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  • PUMA – it is all about PEOPLE!

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    Project PUMA team full of energy to tackle mobility topics

    PUMA – Plans for Urban Mobility Actions is a project about how to plan and promote sustainable mobility in cities with different size and realities.



    Project PUMA team full of energy to tackle mobility topics


    • Engaging with diverse stakeholders, including government entities, urban planners, transportation agencies, community groups, and residents, is crucial.
    • Gathering comprehensive data on current transportation systems, traffic patterns, environmental impact, and population demographics is essential. Analysing this data helps in making informed decisions and setting realistic goals for the development of sustainable mobility strategies.
    • Crafting a clear vision and strategic framework is fundamental. Defining goals, objectives, and target outcomes establishes the direction for our Integrated Action Plans, aligning it with broader city development plans and sustainability objectives.
    • Designing a document that integrates various modes of transportation—such as public transit, cycling infrastructure, pedestrian pathways, and innovative mobility solutions—creates a holistic and interconnected network that addresses diverse transportation needs.
    • Formulating policies and action plans based on the SUMP's vision and strategy is crucial. This step involves outlining specific measures, investments, and timelines needed to implement sustainable mobility solutions effectively.
    • Creating mechanisms for continuous monitoring and evaluation allows for adjustments and improvements to the strategy over time. This iterative process ensures that the plan remains responsive to changing circumstances, technological advancements, and evolving community needs.
    • Effective communication strategies are vital for engaging the public, raising awareness, and garnering support for planned initiatives. Transparent communication fosters community buy-in and encourages participation in sustainable urban mobility efforts.


    Navigating these steps with collaboration, innovation, and a commitment to sustainability will pave the way for the creation of robust, adaptable, and impactful Integrated Mobility Action Plans.


    Having confidence in the network's capability to achieve these goals is a crucial factor in the success of any project. The collective expertise, diverse perspectives, and shared commitment within the network create a strong foundation for success.


    Believing in the network's capacity not only fosters a positive mindset but also fuels motivation and determination among its members. When each individual involved trusts in the collective capabilities and works collaboratively towards the common goal of developing sustainable urban mobility solutions, remarkable progress can be achieved.


    Moreover, acknowledging and leveraging the strengths, experiences, and skills of the network's members will contribute significantly to overcoming challenges, fostering innovation, and ensuring the successful creation and implementation of our Integrated Mobility Action Plans. Confidence in the network's abilities serves as a driving force in navigating complexities, adapting to changes, and ultimately realizing a more sustainable and vibrant urban environment for communities.


    And I am absolutely sure that PUMA network has everything that is needed to achieve it all!


    From urbact


    The genesis of this ambitious initiative can be traced back to Aksels Ruperts from the Municipality of Liepaja in Latvia. Fuelled by a passion for international collaboration and a fervent desire to deepen his expertise in mobility solutions, Aksels embarked on a mission. His aspiration? To draft a compelling project proposal that would pave the way for Liepaja to craft an innovative Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan. In early 2023, Aksels took a significant stride by engaging in the call for proposals within the esteemed URBACT programme. Amidst fierce competition, with more than 25 applications pouring in from diverse European cities, the project garnered immense interest. But only nine projects could be selected.



    “At the end of the day it led to completed project partnership and a 67 page project application. Honestly, I was not 100% sure that the project would be approved, because at that time I had minimal project management experience and my expertise was in a different field. There is a saying that you have to be careful what you wish for, because wishes tend to come true. So on the afternoon of 31 May I received the news that the project has been approved and Liepaja will be the lead partner”, Aksels said.


    Project manager Aksels during kick-off meeting


    In the unfolding narrative of June 2023, commenced the captivating journey of a consortium comprising nine partners hailing from eight European nations.


