Leer Manifiesto

leARnIng fRom CITIes’ expeRIenCe
JoB geneRATIon foR A JoBless
by Mike Campbell and Alison Partridge with
Ana Suárez Lena, Béla Kézy
and Simona Monica Pascariu
CReATIng The CondITIons
foR sUCCessfUl envIRonmenTAl
by Darinka Czischke and Nils Scheffler
soCIAl InnovATIon: whAT’s BehInd
The CITy sCene?
by François Jégou and Marcelline Bonneau
CApTURIng eConomIC oppoRTUnITIes:
how CAn CITIes CARve oUT new
gRowTh pAThs?
by Willem van Winden and Luís de Carvalho
Editorial Advisory Group:
Eddy Adams
Melody Houk
Sally Kneeshaw
Jenny Koutsomarkou
Emmanuel Moulin
Peter Ramsden
Ivan Tosics
Cover illustration:
Gail Gosschalk- www.lapetitegail.com
Layout and printing: bialec, nancy (France)
Dépôt légal n° 83861 - Septembre 2014
Photo credits:
www.dreamstime.com unless mentioned differently in the text
Copyright © 2014 URBACT II programme
elcome to the fifth and last edition of the URBACT II Tribune!
With this edition, we present the first findings related to four current urban challenges as
identified by URBACT cities and Member States of the URBACT Monitoring Committee.
These Tribune articles are part of a bigger initiative set by the Programme for 2014- 2015 with the objective
to capitalise urban knowledge and practices about:
X new urban economies
X what cities can do to grow jobs for young people
X social innovation in cities
X sustainable regeneration in urban areas
These topics are being explored by four URBACT working groups (workstreams) composed of multidisciplinary stakeholders across
Europe, such as urban practitioners and experts from URBACT, representatives from European universities, European Programmes
(INTERACT, INTERREG IVC, ESPON) and projects, international organisations like OECD, Energy Cities, CECODHAS, Nesta, and many
Altogether under the URBACT auspices, they aim to bring forward good city practices coming from URBACT and beyond, and increase
the knowledge and capacity of urban stakeholders and policy-makers through a series of activities and outputs.
This capitalisation exercise shall bring to an end seven years of work, challenges and achievements and will be part of the legacy left by
the URBACT II programme for the future.
Looking forward, URBACT II will soon leave room to the new URBACT III programme which will be managed by France through the
General Commission for Territorial Equality (Commissariat Général à l’Egalité des Territoires – CGET1), also in charge of coordinating
European funds for 2014-2020.
With a budget increase of approximately 40%, URBACT III has a clear command not only to continue but to carry out new activities in
order to allow cities to develop integrated strategies in a participatory way and to contribute to the targets set by the EU2020 strategy
and the Cohesion Policy.
To do so, URBACT III shall operate around three main pillars related to:
X transnational exchanges among cities (central activity);
X capacity-building for urban practitioners, local elected officials and stakeholders, through national training schemes, summer
universities, workshops;
X capitalisation and communication of knowledge and good practices for local, regional, national and EU policy-makers, through studies,
thematic working groups, conferences, workshops, National URBACT Points and a new interactive website.
What follows in the next pages is just a taste of what is yet to come in some months and years. This transition period for Europe
and URBACT brings along the promise for new opportunities and a better future for our cities and fellow citizens. Stay connected and
take part!
Director for Cities and Urban Cohesion and Deputy General Commissioner for Territorial Equality (France),
Managing Authority of the URBACT Programme
1. http://www.cget.gouv.fr/
leARnIng fRom CITIes’ expeRIenCe
ollowing the success of previous capitalisation activities, the URBACT programme has set up four workstreams (working groups) for
2014-2015 on:
New urban economies
Job Generation: what cities can do to grow jobs for young people
Social innovation in cities
Sustainable regeneration of urban areas
…to bring forward good urban practices and increase the knowledge and capacity of urban policy-makers, experts, elected officials and Mayors
in cities across Europe!
URBACT workstreams build on the contribution of people from URBACT and beyond, in a participative way, through a constant open dialogue,
meetings and debates between “doers” (urban practitioners) and “thinkers” (experts).
Each workstream is led by a coordinator in charge of steering the work, outputs and activities. Together with the workstream core group members
they frame the scope and content, co-produce outputs and activities. During the process, they share and take on board inputs from external
witnesses from URBACT cities and networks, universities, NGOs (i.e.Bioregional), European Territorial Cooperation programmes (ESPON,
INTERACT, INTERREG IVC), European institutions and international organisations (European Commission,CEMR, Energy cities, ICLEI, OECD
LEED, CECODHAS, Young Foundation, DESIS, European Development Agency, NESTA and many others).
What to expect?
This URBACT Tribune
State of the Art (October 2014)
Launch event of workstream activities in Brussels on 8 October 2014
Detailed city cases (November 2014)
Final reports (May 2015)
Videos (May 2015)
Final URBACT II event (Riga 6-8 May 2015)
External events, conferences and workshops
Take part and follow us on:
#NewEcons for New Urban Economies
#YouthInJobs for Job Generation
#SocInn for Social Innovation in Cities
# SustRegen for Sustainable Regeneration of Urban Areas
whAT CAn yoUR CITy do To gRow JoBs foR yoUng people?
By mIke CAmpBell
And AlIson pARTRIdge
Europe is facing a huge youth
employment challenge.
A recovery seems to be in
progress, but it is an uneven one.
What can your city do – the city
practitioners, elected officials
and key stakeholders – to grow
jobs for young people? This is the
central question to be explored in
this article, drawing on the initial
findings of URBACT’s “Job
Generation” workstream. In
particular it focuses on what
cities can do – starting from
today – to better understand the
problem and to better engage
employers and young people in
this critical debate.
What’s the Problem?
70% of Europe’s young people live in cities.
For far too many of these young people their
lives are blighted by not having a decent job,
or not having a job at all.
Some numbers
5.6 million young people, aged 15-241,
in the 28 countries of the European
Union are unemployed. That is nearly
1 in 4 (23%) of all economically active
young people and two and a half times
the adult unemployment rate.
7.5 million young people are not in
education, training or employment
(the so called NEETs), more than 1 in 8
(13%) of all young people.
“Job generation” makes economic and social sense.
Many of those who are in a job could do
with a better job. The European Youth Forum2
has found that 42% of all young people in
work are on temporary contracts. Many are
underemployed (they want to work more
hours than they actually do) or their skills are
underutilised because they are overqualified
for the work they are doing.
A “lost generation”? Millions of lives are
potentially scarred by lack of opportunity, lack
of income and lack of worth, disconnected
from the benefits of living in a prosperous
part of the world, risking economic and
social exclusion throughout life. This is a
waste of talent for the economy and a cost for
society in terms of public services and spending. Eurofound 3 have estimated that the
economic loss alone associated with this
waste of young people amounts to
€153bn, a sum equivalent to 1.2% of the
EU’s total GDP.
So, “job generation” makes economic and
social sense as well as being beneficial for
young people themselves. Cities can turn
these costs of young people’s joblessness
into benefits by helping to power growth
throughout the European Union. More jobs
and better jobs for young people means more
growth and prosperity. This is surely a prize
worth winning.
Job Generation – the
missing piece of the jigsaw
The question is, how can cities grow jobs
for young people? What can you, a city
practitioner or an elected official do – starting
Much action in cities throughout Europe is
devoted to measures to help unemployed
young people access the jobs that do exist,
moving them from welfare to work largely
through “supply side” measures to increase
their employability or increase the incentive to
work by reducing welfare benefits or making
them conditional (so called “active labour
market policy”). Focus on the supply side
does of course have a place but programmes
like the Youth Guarantee4 will stall or fail without more employment or self-employment
opportunities. The truth is that there are not
enough jobs to go round. Young people
cannot all get jobs, decent jobs, sustainable
jobs. What is fundamentally required is more
and better jobs for them to do. This “demand”
side perspective is the focus of our URBACT
capitalisation workstream: JOB GENERATION for a Jobless Generation. It is the
availability of jobs, how well they match
the skills that young people possess, as well
The truth is that there are not enough jobs to go round.
as the behaviour of both employers and
young people, when the former are recruiting
and the latter are searching for work,
which ultimately determines how many and
which young people are employed. It is the
key to success.
The European Council agreed to
establish a Youth Guarantee in April
2013. The guarantee is to ensure that
Member States offer ALL young people
aged up to 25 either a quality job,
continued education, an
apprenticeship or a traineeship, within
four months of leaving formal
education or becoming unemployed.
Member States are allocating
significant national resources to these
schemes and the EU will top-up
national spending through
the European Social Fund 5
and the €6bn Youth Employment
There is much that cities can potentially do to generate jobs. URBACT set
out some ideas on what could be done
to generate more and better jobs in its
2012 report “More Jobs, Better Cities:
A Framework for City Action on Jobs7”.
Applying the framework specifically for
young people, and reviewing the European
level policy and research agenda, leads
us to a wide array of potential action as
set out in the Job Generation State of the
Art report, published in October 2014.
This Framework would suggest that a
series of actions could be taken on
the demand for a city’s goods and services; its economic structure; and its
competitiveness. Action is possible too
on the quality of jobs, on young people’s
mobility and on their skills, especially
in relation to changing labour market
demands. Sound evidence and effective
governance are also important in connecting these actions together and developing a “whole system” approach to youth
Figure 1: A Framework for City Action on Jobs (URBACT, 2012)
JOBS and the
Economic structure
Quality jobs
Labour mobility
JoB geneRATIon foR A JoBless geneRATIon
This is an enormous agenda and we
now wish to focus on “what” should be
done and “how” to actually do it. The
workstream wants to develop practical
ideas, advice and recommendations to
support Europe’s cities in their quest to
grow jobs for young people. Our core group
of experts and practitioners (see below)
reviewed our State of the Art findings and
prioritised two key areas on which the
rest of the work will focus, recognising
where URBACT can add most value to
existing knowledge:
a) Intelligence: A better
understanding of the youth
employment challenge
Without a sound diagnosis, successful
treatment is less likely. Intelligence, analysis
and evidence are the foundation stones of
b) Employer engagement:
Collaboration in tackling
the youth employment challenge
It is employers who create jobs. It is employers
that hire (or fail to hire) young people, that
recruit them to undertake specific jobs
that require a skill set determined by those
same employers. It is employers who pay
the wages, promote the staff or terminate
their contracts.
Young people themselves are also at the
centre of the challenge. It is their skills,
their searching, their requirements that
come together with employers to decide
whether they get a job (or a better job)
or not.
The workstream Core Group firmly believes
that much can be achieved in respect of
Intelligence and Employers. Whilst flexibility
and the ability to tailor action to individual
city needs is important, action on
intelligence and engaging local employers
can often be undertaken and bring value
whatever the local constraints. And in both
sets of cases, if the focus is to reform
existing practice rather than additional
spending; if we treat the process as a
journey, a series of steps that can be taken
over time, or indeed as an opportunity to
innovate and do things differently – rather
than doing more things – then progress is
indeed possible.
