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  • Gen-Y City

    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

    Timeline

    Kick-off meeting in June (Torun). Transnational meeting in September (Wolverhampton) about 'Making the case for investment in creative-tech talent' and 'How to make best use of Labour Market Information'. Transnational meeting and The role of culture.
    'Transnational meeting about 'Smart Specialisation, Tech Hubs and Civic Tech Initiatives' transnational meeting in March (Coimbra); in July (Bologna) about 'Creative - Tech Talent Ecosystem Frameworks'.
    City Development Forum in January (Poznan). Final event in April (Poznan).

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

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Udine (Italy)

    CONTACT US

    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email: DMC@Barnsley.gov.uk

    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: https://www.linkedin.com/company/urbact-techrevolution/

    CONTACT US

    Coordinator

    ADDRESS

    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora

    Portugal 

    TELEPHONE

    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801

    CONTACT US

    City of Rome

    tamara.lucarelli@comune.roma.it

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

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

     

    CONTACT US

    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

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

    CONTACT US

    urbact.civicestate@gmail.com

    CONTACT US

    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Piraeus

    CONTACT US

    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

    CONTACT US

    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029

     

    CONTACT US

    Riga NGO House

    CONTACT US

    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

    CONTACT US

    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

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

    CONTACT US

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

    CONTACT US

    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

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

    CONTACT US

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

    CONTACT US

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

    CONTACT US

    The Barnsley Digital Media  County Way, Barnsley, S70 2JW
    Phone +44 01226 720700 

    CONTACT US

    Preston City Council
    Town Hall, Preston, PR1 2RL

    City of Piacenza
    piazza Cavalli 2 - 29121 Piacenza - Italia
    tel centralino 
    Phone +39 0523 492 111 

    City of Bilbao
    Plaza Ernesto Erkoreka nº1. 48007 Bilbao. Phone +32 944 204 200 

    City of Poznan
    plac Kolegiacki 17,
    61-841 Poznań

    CONTACT US

    Over the last decades, younger people have increasingly chosen to live in urban areas, whilst the share of older residents in cities has generally fallen. Nevertheless, the impact of wage levels and different unemployment rates across Europe has lead youngsters to move mainly to big cities. In this, sense this Action Planning network aimed on developing, attracting and retaining young local talent, particularly, the creative talent from the Generation Y - people who were born between 1980 and 2000 - within cities of all sizes.

    Developing, attracting and retaining young local talent
    Ref nid
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  • REFILL

    Timeline

    Kick-off meeting in June (Amersfoot). Transnational meeting in September (Cluj Napoca).
    Transnational meetings in March (Helsinki), September (Ostrava).
    Political event in March (Athens). Final event in April (Ghent).

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

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Udine (Italy)

    CONTACT US

    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email: DMC@Barnsley.gov.uk

    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: https://www.linkedin.com/company/urbact-techrevolution/

    CONTACT US

    Coordinator

    ADDRESS

    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora

    Portugal 

    TELEPHONE

    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801

    CONTACT US

    City of Rome

    tamara.lucarelli@comune.roma.it

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

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

     

    CONTACT US

    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

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

    CONTACT US

    urbact.civicestate@gmail.com

    CONTACT US

    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council

    CONTACT US

    Municipality of Piraeus

    CONTACT US

    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

    CONTACT US

    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029

     

    CONTACT US

    Riga NGO House

    CONTACT US

    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

    CONTACT US

    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

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

    CONTACT US

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

    CONTACT US

    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

    In many European cities one of the positive side effects of the financial-economic crisis is the growth of innovative forms of solidarity and commitment at local level. This Action Planning network pioneered, in terms of bottom-up civic initiatives, by co-creating solutions for social challenges in an urban context. Cities are often perceived as a laboratory and governments are no longer the only actor to solve complex challenges faced in cities. Therefore, temporary use is a powerful tool to make our cities "future fit". Since the concept of temporary use is interacting with many other urban dynamics it creates the right environment for social innovation to develop by: exchanging and evaluating of local supporting instruments; ensuring long lasting effects of temporality; building a more flexible and collaborative public administration.

    Reuse of vacant spaces as a driving force for innovation at the local level
    Ref nid
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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

    CONTACT US

    Summary

    Timeline

    • 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

       

    Outputs

    • 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
    Ref nid
    13448
  • Greening as a pathway to resilience in urban areas

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    15/11/2022

    Leafy places in cities can greatly improve health and happiness. But here’s the thing: green isn’t always good for everyone.

    Articles
    City planning

    Most people now agree that green is good for health and resilience. Greening urban areas and connecting them to water, or ’blue’ areas, is high on the agenda in most towns and cities. Yet, says URBACT Programme Expert Iván Tosics, even this seemingly self-evident issue is not without contradictions. In this article, he looks beyond the general “green is good” statement and finds a more nuanced picture.