    The ensemble of collaborators embarking on the ambitious PUMA project includes a diverse array of entities: the Liepaja City Municipality Administration and Dienvidkurzeme Municipality from Latvia; Public Institution “Žaliasis regionas” from Lithuania; Development Organisation of Municipality of Larissa – OLON SA from Greece; the University of Zagreb, Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences from the Republic of Croatia; Gdansk Roads and Green Areas Administration from Poland; Municipality of Cento from Italy; Viladecans City Council from Spain; and the Regional Development Agency of Northern Primorska ltd. from Slovenia.


    So what exactly is the PUMA project about?


    Urban areas face an ever-growing challenge: how to facilitate efficient, environmentally friendly, and accessible transportation for their residents while mitigating congestion and pollution. The aim of PUMA is to develop Integrated Mobility Action Plans based on the URBACT methodology and guidelines for developing Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMPs).


    SUMPs are visionary roadmaps that cities and regions adopt to revolutionize their transportation systems. They prioritize sustainability by integrating various modes of transit - such as walking, cycling, public transport, and innovative technologies - into cohesive networks. By placing emphasis on inclusivity, environmental impact, and efficiency, SUMPs aim to reshape urban landscapes, fostering healthier, more liveable communities while paving the way for a greener and more connected future.


    At its core, SUMP revolves around people. It's a comprehensive approach that prioritizes the needs and well-being of individuals within urban environments. SUMPs aim to create transportation systems that are accessible, safe, and convenient for all residents, regardless of their age, abilities, or socioeconomic status. By placing people at the centre, SUMPs focus on enhancing quality of life, promoting healthier lifestyles, and fostering social inclusion by ensuring that transportation options are not only sustainable but also user-friendly and equitable for everyone in the community.


    Creating living documents is crucial for the success and sustainability of any project. The primary aim is not just to produce static papers but to cultivate dynamic resources that evolve alongside the project's progress. These living documents serve as adaptable roadmaps, continuously updated to reflect changing circumstances, emerging insights, and evolving goals. By being alive, these documents remain relevant, responsive, and valuable tools for guiding decision-making processes, ensuring alignment with current trends, technologies, and community needs. Their dynamic nature fosters engagement, encourages collaboration, and enables stakeholders to contribute meaningfully, ultimately enhancing the project's effectiveness and longevity.


    Work during PUMA kick-off meeting


    Who are We and where are we today as a network?


    Liepaja, nestled in Latvia's western region of Kurzeme along the Baltic Sea, stands as the country's third-largest city, home to nearly 70,000 people. The city has made significant strides in reducing CO2 emissions by 46% since 2006. However, the transport sector has seen a concerning spike of 29% in greenhouse gas emissions, constituting over half of the total emissions. Efforts towards sustainable transportation in Liepaja include the introduction of low-floor trams, cycle paths, aånd a modern public transport payment system. Despite these initiatives, they fall short of meeting the ambitious EU climate goal of at least a 55% decrease in GHG emissions. The city's next major focus, as part of the "100 Climate Neutral and Smart Cities" mission, involves crafting an Integrated Mobility Action Plan alongside various infrastructure projects.


    Dienvidkurzeme, a newly formed municipality post a 2021 administrative territorial reform, closely collaborates with Liepaja. The region faces challenges in ensuring equal mobility opportunities for its residents. The lack of public transport connectivity outside urban centers forces many to rely on personal vehicles, highlighting the need for improved accessibility.


    In the Taurage region of Lithuania, represented by the Public Institution "Žaliasis regionas," efforts are directed toward curbing high private car usage. Initiatives include implementing a common e-ticket system, establishing new regional public transport routes, and acquiring electric buses. However, a comprehensive long-term strategy is imperative to achieve an efficient, popular, and climate-neutral public transport system in the region.


    Larissa, the capital of Greece's Thessaly region, boasts a diverse landscape hosting public organizations, educational institutions, and a bustling commercial infrastructure. The city stands as a pioneer in Greece, implementing a Sustainable Urban Mobility Plan (SUMP) and prioritizing bicycle/pedestrian connections for better urban accessibility.


