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  • Разделна канализация, "зелени покриви", резервоари: стъпките за по-чисти реки в София

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    18/11/2022

    Kак коритата да се превърнат в места за събития, спорт и разходки през цялата година - експертите говорят на фестивала "Реките на София"

    Анина Сантова, capital.bg

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  • CREATIVE SPIRITS

    Timeline

    Phase 1 kick-off

    Phase 2 kick-off

    Phase 2 development

    Final event

    Arwen Dewilde
    City of Ghent

    CONTACT US

    AYUNTAMIENTO DE BAENA

    Plaza de la Constitucion 1

    Baena (Cordoba) - Spain

    CONTACT US

    Artur Katai
    City of Újbuda

    CONTACT US

    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
    Ref nid
    8781
  • Stay Tuned

    Timeline

    Phase 1 kick-off
    Phase 2 kick-off
    Phase 2 development
    Final event

    Arwen Dewilde
    City of Ghent

    CONTACT US

    European cities face higher levels of Early Leaving from Education and Training (ELET) than their national averages, meaning that some urban areas have more ELET rates, than the countryside areas - contrary to the national trends of these cities' countires. This represents a serious challenge, as ELET has significant societal and individual consequences, such as a higher risk of unemployment, poverty, marginalization and social exclusion. Tackling this issue means breaking the cycle of deprivation and the intergenerational transmission of poverty and inequality.

    Boosting the Frequency of Qualification
    Ref nid
    8874
  • Com.Unity.Lab

    Timeline

    Phase 1 | Kick-off meeting, Lisbon (PT)
    Phase 2 | 1st Transnational Meeting, Bari (IT)
    Phase 2 | Final Event, Lisbon (PT)
    Phase 1 | Final Meeting, Lisbon (PT).
    Phase 2 | 2nd Transnational Meeting, Lublin (PL)
    Phase 2 | 3rd Transnational Meeting, Aalborg (DK)
    Phase 2 | 4th Transnational Meeting, The Hague (NL)
    Phase 2 | 5th Transnational Meeting, Lille Metropole (FR)
    Phase 2 | 6th Transnational Meeting (online), Sofia (BG)
    Phase 2 | 7th Transnational Meeting (online), Ostrava (CZ)

    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

    This Transfer network aims to replicate the Lisbon Local Development Strategy for areas of Priority Intervention which provides the city a range of integrated tools to tackle urban poverty and empower local communities. This strategy is based on a co-governance and bottom-up participatory perspective, ensuring a horizontal and collaborative local approach, to mitigate social, economic, environmental and urban exclusion, resulting in a smart and effective toolbox to implement a sustainable urban living and enhance social-territorial cohesion.

    Empowering Local Development
    Ref nid
    12126
  • The CSR local legacies: New Understandings, Practices and Relationships to Build From

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    12 URBACT lessons learnt on CSR
    05/12/2022

    As URBACT Action Planning Networks conclude their work after three eventful years, it is time to take stock. In this last article, Lead Expert Dr. Steffen Wetzstein assesses local impact and improvements across our ten CITIES4CSR partner cities.

    From Endings to Beginnings   

     

    You are reading the last article of CITIES4CSR; the first URBACT Action Planning Network (APN) that has focused on Corporate Social Responsibility(link is external) as means to solve urban problems. After three long years, severally disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent War of Russia against Ukraine, our project officially comes to an end. Time to reflect on journey, achievements and transformations. I would like to particularly reflect here on noteworthy emerging practices and new understandings across our ten project partner cities. My hope is that by demonstrating the added value URBACT-methodology and support have created locally, other cities will be inspired to join one of the new networks of the next APN round in the quest for better urban and societal outcomes across our continent. 

     

    Rise of Good Practices 

     

    Some of our project partners joined CITIES4CSR with already well-established good practices in place. Three examples shall illustrate this point. Budaörs (Hungary) had enshrined the principle of Public Social Responsibility in local governmental practice; an interesting concept that calls for local and regional governments to ensure public service delivery in the name of common good and community values. Nantes (France), empowered and supported by their existing CSR-platform, had established state-of-the-art equal gender practices such as employment negotiation training schemes that have benefited thousands of women over recent years. And Molina de Segura (Spain) had created a strong stakeholder-inclusive local engagement culture. This advantage has been instrumental for immediate and intense URBACT Local Group action during URBACT Phase 1.