Scope for city action
We recognise that not all cities, in all
countries in the European Union, either
have all the resource (because of austerity
measures or low levels of revenue), the local
assets, or all the powers and responsibilities
(because of the centralisation of employment
policy) that would enable them to adopt a
comprehensive, wide ranging strategy for
youth employment. Margins of manoeuvre
may also be limited by capacity and
capability constraints. Indeed, even where
resources, responsibilities and capability
allow, this is not an easy or straightforward
task. Yet, there are many cities that aim to
do so and many that are achieving a great
deal in creating opportunities for young
There are also those who believe that little
can be achieved by cities in any case,
because the youth employment challenge is
so great, so extensive and so large in scale, a
“structural issue”, if you like. This is a counsel
of despair and an excuse for inaction or failure. It is also not true for two sets of
First, there are opportunities. We are
moving from recession to recovery to growth,
all be it unevenly and slowly. Jobs are, and will
be, created. There are likely to be a net additional 7 million jobs created in the EU in the
period to 2020 according to CEDEFOP’s8
forecasts. Indeed, there are likely to be around
80 million job openings as people retire and
otherwise leave the labour market.
X Second, in any case the scale and intractability of the youth “un” employment challenge is often over/mis-stated. The actual
proportion of young people unemployed in
the EU is not the 23% often referred to, nor
is it 53% in Spain – these are the unemployment rates amongst economically active
young people (many are in full time education and not economically active). The true
proportion of young people in the EU who
are unemployed (the so called “youth unemployment ratio”) is 9% and the figure for
Spain is 20%. A severe problem but not as
intractably large as sometimes articulated.
Furthermore, in some countries and in some
cities in the EU, the youth unemployment
ratio is much lower e.g. 6% in Belgium, the
Czech Republic and the Netherlands and
just 5% in Austria and 4% in Germany.
So, high youth unemployment is not inevitable. It can be defeated. “Job Generation”
is possible.
Can cities make a difference? URBACT believes they can!
So, what can cities do and
how can your city do it?
We have promoted two key areas on which
the remainder of our work will focus: building
better intelligence to achieve greater understanding of the youth employment challenge,
and creating stronger employer engagement,
including with young people themselves.
Intelligence: A better
understanding of the youth
Cities really need to first of all get to grips with
understanding more precisely and specifically
the youth employment challenge itself in their
particular city. So, start with a stocktake.
Then this can be checked against what cities
need to know if they are to devise effective
actions and attempt to fill the gap between
the two. They need to know about both
jobs, the demand side, and the characteristics of the young unemployed. For
What jobs do young people currently work
X What jobs are being created, which sectors
and occupations are they in? Where are they?
X What skills and qualifications are employers
looking for?
Cities need, above all, to “engage” with employers,
those who do or could recruit more young people into jobs.
As a minimum we should find out about their needs, their .
In many localities employers will have vacancies they find
hard to fill whilst at the same time young people
are unemployed. These skills mismatches can be identified
and tackled.
X Who are the unemployed young people?
Are they low skilled, are they graduates?
X How do their skills “match” with the skills
that employers, the economy and wider
society needs (now and in the future)?
Much can be done with limited resources
here. Existing information from multiple
sources can be pooled and analysed and
employers can be surveyed to identify their
needs and priorities. The URBACT ESIMeC
Skills Forecasting tool and manual 9 gives
some hints and tips on how to do this at city
level. My Generation at Work10 has also
done interesting work on the changing
nature (the “hybridisation”) of jobs and skills
and the effect this could have on youth
But it is not just a question of skills forecasting.
More developed action could include:
X a regular representative survey of young
X a focus on the key sub groups of young
X the establishment of a “permanent” facility
with a representative group of employers, the
Box 1 – Extract from the ESIMeC Skills Forecasting Manual
(Oxford Economics, 2012)
Skills forecasting can be an effective way to gain an in-depth picture of the current and
future skills needs of employers to assess skills shortages at city level. By providing
intelligence and data, it can also be an effective tool to influence policy making and training
provision, as well as influencing inward investment and economic growth within cities.
Skills forecasting not only involves collecting and analysing data but also requires a
dialogue with employers to collect qualitative information that a tool in itself cannot
produce. As such, skills forecasting can help establish and develop positive relationships
between the municipality and local employers. It shows the municipality is committed to
supporting the private sector to fill the skills gap locally which benefits both the local
economy and population.
local chamber of commerce, inward investors
or developers and;
X detailed projections and forecasts of
employment; horizon scanning and scenario
development to examine the changing shape
of the labour market.
Employer Engagement
Cities need, above all, to “engage” with
employers, those who do or could recruit
more young people into jobs. As a minimum
we should find out about their needs,
their plans and priorities. In many localities
employers will have vacancies they find hard
to fill whilst at the same time young people
are unemployed. These skills mismatches
can be identified (as above) and tackled.
Swedbank’s Young Jobs initiative is an interesting example of how one employer is
taking the initiative by engaging with young
people, cities and public employment services to create the workforce of the future.
Box 2 – Young Jobs – Swedbank in Stockholm, Gävle and other
cities (Sweden)
Swedbank started its Young Jobs programme in 2009 in cooperation with the national
public employment office. The initiative is a structured internship programme which offers
90-day positions to young people to help them gain work experience, references and that
much needed line on their CV. It is a national programme which is adapted to the local
context. The bank’s clients are also encouraged to use the model.
One of the main success factors is said to be the “speed meetings” which the bank
organises between young people and its clients. This is seen to be the vital first step in
breaking down some of the attitudinal barriers and enables the companies and young
people to get to know each other. The scheme also contributes to diversity in the workforce
and brings a new and fresh perspective to Swedbank’s activity.
Some numbers
X Over 6,000 internships have taken place.
X More than 5,000 of these are with the bank’s clients rather than the
bank itself.
X 40% of the internships have led to employment.
“Those people who do get a job would never have been employed
without Young Jobs. They simply would not have made it to interview.
We would never have met them and they are great”. Linda Förare,
moRe InfoRmATIon
Gävle is a partner in the URBACT ESIMeC11 network and Stockholm in
the URBACT EVUE12 network
What can your city do today?
As well as bringing a fresh perspective to business activities,
work placements, internships and apprenticeships give
employers an opportunity to test potential job candidates in
a real work environment and over a significant duration.
Employers, young people and cities benefit. Do you have
large employers in your city who are interested in the youth
employment challenge? What would make them interested?
Do they have clients or suppliers who might also be
interested? Could the city itself lead by example?
Identify your large employers today. Consider what might
motivate them to replicate the Young Jobs model.
Arrange a meeting between them, the city and the public
employment service.
Box 3 – Five things businesses can do; Three reasons to do
them; One positive outcome, Leeds (UK)
Leeds is located in the middle of the UK and has a diverse population of over 750,000.
Like so many European cities Leeds has a rich industrial history and suffered with the
decline of manufacturing. Now it has a thriving financial and professional services sector
and is one of the fastest growing cities in the UK. The city region is a functional economic
area, defined by how the city’s businesses operate and how residents live their lives.
The “five-three-one” campaign, led by the Local Enterprise Partnership, was born out
of desire to stimulate economic growth. It quite simply sets out:
Five things businesses can do
X Develop a skilled workforce.
X Mentor a budding entrepreneur.
X Build links with education.
X Offer work placements.
X Offer an apprenticeship.
Three reasons to do them
Better business performance.
X More productivity and profits.
X Businesses are more likely to succeed.
One positive outcome
X Our economy grows.
Through the Local Enterprise Partnership, businesses are offered hassle free support to
take on an apprentice, offer a work placement, mentor a new business, develop the skills
of individuals or the workforce and build links with education. The campaign helps to boost
local growth.
Some numbers
X 333 companies have signed up to support the campaign.
X Over 35 new apprenticeships have been generated.
X At least 10 new businesses have launched.
X Over 4,000 volunteering hours have been pledged linking with education.
X Economic value of up to €8.75m to the regional economy, delivered on an annual
budget of €6,250.
Businesses engage for a variety of reasons: investing in skills and training is one of the
best ways to improve productivity, reduce recruitment costs and help prepare for the
future; Mentoring helps to strengthen company reputation, generate new ideas and build
new business relationships.
“There is always something you can get out of it – and I don’t think that businesses need to
be shy about thinking ‘what’s in this for us?’ If you lead with that then you end up with a
much more sustainable action.” Charlie Denham, Sustainability Manager, Premier
Farnell (distributor of electronics components and industrial products based in Leeds)
moRe InfoRmATIon
But it is about more. Cities should listen to
employers. We can build bridges between
the worlds of education and work. We can
open a “dialogue” between schools, colleges
and universities on the one hand and
employers on the other, so we can get a
better alignment between labour market
requirements and young people’s needs.
This is a potential win/win for all concerned.
In turn, this could significantly improve
information, advice and counselling services
for young people and encourage employers
to recruit more local young people. The
5-3-1 campaign in Leeds (UK) is a great
example of how one city has developed a
constructive dialogue with businesses to
support economic growth. This example will
be the subject of a detailed case study which
will be published in 2015 as part of URBACT’s
capitalisation work.
This dialogue could also be a challenge to
employers, to find out what needs to be
done to encourage them to recruit more
young people, offer apprenticeships, provide
work experience and to provide input to the
curriculum, especially in vocational training.
How can they be encouraged to offer better
quality jobs with career progression
opportunities, better contracts and higher
pay? What might motivate them to use
young entrepreneurs as suppliers? More
broadly it offers an opportunity to develop
their relationship with other key
stakeholders in the city – education
providers, public authorities and young
people themselves. This can help build trust,
better mutual understanding and a
consensus on action to grow youth
employment. It can also help to build
relations between employers themselves,
encouraging collaborative action and
network development (e.g. along sector
Leeds is a partner in the URBACT 4D13 Cities network
What can your city do today?
5:3:1 makes business sense and is not expensive
to deliver. Does your city have a business forum
where you could share it? Does it fit within your city
strategy? Are there opportunities to replicate this
model in your city? Make a call today to arrange an
initial discussion. Get employers around a table.
We should also remember that city administrations themselves are employers and can
help directly to exploit the job creation opportunities for young people, as the example of
Cadiz in Spain illustrates (see box below).
The employer dialogue should be further
widened and deepened by involving
young people themselves, so creating a
“triangle” between them, employers and
city stakeholders. This could not only
improve mutual understanding but can
help to change attitudes, and behaviour,
of the three sets of partners in such a
way as to get a closer alignment of their
respective requirements. It may also
“spark” greater innovation in, and
commitment to, any actions taken. The
establishment, development and sustainability of such partnerships could be a major
feature of city action. In Alba Iulia (Romania),
the city has extensive plans to maximise
the impact of the Youth Guarantee initiative
through the establishment of the Active
Youth House which will promote such partnership and dialogue in the field of jobs
and employment (see box next page).
Box 4 – Growing jobs from public projects, Cadiz (Spain)
Located in the south of Spain, with a (shrinking) population of around 120,000 Cadiz has
one of the highest levels of youth unemployment in the EU with more than half of its young
people out of work.
