Meet the Cities

Meet the Cities

   wednesday 6 may : 16:30-17:45 friday 8 may : 11:45 - 13:00

Dip into the city experience by hearing their stories from first hand perspective on good city practices. Map of the location of the cities will be posted soon.

   wednesday 6 may : 16:30-17:45 

Amersfoort, The Netherlands

The Municipality of Amersfoort considers social innovation as an opportunity to adapt its practices to the society of today. Amersfoort showcases inspiring examples of citizens-driven projects on sustainable food and urban planning and tells stories about changing a city administration towards social innovation.

The city administration is changing towards the empowerment of citizens and social entrepreneurs, working with a horizontal approach and strengthening the innovation capacity of civil servants. It co-develops new modes of collaboration with citizens and invents a new governance posture adapting to the participatory society and to new budgetary constraints.

Keywords: social Innovation, sustainable food

More Info: Sustainable Food Blog; Social Innocation in cities-URBACT Capitalisation; Amersfoort Website in Dutch

Contact: Anne de Feijter

Barcelona.  Spain

Participative process to reach an agreement on permanent innovation of a sector that has already been under renewal for 20 years

Barcelona markets have been under renewal for the last 20 years thanks to a public-private management and investment.  In order to keep its leadership position on food distribution, generation of healthy food habits and sustainability, creation of jobs and maintaining of SMEs, as public space reinforcing social cohesion and creating community sense, about 250 stakeholders from different institutions have debated and reached an agreement to keep working for the markets as drivers of urban, social, economic and sustainable development of the city.

Keywords:  participation, innovation, public-private

More Info: URBACT Markets; Barcelona Markets websiteURBACT Markets Handbook

Contact: Núria Costa Galobart

Tartu, Estonia

The Smart City Lab cluster is designed to create an innovative environment in Tartu which would boost the competitive ability of companies by bringing together businesses, citizens, public authorities, R&D institutes and structures that support innovation.

The cluster focuses on the creation, development (including product development) and exporting of innovative e- and m-services taking in different spheres of urban life. This is a joint project between the city of Tartu, ICT companies and infrastructure companies.

The main areas of the cluster are: 1) intelligent (public) transport, 2) contemporary technical networks and infrastructure, 3) tourism and recreational services, 4) digital TV services, 5) inclusive and effective governance services.

At the URBACT City Festival the city of Tartu will describe the working principles and activities of the cluster, its pilot projects (focusing on the examples from health sector and citizen engagement) and discusses the experiences so far.

Keywords:  smart city, living labs, e- and m-solutions, citizen engagement

More Info: Smart City Lab

Contact: Siim Espenberg

Torrent,  Spain

Torrent has been part of the Roma-NeT I and II where the focus is social and economic inclusion, and improved public services for the Roma population living in the city.  ROMA-NeT stimulated innovative joint planning and started the process of joint working between practitioners. Roma-NeT II and the local URBAN initiative meant ideas have been put into local practice for positive results in Torrent. 

We will share how

  • active participation of the community is critical
  • joint working needs a flexible local support group
  • the benefit of building managing authority links

Keywords: Roma-inclusion, Involvement, partnership

More Info: Torrent info on URBACT WebsiteURBACT Roma-Net Network; URBACT Roma-Net II Network; Torrent URBACT Youtube Channel;Torrent City website in Spanish

Contact: María José Muñoz Pretel

Leeds City Region, United Kingdom

Leeds City Region faced a challenge of 28,000 NEET 18-24 year olds in 2012 and has reduced this to fewer than 11,000 as part of our ‘NEET-free’ ambition.  We are happy to share our successful strategies for boosting jobs for young people by ‘demand-side’ action with businesses as well as ‘supply side’ initiatives with young people.

Keywords: youth, jobs, growth

More Info: Leeds City Region Website

Contact: Sue Cooke

Plunge, Lithuania

Project goal is to develop physical activity for better health and wealth of the residents of Plunge district. There are a lot of initiatives and projects in Lithuania to increase physical activity, most of them initiated by public health specialists and/or trainers of physical activity.  Our initiative is different, since it was started by community representatives, and had with wide involvement of different stakeholders.

Keywords:   active lifestyle, healthy lifestyle

More Info:  Plunge City Website

Contact:  Rasa Jonusiene

Riihimäki, Finland

Experiences of using living labs as a method to engage residents and stakeholders in creating innovative urban solutions.