    The Faculty of Transport and Traffic Sciences at the University of Zagreb holds a prestigious position in Croatia, engaging in national, regional, and international projects to address transportation challenges. The faculty emphasizes international collaboration for academic exchange and research initiatives.


    Gdansk, Poland's principal seaport, leads the charge in sustainable urban mobility policies. The city has introduced various initiatives aligned with the Sustainable Urban Mobility 2030 plan, focusing on modern, eco-friendly practices. Efforts are underway to prepare a regional SUMP for the Gdansk-Gdynia-Sopot Metropolitan Area.


    Cento, situated amidst Italy's important cities, faces challenges stemming from heavy private car usage due to a lack of widespread public transportation. The municipality is aligning itself with European green initiatives, emphasizing an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to create a sustainable urban mobility system.


    Viladecans, part of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, emphasizes aligning urban mobility strategies with international agendas such as the UN 2030 agenda. With mobility contributing to a significant portion of CO2 emissions, the city aims to update its mobility plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2030.


    Nova Gorica, Slovenia, strategically prioritizes sustainable mobility in its SUMP 2030 plan. The city focuses on reducing carbon footprints by enhancing transportation systems and addressing the needs of vulnerable populations, aiming for a more inclusive and sustainable urban landscape.


    Each partner brings forth a distinct and invaluable contribution—be it the rich academic expertise of the University of Zagreb, the pioneering endeavors in pedestrian zone implementation showcased by Larissa, the astute crafting of cycling policies exhibited by Gdansk, groundbreaking innovations in public transport witnessed in Taurages, the fervent commitment to green transformation activities exemplified by Viladecans, the dedicated involvement in advocating for equality among women and immigrants demonstrated by Cento, the adeptness in fostering international cooperation across various spheres shown by Nova Gorica, or the unwavering dedication towards creating resident-centric environments displayed by Liepaja and Dienvidkurzeme. Each partner city possesses a unique reservoir of knowledge, experiences, and initiatives that collectively enrich and bolster the collaborative efforts within the PUMA project, promising a wealth of shared insights and transformative advancements in urban mobility strategies. An intense period is behind us - the time of expert visits and the first international meeting. The first transnational meeting took place From 16th to 19th October in Liepāja and Grobiņa.


    The mood after the first meeting was fantastic and Lead partner Aksels summed it up as follows: “Now I am confident that the right partners have been selected. Each partner has its own positive and negative experiences to share, and a vision for transport development on local and broader level. I also hope that this project will help to introduce new planning methods, promote public participation in planning processes and a sense that we can all plan our city together.  At the end of the day, the abbreviation PUMA fits the essence of the project and mobility quite well. Mobility is not about something aggressive and predatory, but it is about how to deliver people and goods from A to B in a fast and accurate way”.


    Project partners working on Baseline study


    It was a meeting of people who believe in change, people committed to their work and proud of their cities and areas. Committed public administration workers are the backbone of effective governance and the driving force behind transformative change within communities.


    These dedicated individuals tirelessly strive to enhance the quality of life for residents by embracing innovative solutions, implementing forward-thinking policies, and actively engaging with the needs of the community. Whether they are urban planners, transportation engineers, policymakers, or public service personnel, their commitment shines through in their relentless pursuit of creating sustainable and inclusive urban environments. Their passion fuels the translation of visionary concepts like SUMPs into actionable strategies, fostering collaboration, innovation, and ultimately, the realization of thriving, accessible, and environmentally conscious cities for generations to come. Following numerous visits and extensive meetings, it is unequivocally evident that these individuals stand as the esteemed representatives of the partner cities within the ambit of the PUMA project.


    What lies ahead our network?


    As a project network embarks on creating Integrated Mobility Action Plans, several key elements lie ahead in the journey towards successful planning and implementation:

  • Falling in love with downtown: the URBACT Cities@Heart network is here!