One of the projects which has helped both the city economy and its young people in recent
years is called Workshop Schools, funded by the Region of Andalucia. Municipalities, not
for profit organisations and public bodies are asked to propose public projects which can
be used to provide paid on-the-job training and work experience programmes. Most of the
projects are in sectors where there is evidence of high demand for skills by employers and
the focus is on the sustainable economy. What results is a win-win situation where public
projects are developed, jobs are created and young people gain invaluable skills and
Some Numbers
X Since 2010 at regional level 1,900 jobs have been created (project managers, trainers,
support staff etc).
X Over 8,000 young people have benefitted of which at least 30% have
gone on to sustainable jobs in their host employers.
X 58 “workshop schools” were established and projects completed.
“Workshop Schools are an alternative for the education in specific
specialisations and to connect their participants with the labour market,
opening new possibilities to access a job” Manuel Prado, Councillor of
Training and Employment, Town Council of San Fernando, Cádiz
moRe InfoRmATIon
What can your city do today?
Workshop Schools offer a good value option for delivery
of public projects and benefit both the employer and the
young person. In the same way, public procurement can be
used to promote youth employment. Do you know what your
city is procuring in the coming 1-3-5 years? Are there
opportunities to introduce clauses to encourage suppliers to
employ young people or offer work experience placements?
Contact your procurement team today to find out.
JoB geneRATIon foR A JoBless geneRATIon
Box 5 – Alba Iulia, Romania
Investing in young people, investing in our future
Alba Iulia is a medium-sized Romanian city with a population of 67,000. While some traditional industry remains, there are
limited economic opportunities and the tourism sector is seen to offer most potential. Seeking to ensure quality jobs for
young people, Alba Iulia has focused its efforts on four main pillars:
X promoting sound economic development through urban regeneration and touristic revival of the historic city centre;
X increasing the qualifications of young people (needed in the labour market) and supporting immediate youth
employment by enterprises;
X initiating and facilitating a dialogue between enterprises, university and skilled young people to jointly develop the city;
X bringing together the demand and the supply side of the labour market through annual Job fairs for young graduates,
coordinated by the University in partnership with the Labour Office Alba and the Commerce of Chamber.
One of the two pilot projects of the Youth Guarantee scheme in Romania will be implemented in Alba Iulia (2014-2020).
Its main objective is to increase the employability of 2,500 persons aged 16 to 24. One of the flagship initiatives is the
Active Youth Regional House Alba which started in July 2014. This will host training courses,
and provide professional advice and guidance for young people seeking to start a business.
What can your city
It will broker 200 apprenticeships with the support of employers and offer a monthly grant to
supplement the minimum wage offered by businesses where appropriate. More than 20
do today?
programmes and internships for 500 young entrepreneurs are planned offering support with
A sizeable amount of money from
the development of business plans as well as financial assistance. An online employment
sources, the European
platform will be developed to hold information on the labour market, vacancies and training
(2014-2020) and the
opportunities and match these with the needs of young people.
European Youth Employment
The city believes this is a great opportunity to better engage employers and guarantee young
Initiative is ringfenced for the Youth
people high quality and sustainable employment or self employment. The integrated
Guarantee. Do you know how it will
programme is expected to result in 300 young people finding a stable job, as well as the
be used in your country, region or
creation of at least 100 new businesses.
city? Have you considered what cities
could do to try and turn it into a jobs
moRe InfoRmATIon
guarantee? Are employers effectively
engaged? Why not contact your
and www.facebook.com/garantiipentrutineri
youth guarantee coordinator15
Alba Iulia is a partner in the URBACT City Logo14 network
to find out more.
Cities can therefore learn from each other. Interesting, innovative and effective actions
can be relevant to other cities. They can be identified and often transferred, albeit in adapted
form to suit local circumstances. Ideas are nearly always valuable, if only to challenge
existing ways of thinking.
Next Steps
The bottom line is this. Youth employment
is a serious issue in your city. It cannot be
ignored. Tackling it effectively is a priority and
it brings economic and societal gains. You
can do something about it, indeed you can do
quite a lot about it, whatever your resource
base and room for manoeuvre.
Despite differences between cities across the
EU, there are many similarities too, in both the
youth employment challenge and how it can
be addressed. Cities can therefore learn
from each other. Interesting, innovative and
effective actions can be relevant to other
cities. They can be identified and often transferred, albeit in adapted form to suit local circumstances. Ideas are nearly always valuable,
if only to challenge existing ways of thinking.
Take Cadiz in Spain, for example, where the
city is working closely with the region of
Andalucia to exploit the job creation opportunities of public projects for young people.
This URBACT workstream focuses especially
on better understanding the nature of the problem, so as to devise better and more effective actions, and employer engagement,
perhaps the key part of city action that is least
developed but most needed. It can therefore
help in your task.
We have already completed our State of the
Art document available on www.urbact.eu.
We have recently held our first “evidence
hearing” in Paris at the OECD. At city level
we have piloted a “City Jobs Forum” in
Nyíregyháza, Hungary, bringing together
employers, young people and city stakeholders to explore the challenges outlined here
and come up with potential solutions. We will
hold a second hearing in October in Brussels,
bringing together our “triangle” of employers,
cities and young people at EU level to reflect
on key issues and engage in a structured
dialogue to identify potential key actions
that cities can take to grow jobs for young
We will also be holding a series of interviews
with a range of people and our core group of
experts and practitioners will be meeting to
discuss the hearings, interviews and contributing further their own experiences and
know how. Such pooling of knowledge and
experience will, we hope, lead to the development of practical recommendations on what
cities can do, what your city can do, to grow
jobs for young people. We also hope that our
work will inform the 2014-2020 European
Cohesion Policy within the framework of the
Europe 2020 Jobs and Growth agenda. Our
findings will be launched with a final report
at the URBACT II final event in Riga on
6-8 May 2015.
In the meantime, do get in touch. Follow us
on Twitter, with the hashtag #YouthInJobs
and for blogs and other updates go to the
URBACT website.
(1) Statistics generally use a definition of 18-24 years
old to define “young people”. However, it is important to
note that the working definition varies enormously
across Europe and often extends to 30 years of age.
(2) http://www.youthforum.org/
(3) http://www.eurofound.europa.eu/
(4) http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1094&
(5) http://ec.europa.eu/esf/
(6) http://ec.europa.eu/social/
(7) Cities of Tomorrow-Action Today, URBACT II
Capitalisation, More Jobs: Better Cities – A Framework
for City Action on Jobs (Mike Campbell and Alison
Partridge) http://urbact.eu/en/urbact-capitalisation
(8) www.cedefop.europa.eu/
(9) http://urbact.eu/uploads/tx_projectsresults
(10) http://urbact.eu/fileadmin/Projects/My_
(11) http://urbact.eu/en/projects/innovation-creativity/
Workstream coordinator:
• Alison Partridge, Director Aurora
European Services, Lead Expert of the
Core group members:
• Jonathan Barr, OECD LEED Forum
• Mike Campbell, Independent Labour
Market Expert
• Béla Kézy, Thematic expert
of the URBACT ROMANET network
• Jenna Norman, Intern, Aurora
European Services
• Ana Suárez Lena, CEEI (European
Business and Innovation Centre) in Cadiz
(12) http://urbact.eu/fr/projects/low-carbon-urbanenvironments/evue/homepage/
(13) http://urbact.eu/fr/projects/innovationcreativity/4d-cities/homepage/
(14) http://urbact.eu/fr/projects/metropolitangovernance/citylogo/homepage/
(15) http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=1079
or direct link: file:///C:/DOCUME~1/JKOUTS~1/
foR moRe InfoRmATIon
Follow us on www.urbact.eu and on
Twitter @URBACT #YouthInJobs
By dARInkA CzIsChke And nIls sCheffleR
Against the backdrop of climate change, cities are facing increasing environmental challenges
that threaten the quality of life and opportunities that urban environments can offer to their residents.
These challenges tend to affect those living in deprived urban areas most acutely due to a variety
of factors, such as unhealthy living environments, lack of green areas, derelict/unhealthy residential stock,
local authorities with fewer resources to tackle these issues vis-à-vis other priorities, etc.
Hence, environmental problems in cities have to be regarded in relation to social challenges.
he URBACT workstream “Sustainable regeneration of urban areas”
will look at these challenges and the
solutions that cities have applied to
tackle them through environmental interventions. We will put a particular emphasis on
innovative low-carbon and energy efficiency
In this article we focus on two key conditions
that are necessary to achieve successful environmental regeneration practices, namely:
integrating local environmental regeneration
actions within wider spatial and administrative
structures, and the need for societal and political commitment to achieve a long-term
vision for sustainability. In addition, we will
look at how these conditions can be created
in practice through the example of a specific
policy field: food systems and low carbon
practices in cities.
Integrating local
environmental regeneration
actions within wider spatial
and administrative
There is a wide range of interventions aiming
to deal with the environmental aspects of
urban regeneration, such as the minimisation
of required inputs of energy, water and food
waste, heat, air pollution (CO2, methane, etc.)
The integration of different policy tools across spatial and
administrative levels (vertical integration) and across policy
fields (horizontal integration) can achieve the full potential
of sustainable regeneration of urban areas.
and water pollution, amongst others. However,
it is crucial to consider that only the integration of different policy tools across spatial and
administrative levels (vertical integration) and
across policy fields (horizontal integration)
can achieve the full potential of sustainable
regeneration of urban areas.
Figure 1 shows different types of environmental interventions that can help achieve
sustainable urban regeneration at different
administrative/spatial levels. It is important to
consider both the potential and the limitations
of each level of intervention and its connections with other levels so as to achieve coordination and synergies amongst them.
While these types of measures may be technically efficient and achieve results with
regards to specific objectives, the integrated
sustainability of urban areas requires going
beyond piecemeal, exclusively physical
approaches. Technical environmental solutions necessitate their integration within
institutions and social networks. One way of
doing this is through a “footprint” approach to
urban regeneration. Simply put, a footprint
Figure 1: Fields and types of environmental interventions and level of implementation in
urban areas
Type of intervention
Spatial-administrative level
Renewable energy sources
Region, City
Zero or nearly-zero energy buildings.
City, Area
Methods to reduce the need for cooling
City, Area
Energy conservation systems/devices
City, Area
Stronger city-regional food supply chains and agricultural plots
within the city
Region, City, Area
Xeriscaping (garden and landscape design for water
City, Area
Green roofs
City, Area
Sustainable transport
Region, City, Area
Solutions to limit urban sprawl
Region, City, Area
Urban Form
Optimal range of building densities and typologies to respond
to different climatic conditions
City, Area
Sustainable urban drainage systems
City, Area
Agriculture and
urban greening
approach gives a relative measure of resource
use across different sectors at local level,
which is extrapolated to the global level. It
then relates global resource use to the ecological limits of the planet.
