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URBACT drives change for better cities

 
Since 2002, URBACT has been driving change all over Europe by enabling the cooperation and idea exchange amongst cities within thematic networks, by building the skills of local stakeholders in the design and implementation of integrated and participatory policies, and by sharing knowledge and good city practices.

 

Cities are at the forefront of today’s greatest challenges and opportunities. Climate change, intergenerational gaps and digital disruption are just some common turning points for European cities. And yet, cities are also home to cultural diversity, economic opportunities and essential services. It’s by sharing experiences with other cities that we can harness the many opportunities of sustainable urban development. This is where URBACT comes in.

 

URBACT promotes integrated development to support cities implement horizontal and vertical policy integration. Positive change can best be made when local authorities collaborate with different levels of governance (regional, national, EU) –vertical integration – and when they tackle challenges and problems in a holistic way that considers environmental, economic, and social dimensions at the same time – horizontal integration.

 

URBACT has developed a series of processes and tools, as a part of the URBACT Method. It encourages cities to re-think centralised governance structures and shift towards more inclusive and holistic models. URBACT’s participatory approach recognises that sustainable urban development is driven by action-oriented strategies, which are co-created and implemented with local people.

For the period 2021-2027, URBACT IV builds on the legacy of past Programmes and includes even more opportunities for cities to make positive change. The current Programme integrates the crosscutting EU priorities of digital, green and gender-equal policy-making into its activities.

 

Previously successful types of Networks like Action Planning and Transfer will continue, while a new type of Network will be developed to strengthen the connections between the European Urban Initiative and the URBACT Method.

 

For the first time, URBACT provides support to towns and cities in EU pre-accession countries – Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia. Their participation in the URBACT programme is financed by the EU’s Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA).

 

The programme is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) with a budget of EUR 79 769 000 and by the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance with a budget of EUR 5 000 000 for the period 2021-2027.

 

More information about the URBACT IV programme is provided at the:

 

URBACT IV follows builds on from previous Programme cycles:

 

  • URBACT III, 2014-2020, supported 678 partner cities across Europe and focused on sharing good practices through transfer networks and implementing integrated action plans.
     
  • URBACT II, 2007-2013, broadened the Programme’s scope to focus on sustainable urban development across a wide range of policy areas and included capacity-building initiatives for the first time.
     
  • URBACT’s first cycle – URBACT I – ran from 2002 to 2006 and built upon EU pilot projects starting in the late 1980s that developed integrated approaches to urban regeneration.

URBACT is closely aligned with and contributes to the EU’s priorities.

 

A key aim of URBACT IV is to “enhance the institutional capacity of public authorities”. This contributes to sustainable urban development objectives and aims “to reinforce the effectiveness of the EU's Cohesion Policy. URBACT has an officially recognised role to play in achieving Policy Objective 5 – bringing “Europe closer to citizens by fostering the sustainable and integrated development of all types of territories”.

 

URBACT contributes to the partnerships of the Urban Agenda for the EU and the renewal of the Leipzig Charter with the concepts of green, just and productive cities, adopted in 2020 during the German Presidency of the Council of the EU. URBACT also collaborates with other programmes and organisations, including the European Urban Initiative, ESPON, INTERACT, INTERREG EUROPE, Horizon Europe, Council of European Municipalities and Cities, Committee of the Regions, to name a few.

URBACT’s governance structure ensures that activities are transparent, efficient and meet the needs of European cities.

 

The European Commission (Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy) oversees URBACT and guarantees activities continue to play a key role in the EU Cohesion Policy.

 

The Monitoring Committee, which is represented by the EU Member and Partner States, the European Commission, IPA Countries, the European Committee of the Regions and the Council of European Municipalities and Regions, defines the strategic direction of the URBACT programme and takes decisions about activities to be implemented. The members of the Monitoring Committee also exchange on the needs of cities, thematic priorities, programme links with European Urban Initiative and cohesion policy at national and European level.

 

The Managing Authority, hosted by the French National Agency for Territorial Cohesion (Agence nationale de la cohésion des territoires), is in charge of the management of the URBACT programme.

 

The URBACT Joint Secretariat, based in Paris (FR), implements the decisions taken by the Monitoring Committee. The Secretariat designs and delivers activities related to the objectives of the URBACT Programme.

URBACT Secretariat team