     

    It has been said many times, almost to the point of banality, that during Covid times, the demand for outdoor activites grew dramatically, leading to a marked increase in the use of parks and outdoor spaces. We all saw this in our cities in Europe. However, this did not necessarily happen to the same extent everywhere in the world. There is an interesting website, based on Google data, showing how the number of visitors to parks and outdoor spaces has changed compared to the selected baseline period, January 2020. Although it is not easy to interpret the data due to factors such as seasonal differences between North and South, we can hypothesise that in Europe and the global North, green areas were able to meet the increase in demand more easily, being generally more secure and better maintained than those in many parts of the global South.

    There are many good summaries about the immediate, easy-to-reach interventions by cities as a reaction to Covid – see for example my article on temporary interventions in the use of public spaces, such as closing streets and creating pop-up bike lanes, or encouraging street play. Key questions discussed in this article are: what kind of tactical interventions into greening are observable? And how can these be turned into long-term, strategic programmes, avoiding potential pitfalls?

    Many people think that all greening efforts are good for the wellbeing of citizens in general, and their health in particular. However, it is necessary to go beyond this cliché, understanding the different ways to implement the greening of cities, highlighting the efforts made to achieve synergy with other aspects of sustainable and resilient development, and calling attention to potential unwanted externalities of greening projects – among which the most important is the potential increase in socio-spatial differentiation through gentrification.

    Types and benefits of green places

    Owen Douglas, of the Eastern and Midland Regional Assembly in Ireland, listed the benefits of green spaces in his presentation at the URBACT Health&Greenspace Academy in December 2020. These include: enabling physical activities; improving mental well-being; supporting social interactions; and reducing environmental risks of air pollution and extreme weather events.

    Green infrastructure planning can do a lot to mitigate stressful city life in compact cities, with strategically planned networks of natural and semi-natural areas, and creating new green and ‘blue’ spaces – areas of water. To achieve that, green infrastructure planning has to be multifunctional, including a diversity of green elements, such as: large natural areas as hubs; forests and parks as green parcels; smaller private gardens, playgrounds, roadside greenery, or green roofs as individual elements; corridors connecting the hubs, parcels and elements; and finally land use buffers, as transition areas, separating dense urban spaces from the suburbs.

    In another presentation at the December 2020 URBACT Health&Greenspace Academy, Eduarda Marques da Costa, of the University of London, listed different types of green space interventions, from overarching development of new neighbourhoods through regeneration of residential areas and brownfield areas, including smaller-scale improvements to public spaces and support for urban gardening.

    Innovative greening examples

    Let us see now a few examples of the different types of greening interventions and their potential consequences.

    Certain European cities have conducted large projects of strategic importance to improve sustainability and resilience.

    Barcelona, Parc de les Glories (photo by Iván Tosics, November 2021)

    Barcelona (ES) provides an excellent example, with its efforts to renaturalise the densely built-up city. One of the emblematic projects is the rebuilding of the Plaça de les Glòries Catalanes: besides the demolition of the elevated roundabout for cars and the building of a new High Speed Train station, a large new park is being erected under the motto of renaturalisation.

    Utrecht (NL) has put re-canalisation into the core of its urban development strategy. Forty years after the historic mistake of converting the canal that encircled Utrecht’s old town into a 12-lane motorway, in 2020, the city opened the canal back up again. The restoration of the waterway was the central piece of the 2002 referendum in which residents voted for a city-centre master plan with the aim to replace roads with water. With the reopening of the Catharijnesingel, Utrecht’s inner city is again surrounded by water and greenery rather than asphalt and car traffic.

    Paris (FR) has undergone large changes since the election of Mayor Anne Hidalgo in 2014. One of the key elements of the changes towards more sustainable urban development is the permanent pedestrianisation of roads along the river Seine and certain canals, which made the access to waterfront areas much easier.

    Another pathway towards more sustainability is to renovate, animate, and improve the safety of existing green areas. A prime example of this is the case of Bryant park in New York (US). This was one of the no-go areas of the city, getting the nickname 'Needle Park' in the 1970s because of the large number of drug addicts who frequented it. Changes started in 1988 with an extensive renovation of the park, including radical physical restructuring of the area, making the green space attractive, transparent and lively, clearing areas to let in light, installing many moveable chairs, and creating coffee places. The park has been transformed from an insecure to a lovely space. 

    2010-04-25-breda-by-RalfR-09

    Breda, Valkenberg Park

    A similar story is the redesign of the Valkenberg Park in Breda (NL) to improve safety, presented at the URBACT Health&Greenspace Academy in October 2021 by David Louwerse, project manager, Municipality of Tilburg.