An example of how the footprint approach
can be applied to the field of urban regeneration is the One Planet Communities programme developed by BioRegional1. This
uses 10 guiding principles (see figure 2 next
page) as a framework to help cities examine
the sustainability challenges they face and
develop appropriate solutions. By applying
the principles at the design, construction and
long-term management stages of a development it should be possible to create places
where it is easy, attractive and affordable for
people to live within a fair share of our planet’s
The principles of ecological footprinting
have been integrated in concrete regeneration initiatives, such as in the case of “Heart
of Hackbridge” regeneration (see case box 1
next page). BioRegional developed and led a
partnership bid to the Mayor’s Outer London
Fund to prepare the suburban local centre of
Hackbridge for the challenges it will face over
the coming years. The latter include major
redevelopment of surrounding brownfield
sites, and its new role as a district centre in
the retail hierarchy of south London.
Technical environmental
solutions necessitate their
integration within
institutions and social
networks. One way
of doing this is through
a “footprint” approach
to urban regeneration.
This condition requires a change of behaviour
underpinned with a coherent set of values.
These relate to the second key condition for
successful urban environmental interventions, which we will present in the next point.
CReATIng The CondITIons foR sUCCessfUl envIRonmenTAl InTeRvenTIons
Figure 2: The 10 One Planet principles
Making buildings more energy efficient and
delivering all energy with renewable technologies.
Reducing waste, reusing where possible,
and ultimately sending zero waste to landfill.
Case box 1
“Heart of Hackbridge” regeneration –
Hackbridge, London Borough of Sutton:
Preparing a suburban centre for the impacts
and opportunities of major redevelopment
Overseen by a local stakeholder Project Board and working across the ten One Planet
Living principles (see figure 2), BioRegional delivered a socio-economic regeneration
programme including:
Local economic development, working with 23 existing local traders to diversify
their offer to prepare for the competitive challenges associated with an emerging district
Sustainable business operations, including south London’s first MSC-certified fish &
chip shop, a solar-powered coffee van, and a healthier and more family-friendly menu
in the local cafe.
Encouraging low carbon modes of transport to
reduce emissions, reducing the need to travel.
Using sustainable healthy products, with low
embodied energy, sourced locally, made from
renewable or waste resources.
Choosing low impact, local, seasonal and organic
diets and reducing food waste.
Using water more efficiently in buildings and in the
products we buy; tackling local flooding and water
course pollution.
Protecting and restoring biodiversity and natural
habitats through appropriate land use and
integration into the built environment.
Reviving local identity and wisdom; supporting
and participating in the arts.
Creating bioregional economies that support
fair employment, inclusive communities and
international fair trade.
Encouraging active, sociable, meaningful lives to
promote good health and well being.
Source: www.oneplanetcommunities.org
Community development, including running family events and facilitating a local
business network.
This was underpinned with a co-ordinated programme of high-impact low-cost
environmental improvements, including:
Safer highway layout, narrowing the main carriageways and junction, with new informal
pedestrian crossing points.
X Transformation of the street setting, by widening of pavements and installing new trees,
seats, cycle facilities, rain-gardens, wayfinding, shopfronts and signage.
X Creation of a new “Pocket Park”, providing a positive new entrance to the Beddington
Farmlands and emerging Wandle Valley Regional Park.
The outcomes of the project will be monitored in Summer 2014, but are expected
to include safer roads, greater footfall and greater patronage of local businesses.
Already 5 new jobs have been created in local businesses, and two new businesses have
started up.
Key facts
Project Funder: Mayor of London (OLF) Sutton Council.
Project Partners: BioRegional, Sutton Council, Adams & Sutherland, Civic Engineers,
Retail Revival.
Capital / Programme Value: £1.1m / £510k.
Project Inception / Duration: April 2012 / 2 years.
Committed citizens, engaged
politicians: a vision for the long
environmental aspirations at the centre of
these initiatives and to have a long-term
political engagement to a green vision for
their city.
Even the best technical solutions to environmental problems are not enough if institutions
and citizens are not committed to behave
sustainably in the long term. Thus, the commitment of citizens to environmental values
and the engagement of politicians with the
latter are crucial aspects to achieve a
successful long-term “green” vision in a city
or neighbourhood. The cases of Hamburg
(Germany) (case box 2) and Växjö (Sweden)
(case box 3) illustrate a long term political
commitment to put residents and their
The city of Hamburg is renowned by its
strong commitment to environmental sustainability as well as the showcase of a number
of sustainable urban regeneration initiatives.
The IBA (International building exhibition)
Wilhelmsburg in Hamburg has created an
impetus for sustainable, environmentally
friendly, and socially balanced urban development in a problematic area over a period
of 8 years in an innovative, sustainable way.
Hamburg was also European Green Capital
in 2011. This award credited Hamburg
Even the best technical
solutions to environmental
problems are not enough
if institutions
and citizens are
not committed
to behave sustainably
in the long term.
with combining comprehensive approaches,
policy – commitment and the necessary funding needed to resolve these challenges. On
the whole, the city has shown a sustained
integrated and participative planning strategy and a strong commitment towards a
“green” vision.
IBA Hamburg Credits IBA Hamburg GmbH Aufwind Luftbilder.
Case box 2 – IBA Hamburg Participation council
The intention of the International building exhibition Hamburg
2006-2013 (IBA Hamburg; http://www.iba-hamburg.de/en/iba-inenglish.html) was to devise and implement projects to create an
impetus for sustainable, environmentally friendly, and socially
balanced urban development in a social deprived neighbourhood:
the Europe’s largest river island, Wilhelmsburg.
In order to involve the residents of the Elbe island in the process of
planning and realising of the IBA Hamburg and the “international
horticultural show 2013” (igs 2013), an own committee for civic
participation was established, supplementing the already existing
advisory boards for the Elbinsel area and its redevelopment.
The committee consisted of 24 residents and 8 politicians.
To become a member it was required to live or work on the Elbe
island. Membership was restricted to two years to ensure that more
citizens could take an active part in the participation council.
Participation council. © IBA Hamburg GmbH, Bente Stachowske.
The committee supported the mutual information exchange
between all persons involved in the entire process. The residents’
knowledge and experience were to help form an opinion regarding
all relevant matters and decisions of IBA and igs.
Until the end of 2012, the committee held meetings every month,
giving to each of the 70 IBA projects a statement, to which the IBA
Hamburg and igs had to correspond how they will deal with the
statement. In addition the participation council wrote 10 petitions to
the IBA Hamburg and igs. At the beginning of each meeting the IBA
Hamburg informed on the state of the planning and implementation
of projects. As a rule, all meetings were open to the public.
For supporting and counseling services the IBA Hamburg provided
a certain amount of funds to the participation council.
The participation council was supplemented by various citizens
dialogue events.
CReATIng The CondITIons foR sUCCessfUl envIRonmenTAl InTeRvenTIons
Case box 3 – Växjö, the Greenest City in Europe, both a vision and ambition
The measures within sustainable
development, with focus on the
environment, in the City of Växjö started in
the 70s with the restoration of lakes. In the
beginning of the 1980’s Växjö Energy Ltd
started using bio-fuel in order to make
district heating. Later, in 1993, the City
Council approved the adoption of an
environmental policy towards long-term
sustainable development. In the same year,
the city committed to extensive education in
sustainable development for 6,000
municipal employees.
The City of Växjö created the Fossil Fuel
Free Växjö programme in 1996. The
programme consists of different activities,
for instance bio-mass-based district
heating, energy efficient building or
construction, energy efficient street
lightning, environmental friendly cars
and biogas production. The share of
renewable energy is today more than
56 percent. The City of Växjö was the first
municipality to commit to be free from fossil
fuel by the year 2030. The latest
environmental programme was adopted by
the City Council in 2010 and covers
environmental policy on long and shortterm targets. Subjects considered include
consumption and waste; nature,
biodiversity and lakes; energy and
transport. The Agenda 21 Strategy also
concerns the planning of new residential
areas, mentioned as “Sustainable Housing”,
being constructed according to ecological
and economic sustainability.
On 17 June 2014, the Växjö City Council
approved a new revised environmental
programme for the municipality. The
environmental programme contains
Over several decades, the city of Växjö
has implemented numerous environmental
actions. The high environmental standards
and political commitment to sustainability of
the city of Växjö achieved international recognition and visibility in 2007, when the British
BBC described Växjö as “The Greenest City
in Europe”.
Cities across Europe are beginning to think
about the impact of their local policies on
Three big new challenges lie ahead:
X Energy efficiency improvements and
renovation of existing buildings.
X Transportation system.
X The water quality in the lakes.
Sources: http://www.vaxjo.se/sustainable; Hajdari,
Valmira (2012) “A Sustainable City of Växjö: A study in
policy-making”. Lund University.
The food sector alone
accounts for over 30%
of global consumer
energy demand
and produce
over 20% of global
gas emissions
(FAO 2011).
The city’s environmental work has become an
important, if not crucial and fundamental part
of the city’s brand. “We must show that the
City of Växjö is a city with vision, a good city
to live in, a great city to start a business and
expand in. (…) The City of Växjö has perhaps
Sweden’s most ambitious environmental programme. More and more cities luckily follow
our example and it gives us both a boost
competition and inspiration but we continue
to be a role model”, has said Anna Tenje, local
politician responsible for environmental policy
in Växjö.
Tackling low carbon and
resource efficiency through
integrated sustainable
urban regeneration: the
case of urban food systems
visionary objectives for the 2030 and
measurable goals until 2020. It is also
broadening and deepening the
environmental work in the municipality. In
addition to continuous reduction of fossil
carbon emissions, the city now also aims to
work on toxins and chemicals through a
chemical plan as well as make
kindergartens and schools free of chemicals
and toxins.
consumer energy demand and produce over
20% of global greenhouse gas emissions
(FAO 2011).
food production and consumption. In the
built environment the proportion of our
energy use accounted for in construction is
often overestimated because of the widespread use of production-based statistics
that are nationally contained. If instead
we look at a consumption-based approach,
we get a different picture. The food sector
alone accounts for over 30% of global
The examples of the URBACT networks
URBACT Markets (case box 4) and
“Sustainable Food in Urban Communities”
(case box 5) provide useful ideas of how to
use the potential of local small business
and community actors across the production
and consumption chains to change habits
and practices towards more environmental
sustainable patterns. If these practices would
be taken on by a larger number of cities, the
accumulated effect would make a considerable impact for a more sustainable urban
Case box 4 – Markets improving the role of the food system to introduce low carbon practices,
London, partner in the URBACT Markets network
In London, partner of the URBACT Markets
network, a few markets such as Borough
market have successfully developed waste
strategies, and encourage recycling
and composting and reduction of non
recyclable / non biodegradable packaging.
The London farmers’ markets association
adheres to the “rules” set out by the UK
Farmers’ Retail and Markets Association,
leading to the accreditation of a market as
farmer market. One of the criteria is the
goods that are sold in farmers markets in
London must be raised, grown, produced,
gathered, caught, or baked within 100
miles of the M25 (“the Region”). There
are actually 13 accredited farmers’
markets in London.
New Covent Garden Markets (a wholesale
market in London) actively look to help
people “back haul” when delivering
produce to retail markets. This means that
they broker relationships between small
producers/ growers and freight delivery
companies and promote consolidation of
As we can see from both examples, and in
particular, through the case of urban food
markets, this field can bring together a variety
of environmental interventions at local level
while connecting these to wider spatial levels.
deliveries. NCMA will work with them and
map permit data to identify haulers within
10 miles radius and then encourage them
to make contact with these haulers.
