POINT (15.645881 46.55465)


    Phase 1 kick-off

    Phase 2 kick-off

    Phase 2 development

    Final event

    Arwen Dewilde
    City of Ghent



    Plaza de la Constitucion 1

    Baena (Cordoba) - Spain


    Artur Katai
    City of Újbuda


    The partner cities from this Implementation network have a common need to improve the implementation of their existing integrated urban strategies and action plans by including new approaches linked to creative and cultural industries (CCI) – creative places, people, and businesses. The joint policy challenge for the network is to better facilitate the above 'creative ecosystem' to be able to attract (more) creative entrepreneurs and boost creative entrepreneurship in dedicated urban areas, this comprises activities that create economic value through the generation and exploitation of intellectual property. A city is able to mobilise ideas, talents and creative organisations when it knows how to foster a creative milieu by identifying, nurturing, attracting and sustaining talent. Local governments all over the world are increasingly becoming aware of the CCI’s potential to generate jobs, wealth, and cultural engagement.

    Boosting creative entrepreneurship through creative-based urban strategies
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  • 2nd Chance

    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

    2ndChance on Facebook

    2ndChance on Twitter


    Kick-off meeting in June (Liverpool). Transnational meeting in October (Chemnitz).
    Transnational meetings in July (Gijon) and December (Brussels).
    Final event in April (Naples)

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


    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela


    Municipality of Udine (Italy)


    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email:

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

    Follow our Twitter: @Tech_RevEu
    Follow our Linkedin:




    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

    City Council Bielefeld
    Bürger Service Center
    Phone +49 521 510


    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

    City of Loulé
    Praça da República, 8104-001 Loulé
    Phone +351 289 400 600


    City of Igualada
    Plaça de l'Ajuntament, 1, 08700 Igualada, Barcelona


    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

    City of Genoa
    Via di Francia, 1 - XI floor. 16149 Genova


    City of San Donà di Piave Piazza Indipendenza, 13 – 30027


    City of Naples
    Urban Planning Department 
    Phone +39 081 7958932 - 34 - 17 


    The challenge of this Action Planning network is the activation of vacant buildings and building complexes for a sustainable urban development by self-organised groups. In many European cities smaller and larger derelict sites, underused premises, so called “voids” can be found in or near the city centre. These sites often have a negative impact on their surroundings, nevertheless they present a great opportunity: they can be used to complete a compact settlement structure, to provide space for needed functions in the city.

    Revitalisation of the sleeping giants
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  • Transition to circular economy: the ‘’power’’ of the building sector towards better cities

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    What does circular economy in the building sector mean to you in theory and where are we standing today? Which are the key challenges, the needs and how can we meet them starting from acting locally and upscaling our achievements towards better cities? The URGE APN project attempts a first dive into the issue of circularity in the building sector, aiming to impact importantly local policies and contribute to the achievement of the ambitious European goals and objectives.

    Circular economy


    The URGE APN project


    The URGE (Circular Building Cities) project, approved in the frame of URBACT III Action Planning Networks (APNs), aims to design action plans on circularity in the building sector. URGE is thus accelerating the transition to the circular economy. The network consists of large cities such as Copenhagen and Munich, medium sized cities such as Utrecht and Riga and smaller cities such as Maribor (represented by Nigrad), Kavala and Comunidade Intermunicipal do Oeste, a regional cooperation of smaller municipalities. It is led by the City of Utrecht.

    In the frame of Phase I, a more thorough investigation will be made into each city’s case, to raise the needs and draw a tailored-made action plan to smoothen difficulties exploit opportunities and come up with solutions that will boost circularity in the building sector.

    What is a circular building?

    ‘’A building that is developed, used and reused without unnecessary resource depletion, environmental pollution and ecosystem degradation. It is constructed in an economically responsible way and contributes to the wellbeing of people and the biosphere’’.

    Circular buildings impact positively on Materials, Energy, Waste, Biodiversity, Health and Well Being, Human culture & society. Additionally, they may produce multiple forms of value.

    Where is the global economy in terms of circularity standing today?

