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  • European cities driving change through URBACT Action Planning Networks

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    Illustration of several people in a city with the slogan "Read the latest updates on the Action Planning Networks" in the sky and the hashtag #URBACTacts.
    19/03/2024

    Get to know the areas of action and the latest updates of these 30 URBACT networks. 

    Articles
    Illustration of several people in a city with the slogan "Read the latest updates on the Action Planning Networks" in the sky and the hashtag #URBACTacts.
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    Networks in numbers

     

    From 1 June 2023 to 31 December 2025, 252 individual partners from 28 European countries have embarked on 30 Action Planning Networks (APN), under the URBACT IV programme. Within their URBACT journey, they aim to build their knowledge and skills to co-design and develop long-term Integrated Action Plans (IAP) to tackle their local challenges. These plans will define the actions to be implemented, covering timings, responsibilities, costings, funding sources, monitoring indicators and risk assessments. 

    Each network is composed of a Lead Partner and another 8-10 project partners. Among the 252 partners, half are newcomers to the programme while the other half already has experience with URBACT III (2014-2020).  

    Networks approved by the URBACT IV Monitoring Committee. Source: URBACT 

    Networks approved by the URBACT IV Monitoring Committee. Source: URBACT 

    All the approved URBACT Action Planning Networks (2023-2025) are aligned with the EU Cohesion Policy and will contribute to its five specific Policy Objectives (POs): PO1 A more competitive and smarter Europe; PO2 A greener Europe; PO3 A more connected Europe; PO4 A more social and inclusive Europe; and PO5 A Europe closer to citizens. 

    Beyond their geographic diversity, the 30 networks also stand out for their wide variety of topics. The URBACT method, which all networks follow, ensures that an integrated approach is applied; stated simply, regardless of the topic, the social, economic, environmental and territorial aspects are considered.  

    To help you navigate the list, we have clustered them here by their main thematic areas: Participative governance; Urban planning; Local development; Climate action; and Social cohesion. 

     

     

    Participative governance 

     

    Networks under the participative governance thematic focus on a wide variety of topics, including citizen engagement, health, localising the Sustainable Development Goals and much more. 

    Led by Genk (BE), Agents of Co-Existence fosters innovative approaches to societal challenges and strives for inclusive local policies with active community involvement by strengthening the skills and competences of civil servants and creating new organisational structures and cultures

    Developing locally-adapted governance processes is the main objective of Cities for Sustainability Governance, with Espoo (FI) as the Lead Partner, but specifically by using UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a strategic vehicle. 

    From the heart of Paris (FR), the European cities involved in CITIES@HEART work towards a balanced and inclusive city centre for all users, reversing the loss of attractiveness for cities of different sizes and backgrounds. 

    The One Health 4 Cities network, guided by Lyon (FR), aims to promote the integration of the One Health approach into urban strategies and projects, developing tools that empower decision-makers and operational teams to increase the positive impact of urban projects on the well-being and health of people, animals and the environment

     

    Urban planning 

     

    Urban planning networks address a range of hot topics such as mobility, accessibility, sustainability, public spaces, spatial linkages and territorial cohesion.  

    PUMA (Planning Urban Mobility Actions) helps cities such as Liepaja (LV), its Lead Partner, develop integrated mobility action plans in order to achieve climate-neutral and sustainable mobility in small and medium-sized cities. It is people-centric, prioritising the needs and well-being of individuals

    The S.M.ALL network is all about “Sharing urban solutions towards accessible, sustainable mobility for all.” Led by Ferrara (IT), they navigate the complexity of two URBACT mobility paradigms: inclusivity and sustainability. 

    Romagna Faentina (IT) is at the forefront of ECONNECTING - Greener & closer communities, a network that focuses on sustainable urban-rural mobility solutions within the 30-minute territory, designing and implementing proximity strategies for rural-urban functional areas. 

    SCHOOLHOODS puts children’s health and safety on the menu of a safe, green and happy way to school. Led by Rethymno (EL), the cities belonging to this URBACT network work hand-in-hand with pupils, parents and teachers to co-create solutions allowing pupils to actively go to school on their own.  

