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  • MAPS – Military Assets as Public Spaces

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

    Amadora launches a Guide on the welcoming of migrants

    Blue Economy Forum

    BluAct Toolkit

    BluAct: The Documentary

    2ndChance on Facebook

    2ndChance on Twitter


    Kick-off meeting in June (Varazdin). Transnational meeting in October (Cartagena).
    Transnational meetings in January (Koblenz) and May (Espinho).
    Final event in April (Serres).

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


    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela


    Municipality of Udine (Italy)


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

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    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora



    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801


    City of Rome

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

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



    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

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



    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council


    Municipality of Piraeus


    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia


    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029



    Riga NGO House


    City of Antwarp
    Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen

    Manchester City Council
    Manchester M2 5RT

    City of Rotterdam
    Coolsingel 40, 3011 AD Rotterdam

    City Council Bielefeld
    Bürger Service Center
    Phone +49 521 510


    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

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


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


    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

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


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


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


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


    Preston City Council
    Town Hall, Preston, PR1 2RL

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

    The Action Planning network MAPS (Military Assets as Public Spaces) was focused on enhancing former military heritage as key elements for sustainable urban strategies, combining both functional and social aspects. Highlighting the potential of the dismissed military areas can be deemed as the new symbols of a more conscious and participatory urban planning.

    Redefining the military heritage
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  • New URBACT book: ‘Cities in Action - Stories of Change’

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    The Creative SpIN Local Action Plan in Rotterdam

    Paris, 24 January 2019 – A new publication by the European programme URBACT shares positive stories from 40 cities that took a more integrated approach to local policy-making while learning from EU peers in their ‘Action Planning Network’.

    Reviving a town centre, welcoming migrants, re-using abandoned buildings, boosting entrepreneurship, engaging citizens… ‘Cities in Action - Stories of Change’ shows cities finding new ways to tackle diverse urban challenges, bringing long-term improvements.

    It is about cities that have dared to experiment, that have succeeded in achieving results in the fields of social inclusion, economic development, urban planning, or greener ways of living,” writes Corina Creţu, EU Commissioner for Regional and Urban Policy, in the introduction. “City-to-city cooperation is the best way to facilitate exchange, adaptation, implementation and up-scaling of good practices all over the world.”

    Read the publication ‘Cities in Action - Stories of Change’

    These stories will be really inspiring for any urban practitioner looking for simple ways to bring people together and make their cities safer, cleaner and more prosperous. URBACT has sparked community-led improvements like these in more than a thousand cities since 2002.” says URBACT’s Adele Bucella

    The 40 cities range from Aarhus (DK) and its plan for collaborative citizenship, to Zagreb (HR) and its 11 new smart city initiatives. With URBACT’s support, each city formed a local group including officials, local stakeholders and urban experts, to co-create an Integrated Action Plan – many of whom contributed lively accounts to the publication. Meanwhile, cities also worked with up to 10 other partner cities in their URBACT network, including site visits and peer reviews.

    Today, more than 66% of these URBACT cities have had their Integrated Action Plan approved, nearly 50% secured funding for it, and more than 80% of them have already started implementing it.

    Locally-driven solutions

    The new publication includes:

    • A message from Corina Creţu, EU Commissioner for Regional and Urban Policy;
    • A clear summary of the URBACT method and its principles of horizontal and vertical policy integration;
    • Stories of locallydriven improvements in 40 EU cities, with solutions in nine key areas: urban mobility, jobs and skills in the local economy, reuse of abandoned spaces, climate adaptation, innovative public procurement, digital transition, inclusion of migrants and refugees, urban poverty, sustainable use of land;
    • Key information on the 20 Action Planning networks, including full partner lists.

    Lasting impact

    If we hadn’t joined MAPS I think we’d still be searching for one big aim, one big new reuse of the whole territory. And instead, the area must be split up, and different uses must appear. I think we’re now sure in the municipality that we’ve had the wrong approach over the past more than 20 years.
    Ágnes Győrffy, Project Manager for the Mayor’s Office of Szombathely (HU)

    As a result of URBACT, a network of associations and civic committees has been formed and consolidated in Casoria. Today even without a strong coordination of the municipal administration, they are carrying forward the ideas and methodologies shared during the sub>urban experience. This wasn’t just about a park; it helped us rebuild our local identity.
    Enrico Formato, University of Naples external expert for Casoria (IT).

    Visiting delegates had very powerful thoughts, and gave us the confidence to be strong in our desire to shape wider policy to tackle our city’s disadvantaged and neglected communities. We hope to have the support of this network to challenge politicians and decision-makers in Birmingham to ensure that a wider systems-thinking approach is continued, rather than reverting back to silo working.
    Ravinder Bains, Birmingham City Council (UK)

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  • Former military areas as hubs for urban innovation

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    The development of a series of Integrated Action Plans (IAPs) for the reuse of the former military assets, but also in the development of real innovative solutions, to encourage the use of this particular type of heritage are the main focuses of the MAPS project. At the same time, MAPS involves diverse stakeholders in the design and in the implementation of the IAPs through actions such as Open days, sport events (for professionals and amateurs), awareness raising at city level of the military heritage, involvement of the local schools to strengthen the ongoing project in the city.

    Rediscovering former military sites through public events


    Military sites in MAPS cities have different sizes. Some of them are large urban areas, and some others concerns few blocks, some are located in the city centre as in Piacenza, other in the periphery or dotting the urban area in several places as in Koblenz. In common, all these areas have one characteristic: they have all being secluded from eyes and feet of most inhabitants. One of the main challenges was therefore to rediscover those sites, spark curiosity in potential users and encourage creativity to re-approriate those places for the public good.