    Our global economy is only 9% circular. 8.4 Giga tons of materials are cycled input, versus 84.4 Giga tons coming from extracted resources. Out of the materials not cycled, the majority is lost beyond recovery - either dispersed in the form of emissions or unrecoverable waste. Housing, Nutrition and Mobility together represent more than 82% of the total material footprint.

    Within the next 30 years, it is estimated that the amount of new construction will equal the amount, which is already built today. The rapidly growing construction sector is currently among the world’s largest producers of waste: every year, 1.3 billion tons of construction and demolition waste is generated worldwide and half of it comes from construction.

    Consequently, there is a crucial need for new circular solutions, especially in the building sector.



    The case of Europe

    The building sector in Europe is strategic for the economies of most countries.  Around 4 out of every 10 houses in Europe were built before 1960, a time when building practices were poor by today’s standards. The priority is to sustain and preserve what is already built, and in case renovation or demolishment is needed, the idea is to proceed using circular process, where materials can re-enter the construction sector and be re-used appropriately.

    The ambition of the European Commission is to accelerate the transition towards a circular economy, enabling EU cities to lead the international system beyond the current outdated take-make-dispose model. As circular economy is a complex and far-reaching concept, the European Commission has established in December 2015  a unique comprehensive strategy referred to as the “circular economy Action Plan”. The action plan is an effective response to the 2030 Agenda, since it empowers public authorities and stakeholders to accelerate the circular economy transition. After four years of successful implementation of the Action Plan, one White Paper on circular economy of the Word Economic Forum (2018) and a lot of published reports, the European Commission could identify needs, towards acceleration of circular economy:

    1) Circular economy is complex. Therefore, a comprehensive strategy to close the loop and targeting strategic sectors is the best tool to address all its aspects.

    2) There are short and long-term benefits in making circular economy a priority across departments inside a public institution. Services dealing with environmental protection, industry, research, international cooperation, and potentially many others, can contribute to mainstream the concept within and outside the institution.

    3) Circular change is faster when economic actors and civil society are directly involved. An effective public policy on circular economy needs support from business and civil society in order to maximize its benefits for the environment and for the economy.

    The building sector itself is aware that it must change its management model to turn circular and that it can comply with the new approach to the ‘sustainable use of resources’ set out in the European Building Products Regulations.

    However, there is still a lot to be done at local level.

    Acting locally

    A holistic approach and integration of the views in local action planning to meet the ambitious EU goals on circularity, is the key.

    A common success factor in circular building design is stakeholder engagement from the very beginning. Indeed, early co-design processes with end-users, technicians, suppliers and communities, and taking everyone’s needs into consideration overall, is crucial in creating a holistic design. Moreover, public procurement regulation can be a powerful driver with the power to play a significant role in mainstreaming circularity practices. In terms of knowledge dissemination, finished building projects and reuse of buildings and areas can serve for further awareness raising and experience sharing. Additionally, communication of public data through city portals, including the discussion and open data in relations to indicators, is a powerful tool towards the engagement and motivation of related stakeholders including citizens. An open knowledge and competence building portfolio, comprised of training pack, indicators, data, good practices, integrated with specific tools’ application guides, like Pay-as-You Throw (PAYT) systems, could enhance the implementation of circular economy principles at local level. All that would not be effectively realised if not integrated within a holistic roadmap for urban resources management.

    These topics have been raised and discussed among the partners of the URGE APN project, during a fruitful kick-off meeting in Utrecht, on the 15th and 16th of October. A lot is about to come, in order to fully exploit opportunities and really make use of this strategic sector as an enabler to meet circularity objectives and goals at local and EU level, so stay tuned!!


    From urbact
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  • Specific approaches needed to implement policies for the creative sector

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    CREATIVE SPIRITS is a network of nine European cities, funded by the European Union in the frame of the URBACT III Programme. The nine CREATIVE SPIRITS partner cities have a common need to improve the implementation of their existing integrated urban strategies/action plans by including novel approaches linked to creative and cultural industries (CCI) – creative places, people and businesses. The joint policy challenge for the network is to better facilitate the “creative ecosystem” to be able to attract (more) creative entrepreneurs and boost creative entrepreneurship in dedicated urban areas.