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    As a part of the URBACT IV European Programme, ten European urban areas come together to form Cities@Heart, a network dedicated to sharing best practices and innovations for improving city centre management.
    City of Osijek


    From urbact
    Having a chat with your neighbourhood baker, running into an old friend, finding all you need in one place: these are just some of the reasons why we feel so attached to our city centres. However, today in the 21st century, city centres are facing more than just a little competition. From the rise of big-box stores and franchises to the omnipresence of online commerce, downtown areas have lost some of their edge. A result of urban sprawl and rising property values, the spatial fragmentation of our cities further strains the resilience of the high street. Amid all these challenges, city centres are well worth understanding, defending and improving. That’s where the URBACT Cities@Heart Action Planning network comes in.
    A market in Celje, Slovenia
    A programme supported by ERDF funds from the European Union, URBACT promotes sustainable urban development in Europe’s cities, both big and small. This year marks the beginning of URBACT IV, the fourth iteration of the programme with the launch of 30 Action Planning Networks throughout Europe and IPA countries. Harnessing an understanding of governance and recognizing the transverse coordination between the public, private and civic sectors as a driver for change, Cities@Heart partners will work together with a data-driven approach to plan, monitor and evaluate the implemented policies in the urban core. For the next 2.5 years, Cities@Heart will mobilise ten European urban areas. Network partners will work together to understand the way city centres function and create new monitoring tools to be used in city centre improvement initiatives.
    The Greater Paris Metropolis (Métropole du Grand Paris, France) coordinates the network in the role of Lead Partner. With a strong track record in downtown revitalisation policy, The Greater Paris Metropolis is a public entity representing 131 cities in the French capital region including the city of Paris. Endowed with extensive experience in local economy, architecture and urban planning, Barcelona-based Mar Santamaria Varas will assist the network as Lead Expert. The ten network partners include :
    Each partner in the network is facing their own challenges: loss of inhabitants to the peripheries or the metropolitan areas, underdeveloped local commerce networks, conflicts generated by the intensive use of public space, the transition to walkable and carless environments, gentrification and over-tourism, gender equality and inclusion... Yet, all partners can agree on one thing: city centres are unique places and not just because they hold a certain affective charm: they truly are the lifeforce of our urban societies. Keeping the heart of downtown healthy is key to ensuring the vibrancy of local economies and the well-being of inhabitants.
    A mural commissioned by the City of Fleurus, Belgium
    During the network’s lifespan, project partners will have the opportunity to travel throughout the European Union to see first-hand examples of city solutions driving change for better cities as they take part in transnational meetings hosted by the different project partners. To kick things off, the URBACT Secretariat hosted Summer University in Malmö, Sweden this past 28-30 August. Here, project partners met for the first time to discuss the framework of their networks, building capacity and learning more about the URBACT methodology for better cities.  
    A visit to the Krakow Metropolis
    Over the course of the autumn months, Lead Expert Mar Santamaria-Varas has travelled with the Greater Paris Metropolis to visit the ten project partners spread out across the European Union. From Poland to Greece, from Croatia to Portugal, the recent mobilities have provided a wealth of insight for this network of urban areas. The first transnational meeting of the network is planned for 6-7 December in Sligo, Ireland. After completing the Baseline Study Visit with Project Partners, the findings will allow the network to go from knowledge to action, laying out the roadmap for the next two years.
    Granada, Spain
    With activities well underway, Cities@Heart is off to an exciting start. Check in regularly with the LinkedIn Page and the URBACT network webpage to stay up to date on project mobilities and findings!
  • The EU City Labs: New tools for challenging times

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    Group of people on top of a mountain with a sunset in the background.

    As we gear up for the next EU City Lab, URBACT Expert Eddy Adams recaps the challenges and priorities for cities on the path to climate neutrality.

    Group of people on top of a mountain with a sunset in the background.
    From urbact

    The (bumpy) road to climate neutrality


    What do we know about Europe’s journey to climate neutrality? Well, most of us are aware of the headline commitment: through the European Green Deal, the EU is committed to becoming the world’s first climate-neutral bloc by 2050. Ahead of that, the Climate Mission’s 100 front-runners, the NetZeroCities, will hit this target by 2023.