    The most common greening interventions in European cities are smaller interventions, such as creating urban gardens, or greening streets and rooftops. An article by Tamás Kállay, Lead Expert of the URBACT Health&Greenspace network, gives a good overview of such initiatives. He mentiones Tartu (EE), where “meadow boxes were placed on the road. A beach bar was opened, and the street section accommodated also an outdoor reading room, a market, picnic tables, an outdoor cinema, and various programs”. Another example from the Health&Greenspace network is Poznań (PL), where “as part of a pilot activity natural playgrounds were created in the yards of several kindergartens providing direct contact with nature and supporting creative play”.

    Such examples demonstrate that “… small green space interventions, both physical changes and social activities can trigger a massive change and lead to larger actions promoting positive health outcomes.” This conclusion is further supported by another URBACT article, arguing for the importance of walking, not only in shopping streets, but also across all neighbourhoods – including ‘consumption-free’ areas.

    Besides punctual interventions, many cities aim to ensure fair distribution of green across the whole city and to connect green areas into networks. Poznań is good example for the latter, aiming to protect the green belt around the city from real estate development and urban sprawl, while also increasing forest cover within the city boundaries and preserving and improving existing parks and green spaces.

    Changing people's mindset and reorganising the structure of local government

    Hegyvidék, district 12 of Budapest, Lead Partner of Health&Greenspace, provides innovative examples of public spaces being improved and used more frequently thanks to new ideas, rather than concrete physical greening interventions. In order to change people's mindset, the “…municipality identified ‘green prescription’ as an appropriate tool for linking cardiac rehabilitation with the Active Hegyvidék program. Green prescription is a written advice of a health professional to a patient to participate in some sort of nature-based activity.”

    Hegyvidék is also pioneering an institutional restructuring of the the municipality, creating a so-called Green office. Changes can also be achieved without reorganising the municipality. For example, the URBACT network UrbSecurity presents an Urban Planning Game where Leiria’s municipal technicians develop step-by-step new approaches to increase the security of public spaces in the city. Cities can also use nudging techniques to influence behaviour, as many of the publications of Pieter Raymaekers (Leuven) show.

    The positive effects of greening and their link to urban planning

    Another URBACT network, Healthy Cities, focuses on including health considerations systematically into urban planning. To make this easier, a new tool has been developed, enabling users to quickly assess the health impact of their whole urban plan, and see how small adjustments could make a big difference to the lives of local people. This Healthy Cities Generator is a practical planning tool designed to give actionable indicators for anyone looking to integrate health into planning. It is based on a systematic review of scientific peer-reviewed publications linking urban determinants and their impact on health, through which the tool automatically calculates the health impact of urban planning actions.

    The integration of green considerations into planning can best be achieved by regulating the access to green areas at metropolitan level – this proved to be very useful during the Covid pandemic in those urban areas, where metropolitan coordination was strong enough.

    A word of caution: potential dangers of greening interventions

    Against all good will, greening interventions can also have negative effects, if not applied in an integrated manner, without creating synergies with other aspects of development.  

    Greening usually goes well with sustainable urban mobility interventions. When regenerating public spaces, areas taken away from cars can give place to green elements, for example changing motorways into urban boulevards with trees, pedestrianising streets, turning parking spaces into ‘parklets’ with moveable plant pots. However, if large green developments are concentrated in peripheral areas of cities that are difficult to access by public transport, they can easily result in increased car use. In a broader sense, this is a danger in all green developments that create large spatial imbalances in cities, i.e. new green areas far away from many residents who would like to use them.

    When managed in the right way, greening can have very important social advantages: it is a good tool to better involve disadvantaged groups into society. Greening can help the social involvement of the elderly and school children – see for example the OASIS project, converting schoolyards into green cooling islands in Paris. Even so, the biggest danger of greening interventions lies in their negative social externalities, through the gentrification process.

    Gentrification can take various forms. The direct form is the regeneration of socially contested areas into high-quality neighbourhoods. If no parallel efforts are made to support disadvantaged groups, the outcome will be socially unacceptable: pushing out disadvantaged social groups to other parts of the city. I described this process in an earlier article, on the case of Teleki tér, Budapest (HU), comparing this one-sided, gentrifying regeneration to the more integrated approach used in the case of Helmholtz square, Berlin (DE). The latter, through ongoing social assistance, is much closer to the URBACT-supported integrated approach, despite the fact that participative planning was also applied in the Budapest case. 

