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  • MAPS – Military Assets as Public Spaces

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

    Amadora launches a Guide on the welcoming of migrants

    Blue Economy Forum

    BluAct Toolkit

    BluAct: The Documentary

    2ndChance on Facebook

    2ndChance on Twitter


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

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


    Municipality of Santiago de Compostela


    Municipality of Udine (Italy)


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    Av. Movimento das Forças Armadas

    2700-595 Amadora



    +351 21 436 9000

    Ext. 1801


    City of Rome

    Department of European Funds and Innovation

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



    Câmara Municipal de Lisboa

    Departamento de Desenvolvimento Local

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



    Laura González Méndez. Project coordinator.

    Gijón City Council


    Municipality of Piraeus


    City of Ljubljana

    Mestni trg 1

    1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia


    Project Coordinator Martin Neubert

    +49 371 355 7029



    Riga NGO House


    City of Antwarp
    Grote Markt 1 - 2000 Antwarpen

    Manchester City Council
    Manchester M2 5RT

    City of Rotterdam
    Coolsingel 40, 3011 AD Rotterdam

    City Council Bielefeld
    Bürger Service Center
    Phone +49 521 510


    City of Eindhoven
    Stadhuisplein 1, 5611 EM Eindhoven

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


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


    City of Ghent
    Stad Gent
    Botermarkt 1
    9000 Gent

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


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


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


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


    Preston City Council
    Town Hall, Preston, PR1 2RL

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

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

    Redefining the military heritage
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  • Come in!


    Kick-off meeting Phase I, Forli. City visits to Forli, Varasd, Gheorgheni and Komarno.
    Kick-off Phase II, Targówek (Warsaw). City visit to Warsaw.

    The joint policy challenge of the Come in! Transfer network partner cities is to mobilise citizens, foster civilian power and urban stewardship through raising awareness towards the values of built heritage to decrease social isolation. This also highlights the brokerage role of municipalities (reating conditions for stakeholders to creatively shape urban environment and public policies).

    Talking Houses - Shared Stories
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  • Every single house is interesting!

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    There is a little square two-minutes from your flat. You have seen it many times on your daily route. You perhaps even recognised that it is somehow unique. Nothing special, no outstanding architectural value, but lovely and always full of life. And would be great to explore once.

    A week-end of Open Houses initiated in Budapest (HU) (

    City Branding

    All of us are surrounded by places and buildings like this. All of us are excited what and who is there behind the doors. Who lives there now and who has lived there before and what stories they could tell. The ‘Come in! – talking houses shared stories’ URBACT Transfer Network is centred on the good practice entitled Weekend of Open Houses. It is an easily adaptable community festival in Budapest called Budapest100 celebrating the city’s built heritage and common values. This good practice might help the inhabitants of eight European cities to explore their own built heritage, those little squares only two-minutes from their homes and get local communities closer to each other along this journey.

    The Budapest100 community festival was started in 2011 by the Open Society Archives and the Contemporary Architecture Centre in Budapest, celebrating houses turning 100-years old that year during a thematic weekend. The event became a yearly festival, always celebrating buildings that were 100 years old in the given year. Since 2015 the celebration of 100-year-old buildings is not possible anymore due to WWI, so each year the focus is on different themes (2017: buildings along the Danube, 2018: buildings around squares).

    Exploring our community through our built environment

    Nevertheless, the main method is the same, expressed well by the festival’s motto: every single building is interesting and important. This is a two-day long festival co-organised by local residents and a massive group of volunteers to highlight values of the built environment as well as common values to decrease urban isolation. The main aim of the good practice is primarily not to protect buildings, but to encourage civilian power alongside the built environment as a catalyst. Its broad mission is to initiate a common discussion about urban revival and to inspire the establishment and strengthening of residential communities and to take action against urban social isolation by using cultural heritage and built environment as a tool.

    Each year approximately 20 000 visitors come to look behind the doors of 50-60 open houses of downtown Budapest, explore hidden treasures and listen to urban stories told and shared by local residents and volunteers. This rather attractive urban initiative is definitely not about money: the whole programme costs about 20 000€ each year including the development of a website and the salary of a part time employee.

    The Come in! URBACT network is led by Municipality of Újbuda, the multifaceted 11th district of Budapest, a district whose downtown area is usually very active in Budapest100. The municipality also has a strategic relationship with the Contemporary Architecture Centre to boost local dynamics of the creative sector. Using the Budapest100 good practice as a method, Come in! focuses on mobilising residents and raising their awareness towards the values of their built, mainly residential environment, which is not necessarily protected by law, and not necessary old, but where there is an intangible identity, spirit or story behind, on which a community building process can be strongly built. This is to be done by involving volunteers to make research on houses to be involved (collecting facts, stories and histories about houses and their residents), as well as residents putting together the programme (organising for example walks or programs with residents of the houses).

