POINT (20.263035 63.825847)
  • Freight TAILS


    Kick-off meeting in June (Suceava). Transnational meeting in October (Umea).
    Transnational meetings in February (Parma), April (Gdynia), May (Maastricht) and October (La Rochelle).
    Final event in May (Split).

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


    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela


    Municipality of Udine (Italy)


    For any enquires into Tech Revolution, email:

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

    Follow our Twitter: @Tech_RevEu
    Follow our Linkedin:




    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora



    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801


    City of Rome

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

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



    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

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



    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council


    Municipality of Piraeus


    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia


    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029



    Riga NGO House


    City of Antwarp
    Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen

    Manchester City Council
    Manchester M2 5RT

    City of Rotterdam
    Coolsingel 40, 3011 AD Rotterdam

    City Council Bielefeld
    Bürger Service Center
    Phone +49 521 510


    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

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


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


    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

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


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


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


    The 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 

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

    City of Poznan
    plac Kolegiacki 17,
    61-841 Poznań


    Westmisnter City Council
    Phone +44 020 7641 6500

    Devoted to discovering Tailored and Innovative Logistic Solutions (TAILS) for the successful management of freight, this Action Planning network aimed on rethinking how freight can shape almost every aspect of our urban lives. The air we breathe, the noise we hear, the traffic we experience, the productiveness of our cities’ businesses, the quality of our surroundings and the liveability of our neighbourhoods. Everything can relate to a single question: how can we make freight transport more effective in cities?

    Tailored approaches for innovative logistic solutions
    Ref nid
  • Genderedlandscape


    LEAD PARTNER : Umea - Sweden
    • Trikala - Greece
    • Barcelona - Spain
    • Panevėžys - Lithuania
    • La Rochelle - France
    • Celje - Slovenia

    Contact information for Lead partner:


    Start of phase 1

    Closure of phase 1

    Start of phase 2

    Final Conference: The Gendered Landscape of European Cities
    Closure of network

    Integrated Action Plans

    Integrated Action Plan JZ SOCIO Celje

    Read more here !

    Celje - Slovenia
    Integrated Action Plan Umeå

    Read more here !

    Umeå - Sweden
    Integrated Action Plan Trikala

    Read more here !

    Trikala - Greece
    Integrated Action Plan Panevėžys City

    Read more here

    Panevėžys - Lithuania
    Integrated Action Plan La Rochelle

    Read more here !

    La Rochelle - France
    Integrated Action Plan Barcelona

    Read more here

    Barcelona - Spain

    Gender equality is a fundamental goal of EU policy. Unfortunately, many urban policies, services, and physical developments still do not take gender into account, despite the fact that men and women use the city and its structures differently. Genderedlandscape is the Action Planning network that sought to create an understanding of the city as a place where gendered power structures are always present and develop locally contextualised tools and approaches to work towards gender equality in urban policies, planning, and services.

    Gender + Equal + Cities
    Ref nid
  • 23 Action Planning Networks ready for Phase 2!

    Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

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



    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!





    Research, technological development and innovation


    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

    (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.


    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


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

    - 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


    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.


    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.


    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.

    (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.


    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


    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


    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


    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).


    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.


    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.


    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


    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!

    From urbact
    Ref nid
  • “Gender is everywhere”: Introducing the Action Planning Network GenderedLandscape

    Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
    Evropski teden regij in mest
    Urban design

    Why gender?

    Women and men experience and use the city and its resources and services differently; however gender equality is often not part an explicit part of the consideration behind urban policy and planning, despite the fact that it is a significant factor in the equitable design and delivery of public spaces and services. Moreover, many of the methods for working with gender equality are “one size fits all.” However, the barriers to implementing gender sensitive policies vary widely across contexts as a result of different local policy frameworks, administrative structures, and degrees of openness to the topic of gender. In the URBACT GenderedLandscape Action Planning Network, the seven partners’ common work will therefore focus on two topics: increasing the visibility of the gendered perspective in integrated urban development and the local contextualization and interpretation of tools and approaches for reducing gender inequality in urban policy and development.

    To do this, the network will employ the URBACT method, taking an integrated and participative approach to urban challenges with a focus on transnational exchange and learning. Co-learning and peer exchange on the network level will be translated into integrated action plans on the local level and contribute to capacity building among city administrators.


    Gender + Equal + Cities

    Despite the fact that gender equality has been a fundamental tenet of EU policy since the 1990s and has been explicitly included in United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda, policy implementation on the local and regional levels lags behind. Cities as public organizations have an extremely important role to play in creating conditions for gender equality. In order to do this, however, there needs to be a holistic understanding of how gender inequality is created by the combination of specific local conditions, including social norms, political and administrative structures, and the built space itself.

    The starting point for creating public services that are user-sensitive and promote inclusion instead of exclusion is being aware of and taking into consideration the experiences of different groups as well as an understanding of how gendered power structures affect the way women and men feel about, use, and access the city. For example, how fear of violence can unequally restrict urban mobility, the gender segregated labour market and its implications for infrastructure and public transportation, and stereotypical expectations and prescriptive norms regarding responsibility for unpaid care work, just to mention a few examples. The physical structures of the city and public service design can work towards ensuring equal rights and opportunities for both genders, with a focus on ameliorating the negative effects of gender norms, but only when these are a visible, conscious element of planning.

    Photo 3: Gender-responsive policies and spaces are only possible if gender is considered during decision-making.

    Global, Local, Glocal?