Similarly local street traders that buy
regularly from the wholesale market are
encouraged to develop a consolidated
buying group based on a cluster of local
food businesses and then to buy in bulk
– thereby achieving better value for money,
improving logistics and reducing the
number of journeys.
On a much smaller scale, Marky Markets is
an individual who takes orders from small
food companies and restaurants and then
buys from large wholesale markets using
public transport and hired electric vehicles.
He works out of a pub in Soho, London!
New Covent Garden Market also has a
Schools Project to increase young people’s
understanding of the food supply chain and
give children direct experience of growing
food. Working in partnership with
Wandsworth Council,
it combined farm visits, visits
to the wholesale market and
a sustainable gardening
competition in schools.
moRe InfoRmATIon ABoUT
URBAn mARkeTs As dRIveR
of low CARBon And loCAl
sUpply CAn Be foUnd
on The UBRACT mARkeTs
Borough market, London. © Nils Scheffler.
For example, waste reduction strategies have
an impact on cleaner, healthier local environments while contributing to overall waste
reduction at urban and regional level.
Recycling and composting can achieve similar
impacts. Improving logistics through more
rational planning of transport of goods to be
sold in markets (i.e. consolidation and clustering) can also help reduce traffic and hence
improve air and noise quality at local level.
Case box 5 – The URBACT network “Sustainable Food in Urban Communities”:
Developing low-carbon and resource-efficient urban food systems
This URBACT network focuses on developing low-carbon and
resource-efficient urban food systems. The urban population tends
to be out of touch with agricultural production, and the city food
culture increasingly moves towards fast food, processed foods,
distributed by large centralised supermarket chains that are not
rooted in the life of city neighbourhoods. Many consumers,
especially, those with low incomes, eat too little fruit and
vegetables because of the cost but also because it is not part of
their culture and habits. The current food system cannot meet
growing food demand of cities’ sustainably. It results in significant
environmental impacts, but also social inequity in terms of access
to balanced and affordable nutritious food in cities. The network
focuses on:
X GROWING fruit and vegetable in the city, in gardens, in parks,
on rooftops, on balconies, on derelict lands etc., safeguarding &
improving fertility of lands.
DELIVERING food stuffs in a more sustainable and less carbon
intensive way.
X ENJOYING more sustainable food (local products, without
pesticides, seasonal and fresh products, etc.) while improving
diets (reducing the share of animal protein and processed
foods), using products that meet environmental and
sustainability criteria (certification), and preventing waste
(food and its packaging).
Key facts
Lead partner: Brussels Capital Region
Other partner cities: Bristol, Amersfoort, Athens, Messina, Ourense,
Oslo, Lyon, Gothenburg, Vaslui
moRe InfoRmATIon
CReATIng The CondITIons foR sUCCessfUl envIRonmenTAl InTeRvenTIons
In this article we have highlighted the
importance of creating the right conditions
for successful environmental interventions
in local regeneration practices. Through
concrete examples from cities across Europe,
we illustrated how two of these conditions
can be achieved: first, the integration of local
environmental actions within wider spatial
and administrative levels (vertical integration),
and second, the long-term commitment of
citizens and politicians to a long-term “green
planning and regeneration has a key role to
play in this, as seen through the examples
shown in this article.
In the remainder of the workstream we will
continue to identify good examples of environmental interventions that meet social
needs and/or overcome social problems and
explore some of them in more depth through
case studies.
On the first condition, we showed that a footprint approach can be a useful way to integrate local environmental actions within
higher policy levels. The example of
Hackbridge regeneration in London embodies this approach through a concerted
approach involving a variety of local stakeholders in the process.
The second condition is tightly linked to the
first, as the examples of Hamburg and Vaxjo
showed: the successful integration of environmental actions across spatial and administrative levels is underpinned by a constant
commitment from citizens and politicians to
Last but not least, we showed that both
conditions can be integrated in practice, looking at a specific policy field: food production
and consumption chains. These are one of
the most intensive CO2 producers, and cities
can do a great deal to reduce it. Urban
(1) BioRegional is an entrepreneurial charity which
establishes sustainable businesses and works with
partners around the world to demonstrate that a
sustainable future can be easy, attractive and affordable. Their approach is called One Planet Living. For
more information see: http://www.bioregional.com/
WS coordinator:
• Darinka Czischke, Director at
DCConsulting and Guest researcher
at Delft University of Technology
WS core group members:
• Conor Moloney, Bioregional
• Nils Scheffler, Lead Expert of the
URBACT Markets network
• Nuria Costa, City of Barcelona, Lead
Partner of the URBACT Markets network
• Brigitte Grandt, City of Duisburg, Lead
Partner of the URBACT REGGOV
• Ivan Tosics, URBACT Thematic Pole
• Sorcha Edwards, CECODHAS Housing
• Francesca Froy, OECD LEED
• Axelle Griffon, CEMR/Reference
Framework for Sustainable Cities
• Stephanie Mantell, Brussels
Environment, Lead Partner of the
URBACT Sustainable Food in Urban
Communities network
• Giorgia Rambelli, ICLEI
• Sander Scheurwater, RICS Europe
• Peter Schilken, Energy-Cities
• Maria Yeroyianni, DG Research and
foR moRe InfoRmATIon
Follow us on www.urbact.eu and on
Twitter @URBACT # SustRegen
whAT´s BehInd
The CITy sCene?
By fRAnçoIs JegoU
And mARCellIne BonneAU
Cities increasingly face multiple
and wicked issues and have fewer
resources to tackle them.
The traditional governance model
struggles to address these issues
and its limits reveal the need for a new
governance culture. This article comes
from the URBACT workstream “Social innovation in cities” and investigates the way social innovation
has been catalysed in some cities together with a governance structural change, based on integrated,
participatory and co-production approaches.
A challenging context
Cities face more and more complex and
deep-rooted social, economic and environmental issues. Demographic decline, threats
to economic development and competitiveness, growing social polarisation, climate
change and the depletion of natural
resources are amongst the most striking.
At the same time, their finances have also
been affected by the crisis, often cited as a
Perfect Storm of rising needs and declining
Some cities have found that, more and more,
they cannot address these issues by doing
what they have done in the past through traditional models of governance. The focus
around single organisational or agency remits,
relying on the deployment of resources over
which leaders and managers have direct
authority, and the rigidity of this top-down
governance models have had their limits
exposed. Consequently, there is a growing
acknowledgment in many cities that new
governance models are required.
As such, social innovation, intended here as
new value creation models mainly based on
human talents and resources is a means to
problem-solving and solutions identification,
aligned to the implementation of new governance processes in cities. Its characteristics
are collaboration and empowerment of all
involved stakeholders, and the use of new
tools such as IT and online resources. The
previous URBACT workstream on Social
innovation and Youth identified that cities
need to evolve new services alongside their
citizens by becoming catalysts and innovation brokers. That workstream underlined the
need for new leadership models and the
implementation of appropriate ecosystems
supporting social innovation.
Social innovation has indeed been used in
some cities worldwide, and includes cases
which are now internationally recognised as
being effective in trying out new approaches
to solving problems. The city of Medellin in
Colombia is one of these examples: long
known for high inequalities and crime rates,
the city became an award-winner for its innovation and urban design. It has transformed
its urban and social landscape, the first step
of which was the construction of a Metrocable
integrating isolated neighbourhoods into the
remainder of the city. It has also regenerated
some urban areas, recovered public spaces
and built cultural and education infrastructures: these are believed to be key to the city’s
transformation and the enabler of citizens’
Social innovation, intended here as new value creation
models mainly based on human talents and resources
is a means to problem-solving and solutions identification,
aligned to the implementation of new governance
processes in cities.
increased participation in urban life. As a
result, the city has become safer, less polluted, with less traffic, and greater social
Seoul, in South Korea, is another example.
Since his election in 2011 (and 2014 reelection), Seoul’s mayor Won Soon Park has
encouraged citizen participation and an
atmosphere of open dialogue: for his initial
election campaign he used social media to
communicate and listen to the needs of the
citizens. As a mayor he developed a multichannel platform to communicate openly
about policy-making processes, enabling
citizens to provide feedback on a real-time
basis. This involved institutions created for
the social activities of the city directly under
his office (the Social Innovation Bureau and
the Public Communication Bureau). He has
also encouraged social enterprises that use
innovative methods to tackle social problems,
and has expanded collaboration between
government, the private sector and civil
Through cross-sector innovation, Seoul is
involving all stakeholders, for example
Social innovation can be used to effectively address urban
issues, with little economic resources and enhanced
democratic participation.
X The Simincheong, located in Seoul City
Hall: a “speaker’s corner” for anyone who
wants to send a video message to the city
X The Hope Institute’s civil creative programmes: where citizens’ ideas are turned
into policies.
X The Seoul Innovation Planning Division:
to showcase initiatives of social innovation
in cities around the world and research how
to apply them in the local context.
This approach has enabled the city to create
large social achievements in a relatively short
time in a large and complex city, while also
maximising the city’s resources and budget.
What these two examples show is that social
innovation can be used to effectively address
urban issues, with little economic resources
and enhanced democratic participation.
However, these examples should not hide the
fact that many city authorities are still “feeling
their way” and trying to adapt their approach
to problem solving. Not all cities are confident
and comfortable about a governance change
and the URBACT programme is playing a key
role in relation to this: it fosters exchange of
practices for improved sustainable management of cities and provides the baseline for
collaboration and the sharing of fresh thinking
on common problems. At a time when there
are increasing EU resources to support social
innovation activity, URBACT’s role is particularly valuable. This workstream is part of
this approach.
What lies behind the practices of cities using
social innovation? What does that imply in
terms of local governance? How do municipal governments adjust their functioning,
organisation and culture? What new roles
should municipalities assume and which
spaces should they create? These are some
of the questions we seek to address in this
Engaging administration
staff and stakeholders
One way of using social innovation in city
governance has been in increasing “participation”. Participation in city governance,
indeed, has been promoted for many years to
different extents: through consultations or the
development of ad hoc activities where administration staff, citizens or stakeholders could
feel that they were not only informed but also
heard. Some cities have innovated in going
beyond simple participatory processes
towards more elaborated approaches to
engage stakeholders.
Some cities have
innovated in going beyond
simple participatory
processes towards more
elaborated approaches to
engage stakeholders.
Seoul’s Mayor Won Soon Park approach to city governance. © Eddy Adams.
soCIAl InnovATIon
This should first start with the city administration itself. Moving away from a hierarchical
decision-making and problem-solving system, some municipalities have opened up the
policy process to their staff, outside the strictly
political level. They have developed holistic
approaches and methodology in order to
ensure that for a given problem, staff can
learn from experiences of other sectors,
enhance their knowledge, and move from
problems to solutions.
This has been the experience of Malmö, in
Sweden, in the healthcare and elderly care
sectors. Discussions and exchanges brought
together civil servants and politicians: the
variety of perspectives coming from the different fields of work of participants enriched
the dialogue, design and implementation of
local policies for elderly. As a result, the working approach has been adopted by other
levels of government and the administration
of Malmo South is currently running more
innovative projects for elderly compared to
other city areas.