How can suburbs in less advantaged areas be modernised and socially uplifted by working together with residents and other stakeholders? That is the issue at stake in the research project SUBURBANLAB involving the Finish city of Riihimäki and the holistic redevelopment of Peltosaari, a central 70’s suburb. Urban Living lab methods are developed in order to engage residents and other stakeholders in creating innovative urban solutions with the focus on energy use, decision making and activating residents. Results will be evaluated and compared with the Swedish partners.

Keywords: urban living labs, co-creation, social uplifting 

More Info: Suburban LabRiihimäki Peltosaari in Finish; About JPI Europe

Contact:  Ilari Seitsonen

Fomento San Sebastian, Spain

San Sebastian’s surf cluster is a city-driven cluster, new-generation type of cluster policy that connects apparently unrelated activities around a common theme: surf. The cluster initiative refrains from “picking winners” and opens new opportunities for economic diversification that make use of specific local strengths: gastronomy, hospitality, natural-urban resources, IT-digital competences and engineering skills. This case makes clear that nurturing an economy around a theme or lifestyle requires an integrated platform approach, and involvement of stakeholders and unusual suspects. The findings from this case are also relevant for cities that want to boost innovation in transversal themes rather than specific sectors or technologies.

Keywords: surf innovation cluster

More Info: SurfCity Donostia Suf Cluster

Contact: Maite Ayestaran Vega 

Thessaloniki, Greece

Thessaloniki’s young creative professionals are important to the city but the high youth unemployment affects them as well. The Creativity Platform is a bottom-up initiative aiming to offer opportunities to young creators. It helps them to form partnerships with key actors, to access networking and to capacity building. It acts as an accelerator for job and business creation in the creative economy. Creativity Platform promotes Thessaloniki's creators as the main cultural capital of the city and aims to attract more tourists by introduce them the hidden small treasures of the city.

Keywords: creative economy, youth employment, entrepreneurship

More Info: Creativity Platform; Creativity Platform on Facebook

Contact: Nicholas Karachalis or Popi Sourmaidou

Vilnius,  Lithuania

66 % of population in Lithuania lives in apartment blocks that were built before 1993. The main obstacle to enhancing the renovation process is that 97 % of flats are privately owned. Project Re-Block gave us an opportunity to create an urban vision and action plan for the comprehensive regeneration of the pilot territory in Vilnius, which was built 50 years ago. The focus was on a Soviet era residential district with an aging population, who are resistant to any new initiatives. The creation of the sustainable urban space and contemporary life style - mission impossible?  Let’s see!

Keywords: Long term, Integrated approach, governance

More Info: URBACT Re-Block Network

Contact: Ausra Siciuniene

Hamburg, Germany

Something spectacular has taken place in southern Hamburg, and not only in terms of architecture. Recent events in Wilhelmsburg, Veddel and Harburg Inland Port have shown that urban districts can be developed according to both social and structural needs. But change requires time, ideas, investment, and commitment by citizens. All of these elements have been present on the Elbe Islands and in Harburg Inland Port.

As part of the International Building Exhibition (IBA), the Elbe Islands and Harburg Inland Port became a test bed for urban development and forward-looking living conditions.

Keywords:  cosmopolis, metrozones, cities, climate change

More Info:  IBA Hamburg

Contact:  Kai Michael Dietrich

Varna, Bulgaria

Developing a Strategy for City-University Collaboration

The City of Varna has five universities and six colleges with a total of 35,000 students, many of them coming from foreign countries. The Strategy is aimed at strengthening the international identity of the City and making it attractive for knowledge workers and talented students to live in. The Strategy’s biggest goal is to use the universities as engines of research and innovative entrepreneurship and for re-orienting the local economy from a service-based to knowledge based one as it used to be some 25 years ago.

Keywords:  eunivercities, city-university collaboration, knowledge economy

More Info:  Varna Municipality Website; URBACT EUniverCities Network

Contact:  Lyudmil Ikonomov

Udine, Italy

Exchange experiences on the “Camminamenti” Project – “Move your mind…minds on the move” How would it be possible to enable intergenerational activities to benefit both old and young people?

Choose our “Meet the Cities session” and you will discover the extraordinary experience of the “Camminamenti” Project: an intergenerational programme based on the active engagement of both a group of young students of the University of Udine and lively elderly people. A Project aimed at keeping older people mentally and physically active and living fully their third age as a resource for the community. Four exchange visits in Klaipeda, Brighton & Hove, Edinburgh and Grand-Poitiers offered a precious opportunity to share reciprocal experiences and enlarge our view on the healthy ageing issue.