    The seven partners will explore both the global and local expressions of gendered power structures and use knowledge gained at the local level to inform and improve policy instruments on the global level. The first step in this process was to analyse the gap between policy and delivery for each city. At the kick-off meeting in Umea on 10 & 11 October 2019, the partners used a gender mainstreaming self-assessment canvas designed for the event to start thinking, among other things, about the political commitment, existing implementation plans, data, and dedicated resources related to their local challenge. These aspects will be examined in more detail during the partner visits over the coming three months.

    Photo 4: At the kick-off meeting, partners performed a self-analysis using a canvas designed for the exercise.

    We are excited to begin this journey together! You can keep up with our network’s and URBACT’s work on gender equality by following the hashtags #genderequalcities and #genderedlandscape or by subscribing to URBACT’s newsletter.

    From urbact
    Ref nid
  • 2020, what we’ll be looking out for

    Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

    The URBACT Programme Experts share their thoughts and expectations.

    Carbon neutrality

    The New Year is an opportunity to reflect on what URBACT will be working on in 2020. As the Transfer Networks start to share what they have learned and the latest generation of Action Planning Networks move into full operation, we asked the URBACT Programme Experts what they will be looking out for most closely over the year ahead.

    Sally Kneeshaw

    Starting in 2020, I am excited about the potential for us to truly enhance our understanding of gender equal cities across a wide range of urban challenges through the new Action Planning Networks. We did a lot of work already in 2019 with the launch of our Gender Equal Cities report. And now we are building on this by asking all the new networks to address gender-equality issues right from the beginning, including in their local stakeholder groups.

    No-one has all the answers. But now we have 203 cities in our 23 networks developing new thinking and ideas that will give us invaluable knowledge on how to tackle issues through a gender lens. We will also get particular guidance from the new Gendered Landscape network led by Umea (SE), which will specifically explore how gender inequality is manifested at local level and what cities can do to tackle it.

    I am also very much looking forward to the next edition of the URBACT Summer University for the new Action Planning Networks in Dubrovnik in July. It is always a great event, with loads of energy and really useful for building capacity. Together with the team we are busy updating the curriculum to create an interactive and stimulating introduction to integrated and participative action planning the URBACT way.

    Ivan Tosics

    One of my main topics of interest is metropolitan areas, so I am very much looking forward to seeing the work of RiConnect, an Action Planning Network led by Barcelona (ES) in 2020. Th

    is is a network of metropoles exploring how to rethink mobility infrastructure to better connect neighbourhoods and unlock opportunities for urban regeneration. I am particularly interested in how you can extend the territory of the local housing market if you make local transport systems more integrated and make the price less dependent on distance.

    I am also interested to see the findings of URBACT networks working on participatory governance and the use of participatory platforms. For example, Active Citizen, led by Agen (FR), is exploring important issues around the balance between representative and participatory democracy. Too many participatory initiatives still only give lip service to real participatory governance, so hopefully the network can show that participation means something more.

    I am also intrigued about the findings of the Transfer Networks and the possible relationship between the complexity of a good practice and the ability of cities to transfer it successfully.

    Eddy Adams

    2020 is an important year for the URBACT Programme, when we will hopefully get some more clarity on what the post-2020 European urban policy framework is going to look like. URBACT has been working through a series of City Labs to feed into the updated Leipzig Charter and we are pushing for more clarity from the European Commission on how we’re going to engage cities directly in the decision-making.

    2020 is also the big year for the Transfer Networks to share their results. We will have a series of events where we’ll hear about the content of the good practices and also what cities have learned about how you can transfer them effectively in practice. I am particularly excited to hear more about some of the small-scale innovation that I know has been going on to make ideas work in different contexts.

    For the new generation of Action Planning Networks, I also think it is really exciting that they have explicit scope in 2020 for small-scale experimental actions as part of their work. I think this can create some real lessons and inspiration from URBACT on what can be achieved by local-level action in cities.

    Laura Colini

    I am delighted that URBACT now has for the first time a network on homelessness (ROOF), that I hope to follow really closely in 2020. The ROOF Action Planning Network, led by Ghent (BE), emerged as a result of our work with the EU Urban Agenda Partnership on Urban Poverty and the City Lab we organised in Paris at the end of 2018.

    We are also currently working on a joint activity on housing with ‘Urban Innovative Actions’ that aims to share knowledge about municipal schemes for implementing the right to housing. It will be looking at: community-based models (such as cooperatives and community land trusts); ‘no one left behind’ models supporting the most vulnerable members of society; and fair financing schemes.

    I am also really keen to see what messages and lessons we can draw out in 2020 on topics of education, migration, anti-discrimination and integration of ethnic minorities, which are present to different degrees in several URBACT Transfer Networks, such as Rumourless Cities, OnStage, ON BOARD and Volunteering Cities.

    Marcelline Bonneau

    I am particularly excited that the circular economy is going to be such a strong focus for URBACT in 2020. We have two new Action Planning Networks focusing on issues that will support a real reflection on how cities can move further away from a linear economy to more circularity: Resourceful Cities and URGE.

    Resourceful Cities led by The Hague (NL) will be promoting ‘next generation’ urban resource centres that recover unwanted materials to create resource loops at local level. We need to see what can be learnt about integrating such resource centres into city strategies covering all aspects, including waste management, citizen involvement and behaviour change. Meanwhile, URGE led by Utrecht (NL) will be focusing specifically on the re-use of materials in the construction industry.

    I will also be interested in the ongoing progress of URBACT networks working to transfer good practices that incorporate important aspects of circularity. Tropa Verde aims to transfer a good practice from Santiago de Compostela (ES) on encouraging citizens to re-use and recycle. BioCanteens is working to transfer Mouans-Sartoux’s (FR) good practice on sustainable local food and reducing food waste.