     

    Yet, numerous new and emerging practices and activities have been added locally during three URBACT years. Those pursuing environmental and climate-saving goals have become a network favourite. In Vratsa (Bulgaria), for example, emerging ‘green’ practices in the areas of waste collection and urban transport have the potential for broader nation-wide impact.  URBACT project efforts helped to accelerate the creation, diffusion, communication and management of these practices. A demonstrable local impact can also be noted for Budaörs (Hungary) where CSR-mediated communal tree-planting has been publicly communicated via a brand-new municipal ‘green’ Facebook page. Sofia, finally, created a new ‘green’ awards model including jury assessment details that will foster more environmentally sound urban and business practice for Bulgaria’s Capital in the future.     

     

    Not less invigorating for public-private-community partnering has been the urgent need to confront social inequality and deprivation. Rijeka (Croatia) has introduced and practiced the CSR-tool of local participatory hospitality events – for example hands-on cooking classes.  Beneficiaries, often passive receivers of donations only, can become active, involved and learning participants in the process. Our Lead Partner Milan (Italy), attempting to improve the attractiveness of municipal primary schools in disadvantaged neighbourhoods, mobilised CSR-actions for youth job orientation, science and technology skills promotion and digital upgrading. Molina de Segura brought together three separate social intervention strands - urban planning, socio-education and health/sanitation - in form of an integrated and innovative neighbourhood-centred project that holds the promise of informing city-wide CSR strategy development.    

     

    URBACT is centrally about local stakeholder engagement for the good of people and place. So, which promising new engagement practices have arisen under CITIES4CSR? Three examples. First, Kekava (Latvia) came up with the Hackathon model of shared brainstorming as an innovative technology-based addition to the suite of voluntary local mobilisation and prioritisation practices. Second, Milan showcased during our final Transnational Meeting a much-applauded relational engagement model in form of Networking Drinks. Simply a synthesis of traditional dinner with extensive mingling opportunities, it has convinced me and many network partners as effective means to meet and greet people without missing out on quality food. Third, Sofia (Bulgaria) utilised the power of organising in-person events for a comprehensive Stakeholder Roundtable during the Lead Expert/Lead Partner visit in URBACT phase 1. The inclusive invitation list and the open, dialogue-oriented format facilitated useful early project discussions that set the right tone for further action-and initiative planning.    

     

    New Mechanisms for Exchange and Collaboration

     

    One of the modern mechanisms for effective engagement under digital conditions are platforms. In CITIES4CSR, platform development has been an important topic right from the beginning. In fact, the local project teams of Molina de Segura and Guimarães (Portugal) got very inspired by Nantes’ platform history, and consequently developed their own versions. In Molina de Segura the platform has become an open digital tool for CSR-community building while in Guimarães it has been about creating a foundation for CSR-mediated resource exchange between economic and social actors. Meanwhile the URBACT Local Group in Nantes worked diligently to further develop their already successful model. Their concern has been with measuring firm behaviours in order to assess progress and remaining gaps towards achieving the Global Sustainable Development Goals(link is external).

     

    Why are platforms such hotly debated topics these days? In sum, as digitally mediated social and institutional enablers of transformations they not only create space for shared identity construction but are also promising capacity-building mechanisms for good practice development and exchange. Moreover, as problem-solving tools they help to respond efficiently to public and private needs and aspirations. Central remains the question of how to translate the technological possibilities of platform infrastructures into valuable local social collaboration!

     

    URBACT Cities4CSR - 12 lessons learnt

     

    Our network philosophy essentially builds on the notion that cities are better off if Municipalities successfully mobilise local CSR-ecosystems; in order to complement public services and good provision and/or by shifting business practice towards better social and environmental outcomes. However, this vision often crucially relies on a linking mechanism in the middle, a broker of exchange. It is therefore no surprise that Milan has thought hard about reconfiguring their municipal interface with business and non-profits. In Bratislava, intermediation has been an incentive to introduce a municipal business liaison officer position that has been coordinating the successful 10,000 trees planting campaign. Interestingly, this investment could be the first step toward an effective CSR-donation reception infrastructure for Slovakia’s Capital. In Rijeka, the pre-existing Association for the Homeless and Socially Vulnerable Persons (Oaza) has moved more centre stage as social gatekeeper and mediator under URBACT.