    From Balbriggan (IE) to the borders of Europe, the main goal of the EcoCore network is to accelerate the green transition especially in the work environments of the industrial areas of the partner cities, which are transitioning to low-carbon energy sources for transportation, heating and electricity. 

    In a mission to connect urban-rural communities, Creacció Agència d'Emprenedoria of Vic (ES) is currently leading the Beyond the Urban network, which promotes urban-rural mobility through the testing and implementation of sustainable, accessible and integrated mobility solutions, with a focus on intermodality, multi-level governance, inclusion, gender equality, and digital tools. 

     

    Local development 

     

    Local economy, territorial marketing and digital transformation are a few of the topics covered by the local development networks. 

    C4TALENT, whose Lead Partner is Nyíregyháza City with County Rights (HU), pursues the objective of building business & startup friendly environments in cities to lessen the effects of brain drain, attracting and retaining talented young professionals. 

    After the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the transformation around how work is organised, Dubrovnik Development Agency (HR) initiated Remote-IT, a network that tackles the new challenges cities are experiencing connected to the future of work by facilitating the remote and hybrid work for thriving cities. 

    Another Croatian city is leading a local development action planning network. Sibenik (HR) is at the head of Residents of the future, which addresses the issue of urban depopulation within small and medium-sized cities.  

    With Fundão (PT) as a Lead Partner, METACITY’s main goal is to increase competitiveness of small and medium tech-aware cities, benefiting from the opportunity to enhance service efficiency and citizen satisfaction provided by the metaverse.  

    NextGen YouthWork, headed by Eindhoven (NL), is also contributing to the digital transformation, by going one step further and improving online youth work through innovative digital solutions at the city level.  

    Boosting no-tech and digital local communities, facing specific challenges in terms of diversity, gender equality and inclusion, is the objective of TechDiversity, a network composed of small and medium-sized European cities and guided by Trikala (EL). 

    Led by Mollet del Vallès (ES), DIGI-INCLUSION also promotes inclusion through digital tools, tackling social exclusion and boosting digital inclusion not only by granting access to technology but by enabling people to develop the necessary skills and to become sufficiently empowered to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by the digital world. 

    Life in cities continues even after dark. This is the main statement of the network Cities After Dark. Led by Braga (PT), this network promotes the 'Night Economy', through activities that are essential for a city to function 24 hours a day and play a significant role in the global economy.  

     

    Climate action 

     

    Climate action networks tackle several concerns; green transition, circular economy, green funding and reconversion of spaces, among other subjects. 

    The COPE (Coherent Place-based Climate Action) network, driven by Copenhagen (DK), unlocks the green potentials of citizen action through a place-based approach, recognising citizens and local action groups as fundamental stakeholders working to accelerate the green transition. 

    Led by Munich (DE), LET'S GO CIRCULAR! cities focus on the circular transition of cities. This network addresses all issues relevant to a holistic strategy of circular city ecosystems, fostering innovative solutions. 

    The BiodiverCity partners, with the support of Dunaújváros (HU) as Lead Partner, support and enable communities to plan powerful, nature-based solutions, foster pro-environmental citizen behaviours and draft Urban Greening Plans, contributing to the achievement of the EU Biodiversity Strategy. 

    In4Green is a collaborative network of industrial cities, headed by Avilés (ES), with a shared commitment: to implement the green transition in industrial areas/cities while remaining competitive and inclusive. 

    Restoring “forgotten” urban areas into valuable places for and with residents is the mission of GreenPlace. This Wroclaw-led (PL) network aims to restore urban spaces and make them friendly to both the residents and the environment, by optimising the use of existing resources in the context of ecological crisis, the financial and geopolitical situation. 

     

    Social cohesion 

     

    A variety of topics are addressed by the social cohesion thematic networks, from urban regeneration and place-making to gender, equality, diversity and inclusion. 