Integrated and systemic approaches have
also led to learning across sectors. The municipality of Gdansk, in Poland, has been successful in creating a working group defining
the agenda for education. When dealing with
education and social issues, the municipality
acknowledged the need for transversal
policy-making: “deprived areas, preparation
of pupils and students for adulthood and the
job market, the adaptation of schools not only
to the highly changing needs of the schoolchildren, but to the whole local community,
where inhabitants can find their place and
become more active”, as mentioned by Piotr
Kowalczuk from the city of Gdansk. As such,
an informal think-tank was created 5 years
ago: 15 civil servants worked over 2 years on
the definition of common values, on converting the social aid into a social development
policy and working on a cultural change process to integrate citizens and stakeholders’
perspectives into governance.
This process led to a shift in the integration of
citizens in problem solving. Also, in policy
terms, education became a top priority for the
city from 2012 onwards and some of the
members of the think-tank were integrated
into the city administration staff.
There are many cities like Gdansk that have
involved citizens and stakeholders in the
design and implementation of new services.
This requires creating new synergies between
administration and stakeholders, sharing and
benefiting from each others’ experiences,
URBACT TOGETHER2 network and co-responsibility of actors
From 2010 to 2013, 8 European cities within the framework of the URBACT TOGETHER
network have promoted the idea of co-responsibility of actors (public authorities,
companies, associations, citizens, etc.) in order to ensure well-being for all and to avoid
situations of exclusion. The network was successful in using a methodology – SPIRAL,
developed by the Council of Europe based on material criteria (such as monetary ones)
and immaterial (such as attitudes and images and prejudices) criteria to define paths
towards the well-being of all3 – where the service users took responsibility for and helped
to shape and organise the service that they themselves use.
During focus groups, participants, coming from all spheres of society, assessed what they
considered “well-being” and “ill-being”. Municipalities kept an open-minded approach,
allowing ideas to arise instead of pre-defining existing problems and solutions, shedding
light on the concerns of citizens, from a multidimensional perspective. The replies served
as the basis for pilot actions in each partner city.
Each municipality had a different experience of citizens’ involvement; however, at the end
of the project they all presented their approaches to integrating co-responsibility in their
future actions, one step further.
In Mulhouse, France, this approach led to a multi-party social contract, whereby families
receiving social benefits commit to a programme of activity which they co-designed
themselves. In Kavala, Greece, a Social Pharmacy centre was created drawing on the
wider engagement of professionals in offering a new type of health service accessible to
the broader public. There was a high focus on the poorest sections of the population.
A last example is that of D¤bica, Poland, where the project consolidated a pre-existing
large scale scheme involving citizens through workshops and seminars, which had
an impact on the wider development of the town strategy and saw the emergence
of public-private partnerships.
as well as cooperating on concrete projects,
sharing tasks and responsibilities.
Through cooperation and co-creation, and
up to co-responsibility, a whole new system
has come to life in some cities, making a
“micro-society” in itself, a working and more
sustainable system within the wider society.
Furthermore, beyond connecting stakeholders from different and separate arenas,
some public authorities have tried to settle
relationships between them, at the same time
embedding social and environmental values.
This has been the aim of the URBACT
TOGETHER network which has addressed
cities’ challenges from the identification of
needs from citizens themselves at the same
time empowering them in the implementation
of solutions (see box above).
Brokering between
stakeholders in the city
In order to ensure an efficient and working
integration of all relevant stakeholders in city
governance, some cities had to adapt their
role, and sometimes extend their competencies. In particular, it has been proven crucial
not only to bring stakeholders together but
A broker, ensures
the function of mediator
between two parties.
In a city, it requires
organising a complex set
of activities, which go
beyond the usual practices
of the administration.
also to stimulate relationships and initiate new
partnerships. As such, some civil servants
have played an active role as “brokers”. As
stated in the How can cities support young
people through social innovation? (URBACT
Tribune 2012), the function of the “trusted
broker” is pivotal in establishing relationships
based on trust, between all stakeholders.
A broker, ensures the function of mediator
between two parties. In a city, it requires organising a complex set of activities, which go
beyond the usual practices of the administration. One key feature is match-making
between stakeholders: civil servants need to
identify stakeholders, connect them and
ensure that a form of cooperation can arise.
Creating shared spaces
and ways to engage
and innovate
In adapting their role to new urban realities,
some cities have gone beyond the usual
structures for problem-solving, such as meetings, to provide a space for experimentation
with innovative solutions. In these cities the
administration is not solely responsible for
identifying and implementing solutions. While
retaining this final responsibility it has created
space for other actors to bring new ideas and
facilitate their implementation.
Working as “Real Food Broker” at the market for regional products, Amersfoort.
© Mr. Cor Holtackers
Other features are the need to animate and
use specific tools, which requires a proactive
role in the field with stakeholders. Ensuring
that the brokering role is efficient in turn
demands developing specific soft and hard
skills (i.e. from empathy to forms of public
entrepreneurship), as well as adapting to a
new working method (i.e. fostering partnerships without breaking into the expected
neutrality of the public sector). Our research
indicates that dedicated training in these new
competences is crucial.
One of the platforms enabling this brokerage function has been the Local Support
Groups set up within the URBACT programme, where partner cities commit
themselves to listening to and liaising with
stakeholders, and co-produce solutions
towards the generation of more efficient
and strategic Local Action Plans (LAP)4.
As part of the URBACT Sustainable Food
in Urban Communities network, the City
of Amersfoort went beyond the group’s
stakeholders to expand with regular
and frequent interactions with citizens
and stakeholders, integrating them more
actively in city governance and ensuring
matchmaking for the development of
projects (see box below).
One example has been the use of procurements such as competitions, calls and others
to orient and stimulate innovation. Not only
does this create new opportunities, but it also
widens the administration’s service providers.
In light of this, some cities have experimented
with complementary forms of participative
contributions such as competitions. In the
case of the city of Barcelona, in Spain,
the BCN Open Challenge has sought to
improve the efficiency of procurement decisions, and to allow small entrepreneurs to be
part of this process and to implement their
innovative solutions to various urban issues
(see box next page).
Another approach has been to step away
from traditional governance building on
expertise, planning and forecasting and to
seek new and innovative, “out of the box”
solutions with the help of user-driven or
community-driven innovation specialists such
as designers, supporting civil servants directly
involved in the process. In this regard, some
cities have set up Public Innovation Labs or
Public Innovation Places which serve as
Amersfoort’s broker role – partner in the URBACT Sustainable Food in Urban Communities5
The administration of the City of Amersfoort
(The Netherlands) has adopted a new
governance approach “letting go” more
often and favouring the collaboration with
citizens and stakeholders over the
traditional top-down command and control
method. The administration has also given
groups of citizens the responsibility to find
and implement solutions for some key
societal issues such as health care.
One of the goals of the administration is to
support city initiatives to get started or
scaled up. This is only possible through a
systematic matchmaking process between
stakeholders and a strong networking
activity: through meetings, attendance at
public events and presence within the
community such as during local food
markets. As such, the administration
focuses heavily on connecting initiatives
with the government of the city and
communicating on the projects.
The city has launched this work on specific
topics, such as food, health care and
welfare or city maintenance, as well as
working transversally on general city
governance issues. In the food sector, it has
for example a large experience of working
on the accessibility of food in the city,
community gardens, natural playing fields
and educational gardens, especially
enhanced by the Local Support Group on
sustainable food.
Through networking and matchmaking,
the city ensures that projects arising for
the created connections can be
implemented in a fully independent way.
This results in a better knowledge and
integration of all parties in city governance
which is also made possible thanks to the
reactivity of the municipality when support
is needed.
soCIAl InnovATIon
BCN Open challenge (Barcelona)6
Public labs
A survey amongst 54 global cities7 show that less than 10% of cities accept unsolicited
proposals for new solutions coming from small enterprises.
The labs seek to create an alternative
environment in order to boost the
reflection outside of usual boundaries in:
setting up an atmosphere of trust and
true cooperation, re-interrogating and
investigating the classical way of
addressing societal challenges, working
directly in immersion with users,
simulating, testing on the ground and
creating prototypes of new solutions,
through a trial and error process.
BCN Open challenge attempts to invert this trend and to guarantee space for small
companies to innovate in the city. As an international call, it seeks to procure innovative
and sustainable solutions to transform both public services and places in Barcelona.
It is organised by the Barcelona city council and a supporting company, Citymart.
Six social issues should be tackled in the proposed solutions: reducing bicycle thefts in
the city, empowering support systems to reduce social isolation, monitoring pedestrian
flows in the city, tools for digitisation of museum and archive collections, automatic
detection and alerts of damaged road surfaces, and empowering local retail trough
The prize of the BNC Open Challenge is a direct commitment to contract the six winning
Through this competition, the city of Barcelona seeks to make the process of procurement
decisions more cost-efficient, transparent, and allowing small entrepreneurs to be part of
this process and to implement their innovative solutions. It seeks to allow small
entrepreneurs to be part of this process and implement their innovative solutions.
The winners will be announced by the end of 2014.
action-research oriented and experimentation-based areas for the exploration of
problems and the identification of solutions
(see box on public labs).
Some cities have also set up online collaborative platforms linking residents, companies
and academics for exchanging ideas. These
can also be a space for developing systematic solutions for solving city challenges. The
city of York, in the UK, for example, has animated an open innovation platform to generate ideas and solutions in network on social
problems of the city. It is currently piloting the
transfer of this approach to other cities of
the URBACT Genius: Open network, Tallinn
(Estonia), Siracusa (Italy) and San Sebastian
The space for experimentation also includes
those usually dedicated to economic innovation such as incubators: outside the administration and with limited interference with the
way they usually function, resources, skills
and expertise are brought together to identify
solutions to societal needs.
These are far enough from the market
and from public institutions to become an
“experimentation-based forward-looking
zone” and a “do-tank” for traditional
public and private institutions. These labs
can be focusing on a method or a
technology (interdisciplinary teams;
design-driven approach, action-research,
etc.), on a specific topic (e.g. education,
health, youths), in or outside the system,
working directly or indirectly, together or
in opposition with public authorities, they
can be very small or very large (small cell
to some dozens of people)8.
In those labs, civil servants, supported
by interdisciplinary and creative teams,
review and test policies, on the basis
of bottom-up, usage-based and
community centred approaches,
with a particular focus on design
Public lab. © Strategic Design Scenarios.
Finally, experimentation can also take place in
public spaces and open air where a maximum number of citizens can be attained:
these can be outside the usual boundaries
of organized public or virtual spaces, for
example at street markets, during public
events or through project visits. In a complex
realm of actions, URBACT networks such as
“Placemaking” are also designing what they
call a “living lab’ where end-users can cocreate any public place, and partners
intend to be flagships of developing urban
renewal projects with efficient participatory
Conclusion: Towards a new
governance culture
Through a few examples we can see that the
integration of social innovation implies a shift
from command and control to brokering
and engagement between all players, stimulating social initiatives and creativity within the
public sector. In the cases observed here, city
governance has become less directive and
more participative and co-produces with
stakeholders and communities.