    Budapest, Teleki square with fences around, 2015.
    Source: www.hvg.hu

    Berlin, Helmholtz square, 2015.
    Source: Imre Pákozdi

    A more common and less direct form of gentrification prevails through the increase of property values and rents in areas of improving quality of life, for example due to green interventions, which leads to the gradual displacement of people of lower socio-economic status. This well-known market mechanism can be kept under control with public regulations on rents, housing allowances and/or maintaining a substantial share of publicly owned housing. Unfortunately, such public interventions to control gentrification are rarely applied (or even considered) along with urban greening.

    Greening is an essential form of environmental intervention. The principle of integrated development requires a certain balance between economic, environmental and social aspects of development. This, however, is not easy to achieve, even in cases when there is strong determination to keep the balance. The comparison of two European cities, developing new ecological areas, illustrates the difficulties, showing how overly strong insistence on high environmental standards might lead to the deterioration of social goals, if public resources are limited. If greening aspects are given preference over social protection aspects, the outcome is again gentrification, against the original will of the politicians.

    Vienna, Aspern Seestadt, 2018. Source: Iván Tosics

    Stockholm, Hammarby Sjöstad, 2006. Source: Iván Tosics

    This article aimed to show that greening is usually a very advantageous aspect of urban development. However, certain dilemmas and potential pitfalls must be taken into account when planning green policies and interventions. With careful procedures, including green infrastructure planning as part of an integrated vision, and measuring the green and social outcomes of all investments, these pitfalls can be avoided.

    Come and meet us!

    This topic will be discussed at the upcoming URBACT City Festival on 15 June 2022 in a session titled ‘Greening as pathway to urban well-being and resilience’. The session will feature good practices from three URBACT Action Planning Networks, Health&Greenspace, Healthy Cities, and UrbSecurity.

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  • USE-IT

    Timeline

    Launch of pilot network

    Larger capital projects in poor neighbourhoods often do not lead to an improvement in the socio-economic situation of the local population. The USE-IT UIA - URBACT Transfer Mechanism pilot network shares a tested approach that directly links the realisation of larger capital projects - here construction of a new hospital - with the improvement of the socio-economic situation of the population based on the existing local community skills, talents and ideas.

    Unlocking social and economic innovation together
    Ref nid
    15638
  • UIA Transfer Mechanism: five pilot projects ready to take off!

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    15/11/2022

    Urban Innovative Actions and URBACT come together to put into practices the lessons learnt from the Transfer Networks. 

    News

    Last week, on the 9 March, URBACT's Monitoring Committee have approved five pilot networks to transfer innovative solutions. In 2020, the UIA first call projects came to a close and a proposal was made to test a new URBACT tool which aimed to support the transfer of innovation. The UIA Transfer Mechanism experiment will support a group of EU cities to understand, adapt and prepare to re-use the UIA practice through the co-creation of an investment plan. The 18-month journey of these networks builds on the success of the URBACT Transfer Networks model.

     

    Following a competitive call, 7 pilot projects were submitted for approval. When considering all the 28 potential city partners, 6 candidates were URBACT newcomer cities from 5 different countries, while 16 cities were also newcomers to UIA. This shows what a unique opportunity this networks represented for cities discovering the universe of EU cooperation! As foreseen by the Terms of Reference, eligible proposals have been assessed by a two assesors from URBACT and UIA. Scroll down to find out more about the five newly approved networks.  

    The URBACT Programme acknowledges and thanks every city that has submitted proposals and used the URBACT Marketplace for this call. URBACT also warmly welcomes the new UIA Transfer Mechanism partners, who will take their first steps in the kick-off meeting on 23 March.

     

     

    PILOT PROJECT

    DESCRIPTION

    PARTNER CITIES

     

    AS TRANSFER

    Smart specialisation in advanced services towards the digital transformation of industry

    Bilbao (ES)

    Bielsko Biala (PL)

    Tartu (EE)

    Timisoara (RO)

     

    CO4CITIES

    The collaborative management of urban commons to counteract poverty and socio-spatial polarisation

    Torino (IT)

    Budapest (HU)

    Gdansk (PL)

    Cluj-Napoca (RO)

     

    USE-IT

    Unlocking social and economic innovation together

    Birmingham (UK)

    Rotterdam (NL)

    Trapani (IT)

    Poznan (PL)

     

    VILAWATT

    Innovative local public-private-citizen partnership for energy governance

    Viladecans (ES)

    Eriges Seraing (BE)

    Nagykanizsa (HU)

    Trikala (EL)

     

    NEXT AGRI

    New skills for new jobs in peri-urban agriculture

    Milan (IT)

    Almere (NL)

    Stara Zagora (BG)

    Vila Nova de Gaia (PT)

    *Bold letters used for UIA cities who will act as Lead Partner

    -

     

    Interested in the findings of the URBACT Transfer Networks?
    Check all related activities here!