     

    On reflection, intermediaries in CSR-ecosystems are connectors, bridge builders and exchange accelerators; especially in respect to linking up Municipalities and CSR-stakeholders. For CITIES4CSR, this functional link has been imagined as taking the shape of existing or new organisations, fit-for-purpose entities such as one-stop-shops, new organisational positions or informal exchange mechanisms. Success, at the end of the day, will depend on how effectively we can overcome institutional inertia, constituency politics and cultural resistance that holds back innovation.

     

    Emerging Understandings and Awareness

     

    URBACT Action Planning Networks, in particular those that confront the ‘how’ of societal change, have traditionally performed best in the areas of thematic knowledge boosting, growing understandings and raising awareness. CITIES4CSR has been no exception. For local actors and citizens in Vratsa, for example, the theme of environmental protection has been promoted for the first time in a more systematic manner. Guimarães has learned valuable lessons about the ‘do’s’ and ‘dont’s’ of local procurement and the underlying legal constraints. Milan’s chief knowledge gain I would compare to a big mirror that reflects without distortion the current state of the interface between Municipality and CSR-community. Without doubt, awareness has grown across all cities about the capacities of municipal administrative systems to partner with business and other stakeholders to respond to local need and opportunity.

     

    Collectively, we have learned a great deal about Corporate Social Responsibility in an urban context. Our four CITIES4CSR Masterclasses in 2021 highlighted different aspects of CSR-led local impulses; as activator of ‘helping your neighbour’ social changes, as kick-starter of ‘saving the earth’ environmental practices, as organising frame for strategic public procurement and as ingredient of shared urban value creation. What stood out for me was the fact that CSR nowadays incorporates not just larger businesses but entrepreneurs, public providers, non-profit organisations, citizen associations and many volunteers as well. In fact, CSR may not be the best term to describe this type of contemporary voluntary local alliances for improving the status-quo. So critically revisiting CSR-definitions and concepts may be a rewarding task for academics and researchers. What is clear, nevertheless, is the central role of Municipalities in activating, guiding, supporting and nurturing this collaborating ecosystem of local actors.

     

    Final Outlook

     

    Admittedly, we all felt a bit emotional at our last network outreach event several weeks ago in Brussels about the fact that three shared URBACT years are coming to an end. It is quite unlikely that we will work together again in an international project. Moments of farewell not seldom raise the question of legacy. Examining local progress and potential I suggest that there are grounds for optimism on this matter. After successful intra-network co-learning local implementation roadmaps and longer-term governance models are relatively robust, and in some cases already linked to sustainable finance. Also, there will be plenty of new opportunities for follow-up resourcing that will surely reach all cities and regions during the next EU-investment rounds. And concerning motivation and preferred topics for another URBACT network participation the local Budaörs team already indicated strong interest for a platform-building topic. One thing is sure, the first URBACT network on Corporate Social Responsibility will surely not stop having a measurable local impact after the official project ends in August 2022. I am absolutely convinced it will continue to make a positive difference in multiple and creative ways in the future. 

     

     

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  • Small Scale Actions: an URBACT innovation helping cities experiment local solutions

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    15/11/2022

    From community assemblies to green city walks, trials are improving urban policymaking across the EU.

    News

    Small Scale Actions (SSA) have added a new dynamic to URBACT networks. Carried out with the support of EU partners and URBACT experts, these ‘trial runs’ enable cities to prototype local solutions and de-risk future actions, while engaging local stakeholders in ‘doing’ as well as ‘thinking’ together to tackle urban challenges. URBACT Programme Expert Sally Kneeshaw investigates…

    The latest round of 23 URBACT Action Planning Networks, launched in 2019, have benefited from the introduction of a new feature – Small Scale Actions. For the first time, a budget of EUR 10 000 was made available to each partner city to carry out experimentation that could inform their so-called Integrated Action Plan, or IAP. This final document is co-produced in each city to encapsulate planned actions tackling a specific urban challenge, with diverse topics ranging from digitalisation to waste management.