    Organising public events on site to involve the inhabitants and a variety of stakeholders in the actions for the reuse of the former military areas quickly appeared as a pre-requisite for the successful design of Integrated Action Plans. “How can one attract the inhabitants or stakeholders to the military areas and involve them in co-designing the IAP?” became therefore one of the first question to answer for the partner cities. We started to think about several actions, happenings and events, which would sparks the attention of local inhabitants. Partner cities in MAPS designed public events to attract people in the former military camps, able to gather ideas and suggestions for potential reuse, while linking these proposals to plans or projects ongoing in the cities.

    Open Days

    Open Days were one of our first actions. After many years the former military camps opened the doors and invited the citizens to discover what was behind the wall. The cities of Piacenza, Varaždin, Szombathely offered site visits illustrating the history of the place, small workshops to familiarise participants to the idea of the IAP and collect suggestions. In other cases, cultural associations were involved to create parallel events, some of which foreseen the realization of large scale 3D models of the place to better explain the potentiality of the area. These activities have been useful to involve stakeholders in the challenges for the reuse of former military camps. ‘Touching with their own hands what it is the problem!’ helped reinforce the work of URBACT Local Groups and test mechanisms for the implementation of the IAPs.

    Racing through former military assets

    The city of Espinho mixed together sports and social cohesion to give and collect information from the inhabitants of the city toward the challenge of the reuse of the former military assets: a foot race (non-competitive) that has touched all the military installations (former or still in use) present in the area. The organization of the event was supported by the municipality with the cooperation of the members of the URBACT Local Group (ULG). The purpose of the event was to create interest in the idea of the Integrated Action Plan: development of the “Atlantic park”, in which the former military installations, and the well-being, represent the core of the action. Involve the participants in a “dynamic survey” about the suggestion from the ULG, this was the message from the partners: the participants at the race have been invited, when approached to the military installations, to interact with an exposition (large panels), vote for the proposals elaborated by the ULG, and move to another places.

    Beside this specific activity, however, there were already other existing events (whit a consolidate story), that could be used as a “stage”, or small seed, for the regeneration of the former military camps. In particular the city of Cartagena has decide to insert Los Moros castle, as a place to reach, in the Ruta de las Fortalezas (fortress trail), a sport event that are able to attract 3.8000 people, from all Europe, to run and visit the system of fortifications that in the past defended Cartagena. Also in 2018 the castle of Los Moros will be one of the places of this sport event, and thanks to these the memory of the castle, and the Los Mateos neighbourhood, will returns within the “collective imagination” of the inhabitants of Cartagena, foreigners, and people from other parts of Spain.

    Moving beyond the temporary

    Temporary events are very important to reactivate the attention of the public opinion on these forgotten places, but how is possible guarantee a continuous attention over the time on this places, before the IAPs is fully implemented? A suggestion comes from the city of Cartagena, thanks to the development of a botanic garden, on one of the slope of the hill of the Los Moros castle, and from the city of Piacenza whit the involvement of the high schools in the assessment of the former Pontieri workshop.

    In the city of Cartagena the project it was made possible by the collaboration between the municipality, the Repsol foundation, the local cultural association CREECT and the local ULG. The project has planted more than 1,200 trees, involving on the field, more or less 350 participants (families, local inhabitants from Los Mateos district, students, and Scout associations). Now the next step, and challenge, is about the maintenance. In the project idea the municipality have in charge the irrigation of the garden, but the maintenance of the trees will be made by the inhabitants of the Los Mateos district. To support this action, the local ULG, has provided the design of activities to give to the inhabitants the useful information to guarantee the maintenance of the trees and at the same time increase the urban quality of the area (castle and district).

    Different, but complementary, approach for the municipality of Piacenza that have decided to involve some high schools of the city in one of the first action of the future IAP: the evaluation of the state of repair of the former Pontieri workshop and the increase of the urban awareness. Two classes of Technical Institute for Surveyors and the College of Arts will be engaged in the mapping of each building and open space in the former military area, that now is property of the City Council, and in the development of videos narrating the former Pontieri workshop, introducing visions and inspiring ideas for the future use of the area. The outcomes of this action will be the bases, in terms of information, to drive the implementation of the IAP: the first, from the technical point of view, the second for the dissemination of the cultural and contemporary values expressed by the area.

    Urban Acupuncture to adapt urban development strategies

    Obviously, to be able to realize these ’small public projects’, involve a large audiences, and transmit a ’consistent message’, about the future reuse of the former military heritage, it means having a strong integration, within the public administrations, between the departments and the people, that work to achieve the final result, a consistent IAP. All the partners have strengthened ongoing plans or projects, developed by local administrations, integrating into these (or vice versa) the suggestions that emerged from the IAPs. Since the former military areas are an important element of the urban fabric for all the partner cities, it was impossible not to look at the local context (ongoing plans or projects) and to design a new independent vision, which would not be connected to the constellation of existing tools.

    For that reason the  ‘small public projects’, previously presented, are to be considered as having a snow ball effect that will drive the future IAPs and the integration with the other urban tools. Probably, if repeated over time, they will function as ‘urban acupunctures’. They will be useful for remembering that a part of the city is changing and that involving new urban actors and better developing co-design actions between all the stakeholders is a key success factor.

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