     

     

     

     

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  • Financing the Urban Commons. Part II

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    15/11/2022

    How can urban commons be financed? Civic eState investigates opportunities in EU structural funds and financial investment tools with the European Investment Bank

    Articles
    Housing

    Following the first meeting on possible financing instruments for the urban commons, the seven cities of the Civic eState project explored additional tools for social finance in a subsequent meeting, especially from European Structural and Investment Funds. They also discussed tools to measure the social value of initiatives thanks to the experience of the partner cities of Barcelona and Amsterdam. They were joined by financing experts Desmond Gardner, Financial Instruments Advisor at the European Investment Bank (EIB) and by Jelena Emde, Investment Platform Advisor at the EIB.

    A second meeting with the EIB

    Gardner presents to Civic eState the work of fi-compass, a platform for advisory services on financial instruments under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF), as well as two initiatives particularly relevant for the urban commons: the Mutual Reliance Initiative (MRI), a mechanism by which, when co-financing projects, one of the three partners takes the role of lead financier, relying on its standards and procedures as long as the minimum requirements of the other partners are met, and the case study of the Financial instruments for urban development in Portugal (IFRRU 2020, Instrumento Financeiro para a Reabilitação e Revitalização Urbanas), a financial instrument that has been established to support urban renewal across the entire Portuguese territory. Jelena Emde presents social outcome contracting (SOC) options for urban commons projects, an innovative form of procuring services based on outcomes, whose main feature is that improved social and health outcomes lead to a financial return for the involved parties and the saving of public finances.

    It is important to note that the EIB resources are raised on the international money market. It is a powerful tool, but it is also why the EIB cannot take more risks with investments. It raises finance by borrowing money. The EIB needs to adopt a commercially based funding policy and be complemented by programmes like the European structural and investment funds (ESIF) to make it work.

    The EIB group finances at a very large scale and lends heavily to national and regional governments to support infrastructure: a large amount is invested in the environment to try to tackle the climate challenge.

    European Structural and Investment Funds Financial Instruments: what are they?

    Desmond Gardner explained that part of the resources under the European Structural and Investment Funds (ESIF) are turned into financial products (so-called 'financial instruments') such as loans, guarantees, equity and other risk-bearing mechanisms, which can then be used to support economically viable projects which promote EU policy objectives. Financial Instruments (FIs) therefore are different from grants because they need to be repaid. The EU Member States receive ESIF funding and then they appoint a national body known as the Managing Authority (MA) which oversees the use of the available resources and of FIs.

    While grants still have a crucial role to play, FIs can offer significant advantages. Amongst the most important of them, there are: the revolving effect, meaning investments of structural funds through financial instruments are repaid and therefore can be invested again and again, providing more outputs for every euro that is committed in that way; and the leverage effect meaning the capacity to attract additional public and private resources, implying that actors can use relatively small amounts of structural funds to mobilize other resources, both public and private.

    Moreover, financial instruments can also contribute to improved impact, because they are managed by independent fund subjects, who make the same judgements about the risk that you might expect a bank to do in terms of the viability and the success of the project.

    Finally, FIs lead to what are often called ‘bankable’ projects – projects that generate revenue, cost savings, or growth in value for equity investments. The rule in the future for member states to choose the tools to use to invest their structural funds should be when a project is bankable and which financial instruments should be used, allowing grants to be used where there is no commercial market. It is important to understand how these tools can apply to urban commons projects, identify the bankable projects. and characterize them to develop possible financing models in the future.

    A case study of a city-led fund: the MRA-RICE Blueprint City Fund

    Desmond Gardner brought forwards the example of an independently-managed city-led financial instrument, developed in 2018 following a pilot with the cities of London, The Hague, and Milan.

    In 2015, the EU Commission issued a call for proposals under the Multi-Regional Assistance programme (MRA). The MRA offers EU funding for co-operation projects involving at least two managing authorities from the different EU Member States selected through competitive calls for proposals. The assessment of the possible use of ESIF financial instruments in specific thematic areas of common interest is the objective of the MRA projects. The cities of Manchester and The Hague brought London and then Milan to apply this call.

    Inside the MRA, the Revolving Instruments for Cities in Europe (RICE) project started to developing the Blueprint city fund to look at experiences and key features, aiming to toat further new financial instruments to increase private sector investment in urban development projects. Cities needed to go through this process:

    City strategy → Project pipeline → Assessment of financing needs → New city fund (RICE)

    First, everything being strategy-driven, they need to define a strategy and identify where financial instruments could play. Then, having an existing project pipeline that can be nurtured and grow is an important contribution that cities can make in developing this fund. Thirdly, they must recognize what the financing needs are, what projects are bankable, when is a grant or financial instrument the right tool, and what type of products is needed from that financial instrument. Finally, this leads to the creation of a platform, the basis to establish the new fund.