    SSAs were introduced in response to requests from previous networks to be able to spend resources on testing ideas before deciding if they should, or could, be part of the finalised plan. URBACT defined them as “an experiment. It is an idea or a concept, perhaps already tried in another city, which can be tested to check the relevance, feasibility and added value of its implementation in different local contexts. The Small Scale Actions are limited in time, scale and space and by their nature have the right to fail.”

    Daring to fail

    Inherent in the process of experimenting is the possibility of failure, and the opportunity to learn from failing. This is often a new departure in policy development for cities. The SSA was therefore also a process to allow public administrations to adopt more agile ways of acting, adapting methods from other sectors such as design and tech, and to be able to test ideas for sustainable change before creating long-term action plans. It can allow cities to design and build better and quicker, to iterate, or provide evidence that something should be discontinued rather than wasting public funds.

    Cities take up the SSA challenge

    According to our most recent survey, 85% of cities in these URBACT networks took up the challenge of piloting at least one Small Scale Action over the course of 2021. With the action plans due to be finalised by June 2022, we looked into how these new SSAs have worked in practice. Did they improve the urban realm, governance processes or the lives of citizens, and what can we, as a programme, learn from them?

    Given the wide variety of urban challenges undertaken by URBACT networks – from the circular economy, to sustainable tourism, to city branding – very different approaches to SSAs emerged. Most networks engaged in a process to identify which action would be most useful for them, in relation to their priorities and information gaps. In the end, events, information campaigns, new tools/methods for implementation, and small infrastructure interventions were the most popular SSAs, overall.

    Mini solutions emerge

    Here are just a few examples of the scores of local solutions that URBACT cities have trialled in 27 countries this past year, and are now ready to scale up.

    CULTURAL INCLUSION
    To improve inclusion in neighbourhoods with low levels of cultural and community activity, new interventions were tested in Vilnius (LT). They offered different formats and elements of interaction in different neighborhoods, such as musical picnics, open-air libraries, history rooms and ‘Tea & Chats’ inspired by Dublin (IE). Meanwhile, Sofia (BG) experimented with an info campaign on access to culture for 11 to 16 year old students, a group identified as having low levels of participation. The testing included a survey among students, training for teachers, and working with a popular blogger to communicate in ways that resonate with the students. (Find out more about the ACCESS network.) 

     

    RE-USE and RECYCLING
    In our environmentally focused networks, repair and re-use interventions, citizen engagement and awareness raising were tested. A project on circular textile consumption looked at how to mainstream leasing/renting models for fashion businesses, and start an operational model for the Belgian city of Mechelen. Bucharest 3rd District (RO) tried out a composting unit. (Find out more about the Resourceful Cities network.)

     

    NEW HOUSING SOLUTIONS
    In relation to homelessness, the aim was to try out, evaluate and verify what direction to take on the road towards implementing the ‘Housing First’ approach. Ghent (BE) tested a new form of collaboration between different support agencies by working in a new coordinated approach with three beneficiaries. In Toulouse (FR), a unique campaign to attract private renters through a single communication channel increased affordable private housing offers. This action proved the viability of extending the concept to the wider Métropole area. (See more information on the ROOF network.)

     

    SMART SENSORS
    New sensor technology was tested in several cities, for instance to analyse urban air quality data in real time in Razlog (BG) and communicate water temperature in the local bathing lakes in Ange (SE). Very practical lessons were learned, for example, how to avoid damage to sensors measuring rubbish collection. As a result of the testing, it is now easier to cost the amount required for scaling up.
    Lead Expert Eurico Neves said: “SSAs have been very successful for us – maybe because it’s a tech-oriented project, around Internet of Things and sensors, and is easy to conceptualise and implement small solutions around a number of sensors that can be later upscaled. All cities in our network are now well advanced into the drafting of IAPs and they’re in the process of planning this upscale of SSA as part of the IAP.”
    (Read more about the IoTXchange network.)