    Ania Rok

    I am really pleased that the new Action Planning Networks will be making the environment a much stronger topic for URBACT in 2020. Networks focused specifically on the circular economy and climate are exciting new topics for URBACT. We can play a key role in sharing examples and lessons not just from the bigger cities with the most experience, but also from smaller cities and those working in a different context, including where the national level is not so favourable to climate action.

    Marcelline has already talked above about some circular-economy-related networks. I will also be interested to see the progress of the Zero Carbon Cities, Action Planning Network led by Manchester (UK) which is focused on climate action and specifically establishing science-based carbon reduction targets contributing to the EU’s strategic vision for carbon neutrality by 2050.

    I also want to mention Tourism Friendly Cities, Action Planning Networkled by Genova (IT), which is a great example of how URBACT can address crucial urban issues that can fall through the cracks between other programmes. It’s about so many social, economic and environmental aspects, including affordability of housing, safety and security, jobs, the local economy and environmental sustainability – with crucial impacts on the sustainable use of local resources and waste management.


    To keep up with the URBACT activities, sign up to our newsletter!

    From urbact
    Ref nid
  • 2019 URBACT Highlights

    Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

    Gender Equal Cities, New Action Planning Networks, Contribution for a refreshed Leipzig Charter: a year at full speed! 

    Gender equality

    Amidst the usual cycles of networks opening and closing, URBACT continues to give a platform for cities to scale up ideas and drive change at local, national and EU levels.

    From knowledge to action

    URBACT Knowledge Hub took off in 2019 with the Gender Equal Cities initiative, in collaboration with the CEMR. Building on the knowledge of women active in the URBACT community and beyond, URBACT created a space for raising awareness of gender-based inequalities at local level and highlighted how cities can take action.

    On March 7th, the day preceding International Women’s day, the Gender Equal Cities report was launched during a roundtable in Brussels with representatives of the Commission and UN Habitat. This triggered a series of actions in Europe to promote Gender Equal Cities, from presentations during the European Week for Regions and Cities in October, to online training sessions for URBACT cities and beyond.

    The momentum will continue next year as the new network: Gendered Landscape - a spin-off of the Gender Equal Cities work, as it enters its implementation phase. Led by the city of Umeå (SE), the network aims to develop new initiatives and projects with an understanding of gendered power structures in six other cities.

    Beyond gender equality, URBACT Knowledge Hub’s actions for 2020 will focus on the right to housing, the vitality of smaller cities and procurement.

    Contributing a city-level perspective to EU policy

    Next July, Germany will take on the crucial role of president of the European Council. URBACT will continue to work alongside the German Federal Ministry of Urban Affairs to input into the renewal of the Leipzig Charter. In 2007 this founding document underlined the principles of sustainability, integration and participation – all concepts that are now taken for granted by urban policymakers, but can still remain unclear to city practitioners. Between autumn 2018 and May 2020, URBACT organised a series of City Labs to explore what these principles mean for cities nowadays and what else should be in the refreshed Leipzig Charter.

    During the City Labs in Lisbon (PT), Brussels (BE) and Warsaw (PL), participants highlighted the impact of new global challenges on cities. They stressed that the climate crisis, migration flows, growing inequalities and distrust in government not only require new principles and words enshrined in documents, they also mean new ways of working for urban practitioners, closer to citizens, especially the most vulnerable. In addition, decision-makers need to accompany these fundamental changes with new policies, funding and regulations.

    City Lab on integrated policymaking in Warsaw, October 2018

    The next City Lab will look at the concept of balanced territorial development during the Cities Forum in Porto in January before a final event in spring 2020.

    Networks closing and opening cycles: a learning rollercoasteré

    The last call for networks of URBACT III saw 23 new Action Planning networks approved. Bringing together existing URBACT cities and newcomers, the networks will continue their action planning in 2020 to tackle issues such as homelessness, climate change and urban security.

    On top of their regular transnational meetings, city practitioners and local stakeholders will gather during URBACT Summer University. Bringing together more than 500 city leaders, this flagship URBACT event will equip the networks with the right tools to develop their integrated action plans whilst motivating and inspiring them to take action.

    Looking at 36 city examples, URBACT has identified five common challenges that cities are facing when delivering integrated and sustainable strategies for urban development such as participation, measuring performance and public procurement. For each challenge, URBACT published a series of guides and tools which can be used by cities to achieve success in implementation.

    These tools are only a sneak preview of the forthcoming URBACT TOOLBOX that will be available on our website in early 2020. This one-stop-shop for cities will gather all the tested tools of the now well established URBACT method.

    URBACT method in 3 minutes

    There is more to come in the second half of 2020. After going through an inward-looking process by which our 23 transfer networks have dismantled a Good Practice to assess how best to replicate it in other contexts, they should be ready this summer to share their findings with the rest of the world!

    These Good Practices are among the 23 selected from 97 entries submitted during an open call in 2016-17. In other words, this six month ‘sharing period’ will showcase the best of the best of URBACT’s networks – so stay tuned!

    From urbact
    Ref nid
  • A new urban freight plan

    Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

    When Umeå — northern Sweden’s largest urban community — joined the URBACT Freight TAILS network, its city centre faced increasing traffic problems, partly from vehicles delivering to shops and services. With a fast-growing population and e-commerce boom, Umeå needed to build a sustainable freight transport strategy to stay attractive.


     “Umeå has problems with air quality in the city centre: That was the starting point for our work with freight, and the entrance to URBACT,” recalls Lina Samuelsson, Project Manager at the Umeå Municipality.

    Working with nine Freight TAILS partner cities for over two years, the municipality built a clear, integrated plan: ‘Freight programme for Umeå city centre 2018-2025' which was granted full approval by the City Council.