    With the EIB’s help, the MRA-RICE Blueprint City Fund’s project promoters, the four cities, came up with five elements for effective city-led funds going forward: capacity, independent fund manager, structured design, products and investment-friendly.

    A case study of pooling diverse investments: IFFRU 2020 in Portugal

    Desmond Gardner also presented the example of Instrumento Financeiro para a Reabilitação e Revitalização Urbanas (IFFRU) 2020 in Portugal, a national scheme where the government managed to take a relatively small amount of structural funds and raise a large amount of public and private investments. Three banks are supporting the implementation of this scheme: Santander, BPI, Millenium, and SPGM, the national guarantee institution.

    The IFFRU is an urban development fund that pooled resources from the European Regional Development Fund, EIB, Council of Europe Development Bank (CEDB), and from their own resources. After having gathered 702 million in public money, the government reached out to commercial banks, which agreed to match that funding.

    The IFFRU is a robust model for urban development schemes in European cities because it successfully attracts both EIB and private sector finance. This financial scheme sets an example of how European investment structural funds can be used to support assets-based urban development such as urban commons.

    Another option for financing the commons: Social outcome contracting

    Following the conversation on financial instruments, Jelena Emde discussed social impact investing in cities, and specifically Social Outcome Contracting (SOC).

    SOC is an innovative form of procuring social services, in which the service provider’s compensation is linked to outcomes rather than specified tasks (rather than outputs).

    Often known as a payment-by-results scheme, it has many sub-categories, one of which is Social Impact Bonds (SIBs). SOCs are a partnership between a public authority, which defines desired outcomes and pays for those outcomes, and a service provider, who in turn works to get the beneficiaries to achieve those outcomes. In some cases, investors also play a role by providing the funding, and they are mostly involved in social impact bonds. Finally, in the structure of the SOC there is often an external evaluator who verifies the achievement of the outcomes.

    SOCs are growing in importance because of their focus on prevention. It is widely known that investing in prevention pays off and that the State can save millions, but the available resources are already tied to dealing with emergencies. So this is why investors can step in. They can invest in building fences (for example for the prevention of diabetes, foster care, homelessness, etc.) and help governments save millions in the future. When the results are achieved, the savings can be used to pay back investors. While if they are not achieved, no repayment is necessary.
    For SOCs to work, there has to be a solid business case behind both social impact and quantifiable savings for the government that can be achieved and generated. This is why we turned next to ways of measuring social value, with Amsterdam’s MAEX and Barcelona’s Community Balance.


    The Koto-SIB Programme is a payment-by-results programme implemented by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment in Finland in collaboration with the EIF. It is the first social impact bond scheme dedicated to migrants and refugees in Europe, supporting the integration of migrants in Finland.

    EIB Advisory support

    Desmond Gardner and Jelena Emde are both working at the EIB Advisory department in which three financial instruments can be relevant to Civic eState.

    • fi-compass: an advisory platform settled by the European Commission in partnership with the EIB. It is designed to strenghten the capacity of managing authorities and other stakeholders to work with ESIF financial instruments.
    • European Investment Advisory Hub: a centre to support the identification and feasibility of using investment platforms and financial instruments, combining the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) with ESIF funds.
    • Bilateral advisory, client funded assignments to Managing authorities and the National promotional banks and institutions (NPBIs) for bespoke financial instrument advice.

    The opportunity for support from the EIB group includes the possibility to invest in those schemes through the European Investment Fund, which can contribute upfront funding to finance such programmes. The EIB also supports the development of SOC through advisory services. To support these projects and public authorities across Europe, they have launched in 2019 the Advisory Platform for Social Outcomes Contracting, funded under the European Investment Advisory Hub (which is itself part of the Investment Plan for Europe, the so-called Juncker Plan).

    The MAEX: a foundation that calculates the social value of initiatives

    Given the importance of quantifying the value of projects, both for FIs and for SOCs, the Civic e State network turned next to a discussion about how to measure impact. Nathalie van Loon, project coordinator of Amsterdam’s URBACT Local Group, talked about MAEX, a Dutch foundation that calculates the value to society of initiatives.

    MAEX charts their impact and offers them easy access to public administrations, privates, and individuals by considering how they contribute to a vibrant society and sustainable economy. One tool used in the evaluation is the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This framework forms a sound basis for impact measurement because of the SDG’s broad scope and international recognition.