     

    PEOPLE-CENTERED STREETS
    Placemaking SSAs made a huge difference in engaging stakeholders. Implementing concrete physical changes, such as opening up streets, provoked a mix of positive, negative and unexpected reactions, and the realisation that more communication is needed, for example with shopkeepers. Actions will be modified based on these outcomes. (Find out more about the Thriving Streets network.)
    Dubrovnik (HR) was very ambitious and tested a new route to move tourists and residents around. Another city took an open approach to review their accessibility to visitors with reduced mobility, wanting to learn and improve the experience. (Find out more about the TOURISM-FRIENDLY CITIES network.)

     

    What were the challenges and what was learnt?

    The short time scale allocated to these local ‘test-runs’ within each URBACT network, combined in some cases with the need for procurement, made it difficult for certain cities to launch their actions as planned. And several found that by implementing pilot actions they had less time available to devote to building Integrated Action Plans.

    However, in many cities the SSA succeeded in getting local URBACT groups on board, boosting stakeholder engagement. It provided a great opportunity to act, not just discuss and plan, and for stakeholders to discuss specific tangible changes, not just ideas.

    For small cities, who often have less capacity to prototype and pilot, this new process has brought a winning combination of knowledge, skills and trust. For example, thanks to the iPlace network, city partners ran hackathons to generate ideas. As a result, the Latvian town of Saldus will continue to hold hackathons regularly and allocate grants to the winners.

    What next?

    At local level, each city is now bringing the learning that emerged from the testing into the wider planning process. At programme level, URBACT is monitoring cities closely to see how to refine SSA guidance for the future. It seems the great majority of URBACT partner cities surveyed are convinced that piloting is a helpful tool for implementing their Integrated Action Plans, especially in gathering evidence and establishing proof of concept.

    Liat Rogel, Lead Expert of the ROOF network, said: “Failing or succeeding, the Small Scale Actions all help the cities to make more effective action plans. There is a real strength in the opportunity to iterate through one’s own experience and that of others.”

    “In many cases SSAs introduced a new dynamic, that should be continued and embedded in future planning and delivery,” said Adele Bucella, Head of Programmes and Projects at URBACT. “Cities took ideas from each other and learned together, for instance how to work with stakeholders, how to measure impacts. This local testing de-risks the intended actions and makes them more investable. The next stage of the process is to make sure that the learning from the SSA is well-integrated into all the IAPs.”

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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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  • Attention all urban decision-makers! Did you know that you can do business without money?

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    15/11/2022

    We all want urban services to be efficient, redevelopment exciting, civic events colourful and new urban initiatives really able to make a difference! But how do you do this when many European cities - especially after the hard-hitting crises of the last decade - lack funding, resources, knowledge and the connections that make such vibrant governing work? One answer may surprise you. We can turn to our corporate and business communities. Because there is something called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

    Articles
    Cross-border cooperation

    CSR, in short, can be broadly defined   as the "the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society" (European Commission, 2019). The idea is that enterprises integrate social and environmental concerns into their mainstream business operations on a voluntary basis. So they respect human rights wherever they produce their goods and services, they treat staff well, don’t pollute the environment and are not corrupt. In a nutshell: responsible business. Sounds familiar, but where is the link to our cities, communities and civic services?
     

    This is where our brand new URBACT Action Planning network comes in. Fancily named ‘CITIES4CSR’, this 10-city pan-continental project is in a unique position to explore in practical ways how CSR can make a difference to our urban societies. Using the proven URBACT-principles, methods and tools - it sets out to support building, testing and implementing ‘comprehensive municipal strategies to foster and stimulate corporate responsibility in urban areas’. In other words, we aim to work towards realising a new vision across our European continent: cities not as places where local administrations rule top-down, but as sites where government and business are sharing urban responsibilities! We want to show how Corporate Social Responsibility can be lifted to a new level: Corporate Urban Responsibility.
     

    What makes our approach somewhat unique compared to other networks is the fact that what binds our cities together is not foremost a concern with changing one particular urban outcome. Rather, it is all about building purpose-designed local CSR-toolboxes that help to challenge the local status-quo in very different policy realms. Just like a building company may use its machinery, people, experience and know-how to build a train station in one city, a TV-tower in the next one and a shopping centre in another city, our joined efforts may trigger beneficial transformations in different policy areas in different cities. Actually exactly there where cities feel need is most pressing.
     

    So value could be added in urban regeneration, environmental protection, social cohesion or educational policies; you name it. The glue between cities, and the common concern, is the focus on how the aspirations, resources and leadership of the local corporate sector - in partnership with government and other stakeholders – will be the in the heart of change. 
          