    But we also know that this transition to climate neutrality won’t be smooth sailing. The scale of the challenge is as undeniable as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) conclusions about the planet’s current level of danger. Despite this, we can see that the mood may be shifting in the wrong direction. Pushback and resistance are rising, as climate change sceptics seek to hinder the transition to net zero. For example, misinformation about the 15-minute city model has been circulated to stoke citizens’ concerns about their civil liberties, capitalising on post-pandemic anxieties.

    We also know that the scale and complexity of the climate-neutral transition creates particular challenges for small and medium-sized cities. Earlier this year, URBACT investigated exactly what this means, through a research project involving 68 cities.


    Where are cities going to struggle?


    URBACT’s analysis of cities’ needs provides helpful insights into the specific areas where they might struggle. Respondents, most of whom were from small and medium-sized cities, identified the headline challenges as:

    1. urgency
    2. complexity
    3. low awareness levels
    4. finance
    5. mixed quality data
    6. behaviour

    For participating cities, energy transition emerged as the highest priority under the broad banner of ‘green transitions’, followed by housing, then education, the latter most likely linked to mindset shifts and reskilling. When it comes to the types of capacity-building needed, energy and energy policy were most frequently cited, specifically in relation to implementation.


    How can URBACT help?


    URBACT’s core focus is transnational city networks. The programme provides a framework for city authorities – and their thematic stakeholders – to collaborate on addressing their most pressing priorities. Not surprisingly, the most recently approved set of 30 Action Planning Networks (APNs) featured a high proportion of broadly ‘green’ themes. These include:

    1. Circular Economy
    2. Sustainable Land Use
    3. Climate Adaptation
    4. Energy Transition

    In this new programming period, URBACT also has three cross-cutting themes, which will run through all networks, regardless of their thematic focus. These are: Green Cities, Gender Equal Cities and Digital Cities. At the recent URBACT Summer University, an intensive capacity-building experience for new networks, these transversal themes were highly visible, and the programme plans to further support network activity under them in the months ahead.

    In light of the above, an important instrument will be the EU City Labs, the first of which will take place in Viladecans, Spain, on 23-24 November 2023.


    City Lab 2 Sustainable Urban Development


    Where do the EU City Labs come in?


    Starting this month, the EU City Labs will showcase leading-edge activities related to selected themes. These events are co-hosted by URBACT and the European Urban Initiative (EUI), who collaborate on supporting sustainable urban development across the EU. The City Labs will provide a trusted space to identify challenges, examine effective methodology and explore the potential for future city-to-city collaboration. Most importantly, they will demonstrate what works, giving participants first-hand experience of the most advanced urban practices in Europe.

    In this respect, Viladecans is the perfect host for the first EU City Lab. This Catalan municipality provides an inspiring example of how a smaller city, with big ambitions, can punch above its weight. Its innovative, inclusive approach to tackling energy transition has already been the subject of much attention and acknowledgment. Earlier this year, the city was given the EU Green Leaf award, together with the city of Treviso (IT), in recognition of its efforts towards climate neutrality. Viladecans was also a lead partner in the pilot URBACT Innovation Transfer Networks (ITNs), where it sought to transfer its Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) project on local energy communities to three other EU cities.

    Two of those cities, Trikala (EL) and Nagykanizsa (HU), will join the November City Lab to share their own stories of that replication journey. Other UIA cities, such as Getafe, will also share the stage, which is appropriate at an event jointly supported by URBACT and the EUI.


    EU City Lab Viladecans 23-24 November 2023


    Beyond Viladecans


    The City Labs are, in essence, experimental spaces. To reiterate, each EU City Lab will have a thematic focus. The first shines a light on the energy transition, with two related events taking place within a period of months. The second, launching in early 2024, will focus on food, a theme around which the programme has an established body of experience.