This clearly means that some cities’ governance model has been disrupted. Where
does this disruption come from? It seems
that in some cases, the drivers for these
changes come from the top: an explicit leadership shift seems to be crucial to ignite the
process and drive culture change. In other
cities the drive is more bottom up, from civil
servants themselves or civil society. In any
case, this culture change has been enabled
with the upcoming of a new city ecosystem,
creating the space for and re-envisaging the
relationships between all actors.
For sure, addressing existing city challenges
with the use of social innovation requires a
culture change: this includes building the
capacity of all involved actors, including the
development of adequate skills, attitudes,
and mentality.
Leaders need to adjust their strategies,
adopt new positions and act as a “chef d’orchestre”: listening to stakeholders, animating
the local governing system, playing the role of
interpreters between local players, translating
between different players and cultural languages, raising mutual interests and synergies, and, building a culture of trust.
Leaders should also be ready to go beyond
their comfort zones, take risks, experiment
and be prepared to learn from (unavoidable)
This URBACT workstream will investigate further those questions through case studies,
chat sessions, meetings and a final report to
be published early 2015.
Although it is crucial for each municipality to
generate ideas, it is also key to create synergies and mutualise on existing ones. As such,
we are keen on sharing with and drawing
from experiences from all relevant actors: city
administrators, urban planners as well as
experts. Our website presents the information
the workstream has gathered so far and is
(aligned with the principles of social innovation outlined here) a platform open to your
(1) For more information, see URBACT blog on
Medellin: http://www.blog.urbact.eu/2014/04/
(2) http://urbact.eu/fr/projects/quality-sustainableliving/together/homepage/
(3) SPIRAL methodology: https://wikispiral.org
(4) A specific edition of the URBACT Tribune in
August 2011 made an overview and analysis of LSGs
and the integrated and co-production journeys,
highlighting the benefits for city governance and policy
making: http://urbact.eu/fileadmin/general_library/
(5) http://urbact.eu/fr/projects/low-carbon-urbanenvironments/sustainable-food-in-urban-communities/
(6) http://bcnopenchallenge.org/
(7) http://bcnopenchallenge.org/a-model-partnershipnew-version/
(8) Labs for System Change: deslabos qui veulent
changer le système: http://blog.la27eregion.fr/
(9) A network of these Public Innovation Labs has been
developed among: MindLab and the city of
Copenhagen, MaRS and the city of Toronto,
27e Région in France, The Studio and the city of Dublin,
Izone & Public Policy Lab and the city of New York,
Innovative SF and the city of San Francisco, Kennisland
and the city of Amsterdam, Laboratorio para la ciudad
and the city of Mexico, TACSI and the city of Adelaide.
(10) http://www.sustainable-everyday-project.net/
Workstream coordinators:
• François Jégou, Strategic Design
Scenarios, Workstream Director,
Lead Expert of the URBACT Sustainable
Food in Urban Communities network
• Marcelline Bonneau, Strategic Design
Scenarios, Workstream Coordinator
• Virginia Tassinari, Strategic Design
Scenarios, Workstream Expert
Core Group Members:
• Anne de Feijter, City of Amersfoort,
partner in the URBACT Sustainable Food
in Urban Communities network
• Matt Gott, Lead Expert of the URBACT
Genius Open network
• Per Anders Hillgren, Malmö University
• Ezio Manzini, DESIS Network (Design
for Social Innovation and Sustainability)
• Fabio Sgaragli, Fondazione Giacomo
• Edina Vadivocs, GreenDependent
• Eddy Adams, URBACT Thematic Pole
Appointed witnesses:
• Filippo Addarii, Young Foundation
• Raffaele Barbato, URBACT Secretariat
• Lia Boume, City of Amersfoort, partner
in the URBACT Sustainable Food in
Urban Communities network
• Fiorenza Deriu, Lead Expert of the
URBACT Healthy Ageing network
• Tricia Hackett, The Young Foundation
• City Mayor Furio Honsell, City of
Udine, Lead Partner of the URBACT
Healthy Ageing network
• Steve Mariott, City of Bristol,
partner in the URBACT Sustainable Food
in Urban Communities network
• Anna Meroni, DESIS/Department
of Design of Politecnico di Milano
• Stefania Pascut, Lead Partner
of the URBACT Healthy Ageing network
• Levente Polyak, Lead partner
of the URBACT TUTUR network
• Martin Synkule, European
Development Agency
foR moRe InfoRmATIon
Follow us on www.urbact.eu and
on Twitter @URBACT #SocInn
how CAn CITIes CARve
oUT new gRowTh pAThs?
By wIllem vAn wInden
And lUís de CARvAlho
European cities are confronted
with a rapidly changing economy.
The crisis has destroyed
jobs across both service
and manufacturing industries,
and has revealed the shakiness
of the financial service sector.
Jobs get lost, some businesses
become obsolete, but at the
same time, new growth areas
are emerging. In this dynamic
economic landscape, some
of the questions the URBACT
workstream “New Urban
Economies” explores are: what
is the scope of action for cities
to steer their economy? Should
cities “sit and wait” for changes
to come and affect them, or is
there room for pro-active urban
policy to grasp emerging
opportunities? If so, what
is in their scope for action?
How to act in a sustainable/
integrated way?
t has become clear now that many “traditional” tools to boost the urban economy
have become out-dated or are not (cost)
effective. Recipes such as investing in
large landmark projects (new Guggenheims,
big stadiums), generous fiscal incentives, or
smokestack chasing (blindly attracting companies and investments from outside) are not
very effective. Rather, cities should go for an
“indigenous” approach: building on existing
qualities and assets, mobilising companies
and citizens to innovate, and to engage in the
discovery of promising new specialisations.
Local economic policy should not start from
scratch and bet on silver bullets, but rather
find clever ways to marry local traditions
with new growth opportunities. This is
also the philosophy behind “smart specialisation”, a recent innovation policy concept to
accomplish the EU2020 agenda.
The URBACT workstream “new urban economies” has been set up to examine the new
economic opportunities in Europe’s cities,
and to search for adequate policy actions
and organisational setups to “translate”
them into smart, sustainable and inclusive
urban growth. The workstream brings
together “thinkers and doers” (academics,
elected representatives, practitioners, policy
Local economic policy
should not start from
scratch and bet on silver
bullets, but rather find
clever ways to marry local
traditions with new growth
receivers, etc.), to jointly reflect and build on
a new generation of integrated urban policies.
In the workstream, we adopt a concept of the
“resilient city”, in which stakeholders, in a
concerted way, are able to respond adequately to key challenges and external developments, building on the cities’ identity and
competences, and without compromising
weaker groups (inclusion) and future generations (sustainability).
In this article, we present some first insights
from our workstream’s activities. We focus on
three potential growth areas that are relevant
for cities across Europe, and discuss how
cities may act upon them. The first (and by
far most important and pervasive one) is the
digital economy. The ongoing IT and digital
revolution produces a range of new economic
activities and business opportunities and may
fuel the urban economic engine. But also, it
disrupts existing industries, and destroys jobs
and companies that fail to adapt. What is the
scope for urban action in this very dynamic
field? A second growth area results from the
emerging green economy: cities are tackling
environmental challenges, and this gives rise
to a range of new and promising green innovations and business opportunities in cities.
How can green efforts bring new economic
growth and jobs for cities? Third, we will discuss the health & care economy: what options
are open to cities to capture growth opportunities resulting from increased spending on
health and innovations in medical technology,
e-health services and biotech?
We are also interested in the question how
cities can identify and capture emerging
opportunities, and how can they harness
firms and citizens to do so. For each of the
emerging growth fields, we will provide some
examples of active and adequate city responses. What new governance models
and platforms are emerging? We end with
some first conclusions resulting from the
The digital economy
The digital economy is the quintessential
new urban economic driver. It includes,
among others, software design and programming, platform development, cloud
computing, data analytics, the “app” economy, geo-location and sensor technologies, as well as digital media, gaming and
content production activities, combining
engineering skills with symbolic content production. The field is characterised by very
rapid innovation and fast obsolescence, and
its ability to enable innovation and productivity increases across multiple industries. The
digital economy is a source of new jobs, but
destroys many existing ones. Of the three
potential growth areas we discuss in this
article, this is by far the most pervasive and
disruptive one. How does it impact on cities,
and how can cities respond and capture
The digital economy is the
quintessential new urban
economic driver.
First of all, the digital economy is a cradle
of new entrepreneurship. Large numbers of
new firms and jobs are created, especially in
app development, social media and software
development. Places like Stockholm, London,
Dublin, or Barcelona are buzzing with young
people creating new businesses – often starting with little more than a laptop and a good
idea. It’s not just big cities that benefit: many
medium-sized cities have thriving start-up
scenes as well. Especially cities with a technical university are attracting and developing
“tech talent”, which is the source of entrepreneurship. Examples are Tampere, Eindhoven
or Aarhus. Another interesting case is Cluj,
Romania, where a successful IT cluster emerged around the technical university.
Local tech-communities don’t typically look
for local government support: they are largely
self-organising, thriving on informal networks.
Nevertheless, cities can promote digital entrepreneurship in several ways:
Provide particular types of infrastructure
(wifi in public places, experimentation spaces);
ultrafast broadband is particularly important
for the development of some IT-digital businesses, but is hardly provided by the market.
CApTURIng eConomIC oppoRTUnITIes
X Supporting incubators: spaces where
prospective entrepreneurs can receive all
sorts of support – financial, administrative,
business networks – to set up and scale up
their venture.
located close to the university. It is home to
several IT research institutes, leading IT firms
and an incubator. Led by the city, the stakeholders are developing and branding the area
as innovation district for IT activity.
X Buying from start-ups: cities are large purchasers of digital services, and may decide
not always to procure from the “safe” large
established corporate vendors but give startups a chance. Naturally, this requires changes
in tendering regulations.
The digital economy is not just creating new
types of businesses and jobs: perhaps even
more importantly, it is transforming (and
sometimes disrupting) existing industries.
From the consumer perspective, new technology is changing the way people shop (e.g.
online shops), book accommodation (online
platforms like Booking.com; accommodation
sharing via AirBnB); use cars (Snappcar) or
fund projects (Kickstarter). Online business
models have fundamentally altered – and still
are altering – the music industry, advertising,
banking. To quote a recent study by Niesr1,
“the reality is that the digital economy has
spread into every sector, from architecture
firms whose activities have become almost
entirely digital to machine tool manufacturers
who now use huge online data-processing
facilities to monitor every aspect of their
Engage with the tech community: cities
may “crowdsource” / invite tech communities
to develop useful city apps, through app
contests or “hackathons”, for example by
giving access to municipal databases (“open
data” initiatives). An example of this is taking
place in Dublin, where the City Council has
been curating city data (from the local government and beyond) in order to unleash new
innovations that can be relevant to tackle
city´s challenges (e.g. transport, planning,
water management), whether by large corporations or small start-ups.
urban economy. Online sales are showing
double-digit growth figures, even in times of
recession (in 2013, online retailing in Europe
grew by a weighted average of 21%2), with
deep impacts for shopping streets and malls
in every city in Europe: demand for “traditional” retail space will decrease in many retail
segments, while new online or “bricks and
mortar” models (combining physical and web
presence) emerge. A key question in our
workstream is how European cities (their
citizens, companies, leaders) can prepare for
more disruption? How to ensure that all
citizens – not just the young and tech-savvy
ones – are included in the digital society?