    Corporate social responsibility is surely not a new concept. Academic debates link the ascent of CSR to five societal transformations: more affluent societies, growing sustainability concerns, intensified globalisation, stronger role of the media and the rise brands (Chandler and Werther, 2013). CSR can be implicit, embedded in the values, norms and rules of societies, or explicit, encompassing voluntary programs and strategies by corporations based on their discretion (Matten and Moon, (2008). And, across Europe there seems to be a CSR-gap as more progressive policies in Western Europe, Scandinavia and the Anglo-Saxon countries have not been equally shared by governments in Central and Eastern Europe (Steurer, 2015). µ
     

    The good news is that we don’t have to wait for business to come forward in urban affairs; local governments can be incredibly proactive. Our toolboxes are already filled with a variety of proven CSR policy instruments, from awareness-raising that can spread the word about CSR to procurement strategies that require suppliers to meet certain environmental and social criteria. So no reinventing the wheel. Yet, finding the right CSR-solution may mean confronting deep-seated trust issues between public authorities and corporate actors and differences in terms of everyday languages, work habits and planning horizons. In other words, we should not be surprised to encounter gaps of various kinds, misconceptions and stumbling blocks in our project.    
     

    So who are the ten cities that take on this challenge? Lead Partner is Milan (Italy), a city with profound experience in managing European projects. Partners are: Sofia and Vratsa from Bulgaria, Kekava municipality from Latvia, Rijeka from Croatia, Molina de Segura from Spain, Guimarães from Portugal, Budaörs from Hungary, Bratislava from Slovakia and Nantes Metropole from France. The network covers different geographical parts of Europe relatively well, and incorporates varying sizes of local government. Excitingly, we are proud to have in our midst the 2019 European City of Innovation (Nantes) and the 2020 European City of Culture (Rijeka). 

     

     

    Our network has plenty of opportunity to build institutional bridges. For example with the United Nations Global Compact that constitutes the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative. Its urban arm, the UN Global Compact Cities Programme, promotes city and regional governments collaborating with the private sector and civil society in order to address complex global challenges on the local level; implementing the so-called Melbourne Model. CSR-initiatives can also be directly related to the European Urban Agenda and the European Commission.  Finally, CSR Europe’s vision is that by 2030 the European urban population, or three quarters of the total population, will be living in sustainable cities that will provide them with economic opportunities, reliable infrastructure and high standard of living.

     

    The Melbourne Model – Cross-sectoral collaboration to address complex urban challenges (Source: UN Global Compact Cities Programme)

     

     

     

    The work has already begun. Our network kicked-off in gorgeous Milan in September, where well-organised site visits taught all participants much about local corporate initiatives that in very practical ways help local communities. Currently the various local baseline study visits are getting under way, problem analyses are being conducted, and first ideas about solutions and small scale actions are being developed. Local multi-sector stakeholder groups are slowly emerging.
     

    ”As SMEs we are so busy, so focused on our businesses and on making money – but we can’t do it without having a focus on the outside world. It is crucial to look outside, and around you.”

    Jean-Marc Barki  - Executive Director, Sealock, French SM
     

    It is already clear that one of the policy focus will target the small-and medium sized enterprises (SME), a sector that often forms the backbone of European urban and regional economies but so far is rather seldom considered as member of the CSR-community. Neighbourhood upgrading appears to be another objective for corporate urban engagement. We are very curious where local path-finding will lead to. One thing is for sure: cities can gain a lot when they turn to their corporate stakeholders. Doing meaningful urban business without spending money does not have to be a fairytale!
     

     

     

    The author acknowledges the creative input from Lead Expert Project team in Milan, with special thanks to Giusy Chierchia for coming up with the title for this article!