Keywords:  intergenerational project, active ageing, healthy ageing, cognitive paths

More Info:  URBACT Healthy Ageing Network

Contact:  Fiorenza Deriu

Klaipeda, Lithuania

Transferring good practices: Mapping an Age Friendly City. How can we profit from the experience of another City to create a tool for targeted policy making?

Choose our “Meet the Cities session” and you will record some interesting ideas on mapping the territory of your City to plan future policy measures for a more effective healthy ageing strategy. Building multi-layer maps (GIS – Geographical Informative Systems) you can match the distribution of the elderly on the city territory with the provision of public and non-profit, health and social services. Health maps enable policy makers to identify where services should be implemented in the urban environment.

Keywords:  Health mapping, GIS Geographical Informative Systems, friendly cities, elderly distribution

More Info: URBACT Healthy Ageing Network 

Contact: Nataljia Istomina

York, UK

The City of York (UK) will discuss and showcase the work they are doing on innovation within the municipality and across the city and region. From using open innovation for city challenges to creating skills development programme for council staff to running a hackathon on a train(!) York will be talking about some of their work within the Innovate York programme, including the Genius Open project under URBACT II and the finals of the Bloomberg Philanthropies ‘Mayors Challenge’ 2014 city innovation completion.

Keywords:   innovation, collaboration, co-design

More Info: York City website; URBACT Genius:Open NetworGenius Open videoYork’s open innovation events - video

Contact:  Ian Graham

Delft, the Netherlands

The process of Delft becoming Lead Partner of the EUniverCities project. Once upon a time (in 2012) there was a Mayor in Delft who thought it was a good idea to start a network of medium sized university cities. And so the EUniverCities Network was born. That same year URBACT opened a call for projects. Some of the cities in the network thought it was a good idea to intensify the collaboration and exchange of this network and so the EUniverCities project came to life, with the City of Delft as Lead Partner…

Keywords:  city-university collaboration, lead partner

More Info: URBACT EUniverCities Network;  EUniverCities Network Website

Contact:  Margie Burger or Patrick van Geel

Gdansk, Poland

Gdansk – the cradle of the “Solidarity Movement”, which brought the collapse of soviet totalitarianism in Eastern Europe is now struggling to be the city of social innovation, participative governance and sustainable development. The local administration makes efforts to change itself, share responsibilities with the citizens, give them a say in development planning and influence in decision making.  How did it all start, what has been achieved and what were the roles of city stakeholders in this process? Is 20 years of democracy enough to change the established mechanisms of wielding power and governing the city?

Keywords:  participation,  sharing responsibilities

More Info: Gdansk City Website; URBACT My Generation at Work Network

Contact:  Magdalena Skiba

Fermo, Italy and Burgos, Spain

How to change a city through gastronomy? How to involve a whole city through it? Fermo city in Italy, will explain how they did it, in the framework of the initiative “Tipicità in the city”, following the example of the city of Burgos in Spain.

Simple things with a small budget supported by 3 legs: Chefs, producers and engine events, combined by elements such as: In kind contributions, cooperation…

Would you like to be a Gastronomic City? Join us!

Keywords:  Gastronomy,  tourism, synergies

More Info: URBACT Gastronomic Cities Network; Gastronomic Cities Twitter; Gastronomic Cities Facebook; Gastronomic Cities Flickr  

Contact:  Rocio Rojo and Cristina Frittelloni

EUROCITIES and the city of Birmingham, UK

EUROCITIES is the network of major European cities. Founded in 1986, it brings together over 130 Europe's largest cities from 35 countries.  We would like to showcase how EUROCITIES works to better embed the city dimension in European legislation and policies by using project results. We would like to discuss with you how we could join forces to make your project results last and change EU policies in favour of urban challenges. The city of Birmingham, one of the founders of our network and very active member, will share its experience with you, explaining how EUROCITIES helps them influence policies, and what they get out of city-to-city transnational cooperation.

Keywords:  project results,  capitalization, evidence-based policy making

More Info:  Eurocities Website

Contact:  Nathalie Guri

Dublin, Ireland

This session will set out Dublin City Council’s emerging Smart City Framework. Smart city technologies can help address many of the priority challenges that Dublin faces by delivering more responsive and efficient city services.  This framework allows for greater flexibility for the city to work with universities, entrepreneurs and leading multinationals to co-innovate, test and deploy new urban solutions.  Dublin is positioning itself as a leading city to test and deploy new technologies which in turn open up opportunities for people to invent new things and to test and sell them into an international marketplace.