    The MAEX assessment makes the activities and impact of social initiatives visible and measurable and. organizations can also use a self-assessment tool to evaluate their own impact. This makes initiatives aware of their own ‘Social Handprint’, which can help target the search for the right type of funding. MAEX has assessed the impact of an urban common – Stadslandbouwproject NordOogs – a large piece of land in North of Amsterdam, which has turned into a commons project involving beekeeping and city farming.

    Barcelona and the Community Balance tool

    Another example of measuring the impact of social initiatives is the Community Balance tool, which Elena Martìn, Barcelona’s project coordinator for the Civic e State Network presented.

    As part of the city’s Citizen Assets programme, Barcelona has developed a series of criteria or principles of what ‘community management and use’ means, as well as a self-evaluation tool for the value created called or mechanism that is called Community Balance.

    The criteria for the Community Balance tool have been developed and agreed upon with communities involved in the community management experience including – the social solidarity economy network (XES), Barcelona city council, and the community spaces network (XEC) – all part of Barcelona’s URBACT Local Group. The tool assesses factors such as ties to the territory, social impact and return, democratic, transparent and participation-based internal management, environmental and economic sustainability, and the care of people and processes. The tool was piloted with ten initiatives and it will be further reviewed by the City following the pilot results.

     

    Here you can read the first part of "Financing the commons"

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  • 23 Action Planning Networks ready for Phase 2!

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    15/11/2022

    On 7 May, URBACT's Monitoring Committee has officially approved all Action Planning Networks to proceed to Phase 2.

    News

     

    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!

     

    NETWORK

    PARTNERS

    DESCRIPTION

    Research, technological development and innovation

    UrbSecurity

    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

    DigiPlace
    (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.

    IoTxChange

    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

    iPlace

    Amarante (PT)
    - Balbriggan (IE)
    - Pori (FI)
    - Pärnu (EE)
    - Grosseto (IT)
    - Gabrovo (BG)
    - Heerlen (NL)
    - Kočevje (SI)
    - Medina del Campo
    (ES)

    - 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

    RiConnect

    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.

    URGE

    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.

    KAIRÓS

    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.

    FOOD CORRIDORS
    (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.

    Health&Greenspace

    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

    Space4People

    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

    SIBdev

    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

    ROOF

    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).

    ActiveCitizens

    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.

    Access

    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.

    Genderedlandscape

    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

    Cities4CSR

    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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  • Health&Greenspace

    Summary

    LEAD PARTNER : 12th District of Budapest (Hegyvidék) - Hungary
    • Tartu - Estonia
    • Santa Pola - Spain
    • Espoo - Finland
    • Limerick - Ireland
    • Messina - Italy
    • Breda - Netherlands
    • Poznań - Poland
    • Suceava - Romania

    Timeline

    • Kick-off meeting Phase 1
    • Kick-off meeting Phase 2
    • Activation meeting, Health&Greenspace Academy, Thematic Working Groups
    • Small scale actions starting
    • Integrated Action Plans ready, Peer-review sessions

    Integrated Action Plans

    Municipality of MESSINA - Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Messina - Italy
    The Green Integrated Action Plan for Poznan

    Read more here !

    Poznan - Poland
    Hegyvidék, Budapest 12 Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Hegyvidék, Budapest 12 - Hungary
    A Climate-conscious Action Plan for Urban Space (Re)design in Tartu

    Read more here !

    Tartu - Estonia
    A new park in Breda Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Breda - The Netherlands
    Limerick Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Limerick - Ireland
    Santa Pola Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Santa Pola - Spain
    Suceava Integrated Action Plan

    Read more here !

    Suceava - Romania
    Espoo´s Integrated Action Plan for health-responsive blue-green infrastructure

    Read more here !

    Espoo - Finland

    How can we improve urban green spaces in order to promote mental and physical health for our communities? Health&Greenspace Action Planning Network links green infrastructure design and management to urban health policies and practices. The project focuses on physical and mental health benefits of urban green spaces, as well as their role in improving social health and air quality and reducing heat stress in cities. Actions targeted by the network are linked to both physical changes to the urban environment and the promotion of social activities such as community, cultural, education and physical activity programs in green areas.

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  • Access to nature in cities improves health and boosts well-being

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    15/11/2022

    Are we fully aware of the relevance of urban green spaces? We are hardwired in a way that our body and mind functions far better in natural environment. A growing body of empirical evidence indicates that exposure to urban green spaces has positive impacts on both our physical and mental health. But as cities expand and densify, our precious green spaces and urban vegetation are increasingly coming under threat.

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    Well planned and properly managed urban green spaces can contribute to healthy urban living, climate change adaptation and improved urban air quality. Yet despite their significant potential, the use of urban green spaces remains marginal, fragmented, and highly uneven within cities.