     

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  • Cities4CSR

    Summary

    LEAD PARTNER : Milan - Italy
    • Bratislava - Slovakia
    • Sofia - Bulgaria
    • Vratsa - Bulgaria
    • Molina de Segura - Spain
    • Nantes Metropole - France
    • Rijeka - Croatia
    • Budaörs - Hungary
    • Kekava County - Latvia
    • Guimarães - Portugal

    Timeline

    • October 2019 | Kick-Off Meeting
    • September 2019 - March 2020 | Phase I: Action Planning Network Development
    • May 2020 | Start of Phase II
    • June 2020 | Kick-Off Meeting Phase II
    • January 2021 - December 2021 | Development of a methodolgy and Small Scale Actions Implementation
    • January 2022 - June 2022 | Transfer of Knowledge Period: IAP Local Dissemination events
    • June 2022 | Final Project Event in Bruxelles
    • Project end date

    The project’s main aim is to unlock opportunities in order to improve our cities. The Action Planning Network of CITIES4CSR has identified in Corporate Social Responsibility actions the opportunities to unlock and improve municipal strategies and local plans, discovering and exploiting the value of partnerships with the private sector and relevant stakeholders at local level. Co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund, CITIES4CSR network involves ten European cities throughout Europe, each of them focusing its activity on specific local challenge and theme of CSR, according to local needs and municipal priorities. At the same time, at network level, the project provides a valuable opportunity of good practices sharing on CSR actions and experiences carried out locally by cities, reaching a common understanding of the importance of Corporate Social Responsibility for municipal development and the improvement of local policies.

     

     

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  • “Culture with everyone”: Why creating culturally inclusive cities is changing the way capital city policymakers approach their work

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    15/11/2022

    Happy, healthy, prosperous cities are rich in culture but culture does not enrich and empower everyone equally. 

    Articles
    City planning

    Groups of people or geographical areas can face barriers to accessing culture; existing cultural offers may not include the stories or cultural forms which reach out to current populations. To address these challenges, eight European capital cities have come together through URBACT to form the ACCESS network. Each participating city has committed to working together to include more people in and through culture and to adapting their approach to policymaking to make this happen.

     

    Amsterdam [NL], Dublin [IE], Lisbon [PT], London [UK], Sofia [BG], Talinn [EE], Riga [LV] and Vilnius [LT] each have rich and vibrant cultural offers but have each identified challenges specific to their cities in making their cultural offers more inclusive. In Riga, for example, 70% of all cultural institutions are concentrated in just two of 58 of the city’s neighbourhoods. Amsterdam, now a ‘majority minority’ city (ie most of the population is from a minority ethnic group), culture has not fully adapted to the demographic change. Tallinn has identified a knowledge gap such that they have no qualitative evidence that the city’s cultural offer is actually meeting people’s needs and contributing to wellbeing. Each city found resonance in the others’ challenges. Collectively, the network has therefore identified three areas of common need: to widen participation, to spread cultural infrastructure more equitably across the city and to improve data collection and use around cultural participation.

    They have also identified a new approach to policymaking as a central requirement. As Araf Ahmadali, Senior Policy Advisor for Arts and Culture, City of Amsterdam said, “We have to start with a recognition that as civil servants we don’t know all the answers; we’re not at the head of the table, we’re part of the table.” Work to deliver cultural inclusion needed to be genuinely inclusive: not culture for everyone, but culture with everyone.

    “Everything we do is based on conversation” Tracy Geraghty, Dublin City Culture Company

    Discussions between the partner cities and invited local stakeholders at the inaugural meeting of the ACCESS network in Amsterdam in September identified five key aspects of an inclusive approach to cultural policymaking:

    - an ongoing conversation: discussion about culture in the city should be continuous, not occasional. As Tracy Geraghty explained, this is already the cornerstone of the Dublin City Culture Company’s ‘tea and chat’ model of programme development: “Everything we do is based on conversation; we don’t do anything without having spoken to the communities we serve first.”

    - be open and accessible: make it easy for people and organisations to get in touch

    - listen and learn: many people and organisations have experience of how to share culture more widely and are keen to share their expertise

    - reconsider their city ‘centre’: if a different area was the city centre, what cultural offer would you expect to see there? what institutions and support would it need?

    - challenge existing definitions: what is talent? what is quality? what is culture? Policymakers must be open to new and different definitions.

    Each city has committed to developing this approach for their own cultural policymaking.

    The ACCESS network will continue to collaborate and share ideas and practice over the next two years as each city develops its own Action Plan for ‘culture with everyone.’ More policy and practice ideas from the network will be shared in future blogs.

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