Keywords:  Smart City, Open Data, Urban Innovation, Internet of Things

Contact:  Jamie Cudden

Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership, UK

BBF & BTVLEPs participation in the URBACT II program through the USEAct network has allowed us to:

·         Establish a public-private sector infrastructure delivery vehicle to enable us to explore how we might secure greater ‘betterment’ to invest in infrastructure development;

·         Establish an Infrastructure Investment Plan to enable a range of partners to agree a common script around our future growth aspirations, needs and wants;

·         Explore how economic and natural environment partners might collaborate on stimulating growth which has a net zero environmental impact

Keywords:  intermediate housing, financial instruments, big data & smart infrastructure

More Info: Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership Website

Contact:  Jim Sims

EUROTOWNS and the cities of Reggio Emilia, Italy and Schiedam, The Netherlands

Who? Eurotowns network: 17 EU cities (between 50.000-250.000 inhab.) & 4 Thematic Task Teams on Mobility, Innovation, Social Inclusion and Culture. Reggio Emilia (IT), a people-centered city; Schiedam (NL), a city looking for social innovation.

What? Eurotowns: 17 Cities sharing ideas and policies to be attractive, inclusive, sustainable places where to live. Reggio Emilia: URBACT to investigate how urban policies shape economic, social and cultural regeneration. Schiedam: URBACT to investigate how active citizenship is related to innovation of the public administration.

Why? Because bringing together different perspectives in city planning and social innovation is not taken for granted, building participation in urban processes is essential.

Keywords:  Eurotowns, urban development, social innovation, participation

More Info: Eurotowns Website; ScheidamDOEN

Contact:  Marianna Roscelli and Leonie Hulshof

 friday 8 may : 11:45 - 13:00

Ghent, Belgium

Ghent, a pocket sized metropolis-city of knowledge and culture with 250.151 inhabitants and a growing student community of more than 70.000 students, living all over the city and hence enveloping the city life. Challenge in city-HEI’s collaboration: how to manage this growth and the balance between all the functions off the city, how to elaborate a long term shared vision and strategy in a sustainable way.

Method: realising a culture and structure of collaboration on an integrated approach (Local Action Plan - 6 working groups: Use and management of public and semi-public spaces/Student and image/Student housing/Mobility/Culture and tourism/Structural cooperation between city and HEI’s).

Keywords: City-HEI’s collaboration, shared vision, students and public spaces

More Info: Visit Ghent; Ghent International; Ghent International Students

Contact: Rogiest Luc or Inge Willemsen

Glasgow, United Kingdom

Roma inclusion is today’s social challenge for Europe.  Glasgow has long been an implementer of social inclusion actions.  But the arrival of Roma from other European cities brought new challenges. Being in Roma-NeT offered essential learning, capacity building and European exposure.  Glasgow has been better able to develop integrated policy and to deliver innovative local practices for Roma.  We will showcase how Glasgow used URBACT/ Roma-NeT involvement as a springboard into other European programmes, to attract other funding and to influence wider policy and practices.

Keywords: connectivity, engagement, innovation

More Info: Glasgow info on URBACT WebsiteURBACT Roma-Net NetworkURBACT Roma-Net II Network; Glasgow City Website; Roma in Glasgow; Roma Matrix; Employability of Roma

Contact: Marie McLelland

London, United Kingdom

If you have visited London then you’ve probably visited one of its historic street markets - Borough, Camden Lock, Portobello, Spitalfields and Columbia are a ‘must see’ in any guide book.  Beyond the guide book a further 200 street markets provide local access to low entry/low risk jobs and enterprise, and access to affordable local goods and services.  In London, as in Europe, markets form part of the very fabric of community, culture, heritage, commerce and place.

However, many of London’s street markets face an uncertain future as they struggle to respond to shifts in shopper behavior, the growth of on-line retail, lack of public investment, and pressure from urban development.  The London URBACT markets project has developed a Local Action Plan analyzing the challenges that markets face and identifying opportunities and setting out proposals for action that seeks to reaffirm London’s markets as places of civic, cultural and commercial value.