    Under the leadership of Clermont Auvergne Métropole (FR), the objective of FEMACT-Cities is to support the drafting of eight “Local Action Plans on Gender Equality” about the main challenges regarding women's liberty and empowerment, through protection, education, emancipation and economic autonomy

    GenProcure also addresses gender equality, focusing on Gender-Responsive Public Procurement, and it is headed by Vila Nova de Famalicão (PT). This network promotes gender equality through working purchases, supplies and services in the public sector.  

    Re-Gen is a European network of cities led by Verona (IT) that aims to support sustainable urban development and social inclusion thanks to the protagonism of secondary school students, aged between 10 and 18, from disadvantaged backgrounds. 

    The Cinisello Balsamo-led (IT) U.R. Impact prioritises social impact in urban regeneration, ensuring social inclusion and community development during urban renewal. They place citizens and their social, economic and environmental well-being at the centre of the processes. 

    The main goal of Breaking Isolation, a network driven by Agen (FR) that fights against isolation by creating social bonds and links between young and elderly and promoting social diversity. 

    In order to build more inclusive and resilient societies, WELDI empowers local authorities for a dignified integration of newly arrived migrants. In achieving this objective, cities of this network, led by Utrecht (NL), collaborate with migrants and other residents, as well as with local, national and international partners. 

    ARCHETHICS network brings together European cities that share the presence of heritage linked to a complex and controversial historical past (totalitarian regimes, contentious borders, etc), such as its Lead Partner Cesena (IT). Their goal is to transform the heritage into places for locals and visitors to share knowledge and come to multi-perspective understandings of the past and new visions for the future

     

    Follow the network journey

     

    This is just a snapshot of the URBACT Action Planning Networks, but stay tuned for more insights from the Lead Experts and partner cities, themselves! You can also follow the journey of these networks on their project pages and social media, benefit from the lessons learned and try them in your own city. 

     

     

     

     

     

  • Danmark

    URBACT skaber forandring og gør byer bedre

     

    Siden 2002 har URBACT skabt forandring over hele Europa ved at muliggøre samarbejde og idéudveksling mellem byer inden for tematiske netværk.

    URBACT har bistået i opbygning af færdigheder hos lokale interessenter i byerne, og har opsamlet og delt viden om god bypraksis.

    URBACT er finansieret af den europæiske regionalfond.

    URBACT fremmer udviklingen ved at støtte byer med at implementere bypolitiske tiltag og bakke op om den positive forandring.

    URBACT finansierer ikke infrastrukturinvesteringer, men arbejder hovedsagelig på at forbedre arbejdsmetoderne for at løse bymæssige udfordringer ved hjælp af bløde tiltag. 

    A group of people crossing the zebra crossing.

    URBACT - ITN

     

     

    Igangværende og kommende annonceringer

     

    Den 10. januar 2024 blev annonceringen Innovation Transfer Networks åbnet og løber frem til d. 20. marts 2024.  Annonceringen giver mulighed for i europæiske bynetværk at udvikle en investeringsplan og lokale strategier til at udnytte innovative potentialer og takle lokale udfordringer. Der er hverken en nedre eller øvre grænse til bystørrelse eller indbyggertal, hvorfor alle danske byer kan komme i betragtning.

     

    Du/I kan læse nærmere om annonceringen, dens kriterier og hvordan du finder sammen med andre i partnerskaber på URBACTs hjemmeside, hvor der også er en guide til ansøgere. 

     

    Vær i øvrigt opmærksom på, at der til april åbnes op for annonceringen "Good practices". Mere information herom følger. Følg med på vores LinkedIn-profil  og her på siden.

     

    Kommende webinarer:

     

    Torsdag d. 14. Marts, kl. 10-11 - Final troubleshooting 

    Tilmeldingslink

     

    Kontaktinformationer


    Hvis du/I vil vide mere om URBACT generelt, de igangværende og/eller kommende ansøgningsrunder, kan det nationale URBACT-kontaktpunkt (NUP) i Erhvervsstyrelsen kontaktes på:

     

    Mette Hviid Hoff Jakobsen, MetJak@erst.dk, tlf.nr.: 35291701

    Stine Hildebrandt Vendelboe, StiVen@erst.dk, tlf.nr.: 35291759

    National URBACT Point - Denmark
  • Is citizen engagement a waste of time in policymaking? Never!