    Today we have a programme which makes it easier to take the right decisions when it comes to freight in Umeå. And that’s for all of Umeå, all our inhabitants, people who come here to visit, people who are, or will be, working with freight...” says Ms Samuelsson

    Demystifying local interests

    Carriers, residents, government, suppliers, businesses, landlords, vehicle manufacturers... such complex interests had hindered planning for the future of freight in Umeå. No one owned the whole problem, making it tricky to understand, communicate and agree solutions.

    After joining URBACT, the city set up a local group (URBACT Local Group) bringing relevant people together to identify main freight challenges, including: dangerous on-street loading and unloading; air and noise pollution; unregulated delivery traffic;

    and complex waste collection. The municipality produced a status report, forming a basis for the new freight programme, in line with the city’s development strategies.

    Our URBACT Local Group was a very important support giving us input and data when we developed the status report,” says Ms Samuelsson. “In future, they’ll be one of the most important partners for Umeå municipality to succeed in achieving the goals of the Freight Traffic Programme.

    Umeå had expertise in thinking about the relationship between freight delivery and retail,” explains URBACT Lead Expert Philip Stein, “but no real knowledge on how to deal with it in the city context — they were unable to connect with the sectors, e.g. freight operators. In the end they were one of the most successful in getting the politicians on board."

    Integrated freight plan launched

    Umeå’s new Freight Programme has begun. Lisa Persson’s Traffic Planner, Streets and Parks department is preparing a ‘freight checklist’ for planning decisions, and a brochure for carriers. Soon, the city-centre loading bays will be monitored to help decide future locations.

    Future actions include procurement requirements promoting quiet, energy-efficient municipality transport, and improvements for restricted zone deliveries, including physical design and pathways.

    Reflecting the stakeholders’ diversity, this work involves municipal departments, from planning and procurement to environment and health protection — but also shop owners, carriers, the municipality’s waste and water company, and more.

    The freight plan includes four realistic ‘indicators’, measuring: local opinions; delivery vehicles in selected streets; deaths and serious injuries by freight vehicles; and the proportion of heavy vehicles respecting environmental zone regulations. Though the URBACT network is finished, Umeå’s appetite for cross-sector, participatory projects looks set to last.

    Inter-city learning


    URBACT tools included an ‘evil projections’ exercise, to identify potential pitfalls — and avoid them with help from transnational peers. Umeå’s were: “little interest in URBACT Local Group participation”; and “difficulty getting political leadership to understand the importance of working strategically with freight”. So they involved politicians from the start. The scheme received widespread support; and two city councillors attended the network’s final conference in Split (HR).

    Our politicians are debating freight in the City Council — I can't remember the last time they did that. It’s great!” says Ms Samuelsson.

    Of all the useful exchanges with Freight TAILS cities, Ms Samuelsson highlights Maastricht (NL): “We received much input from them regarding their work with behavioural change... we’ll use some of their ideas in future campaigns.

    What the municipality’s work-model was missing, the URBACT method had. It was like completing the missing pieces in the puzzle,” says Ms Persson. “We haven't worked with an URBACT Local Group like this before. We have some similar approaches, but the URBACT method refined this and made it more successful.


    Umeå is also committed to improving gender equality. You can learn more about these actions and the URBACT #GenderEqualCities campaign by watching the video interview with Linda Gustafsson, Umea's Gender Equality Officer.


    You can find the Cities in Action - Stories of Change publication just here.

    From urbact
    Ref nid
  • Gender sensitive public space? Placemaking and spatial justice through the perspective of gender

    Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
    Women walking on the street

    Take a trip down memory lane with us. Re-discover stories and reflections that we've captured over the last years. This article was first published in 2018 and, yet, is more relevant than ever. 



    What do we mean by the ‘gendered nature’ of urban space? How can a better awareness of gender create safer and more inclusive cities?  


    These questions were explored back in the very first URBACT Gender Equal Cities workshop in Stockholm (SE), back in 2018. The session took place within the framework of the inaugural European Placemaking Conference.  Over 2 days 170 participants from 20 countries came together to consider how cities, civil society and professionals can meet the challenges of displacement and loss of affordability in urban centres across Europe. How can we as placemakers strengthen spatial justice, to build the cities for all, aspired to in Sustainable Development Goal 11.? The call to action, in line with URBACT’s mission, was to be aware of the bigger picture: to understand the political, cultural and economic dynamics of the city and to boost cohesion by involving all communities, stakeholders and voices in a meaningful way.


    Gender Equal Cities, URBACT’s new initiative, seeks to highlight ways in which cities are driving change to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality. As this was the first ever consultation for us specifically on this topic, we were keen to get the ball rolling and start the debate. Through presentations and discussion a number of strong messages emerged.


    • Involve women and girls more in every stage of urban design
    • Pay more attention to all women’s voices to ensure we feel relaxed and safe in public spaces
    • Plug the knowledge gap on what makes public space more inclusive, what girls and women want
    • Collect, analyse and use disaggregated data about public space relating not only to gender, but age, ethnicity, disability, class
    • Understand how to integrate both women friendly spaces and women only spaces
    • Adapt participatory methods to be welcoming and appropriate



    The Gendered City



    To begin with, Linda Gustafsson, Gender Equality Officer, presented the URBACT Good Practice on gender mainstreaming in Umea, northern Sweden, where the city has committed to involving all citizens in co-creation. She stressed that:


    “A sustainable city can only be built together with those who will live in it. All planning should be permeated by openness, democracy and equality. We will develop the city and the public space so that everyone, women and men, children, young people and people with disability, can participate on equal terms. That leads to a city for everyone.”