    Promoting engagement with cultural heritage

    The Weekend of Open Houses is about creating an opportunity for citizens to uphold cultural values and traditions and to promote positive societal change. The aim is to “allow and encourage individuals to become more active in every aspect of cultural heritage. A thorough understanding of local culture and environmental issues will render any participation more effective.” says the Turku Manifesto 2017 (Taking part in cultural heritage matters, European Heritage Congress, 2017 Turku), which is also the main philosophy of the good practice and of the Come in! URBACT network. This highlights the fact that it is really in line with contemporary trends of cultural heritage management and integrated urban development in the EU.

    Europe is celebrating its diverse cultural heritage at all levels in 2018 through the European Year of Cultural Heritage, the aim of which is to “encourage more people to discover and engage with Europe's cultural heritage, and to reinforce a sense of belonging to a common European space”. The slogan for the year is: Our heritage: where the past meets the future.

    Historic Urban Landscape approach of the UNESCO as a backbone for action

    Come in! is taps on an important thematic field: perceptions of cultural heritage in Europe – which is extremely rich in cultural values - is changing. It is not anymore seen as a financial burden, but increasingly recognised as an asset, which can provide a catalyst for enhanced growth and wellbeing. Since the adoption of the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) approach by the UNESCO’s General Conference in 2011, cultural heritage is a very important reference point and crosscutting field in urban policies both on global and European level. The UNESCO’s HUL Recommendation seems to be the alpha and omega regarding cultural heritage, and indeed most urban policies are rooted in that framework which stresses the importance and urgency of involving communities in the valorisation and conservation of the built environment.

    Residents and Volunteers: keys to success of Budapest100

    The widest possible participation and interaction with residents and communities is a priority both for cultural heritage agendas and social innovation policies. A community festival celebrating a given city's built heritage and common values clearly contributes to relevant EU priorities and is in line with the Historic Urban Landscape approach as well. The good practice provides a rather simple model to mobilise residents as well as volunteers to engage with their own cultural heritage and communities while also helps to decrease social isolation.

    Of course Budapest100 does not stand alone, there are many similar concepts in Europe and worldwide. The most well-known initiatives are perhaps Open House and the European Heritage Days. But there are two crucial differences between Budapest100 and other similar initiatives: the involvement of residents and initiators of activities supported by volunteers and having a strong social focus besides the architectural one. For Budapest100 every house is interesting, not only those with outstanding architectural value or the ones protected by law.

    The combination of the three pillars (built environment, but not only outstanding values, strong involvement of communities supported by involvement of volunteers) makes Budapest100 unique in the EU context.

    Budapest100 for everyone: the Transfer Potential of the good practice throughout Europe

    The ‘Come in! – talking houses shared stories’ network provides exchange and learning activities for a number of cities and their stakeholders coming from different corners of Europe and having a residential area with strong spirit, to understand the good practice, prepare local plans for its adaptation and test its reuse on small-scale.

    On the one hand, as the good practice is really not complex (it is “just” a two-day event) it could be easily replicated in almost every residential environment of any European city having a strong local ‘identity’ the community festival can be built on. Searching and analysing these identities behind residential areas of candidate cities was the most important factor while building up the partnership. The good practice will be adapted in various built environments, e.g. in the historical centre in Gheorgheni (RO) with its unique and mostly unexploited Armenian heritage; in Forlì (I) focusing on its sensitive rationalist heritage or in Varaždin’s looking at its (HR) untapped modern buildings just next to the beautiful Baroque city centre, and will be even tested in newly built environments as well (e.g. in modern housing estates in Újbuda (H) or Pori (SF)).

    On the other hand, the other two pillars (community engagement and volunteering) of the good practice highlight serious challenges related to the overall transfer potential of the good practice, simply because it can be difficult to boost these factors as they are deeply

    rooted in the socio-economic environment and cultural attitudes of the given country. Tackling a strong local spirit (‘our heritage’) linked to a partly unexploited heritage, positioning and marketing the theme in a contemporary way fitting urban trends, incentivising volunteers and residents, especially young ones and putting the theme into a broader context seem essential in the transfer process to overcome those challenges around community engagement and volunteering.

    Last, but not least, for adapting this community-led initiative we need municipalities that are able to facilitate bottom-up developments without controlling what is uncontrollable, act as matchmakers, and harvest and accelerate the results of such a community festival by crossing silos (the cultural department is most likely the one responsible for the festival, but its potential spill-overs refer to social and other departments too).

    Proper motivation tools, team and capacity building for URBACT Local Group members to overcome resistance and create quick wins is also essential for Come in! partner cities.


    Visit the network's page: Come in!

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  • Former military areas as hubs for urban innovation

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

    Rediscovering former military sites through public events


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

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

    Open Days

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

    Racing through former military assets

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

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

    Moving beyond the temporary

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

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

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

    Urban Acupuncture to adapt urban development strategies

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

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

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