    Starting with Viladecans, the City Labs should provide an important platform for leading stakeholders, focused on the energy transition and other themes, to consider future collaborative options through URBACT and EUI channels.


    URBACT City Lab 3


    For example, the upcoming URBACT ITN call (January 2024) will fund completed UIA city projects to transfer their innovation experiences across Europe, as Viladecans did in the pilot. The programme will also deliver a series of capacity-building activities under each of its three cross-cutting themes.

    From the EUI side, it is worth mentioning other collaborative opportunities:

    1. Cities can participate in EUI capacity-building events such as the Green Transition capacity-building event that took place recently in Tourcoing.
    2. They can apply for EUI Innovative Actions call, the last one included the Greening Cities theme.
    3. The EUI City Exchange provides a way for cities to follow up bilaterally to deepen their knowledge of others’ experience first-hand.
    4. Through the Peer Review channel, cities can collaborate on improving their sustainable urban development strategies, which can of course include interventions linked to energy transition.


    If you didn''t make it to Viladecans, you can surely sign up for future City Labs, so sign up for the URBACT newsletter and stay tuned!


  • mauro bigi

    Available for Lead Expert role and Ad-hoc expertise missions

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


    1. The design and delivery of (transnational) exchange and learning activities


    2. Thematic expertise:
    > Circular economy
    > Energy transition
    > Participative governance


    3. Methods and tools for integrated and participatory approaches:
    > Integrated and participatory design of strategies

  • Pietro L. Verga

    Pietro L. Verga has been researching and working on innovative, place-based sustainable development initiatives and strategies for nearly two decades.

    Remarkably, he supported different Municipalities (e.g., Baia Mare, RO; Copenhagen, DK; Ferrara and Milano, IT) in the design, management, and/or coordination of European Projects and strategies focusing on community-led and participatory approaches, nature-based solutions, circular economy principles, and social innovation.

    Pietro organised and facilitated a wide range of in-person and online peer to peer exchanges with international city representatives in the context of several EU projects (H2020, UIA, URBACT) or events (e.g., the European Week of Regions and Cities, the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum and the first EUI Capacity Building Event on CLLD) fostering proactive interactions and mutual learning on sustainable urban development innovative experiences and models.

    Pietro is based between Milano and Frankfurt am Main

    Available for Lead Expert role and Ad-hoc expertise missions

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


    1. The design and delivery of (transnational) exchange and learning activities


    2. Thematic expertise:
    Circular economy | Mobility | Social innovation | Strategic Urban Planning


    3. Methods and tools for integrated and participatory approaches:
    > Integrated and participatory design of strategies


    I am a licensed architect with a master in Lobbying and EU legislation at the school of Law of Rome 2 University with expertise in Post Lisbon participation of MS Elected assemblies to EU legislation. I have been EU JAPAN visiting scientist under 3 EC Science&Technology award fellowships working at the Building Research Institute 建築研究所 (former Japanese Ministry of Construction) in Tokyo and Tsukuba. I am currently in the Pool of experts of the European Urban Initiative, contracted as moderator in a EUI EC DG REGIO event on Integrated Territorial Investments in Croatia(2023). I passed twice the 日本語能力試験 JLPT , Japanese proficiency exam.

    • My 33-year professional career spans across different experience; researcher&professional designer in urban/territorial and integrated planning for Japanese and Italian institutions; PR, technical adviser for Japanese Embassy in Rome; Public official expert in strategic planning/urban renewal schemes; Contracted Urbact LE&AdHoc expert, expert of the EFDD in European Parliament.
    • In 2022-2023 I have worked for 1 year as funding expert at the EUAA in Nicosia (Cyprus) and have been been contracted Governance and Funding expert for the Covenant of Mayors (Policy Support Facility an funded by the EC DG REGIO) supporting 3 Italian cities in identifying and implementing climate adaptation measures.
    • Since 2018 I have been evaluator for the EC and other international donors, including the prestigious Newton Prize (2019 ans 2020 editions) promoted by the UNESCO UK National Commission.
    • In 2023 I become expert in clean energy and raw materials (hydogen) providing support to approved projects funded by H2020 and Horizon Europe in identifying technical standards in order to facilitate market access to European innovative technologies.
    • Over the years I’ve become aware of the importance of horizontal&vertical integration: these combined with a strong political commitment determine successful application of models originated in other contexts but adapted to fit local needs. My biggest professional asset remains my experience on Japanese innovative decentralization strategies&urban regeneration programs/plans to make out-most territories more attractive and prevent brain drain. It still represents a compass to designing local solutions to support Europe's balanced polycentric urban models.