    Crucially, Linda also explained the factors that contribute to how the city is experienced in a gendered way, which include the segregated labour market, modes of transport, different ways of moving around, gender based violence, responsibility for unpaid labour and caregiving, and use of free time.

    In order for policymakers to understand these differences in the way women and men experience the urban environment we need more training, awareness and better evidence of the specific challenges faced by women and marginalised groups.

    Cornelis Uittenbogaard of the Safer Sweden Foundation presented research results on perceptions and reality in relation to the key issue of safety.


    Even in a country like Sweden, seen as a beacon for equality, public space is not perceived equally between men and women. Fear of being a victim is generally 10-15 percentage points higher in women than men and 50% of women reported feeling unsafe in ‘vulnerable areas’. Gendered violence doesn’t just affect women: the reality is that men are in fact more often victims of violence and robbery in public space, but women are 540% more often victims of sexual abuse. One explanation for these differences is how women’s internalised fears affect their perceptions of and behaviour within public spaces. 


    The analysis from both Cornelis and Linda was that many inequalities stem from the fact that public space is often dominated and designed by men: it may not be accessible for all, it lacks the right kind of street life and effective lighting.  The simple solution- easier said than done- is to plan a good city, which includes a flow of activity, a mix of functions and the vibrancy born of daily interactions.


    The examples and views shared by participants, reported below, help us move in the right direction.



    Feminist Urban Planning


    In Sweden the concept of feminist urban planning is rapidly growing into mainstream practice. One element of Umea’s gender equality strategy is a bus tour which shows visitors and citizens around the city and invites them to look at it afresh from a gender perspective. They consider for instance how the sports facilities are used, who uses public transport, where the parking spaces are in relation to employment hubs and the hospital, as well as which parts of the city look uninviting and poorly lit.  This tour serves both as an awareness raising tool, and a means to develop better policy and practice through regular revisiting of the gendered city.


    In Husby, Sweden, an initiative was started by local women who felt unsafe and saw public places were dominated and controlled by men. Svenska Bostäder, a housing company owned by the city of Stockholm, developed the central area from a feminist perspective. The new measures include social activities welcoming to women, lighting, access to the metro, a new café to replace one that was only frequented by men, a playground, more commerce and a market.



    Universal Design, spaces for all and spaces for women



    The principles of good planning and universal design, taught in most urban disciplines, but maybe not with sufficient emphasis or resonance, can help to create places that are well-loved and well used by people of all walks of life, of a mix of ages, genders, religions, socio-economic classes and ethnicities. Jacqueline Bleicher of Global Urban Design reminded us "In a  truly inclusive, universal place women feel safe, children run and play, the elderly can sit and socialise, teenagers can chat with friends, and singles can read in comfort. Everyone can be their best self, feel comfortable and be at peace with their neighbour." So keeping these principles central to the process can help create more gender sensitive places.


    Minouche Besters of STIPO talked about the need to have different types of spaces in the city for inclusion generally, and gave examples from the Netherlands. A ‘one size fits all’ approach is an activity or space designed to make sure that it is accessible for all, such as Debuurt park camping: low cost, local, with the facility to rent equipment and no alcohol on sale to respect cultural values. The ‘special size for special fit’ are more customised, single sex initiatives aimed at creating a feeling of security and confidence. An example was the swimming pools that have specific women only times, when girls and women can happily swim in burkinis.








    This led us to the question: ‘How can the needs of women whose voices may be marginalised, who are experiencing multiple forms of discrimination be amplified and brought into the design and animation of public space? Examples were shared of initiatives that harnessed the entrepreneurial drive of migrant women and pride in their culture.

    Rozina Spinnoy, Director of BIDS Belgium reported on a project in Brussels established with Turkish women who wanted to run a Festival in her local park. The Flemish Government helped facilitate crowdfunding of 17,000 Euro to create a local community Summer cafe/bar for social and cultural gatherings, encouraging inclusive activities with entrepreneurial women from Moroccan, Turkish and many other origins. These events encourage a feeling of ‘safety’ as well as inclusivity, with activities running in late Summer evenings in the public spaces around the cafe. In Denmark, local Latin American women set up a neighbourhood movie club, in part driven by their desire to make sure their children knew their roots. Involving marginalised women has to be meaningful and bring benefit for them, which can also include better access to local authority staff and services.


    Knowledge Gap


    The absence of women and girls in the urban planning process creates a knowledge gap, resulting in public spaces that exclude. White Architect’s Places for Girls research project undertook the mission to find out how to create better places for girls in the city. Designed as an art project, a multi-disciplinary team – including girls from a Stockholm youth council – collaborated to answer questions around identity and equity.  A concrete example of the outcome was that the young women consulted stated a clear preference for public seating in formations opposite each other, rather than the usual single bench looking out in one direction asserting: “We want to look each other in the eye.



    Participatory processes

    Above all, better participatory dialogue and processes hold the key to more inclusive design. Rebecca Rubin of White Architect’s  reported how they had learnt from the girls who came into their studio how they preferred to work collaboratively, not competitively. The teenage girls become the experts, the professionals had their assumptions challenged and the co-design methods were improved as a result.


    Amplifying the conversation


    This first URBACT Gender Equal cities workshop concluded with the resounding consensus that education and awareness are vital. In particular there is a need to take the conversation about gender sensitive planning into traditionally male-dominated environments such as real estate, transport companies and architecture, for women to be change agents alongside male allies.  Our goal is to bring together local stakeholders and women's voices, not just once, but over the long-term to create the awareness that can lead to better designed, gender equal cities.  The vision of a gender equal city is everyone’s responsibility, and in everyone’s interest. When we strive for great places, with a heightened awareness of gender specific needs and the tools to include and co-design for all, we can start to make a difference.