    City Branding

    The objectives of CREATIVE SPIRITS partners are focused on exchanging practices and ideas on how they could implement their “creative” strategies more successfully. The general implementation challenges defined by the URBACT programme will serve as a perfect basis for joint learning and knowledge transfer.

    In the Baseline Study and during the discussions held in the framework of the City Visits, these general challenges are connected to more specific challenges which are typical of the creative sector. These specific challenges have also been intensively discussed during the kick-off meeting of the project. They are strongly inspired by the findings in some relevant case studies from creative projects implemented in several European cities.

    Defining, updating and fine-tuning actions

    Though, each CREATIVE SPIRITS partner city has an integrated strategy or action plans, almost all of them face the challenge to turn these rather general strategies into operational action plans. Many partners are faced with the fact that as the environment of the urban development is constantly and quickly changing, the strategies can hardly follow them since policy making is generally a rather slow process. Therefore, this challenge can be translated into two main questions. The first one is how a creative development strategy can be translated into an effective action plan using fully integrated working methods and participatory approaches, and the second one is linked to how an already existing (approved) action plan can be updated in order to meet new requirements without losing commitment. It has also been considered as crucial that in order to create an early and firm committment from all stakeholders that they should include smaller (sometimes symbolic) projects which can have an effect in creating points of energy and initiating a snowball effect in the target area. For instance, municipalities can formulate a policy to tackle interim use in vacant places and pay attention to make empty shops or flats in creative locations available below-market prices (see picture of a co-working place for creative in Athens below). Another idea which can easily be implemented is the use of street-art on blank walls to create an outdoor gallery reflecting on the place. It is also in most cases very effective to build in a support model for creatives to build up their own platform which could serve as an inspirational engine for innovative ideas.  

    Learn more about Kerameikos Metaxourgeio which is a deprived area lying close to the frequented inner-city areas of Athens (Greece) having beautiful but dilapidated old housing stock. Currently the district is under regeneration: a young real estate developer (a change-maker) who wants to redevelop the area into a cultural district created an association of people for planning and invited the public to submit their ideas for the future of the district.


    Tackling policy spill-overs through integration

    Another advantage of an integrated style of working is that their will be a sound basis for boosting so called creative spill-overs. This could be very well organised and orchestrated by the establishment of an intermediate agency like it is the case in Rotterdam. They have set up a Creative Commission  which has the mission to focus on the added value of CCIs in the Rotterdam economy rather than the sector’s internal growth in terms of revenues or turnover (Creative SpIN Final Report, URBACT, 2015). Also, the development of De Ceuvel in Amsterdam is a very good example of  integrating environmental aspects in the implementation of their action plan for giving space to creative sector developments (see the pictures of DeCeuvel below).

    De Ceuvel (Amsterdam, the Netherlands) is a city playground for innovation and creativity, an experiment in which co-creators achieved sustainability in a tangible and integrated way.

    Refreshing our evidences

    For a successful and effective implementation process of the creative strategies, the setting up of an indicators & monitoring system is a crucial aspect. Although  the strategies and action plans of the CREATIVE SPIRITS partner cities were mostly prepared within EU programming processes (meaning that they include indicator and monitoring systems) measuring performance and success of the creative sector development policies is a rather complicated exercise also due to the lack of an internationally agreed definition of outputs and results . It is a real challenge for CREATIVE SPIRITS partners to deal with this aspect and to jointly define indictors which are well connected to the specific character of the creative sector. The key question in this regard mainly refers to the measurement of soft factors. Creative districts have often been developed as a slower step-by-step process, based on local resources and local demand. In this process, experimentation is a key factor, but how to measure experiments? How to measure CCIs on district or city level as targeted statistics are mainly available on national level. A particularly useful approach to the audit of local cultural-creative assets is the technique known as cultural asset mapping which will certainly be an element to be used while discussing this challenge in the future project meetings.