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    06/12/2023
    31/12/2025

    The URBACT Action Planning Network Action Planning Networks | urbact.eu  is all about unlocking the green potentials of citizen action. Being a network of city administrators, we know we need help. We need help to understand what green citizen action can look like and how we as an authority can co-create with our citizens. This is the reason why we have formed the network COPE. Together we will explore and test how we can engage with our citizens in making changes in our local environments in favour of the climate and biodiversity in a way that considers equity and justice. And not least how we can administrate these activities within our governance framework.

    Articles

    The URBACT network COPE

    Network
    From urbact
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    Participatory effect

    Lead Partner Øystein Leonardsen have a lot of experience in testing methods for citizen engagement and explains that “in the city planning COPE seek to strengthen the empowerment of the citizens and their individual ownership through engaging and co-creative methods”. 

    The COPE project seeks to push three levels of change: the structural, the individual and the societal. We do not only need to make the structural changes through policymaking and governance in a traditional top-down process. We have tried, but our societal challenges are getting more and more complicated and the traditional processes of finding solutions falls short. If we do not develop new methods going from looking at our challenges as something technical easy to fix with a simple technological solution, to looking at our challenges as so-called wicked problems with no clear single answer the risk is that we evoke opposition and conflict in the society.

    We cannot let the individual change stand alone either relying on a bottom-up transition. This can be overwhelming and create anxiety at individual level.

    In the process of policy making we need to create People's acceptance of inconvenience or cost and link this to their understanding of the importance and share the experience of ownership. We as human beings care more about the decisions and things we have contributed to or created ourselves. We call this the participatory effect. Read more about the participatory effect in relation to bottom-up collective citizen climate action on page 49 in “Omstilling på Vippen: Hvidbog om forbrug, adfærd og folkelig deltagelse i grøn omstilling” by DeltagerDanmark here (in Danish). It can be fuelled not only through information, but also through conversations, involvement, and co-ownership. We also use the term social tipping point when talking about this societal level, where the change is becoming a norm that people start to follow. In our COPE city Vilnius a bright example of the co-ownership transforming a local area into a vibrant and inspiring green area is the old hospital ground that through citizen engagement started with making urban gardening evolving into creating a place for gatherings, eating and experimenting with a green lifestyle and is now functioning as a solid local community creating new ideas and initiatives.  

    In COPE we aim to find methods for working towards positive social tipping points in favour of the just green transition where as many as possible feel included or represented in the decisions and solutions. Just as we aim to avoid negative social tipping points like we saw with the yellow wests in France for example.

    Building capacity – we learn from each other.

    Our city network COPE consists of A Coruña (ES), Bistrita (RO), Copenhagen (DK), Kavala (EL), Korydallos (EL), Pombal (PT), Saint Quentin (FR) and Vilnius (LT). Our cities are very different on all levels; political, cultural, and societal. We have quite diverse narratives about the interaction between our political institutions and the citizens. But all cities are very eager to work together and learn from each other sharing knowledge and experiences.

    In each partner city a group of local stakeholders and citizens have been put together in a so called Local URBACT Group with the local municipality functioning in a new role as facilitator. And particularly this role as facilitator in the local groups is something that COPE aim to mirror in the bigger picture on local level. Through participatory and deliberative processes, we seek to explore the interface between the citizens participation and the governance structures and culture. How do we as a municipality co-create with our local citizens? How do we make certain that we do not invite into processes that have no mandate, no power, and no real influence?

    Sustainable urban development – going very local

    As you see we have many questions, that we aim to find answers to during the project. Our approach for this ambitious goal is to zoom in on a local neighbourhood in the city. Through this place-based focus we will engage the local community; the citizens, the institutions and the industries and explore what is at stake in this neighbourhood. What hopes and ambitions do they have for their neighbourhood and how do they see themselves and their neighbourhood in the shift towards a more sustainable lifestyle? Do they agree on the needed actions? Do they need to agree, and can they reach a common understanding? How can they work on fulfilling their ambitions? What can be done today with local resources and what do the municipality need to plan and find funding for?