    Are you interested in joining an Action Planning Network on the topic of gender equality? Share your project idea in the URBACT Partner Search Tool!

    From urbact
    Ref nid
  • Experimenting with governance

    Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

    Innovative governance work is notable is several of the 97 URBACT Good Practices. Common themes emerge around how cities are beginning to innovate. Firstly, how they relate and connect to their citizens. Second, how they build new alliances with a wider range of organisations. Thirdly, how for innovative practices to truly function, significant internal change is required from government organisations.

    The roots of modern European governance


    Governance systems currently in place in much of the European Union were first developed in the 19th Century as the industrial revolution unfolded.  Some aspects have changed but often the essential form has remained the same. ‘Management’ as Manfred Weber first documented is bureaucratic and based on rules and procedures, which are systematised through reports, signatures and files. This written paper culture still informs the way of doing business in much of the public sector, even in countries where digital technologies are most advanced. Although flatter hierarchies are now the norm in some countries, elsewhere, rigid hierarchies and promotion based on seniority limit the potential and creativity of younger staff. Everywhere, departmental and professional boundaries restrict our ability to tackle complex problems in a holistic way.

    Key characteristics of the old 19th and 20th Century economy were industry and urbanism. Local government responded to these new needs by developing forms of governance that were essentially paternal, aimed at a newly urbanised working class. Their main drive was to deliver healthy enough conditions, enabling a working population to make new industrial products in the workshops of the world. 

    Changing governance to meet dynamic cities

    URBACT challenges such ways of working by proposing integrated and participative approaches. But these are often superimposed on the old structures so that although some relations with the outside world change, the internal organisation remains the same.

    In the 21st Century we are slowly beginning to see the emergence of new forms of governance that rebalance the relationship between government and citizens. Instead of redistribution through the raising of tax and the delivery of public services we see the notion of coproduction that puts the service user at its centre. Instead of a one-service model for everyone we see the emergence of personalised models that fit around the individual. But the new coexists with the old and there are inevitable tensions between the paradigms.

    Many of the good practices presented at the URBACT city festival illustrate facets of this emerging model of governance. They range from changing internal ways of working, to how the municipality reaches out to citizens through new forms of regulation for common space. 

    Naples, civic cultural success

    Nicola Masella from Naples explained how active civil society movements had taken over vacant and derelict buildings owned by the municipality. Initial success then provoked a reflection inside the city about how this ‘temporary use’ could be organised on a more regular basis, and what form of regulation was needed to facilitate this process. Naples provides and excellent example of how regulatory change can quickly stimulate new activity within the city. Inevitably this activity generates more growth and activity. Here are signs of real change, in other times the response would have been to insist on eviction and increase the security of empty buildings, at cost to the public purse.

    By revisiting the notion of civic use, the good practice proposed by Naples city council aims at guaranteeing the collective enjoyment of common goods. These common goods can be cultural and natural heritage, essential public services, public spaces and water resources. Through its willingness and use of its administrative process the city has strengthened civic participation and enabled the fair use of common resources while at the same time allocating clear responsibilities for maintenance and management.

    In particular, Naples aims to make spontaneous, bottom-up initiatives recognisable and institutionalised, ensuring the autonomy of both parties involved: the proactive citizens and the institutions.

    How it works in Naples: Filangieri Asylum

    The first common good to be recognized was the former Asylum at Filangeri, Naples, a complex that in 2012 had been occupied by a group of art and culture professionals protesting against the restoration and recent abandonment of the premises. The city council acknowledged its civic use in a resolution in 2012 which recognised the building as a “place with a complex use in the cultural field, and whose spaces are used to experiment in participative democracy”.
    Re-use produces high social and cultural value as well as generating positive economic externalities. Uses must involve not only the users of the space but the whole neighbourhood and the wider city. In return the administration contributes to the operating expenses to ensure an adequate accessibility of the property and general safety conditions: maintenance, cleaning, electricity consumption and surveillance. An ah-hoc unit on the technical level, and a political coordinator are in charge of promoting and fostering an integrated approach particularly, between municipal departments involved and other institutions or agencies.

    The facility in its new form has to be free and inclusive, i.e. it must guarantee access to all. Finance comes from donations, voluntary contributions, self-financing and other forms of social pricing, which is permitted for cultural events. The management model must be based on a strong participatory process. In the Asylum Filangieri three different structures manage the building the "Management assembly", the "Steering assembly“ and the “Board of Trustees”. Each has its own distinct remit.

    Since the passing of the regulation in 2012 there have been more than 200 weekly open meetings held in the Asylum Filangieri. Working groups are formed as necessary for implementation and over 900 events have been produced with attendance of 18 000 people. The venture has strengthened community cohesion by building bonds between citizens, and has narrowed the gap between artists, academics and citizens.

    A second resolution in 2016 recognised a further seven public properties as “relevant civic spaces” and as “common goods”. These facilities have generated 5,800 activities 1,500 days of theatre, dance and music rehearsals; 300 exhibitions; 250 art projects, 300 concerts musical groups plus as many rehearsals and 350 debates. An estimated 200,000 citizens have taken part. In addition, the community-based organisations have provided a range of free services including training for the unemployed, a neighbourhood nursery, schooling for migrants and health services.

    The Naples approach puts empty buildings at the service of the community and allows the community’s creativity to flower in a new setting.