    Do it with people under a “letting them go responsibly” attitude

    The involvement of local creatives is of course crucial in implementing strategies for the creative sector. All partner cities have a great interest in further developing knowledge and specific skills to develop long-standing, reciprocal partnerships with stakeholders and to mobilise local people. Furthermore, cities need further knowledge on how to identify and make the most of local “catalysts” (the most innovative people) enabling them to act as change-makers on the long-term. Finally, deeper understanding of the importance of co-creation in connection with CCIs is necessary to create entrepreneurial friendly strategies. The main stakeholders in creative-based urban strategies must be the creative people (artists, craftsman, designers, makers, architects, culturpreneurs, start-upers, officers from public organisations), but inhabitants, youth, university students, real estate owners/agencies are also important actors.
    The stakeholder engagement challenge is very particular for the creative sector. Creative people are mostly rather “independent” and they must be approached in a rather individual way. The golden rule is that “invitation is stronger than intervention”. It also means that the municipality should be familiar with the unique interest of the different groups and should “speak their language” (see picture of Macao initiative below).

    Learn more about how Municipality of Milan engaged creative people in Macao!
    Instead of project-specific stakeholder grouping, the municipality of Milan created a platform for related co-creating urban policies. The negotiation board - which is not only an attempt to negotiate formally with squatters - is a way to include grassroot organizations directly in urban policymaking. Macao was able to have the negotiation board adopt the legislative tool of “istruttoria pubblica”: through this tool, citizens can directly contribute to policies: they can formulate draft regulations and the city council must discuss and vote on them.

    Diversifying the funding portfolio

    CREATIVE SPIRITS partners would like to learn more about innovative funding solutions which are especially applicable for supporting cultural-creative industries.  Crowdfunding can be a rather good tool for creative start ups. The public sector could play a role here in support to set up business plans and for “last mile” financial contributions to the crowdfunding campaigns.  A good example in this regard is the Creative City Berlin platform which is used as a marketing tool for collecting crowdfunding for specific creative-cultural goals . Also the method of a Social Marketplace  can provide an environment in which creative entrepreneurs can find funding solutions. Although this method is used for NGOs, it can be used also for smaller creative entrepreneurs as well (as Creative Marketplace). Similarly, the Social for Impact Bond method can be modified in order to promote local creative-cultural activities creating a Creative-Cultural Impact Bond.

    Designing smart public procurement frameworks

    Regarding the challenge related to public procurement, the most important issue is that while procurement regulations are mostly intended to ensure accountability and minimize risk, the process leaves little room for experimentation or creative engagement with entrepreneurs. Innovations are needed in procurement to correctly value creative services.

    Setting up Public Private Partnerships for delivery

    Based on the discussion of partner cities, classic Public Private Partnership (PPP) schemes are less relevant with regards to the network’s policy challenge. However a strong cooperation between the real estate sector and the public sector is very important. It would be a task for the city to find and discuss smart solutions on how the real estate  sector could be engaged in the process of creating opportunities for creatives to settle themselves in existing (sometimes unused and empty) shops and buildings in the target areas. Public/private cooperation can provide networking facilities, like the one in Rotterdam. Rotterdam’s Creative Factory, established in 2008 in an abandoned grain silo, has created a raft of new full-time jobs in one of the most deprived areas of the city and has provided a working space for over 180 small companies over the last five years.


    The objective of the CREATIVE SPIRITS network is focused on creating an environment in which entrepreneurship in the sector can get a boost by tackling the above described challenges. These are what the partners have in common. The sub-objectives and sub-challenges however will vary, which creates a more precise basis for future knowledge transfer and learning in the implementation phase of the Creative Spirits network. This is the case with the question on which extent the support to creative entrepreneurs should be based and should contribute to the rehabilitation of deprived areas and to social cohesion in these areas. Discussing common CREATIVE SPIRITS goals to be implemented in different cultural and governmental settings and by including local people strongly contributes to a better understanding of the value of EU cooperation.





    From urbact
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    Project launch
    Project completed

    FIN-URB-ACT strives for more efficient local support structures for SMEs' development and innovative economies. The rationale is that such structures on local level - where financial instruments meet nonfinancial assistance - are basic prerequisites for fostering start-ups and business growth.

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  • Active A.G.E


    Project launch
    Project completed

    Develop an exchange of experience between 9 cities facing an ageing population - in order to develop greater professional capacity and thus identify and develop good practices - and help them to put in place an integrated approach to dealing with this issues.

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