    Change of mindset - Knowledge to action

    No real change come from above alone. The changes we confront are so enormous, that we as individuals easily get caught in despair, hopelessness or anger and frustration and that we as governance institutions may give up and just follow the short-term populistic perspective.

    The next two years of 2024 and 2025 each COPE city will work on both local and network level to find and experiment with methods for working towards positive social tipping points in favour of the just green transition. Seeking to push for a shift in mindset, not only within political institutions and the governance and planning processes of our cities. But also, through acknowledging the local knowledge, hopes and ambitions of the citizens and local interests evoking trust and engagement. This, we believe, will foster sustainable change within our society – no more no less 😊

    Please follow our work and let us know if you find the Philosopher's Stone. We would love to engage and share!

  • NextGen YouthWork

    LEAD PARTNER : Eindhoven - Netherlands
    • Aarhus - Denmark
    • Cartagena - Spain
    • Iași - Romania
    • Klaipèda - Lithuania
    • Oulu - Finland
    • Perugia - Italy
    • Tetovo - North Macedonia
    • Veszprém - Hungary
    • Viladecans - Spain

    Timeline

    Next NGYW transnational meeting on 20-21 February 2024 in Oulu.

    Also planned: NGYW transnational meeting in Viladecans on 24-25 October 2023.

    Library

    Lead Expert

     

     

    • NextGen YouthWork - group of youth outdoor

      Youth work starts where young people are - but how can youth workers get there?

      Young people spend more and more time online. But do youth workers know where? And more importantly, how can they get there to provide them with the help they need? 

      Zsolt Séra

      See more

    NextGen YouthWork aims to develop further and improve online youth work through innovative digital solutions at the city level. By this, the network works towards better aligning youth work with the opportunities and challenges posed by the online world in which young people spend a lot of time nowadays.

    Developing a Hybrid and Sustainable Future for Youth Work
  • COPE

    LEAD PARTNER : Copenhagen - Denmark
    • Kavala - Greece
    • Pombal - Portugal
    • Bistrița - Romania
    • Saint-Quentin - France
    • Coruna - Spain
    • Korydallos - Greece
    • Vilnius - Lithuania

    Timeline

    Core Network Meeting in Korydallos/ Greece.

    COPE Online Network workshop: Online tool 

    CORE Network Meeting in A Coruña/ Spain

     

    Lead expert and Lead Partner event in Paris

    Library

    Lead Expert

     

     

    A green and just transition in cities is key to achieving carbon neutrality in Europe by 2050. The COPE (Coherent Place-based Climate Action) network will unlock the green potentials of citizen action through a place-based approach, recognizing citizens and local action groups as fundamental stakeholders working to accelerate the green transition. By actively engaging communities that have traditionally been left out of climate action, COPE increases the scope and impact of municipal policies.

    Coherent Place-based Climate Action
  • Breaking Isolation

    LEAD PARTNER : Agen - France
    • Isernia - Italy
    • Serres - Greece
    • Fót - Hungary
    • Pombal - Portugal
    • Roman - Romania
    • Jumilla - Spain
    • Škofja Loka - Slovenia
    • Tønder - Denmark
    • Bijelo Polje - Montenegro

    Timeline

    First Transnational meeting on 13 and 14 December 2023 in Škofja Loka, Slovenia.

    kick-off meeting on September 13 with the 10 partners of the European “Breaking Isolation” network.

    Transnational meeting in Pombal (Portugal) on february 20-21

    Library

    Lead Expert

    After being Lead Partner of the Active Citizens Network on URBACT 3, the City of Agen was designated to be the Lead Expert of “Breaking Isolation Network”.

     

    The "Breaking Isolation" Network, composed with 10 European cities, aims to address the rising issue of social isolation.