    Umeå: Governance from a new perspective

    The city of Umeå, in northern Sweden has taken an innovative approach when working towards a more gender-neutral cityscape. Unlike other governance innovation schemes the city has chosen to look broadly at the governance perspective and work towards dismantling a male lead system that precludes the needs and wants of almost half its population.

    The city’s municipality began by focusing on how the city works from a gendered perspective. Their practice is to take citizens, policy makers and visitors around the city on a bus tour during which issues facing women and men are explored by visiting different sites in the city and examining them with gender in mind. Interest was ignited when work began on a long pedestrian underpass, used to access the train station, the Lev. This was redesigned with gender equal safety in mind and so is better lit, wide, with no corners behind which people can hide. The main aim of the tour is to view the overall city space and highlight the need for collaboration when creating new, safe, inclusive environments.

    Umeå’s approach to improving its urban environment should be celebrated yet its simple, almost obvious idea of inclusive and representative design only highlights the astonishing fact that cities and towns worldwide still do not design educate, design or govern with women in mind. Aside from specialist projects, most major designs that relate to our cities, from the macro level of masterplanning down to the design of public space, schools, hospitals and indeed housing are lead predominantly by men.

    Gender balanced governance: Inspirations from Umea

    Women mayors are still relatively rare in local government in most of the EU Member States. Even the famous mayors of big cities such as Anne Hidalgo in Paris and Ada Colau in Barcelona are unusual in their own countries. Finding new ways to help policy makers understand issues from a gendered perspective is therefore essential to reach better decisions about design, usage and management of urban facilities. The Umea bus tour which helps people to understand the city from a gender perspective does just this. 

    Turin opens up to innovation

    Fabrizio Barbiero explained how the city of Turin chose to mobilise the innovative capacity of its ten thousand strong workforce in a project called ‘everyone is an innovator’ led by Innova.TO. A challenge was made to the city’s workforce to come up with innovative ideas that were capable of being implemented. Its main aim was to create a cultural shift within the governing body, from being a rule-bound organisation towards a more creative and open structure with a focus on reducing both cost and waste and improving services. 71 project ideas were received in the first round held in 2016. In addition, over 4000 contacts were recorded on the web platform and the initiative has attracted international press coverage as well as in the city itself. One limiting factor at present is that projects must raise their own resources for implementation.

    A key aspect of the project is that it is open to regular staff at any level with the exception of directors. Individuals propose most projects but about a third are by two or more staff. The project proposers are anonymous during the selection process which is carried out by a panel which mixes external experts from the University of Torino and the private sector with internal officials. Innova.TO is just one part of wider programmes for social innovation involving communities and other actors in the city.

    In the 2016 edition ten projects were taken forward. These included an idea to improve community participation in local projects, a proposal for sensors to control lighting in public buildings, a new model for smart procurement and a method by which citizens can see how their donations encouraged through the income tax submission finance public actions. None of these projects has imposed any cost on the municipality.

    The key aim of the project is in changing the perception that only the private sector is innovative.  By creating a reflective space for innovation within the municipality the project starts the process by which the public sector can be reinvented. Although it is a bottom up initiative it ultimately depends on senior and middle management for implementation of the chosen proposals. This helps to develop a listening culture among senior managers who need to become more open minded to change.

    Aarhus: Culture as an Intermediary

    Lars Davidsen from Aarhus presented their approach using culture as a way of intermediating with citizens. Their specific approach has some echoes of what Naples has been doing as they take the opportunity presented by empty properties to create a form of popup revitalisation. 

    Aarhus is using participation around culture as a way of integrating policy and addressing more complex problems such as loneliness, the inclusion of vulnerable young people and youth unemployment. The use of empty property on a temporary basis allows greater flexibility and for a quick learning by doing approach which might be stifled in a permanent solution. 

    The city works with a mantra “City life before urban spaces and urban spaces before buildings”

    Change in action in Amersfoort and Swindon

    The change in workplace culture taking place in some cities has been written about previously in URBACT workstream Social Innovation in Cities with two cities mentioned in particular: Amersfoort and Swindon. Amersfoort’s city manager started a process in January 2015 when he asked his 800 staff to become ‘Free range civil servants’ in the sense that they were asked to go into communities to listen and coproduce rather than staying walled up in the Town Hall. One of the first projects was to develop a former hospital site into an activity park.  It showed that co-production could work as a popular planning tool.

    In Swindon restructuring of the city’s services created three directorates. All service delivery departments were put in the same department under one director.  A second department deals with localities or neighbourhoods while the third is engaged solely in procurement. This radical redesign was aimed at developing services that cost less to deliver and could produce better results for the citizen. But it is only a start, in complex interventions for example concerning troubled families, a host of non municipality agencies are also involved from police and criminal justice to housing associations, job centres and social security. Providing an integrated service to the user can start with the municipality but also needs to address these other fields that are run by other government departments. 

    Public Administration needs to go Dutch

    Our cities continue to change at an increasing rate and yet many of the systems and processes we use to deliver services are groaning under the strain of modern needs. The examples looked at here point to the necessity for a cultural or even philosophical shift in the way we envisage governance engaging with citizens. New, non-hierarchical and inclusive models of governance need to be enacted, systems that represent the needs of every citizen and not simply those within the system. This is perhaps the most challenging aspect. Organisational cultures are very rigid and fixed. Saying that public administration needs to go Dutch is one thing. Doing

    From urbact
    Ref nid
  • Gender equality at the heart of the city


    A tour to an urban "gendered" landscape to raise awareness and promore gender equality

    Linda Gustafsson
    Gender Equality Officer
    Share on FacebookShare on TwitterShare on LinkedIn
    130 000


    What do a bus station, a park and a tunnel say about equality and gender issues? With the objective to underline the importance of gender equality and to show actions and results of a long-term work in the city, Umeå (SE) created a "Gendered landscape". Since 2009 guided bus tours around the city show to passengers successful changes in the city, and put light on still existing gender inequalities. This practice raises important questions about the city’s development and identity issues. How do we build new tunnels, playgrounds, meeting places, recreation centres? Do we plan our public transport for those who use it or for those we wish would use it? Why are women using public transport more frequently than men?