    The URBACT Health&Greenspace Network was developed in response to the various health risks related to rapid urbanization and the densification of cities. The project launched in September 2019 promotes health-responsive planning and management of urban green spaces with an overall aim to bring health and well-being benefits for citizens across Europe. Zsófia Hamza, the Project Coordinator of Health&Greenspace, when touching upon the motivation of Budapest 12th District to initiate the project, highlighted that “For many years, the municipality has been working hard to protect green areas and improve health. The interconnection of these two fields, the interconnection of hitherto separate efforts can create a different quality and can dramatically multiply the achievements of the two sectors.

    Budapest 12th District leading the URBACT Action Planning Network will be teaming up with 8 other city partners – Breda (NL), Espoo (FI), Limerick (IE), Messina (IT), Poznan (PL), Santa Pola (ES), Suceava (RO), Tartu (EE). On the Kick-off Meeting, taking place in Espoo on 24-26 September, city representatives started to define the sub-themes of the project, and identified potential actions, learning needs and good practices.

     

    Health and well-being benefits of urban green spaces

    An analysis undertaken by researchers from the University of East Anglia that combined the results of multiple scientific studies, finds that increased greenspace exposure is associated with reduced blood pressure, better pulmonary and immune function, reduced risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease, and asthma.

    Access to natural environments can also improve overall mental health. The impact of green spaces to mental health include reduces stress levels, improved general mood, reduced depressive symptoms, better cognitive functioning, improved mindfulness and creativity. 

    According to a study published in 2016, parks have notable cooling effects in the vegetated areas and also in the surrounding built environment. The oasis effect of parks will become ever more relevant for urban residents as climate change related heat waves presents a range of health risks, including potentially fatal heat stroke.

    Vegetation has an important role also in improving urban air quality by removing pollutants through filtration, decomposition and assimilation.

    Green urban areas also facilitate physical activity and relaxation and form a refuge from noise. Furthermore, parks and green spaces are places to connect with other people in the community and improve social well-being.

    A range of actions in the spotlight

    Local authorities can significantly influence how people use green spaces, as well as how to improve their potential to deliver health benefits. Actions covered by the network will be linked to both physical changes to the urban environment and the promotion of social activities, such as community participation in the design, establishment and maintenance of urban green spaces, and facilitated activities in parks. Health&Greenspace does not focus solely on parks, but also on street green and external building greens, such as green roofs and green façade walls.

    Health&Greenspace will support actions linked to green space related interventions that directly improve the physical and mental health of urban citizens. Action to be addressed can include the development of therapeutic gardens, health-walk routes, and areas for relaxation. Actions can be linked both to preventative care and postsurgical medical treatment.

    Health&Greenspace supports climate-responsive design of green spaces to increase the cooling capacity of urban areas. Urban authorities have a range of options to build on the cooling effects of vegetation:

     

     

    • the accessibility of public parks can be increased to provide shelter during heat waves,
       
    • the gardens of public parks can be opened for neighbouring residents,
       
    • cooling routes and cooling oases can be developed in the cityscape,
       
    • cold air corridors can be kept open in green spaces to improve ventilation.

    The use of urban green spaces to improve air quality and mitigate noise from traffic is also one of the goals of the project. Vegetation barriers between road and pedestrians, specific green space design to provide ventilation to the city, vegetation structures functioning as sound barriers, and creation of quiet natural soundscapes in the urban fabric can be particularly effective in this regard.

    Health&Greenspace is as much about social health and social cohesion as it is about physical and mental health benefits of green spaces. Designing green areas that function as outdoor community centres, organization of family days in parks, the development of recreational spaces can all serve to attract people to spend time in urban green areas and to strengthen social interactions.

    Partners of the network represent a diversity of local contexts, entry points, and also struggle with diverse challenges. The starting position differs across cities. The 12th District of Budapest is struggling with the maintenance of large areas of green space. Espoo has a very high share of green areas but because of rapid urbanization the green network is narrowing down. Poznan has a unique ‘wedge-and-ring’ greenery system that needs to be maintained and upgraded. In Limerick the network of green spaces is relatively small and fragmented. In Messina and Santa Pola the urban areas are densely built-up. Tartu is preparing a new master plan for the development of urban green infrastructure that focuses on cooling solutions, the reduction of noise and air pollutant. Breda and Suceava are aiming for large-scale rehabilitation of green spaces.

    Urban green spaces are becoming increasingly valuable, as artificial urban environment is rapidly expanding, and more and more people are forced to live in cities. The Health&Greenspace partnership will demonstrate to cities across Europe how the urban fabric can be transformed into a healthier environment for the benefit of its residents. Follow @Health&Greenspace and explore the details of the activities undertaken in the 9 partner cities!

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