    Available for Lead Expert role and Ad-hoc expertise missions

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


    1. The design and delivery of (transnational) exchange and learning activities


    2. Thematic expertise:

    Climate Adaptation | Energy transition | Finance and resources | Strategic Urban Planning


    3. Methods and tools for integrated and participatory approaches:
    > Integrated and participatory design of strategies
    > Securing funding and resourcing


  • Carlo Ferretti

    Graduated in Cultural Economics and Entrepreneurship at the Erasmus University of Rotterdam, I am a public value designer, dedicated to local development policies and strategies.

    I have led the department of Research and Innovation of Materahub, curating several European projects, from Horizon Europe, to COSME and Creative Europe. Specifically, within this project dimension, I had the opportunity to design data-oriented methodologies, as in the case of IMPACTOUR, developing a platform for supporting public administrations’ local development strategy, or DROP, where designing and implementing co-governance approaches to deprived areas.

    I am a social impact evaluator, leveraging SROI and the VBA (Value Based Approach) methodologies to organisations such as Matera European Capital of Culture 2019 or the Nuto Revelli Foundation.

    Furthermore, I worked for the Municipality of Bari, fulfilling project management tasks during an URBACT project (Com.unity.Lab).

    I teach for the Cultural Management Master of Feltrinelli Foundation and to the Master of Advanced Education on Private Cultural Heritage of Intesa San Paolo.

    From 2021, I am an affiliate researcher of the Metalab Harvard.

    Available for Ad-hoc expertise missions

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

    1. The design and delivery of (transnational) exchange and learning activities
  • Elisa Filippi

    Born in the Trentino-Alto Adige-South Tyrol region, I grew up with Europe in my heart. I have been working for more than 14 years (4 of them in Brussels) in the design and management of European projects involving Local Authorities, especially in the field of urban innovation, science education and sustainability. 

    EU Projects & Urban Innovation - I have carried out, for many organisations and in particular for ANCI (National Association of Italian Municipalities), the design and management of several EU projects focused on resilience, sustainability and innovation, financed by European programmes such as Life plus, Horizon 2020, Interreg, Urban Innovative Actions. In this context, I have gained in-depth knowledge on several topics such as: Circular Economy; Climate Change and Adaptation; Digital Transition, Education, Innovative Procurement and strategic funding; I have followed Italian cities in the design of "Smart City" plans and activities as a member of the National Smart Cities Observatory, a topic on which I have co-authored several publications. In the past, I've contributed for many years as an external expert on dissemination and capitalisation to the activities of the National URBACT Point in Italy, as well as to the implementation of the Italian NPTI Transfer Network. Since 2020, I'm co-founder and Vice President of Euronike: I have coordinated the proposal design of many successful EU projects focused on the application of geospatial technologies, sustainability and education, such as Erasmus + GIS4Schools and Erasmus + EUthmappers, for which I'm the lead project manager and coordinator of the monitoring and evaluation activities.

    Training, Capacity Building & Problem Solving - Complementing the management activities, I have worked as a trainer for cities and local authorities for many public and private organisations (such as IFEL, Venice International University,) and in international contexts. I have coordinated the training and capacity building of the project: Mediaree NextGeneration Siena funded by NOP Governance. In order to facilitate multi-stakeholder networks and to support local authorities in implementing change processes, motivation and problem-solving techniques are crucial. My approach draws on the constructivist-interactionist paradigm and the school of brief strategic therapy (G. Nardone). I have a Master's degree in Strategic Communication and Problem Solving from the Strategic Therapy Center - CTS, supervised by Prof. Giorgio Nardone and I attended the University Master in Psychology of Change at the Unilink Campus University in Rome.