    The solutions offered by the good practice

    Since 2009 the city of Umeå provides guided bus tours around the city to show “the gendered landscape of Umeå”. This is an innovative way of showing how working with gender equality takes form in a city - exemplify successful changes and work in the city, as well as illuminating remaining issues. In line with Umeå’s high ambitions on sustainability and gender equality, the gendered landscape method has been developed in Umeå, and, to the best of our knowledge, it is the first of its kind in Europe. The method is not about traditional neighbourhood safety/security surveys, it is about taking the city itself as the starting point, highlighting gendered power structures throughout the city and how they can be understood and transformed. The method of "the gendered landscape" is being used for educating and creating awareness on the importance of a cohesive understanding of gendered power structures concerning all urban planning in the city. The method raises important questions about the city’s development and identity issues that are critical norms and, in some cases, provocative as well as challenging and dynamic. How do we build new tunnels, playgrounds, meeting places, recreation centres? Do we plan our public transport for those who use it or for those we wish would use it? Why are women using public transport more frequently than men? Who has the power to decide? What knowledge do we use when we are working on developing the city and our public spaces?

    Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

    The idea of the Gendered Landscape is to highlight power structures in the city, to focus on the city in itself rather than specific groups in the city, and to have an integrated understanding of inclusion, gender equality and sustainable urban development. Different stakeholders are represented at the stops of the bus tour, as well as different levels of government (i.e. highlighting the cooperation between local, regional and national level in working with gender equality through the bus stopping, for example, at the county administrative office). This approach leads to a better understanding that a city, to be able to be transforming, must develop new initiatives and projects with an understanding of the context of the city and an understanding of gendered power structures. The Gendered Landscape approach highlights the need to have qualified staff within the city administration involved in all urban development issues within and outside the city administration, and not exclusively focusing on representation issues, etc. In this respect, a good cooperation between Umeå University (for example the Umeå Centre for Gender Studies) and the city of Umeå is seen as one key component.

    Based on a participatory approach

    The tour is a way of making the statistics in the “Gendered Landscape” report come alive, currently outlining 25 integrated practices in the city, and an innovative way of demonstrating the concrete effects of striving for gender equality. The work has been led by the municipality, but also by other organisations and persons. The idea of the tour is to highlight the city as one and the need for cooperation and collaboration in creating an inclusive city. One example is the park “Freezone”, a collaboration between different parts of the municipality and groups of girls in the city. The collaboration led to a better understanding of expectations that young women deal with every day and the need for public spaces where nothing is expected of you. With this new knowledge, a park was built in the city centre. Collaboration between the municipality, Umeå University and the Swedish for immigrants-school led to an understanding that there is a difference between being seen and feeling like an object or a subject in public spaces. How do background, age, gender and disability figure in, and how is the city planned? This led to changes in how public forums are arranged in the city to insure that more inhabitants take part in the process. Both these examples are part of the Gendered Landscape tour which also includes places with work that has been or is being done by NGOs, public works of art and highlighting the constant interactions between public and private that are present in a city.

    What difference has it made?

    There are several examples of how the initiatives of the bus tour have made an impact in the planning and development of the city. The Freezone initiative has impacted the work of the Umeå Street and Parks department, changing their methods for dialogues with citizens and gender-mainstreamed the content of steering documents. Another example from the tour is the example of Gammliavallen football stadium and the city’s ambition of a more equal use of public spaces and sports arenas. In 1999, a political decision in the municipal board of leisure led to that practice hours were divided according to what division soccer teams played in, regardless of gender. As a direct result Umeå’s leading women’s soccer team, Umeå IK, got to choose their practice hours before the leading men’s team, Umeå FC. Since then, the decision has impacted the distribution of practice hours in all municipal arenas in Umeå. A third example is from Umeå as a cultural city, where the cultural sector continually monitors gender representation in the city cultural scene. A positive trend towards more gender equality is observed over the last few years. In 2015 there were 45 % women (out of 2,000 events) represented on the main cultural stages in Umeå.

    Why should other European cities use it?

    Thus far we have had around 30 international exchanges with representatives from European countries and around the world on the Gendered Landscape approach. The challenge of gendered power structures is shared across all European cities. The social and cultural context of the cities differs, of course, across EU Member States, but the Gendered Landscape approach offers flexibility to adapt to these different pre-conditions. In an international context, we see that the potential to reuse the methodology is great, not least within a European (i.e. URBACT) context, as the methodology has proven to be easily adaptable to different local cultural and social contexts. Examples of international exchanges so far include: • The European Capital of Culture (ECoC) network, where Umeå, as European Capital of Culture, has hosted a number of international meetings; • CEMR; • Union of Baltic cities Gender and Planning Commissions; • Urban Development network 2014 Innovation pitch in Brussels. We believe that the Gendered Landscape integrated approach has been successful in Umeå. The long-term ambition is to build on the interest generated thus far and implement further developments in Umeå and across Europe. The ambition in applying for an URBACT Good Practice is to use this as a starting point for a European network initiative (possibly within an URBACT Transfer Network), inviting other parts of Europe to work together on further developing the approach in Umeå and elsewhere.

    Is a transfer practice
    Ref nid