    The project seeks to strengthen social bonds across generations and promote diversity by focusing on citizen participation.

    The City of Agen leads this project that aims to identify and support socially isolated individuals, increase awareness, and enhance social cohesion.

    Thanks to the URBACT methodology, the partners will be able to produce their local strategies (Integrated Action Plans) by the end of 2025.

    Breaking Isolation Network.

  • Agents of Co-Existence

    LEAD PARTNER : Municipality of Genk - Belgium
    • Gdańsk - Poland
    • Kekava County - Latvia
    • Budaörs - Hungary
    • Banská Bystrica - Slovakia
    • The Intercommunity Development Association of the Iași Metropolitan Area - Romania
    • Quart de Poblet - Spain
    • Aarhus - Denmark
    • Breda - Netherlands

    Timeline

    • City visits to all network partners from September until the beginning of November 2023
    • First Core Network Meeting on 13-16 November 2023 in Genk, Belgium and Breda, the Netherlands
    • Second Core Network Meeting on 4-7 March 2024 in Budaörs, Hungary and Banská Bystrica, Slovakia
    • Third Core Network Meeting on 12-14 June 2024 in Gdańsk, Poland

    Library

    Lead Expert

     

     

    The main objective of the Agents of Co-Existence Network is to foster innovative approaches to societal challenges and strive for inclusive local policies with active community involvement. To achieve this, the network focuses on strengthening the skills and competences of civil servants and creating new organisational structures and cultures to further boost civic participation and thereby build a stronger foundation for democracy. Through knowledge exchange and study visits, the network explores the possibilities to improve participatory processes and maximise outcomes.

     

    Creating new ways to foster civic participation
  • Henrik Morgen

    A renowned expert and practitioner expert in public/private innovation partnerships, Henrik Morgen initiated in 2015 the consortium now known as EIT Urban Mobility. After winning the 350 MEUR EU tender in 2018 he served as its Innovation Hub Director for Northern Europe until joining BABLE Smart Cities - Europe's leading facilitator for smart city solutions and a spin-out Germany's Fraunhofer Research Society.  Since April 2022, Henrik is BABLE's country Lead for the Nordics & Baltics and a Principal Advisor for Climate, Mobility and Urban Digitization. 

    Henrik is a professional in technology-based project development for more than 25 years and has worked for and across both industry, academia, government, RTOs, and as an independent consultant. His special technical expertise in the transport, ICT, energy, climate- and clean-tech sectors.

    He has large-scale project management experience from multiple business and urban transition projects and has performed numerous EU consultancy assignments for a wide range of public sector authorities and institutions from across Europe.

    As an EU senior official, he helped launching the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) before being appointed COO for Europe's largest climate innovation partnership. After establishing EIT-Climate-KIC's pan-Nordic climate innovation hub, he was invited to lead the international partnerships of DTU – Technical University of Denmark.

    Earlier in his career Henrik worked in government administration, industry, and tech companies. He has served in multiple supervisory boards and as elected councilor for the City of Copenhagen.

    Henrik Morgen
    Available for Lead Expert role and Ad-hoc expertise missions
    henrik@bable-smartcities.eu

    Expert can perform the Lead expert role and Ad hoc expertise missions at network and programme level in relation to:

    1. The design and delivery of (transnational) exchange and learning activities
       
    2. Thematic expertise:
      > Mobility
      > Climate Adaptation
      > Strategic Urban Planning
       
    3. Methods and tools for integrated and participatory approaches:
      > Securing funding and resourcing
      > Sustaining stakeholder engagement and translating strategies into actions
  • Stine Skot

    Stine Skot
    Available for Lead Expert role and Ad-hoc expertise missions
    ssk@tekno.dk

    Expert can perform the Lead expert role and Ad hoc expertise missions at network and programme level in relation to:

    1. The design and delivery of (transnational) exchange and learning activities
       
    2. Thematic expertise:
      > Participative Governance
       
    3. Methods and tools for integrated and participatory approaches:
      > Integrated and participatory design of strategies
      > Sustaining stakeholder engagement and translating strategies into actions