Keywords:  strategy, policy, planning

More Info: Sustainable Urban Markets-London Action PlanURBACT Markets

Contact: Owain Jones

Novara, Italy

SANT'AGABIO DISTRICT OF HEALTH AND SUSTAINABLE SCIENCES “Innovation through work, living, housing and well-being”

The objective is a new identity for Novara and Sant'Agabio area, with the aim to network all its development strategies. This «Smart organization» will connect and extend concepts of innovation and well-being even outside the domains of business and industry. Novara Local Action Plan is a well-framed interactive model among education, training, occupation, lifestyles and entrepreneurship aligned with the flourishing opportunities of health and sustainable sciences.

Keywords:  Re-qualification, attractiveness, knowledge-intensive activities

More Info:  Urbact 4D Cities Network

Contact:  Lorenzo Lener

Siracusa, Italy

The City of Siracusa (Sicily, Italy) will be talking about their rapid transformation to an innovative and open city through their experience with the Genius Open project. In just 15 months, the city has turned citizen engagement and participation on its head and now provides a best practice example of using open innovation on a city scale. Coupled with IBM Smart City status and working with disadvantaged neighbourhoods, Siracusa will highlight how they are bringing together a rich cultural history and heritage and fusing it with modern, cutting-edge thinking and practice.

Keywords: Innovation, collaboration, engagement

More Info: Geniusiracusa; Genius:Open Video; URBACT Genius:Open Network

Contact: Caterina Timpanaro

Malmö, Sweden

The Malmö Innovation Platform

The City of Malmö has a long tradition of smart sustainable city development. In collaboration with industry, academia, NGO´s and citizens an innovation platform has been created in the city with the purpose to find new and innovative solutions to city challenges related to environmental and social sustainability. Through the innovation platform the city has made a long term strategic commitment to work with smart sustainable renovation of existing post war city districts and at the same time try to find models to create job opportunities and empower the citizens in these areas.

Keywords:  smart sustainable city development, innovative solutions

More Info: Malmö Innovation PlatformJPI URB@Exp – Second Call

Contact: Christine Olofsson

Magdeburg, Germany

Magdeburg is the capital of the Federal State of Saxony-Anhalt,with two universities .

We want show how URBACT supported the development of a science city there. With the help of the project REDIS we created the basis of city planning for the transformation of an old inland port in a science quarter. Now in the current project EUniverCities we were focused on the content alignment of the new "Science Port". Using medical technology, a new research focus in our city, as an example we will illustrate that the port is an ideal place for technology transfer.

Keywords: city-university collaboration, science quarter

More Info: Magdeburg City Website

Contact: Klaus Puchta

Barakaldo, Spain

Barakaldo's participation in the URBACT II program through the USEAct network has allowed it: 

To IDENTIFY THE CRITICAL POINTS to define any urban regeneration process under the integrated and sustainable urban development principles.

To DEFINE THE METHODOLOGIES AND INDICATORS for urban regeneration analysis with the consensus of all the stakeholders.

To IDENTIFY INNOVATIVE TOOLS inside the European framework to tackle new urban interventions (Financial instruments, Real Estate Investment Trusts, Housing associations, Business Improvement Districts, Public-Private-People-Partnerships & Bottom-up approach).

Keywords:  urban regeneration, methodologies and indicators, financial instruments

More Info: Barakaldo City Website; URBACT USEAct Network

Contact: Alvaro Cerezo Ibarrondo

Formento San Sebastian, Spain

Same info as Wednesday

Leeds, United Kingdom

Same info as Wednesday

Thessaloniki, Greece

Same info as Wednesday

Amersfoort, The Netherlands

Same info as Wednesday

Vilnius,  Lithuania

Same info as Wednesday

Hamburg, Germany

Same info as Wednesday

Gdansk, Poland

Same info as Wednesday

Fermo, Italy and Burgos, Spain

Same info as Wednesday

EUROCITIES and the city of Birmingham, UK

Same info as Wednesday

Dublin, Ireland

Same info as Wednesday

EUROTOWNS and the cities of Reggio Emilia, Italy and Schiedam, The Netherlands

Same info as Wednesday

URBACT is all about Europe’s cities, and the Festival is an ideal opportunity for them to engage face to face. Meet the Cities is a space in the programme for cities to share their experiences with the audience. The idea is to create an ideal space for storytelling, and the opportunity for an intimate exchange with small groups wishing to hear first-hand accounts of how cities have overcome key challenges.