initiative. The concept comprises social cohesion, environment, health and wellbeing, economic prosperity, heritage and participation, and will enhance quality of life.

    Thessaloniki builds resilience on broad participation and collaboration

    In Thessaloniki, more than 40 organisations and 2,000 citizens from across the city have participated in the resilience strategy development. This ongoing co-creation process unleashes the potential for bottom up innovative solutions by residents and communities. Like Rotterdam, urban density is an issue for Thessaloniki with just 2.6m2 of green space per resident compared to the European average of 8-10m2. Nevertheless, the city sees green infrastructure as an important part of the solution. Hence, the city aims to increase the quality, effectiveness and number of benefits by redesigning the limited open space. This creates spaces for social interaction at the same time. It plans solutions such as permeable surfaces, rain gardens, green walls, but also supports urban agriculture in inner courtyards and pocket community gardens that, on top, come at low costs which is very important in times of austerity. These solutions not only involve residents in the design of their area, but encourage them to learn about agriculture and nutrition and may also help to integrate migrants and refugees with diverse agricultural traditions.

    For its valuable pieces of green infrastructure, the city developed the Adopt your Green Spot programme. It facilitates the active engagement of citizens in the maintenance of urban green by taking co-ownership of public green space while keeping public expenditures low. At the same time, this activity educates people, contributes to the local economy, and creates or fosters local communities and social cohesion. Participation, education, community, connectedness, integration and more; these are the important soft factors for building up long-term and effective resilience that technical measures alone cannot do. They are relevant for resilience towards any type of shock and change.

    Transforming cities with nature and innovation into thriving places – Bilbao inspires

    Bilbao, which recently became an URBACT Good Practice city, takes the holistic approach to adaptation a step further. Some decades ago, the city learned painfully that the business-as-usual way wouldn’t lead them out of their deep economic crisis. The city started the process towards a broadly integrated urban development strategy to cope with the complexity of its urban challenges. That continuous process is still ongoing. Over the last 30 years, Bilbao has undertaken a massive transformation. Interventions like the iconic Guggenheim museum, the clean-up of the river, new infrastructures, internationalisation, a focus on excellent design, nice parks and other urban greens, as well as the restoration of the historic centre, reinvented the city that is thriving very well now. In this tradition, the city has recently started adaptation activities that shall contribute to creating a flourishing, climate-resilient city that offers a high quality of life. One example is the regeneration of the Zorrotzaure district, a currently degraded, flood-prone industrial peninsula. A combination of grey and green measures of building and urban design will make it flood-proof and highly attractive as well, thus adding to Bilbao’s overall appearance of a modern, liveable and strong city.

    The cities here present feasible approaches that turned the need for making their city climate-resilient into an opportunity to boost quality of life and transform them into enjoyable and thriving places. The process to get there includes many of the ingredients already used in other urban regeneration and development processes, among them broad participation, good governance, and collaboration across sectors and stakeholders. The examples show that having a great, broadly accepted vision of the future, dedication and commitment to the task, as well as plenty of stamina, are important for a successful transformation process. Nature-based solutions have proved to be a key tool: attractive and multi-functional at reasonable costs, they are a valuable asset that every city can use.

    Birgit Georgi


    Photo 2: Rotterdam ©Rick Ligthelm
    Photo 3: Vejle Fjorbyen ©Finn Byrum
    Photo 4: Thessaloniki ©Municipality of Thessaloniki
    Photo 5: Bilbao ©Municipality of Bilbao

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  • CSI Europe


    Project launch
    Project completed

    The aim of the JESSICA initiative is to support “sustainable investment in cities”. Through the implementation of the initiative, Urban Development Funds are emerging as potentially powerful tools to pursue sustainable urban transformation. CSI Europe will build upon the achievements to date to improve the effectiveness of current delivery and future potential.

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