    Cities & Earth Observation for the Twin Transition - I strongly believe in the potential of cities as the main driver of the green and digital transition, and that it is fundamental to provide them with the right tools to support the planning and forecasting of their complex ecosystem. To this end, based on the awareness of the importance of the application of geospatial technologies for the achievement of the main public policy objectives (SDGs, EU Green Deal, etc.), I'm also deepening the topic by carrying out a research project focused on the study of the organisational models of public administration to promote the adoption of EO technologies in the framework of the National PHD on Earth Observation at the University La Sapienza in Rome.

    Elisa Filippi' picture
    Available for Lead Expert role and Ad-hoc expertise missions

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


    1. The design and delivery of (transnational) exchange and learning activities

    2. Thematic expertise:

    Circular economy | Climate adaptation | Digital transformation | Education | Finance and resources


    3. Methods and tools for integrated and participatory approaches:
    > Securing funding and resourcing
    > Sustaining stakeholder engagement and translating strategies into actions

  • Marco Buemi

    I have been a validated Lead Expert during URBACT III and I have been involved as Expert in very interesting projects all around Europe. During these years my committment as Expert in Urban Sustainable development for Municipalities has grown a lot and I have been working as project manager for the Swedish and Italian Governements and for several cities in Italy, Turin, Rome, Bologna, Forlì  and Verona in tight collaboration with Deputies and Mayors.

    To became an Urbact Validated Expert for me means, influencing and inspiring the work of municipalities on issues of strong change that often need a less conservative push with a creative vision of real change and less politicisation on pressing European issues. As Urbact Expert I can bring my wide expertise in assisting Municipalities in this innovative big change. I have a double role as project manager but also as project evaluator expert because since 2021 I am and Evaluator Expert for the European Commission. Moreover my communication skills thanks to my collaborations at TV, radio and magazines and my work as adjunct professor for the University Tor Vergata In Rome in the Winter/Summer School for  Urban Sustanable Development and for Venice International University in the Master of EU Project Design & Management can be useful for an integrate work with cities.

    Available for Lead Expert role and Ad-hoc expertise missions

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


    1. The design and delivery of (transnational) exchange and learning activities


    2. Thematic expertise:
    Communication | Equality, diversity and inclusion | Housing | Jobs and skills | Participative governance


    3. Methods and tools for integrated and participatory approaches:
    Monitoring and evaluation for effective implementation | Sustaining stakeholder engagement

  • Simone Savona

    Ph.D. in Social and Psychological Sciences, Simone's efforts in recent years have focused on connecting local economic, social and administrative stakeholders in transnational networks, with the goal of creating sustainable tourism ecosystems.

    Training and exchange meetings, including those organized online with the use of creative approaches and collaborative tools, can greatly facilitate the transfer of knowledge among all actors in local economies and the sharing of best practices. Participation in the Genoa ULG's activities for the URBACT III "Tourism-Friendly Cities" project, for example, enabled Simone to identify sustainability criteria later adopted for the area by the international short-rental platform dozens of tourism service SMEs gained direct access to the market in innovative ways that generate a positive impact for the whole territory.

    Simone's expertise in the fields of digital transformation, green transition, circular economy, and sustainable tourism has been recognized by various chambers of commerce and local governments, within the framework of several European projects:
    - Smart Tourism (Interreg - Marittimo-IT FR-Maritime)
    - European Tourism Going Green - ETGG 2030
    - I- STARS (Insuleur)

    Simone Savona
    Available for Ad-hoc expertise missions

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

    1. The design and delivery of (transnational) exchange and learning activities
    2. Thematic expertise:
      > Local economy