How to harness retailers or traditional SMEs
that are threatened by new online
A number of options are open for European
cities to promote the urban digital
Encourage ICT firms to engage with local
schools or disadvantaged communities.
Promote new combinations of digital technology and other urban sectors (arts & culture,
health care, tourism, sports, etc).
Related with the previous, cities can steer
events and facilitate new networks between
traditional firms and informal tech-digital
communities, with an eye to foster new
business opportunities.
Developing and “branding” specific urban
quarters as hotbeds of digital entrepreneurship: a good example is the “IT City
Katrinebjerg”. This neighbourhood in Aarhus
(partner in the URBACT REDIS network) is
The digital economy is a source of innovation, but also poses challenges to a lot of
traditional companies in cities. Early victims were video rental firms and travel agencies, outcompeted by on-line business
models; online banking replaced the bank
offices around the corner. More recently,
hotels and taxi businesses feel the heat of
brand new peer-to-peer platforms. Major
changes are underway in the retail business
– a very important and visible segment of any
Open data in Dublin: Dublinked
In some cases, an unconventional organisation is needed to achieve unconventional
results. The Studio in Dublin is a key example.
“The Studio” is a recently established ”innovation team” within Dublin City Council (DCC).
Its job is to generate and prototype new solutions by engaging municipal staff and citizens
using design-thinking tools. The team consists of designers, planners, librarians,
architects, among others. They invite municipal staff from multiple levels in the joint
pursuit of new ideas and prototypes for old problems.
A key achievement of The Studio was the launch of Dublinked – the city´s open data
initiative (focused on nurturing new IT and digital innovation opportunities in the city).
The Studio played a crucial role to open up municipal data sets (the raw material
for the initiative), coming from different municipal departments. The Studio team managed
to convince them to participate. Not an easy job: municipal departments tend to be
reluctant to share “their” data sets with others. So how did they achieve this ?
The Studio was also key to link up the City Council with communities of innovators working
with open data, such as companies, universities and users. Last but not least, the Studio
facilitated the day-to-day connection between DCC and other municipalities in Greater
Dublin region, who teamed up to form Dublinked as metropolitan initiative and release
a higher (and more relevant) number of datasets from the early beginning.
Help traditional companies (especially
SMEs) to adopt digital technologies, or let
them help each other by facilitating peerlearning networks.
Set up training schemes to equip citizens
with digital skills.
Promoting the urban digital economy is a
multi-faceted challenge, and requires new
urban management competences and organisations. Leading cities in Europe are experimenting with new ways of working and have
set up unconventional organisations that are
better able to do the job. Manchester (UK),
a reference city in this field, created the
“Manchester Digital Development Agency”,
a publicly owned organisation that develops
a number of projects with a wide range of partners. One of its key aims is to put in place
super-fast broadband across Manchester. In
Zaragoza (Spain), the city set up the “Digital
Mile” as a dedicated project organisation
within the municipality. The project stimulates
all sorts of initiatives that incorporate digital
media into everyday aspects of the public
realm: public spaces that “respond” to their
users, and provide stories, information and
services. The Digital Mile should improve quality of life for citizens and visitors, and bring
better services, but also offers an open
access platform where IT firms, architects,
artists, researchers and planners develop and
test innovative concepts. In Dublin, a very
successful open data initiative is delivered by
a new type of platform organisation named
“The Studio” (see box page 29).
In our workstream, we intend to dig deeper
into emerging new types of hybrid organisations. How do they work, how are they managed,
what do they deliver, and how do they relate
to the “traditional” urban bureaucracy?
Green economy
Europe is facing a number of environmental
challenges: climate change, resource depletion, declining biodiversity, pollution and
untamed carbon emissions, potential natural
disasters, etc. Tackling these challenges
involves substantial investments and incurs
costs, but also offers new business opportunities, and has created a sizeable “green economy”. The exact size and growth of the
green economy is difficult to measure; a
recent study commissioned by ESPON3 estimates that it provides about 22m jobs in the
EU, which is 9% of the EU workforce.
Cities have a key role to play in encouraging
new green solutions and ways of using, distributing and consuming energy, complementing the actions of national governments.
Therefore, we identify green business as
the second potential growth field in our
workstream (although less disruptive and
less market-driven than the digital economy
discussed above).
Where are green business opportunities
emerging? A number of fields can be
Adaptation to climate change: firms
deploying new technologies and solutions
to deal with e.g. rising sea levels, extreme
weather conditions and excessive carbon
X Alternative energy generation and distribution solutions. The shift to renewable energies
and decentralised production provides
growth opportunities for innovative firms that
offer decentralized production and feed-in
solutions, smart grids, and a whole range of
associated IT solutions. Moreover, across
Europe, energy co-operatives spring up, in
which citizens join forces (in a variety of coalitions with other stakeholders) to produce
renewable energy. Thus, local energy economies are emerging, with a much bigger share
of locally generated and consumed energy.
X The business of improving energy efficiency: this offers opportunity for companies
active in home and industrial retrofitting, insulation solutions, home automation, consumer
electronics and everything else that uses
X Circular economy solutions: waste reduction and re-use, recycling, resource distribution efficiency (e.g. water), cradle-to-cradle
concepts, closed-loop circuits.
Business related to green mobility: the production and adoption of electric vehicles and
associated infrastructure, car sharing, soft
mobility solutions (walking, cycling), etc.
Urban farming and the local food
A key question in our workstream is how
cities can develop business and create
jobs while tackling the environmental
challenges (as listed in the recent Cities of
Tomorrow report4).
Cities are widely acknowledged as key arenas for green innovation and the development
of related business models. First, many cities
have substantial competences in domains
where greening can be achieved: waste collection, transport, social housing, urban planning. Good solutions can become “export
products”, with economic benefits for the
partners involved. Second, many cities have
the scale and resources to set up testing sites
for “green” experiments – in coalitions with
companies, research institutes and citizens –
in which new solutions are tested out. In case
of success, the participating firms may sell
the solution elsewhere and make a business
out of it. Third, and more strategically, cities
can assemble green platforms, hybrid organisations where companies, research institutes
and local government join forces to tackle
environmental challenges and reap economic
benefits from it. A good example is the
Amsterdam Smart City platform5, a long-term
strategic partnership between the city, energy
companies, universities and a number of
other organisations. Amsterdam Smart City
initiates a large number of pilot projects (68 at
the time of writing this article) across the city
region, always looking to scale them up to
commercially viable business models that
can run without subsidies.
A key lesson is that new and sometimes
unusual local coalitions are needed to capture the potential of the urban green economy, often with the involvement of users.
This puts high demands on the ability of city
leaders: they must guide the transition, and
learn to communicate effectively, to involve
stakeholders, to take risks, to leave the beaten tracks (see box below on Sustainability
Jams in Linkoping).
Clearly, in this respect, there are large differences in Europe’s urban landscape. First of
all, cities act within their national context, and
there is wide variation between countries in
their approach to confront environmental
challenges, and also, in the formal competences that cities have to shape their own
green policies.
Linkoping’s “Sustainability Jams’’, partner in the EUniverCities
network *
The city of Linkoping has managed to
capture the opportunities of the emerging
green economy, by deploying traditional
industrial competences in new ways.
The municipality, the university and
companies (the “triple helix”) joined forces,
and are actively looking together to create
new opportunities for the local economy.
Among many other things, they developed
the concept of the “Sustainability Jam”: an
original session set-up aimed to rapidly
generate ideas for green innovations.
During the international conference of the
Greening Industry Network (hosted in
Linkoping in 2012), six “Sustainability
Jams” were held at the premises of local
companies. During those sessions,
international visitors were mixed with
local players to discuss how to turn
environmental challenges into business
opportunities; also, researchers reviewed
company strategies, and companies
reflected on research programmes.
As one of the organisers put it: “We wanted
to find a model where a conference is able
to influence a region, and where the region
can influence the world of research”.
The concept has made inroads in the region
and internationally (through the conference´s
network) and the jams have already been
the cradle of new cooperations and
business relations in the region.
* http://urbact.eu/fr/projects/innovation-creativity/
CApTURIng eConomIC oppoRTUnITIes
Capacity to capture
economic opportunities
depends on a number
of issues such as their
tradition dealing with
green issues, the degree
of local environmental
awareness, presence
of “local green
champions”, access
to funding, market
demand, local
pressures and quality
of leadership.
But also within countries, we see that some
cities are leading the way, with local actor
coalitions taking bold steps to actively grow
the local green economy. These are places
where new solutions are being tried, and
where progress is made, often with deep
engagement of the civic community. Other
cities are less pro-active/more complacent
and mainly follow the regulations from the
national or European level.
Naturally, not all cities are (or can be) green
innovators in every domain. Their capacity to
capture economic opportunities depends on
a number of issues such as their tradition
dealing with green issues, the degree of
local environmental awareness, presence
of “local green champions”, access to funding, market demand, local pressures and
quality of leadership. Moreover, many new
activities and innovations in this domain are
associated with experimentation and uncertainty, calling for heterodox governance
approaches, involvement of front-running
stakeholders with unusual suspects, social
innovation methods, open-ended planning
processes, etc.
Health & care economy
The health & care sector is the third growth
area for urban economies that we explore in
our workstream. In the US, over the past
decade, the healthcare industry has added
2.6 million jobs, and had a growth rate of
22.7 percent over that period (significantly
outstripping the meagre 2.1 percent employment growth rate in all other industries).
The countries’ top 100 cities were capturing
most of the growth in relative terms. For
the EU, employment data are more difficult to
obtain, but Deloitte6 expects annual average
growth in health care spending of about two
percent from 2013-2017, still a strong figure
in the light of ongoing economic woes and
subsequent cost-cutting measures in many
What causes the growth of this sector? One
factor is demographics: Europe’s population is ageing, and the elderly are more
“heavy users” of health and care. A second
driver is innovation. The pace of innovation
in material sciences, genetics, biotechnology, bioinformatics and e-health has geared
up in recent years, yielding significantly
improved chances of surviving disease; but
this has an upward pressure on costs.
Overall, spending on health is increasing in
most countries (see Figure 1) and the end is
not yet in sight.
Growth is not only quantitative: new organisational models of care provision are emerging (partly driven by austerity measures);
social enterprises and new public-private
delivery models spring up, with large variations between countries. In our workstream,
we address the question how cities can capture the new economic growth opportunities
that come with a growing and developing
health&care sector.
Figure 1: Growth of health spending7
Health Care Spending as Percentage of GDP
OECD Average in 2011 = 9.3% of GDP
Source: OECD Health Data 2013.
Produced by Veronique de Rugy, Mercatus Center at George Mason University.
What can cities do to
capture the opportunities
offered by the health and
care economy? A number
of options are open.
The health&care economy can be subdivided
in several categories:
The care sector (hospitals, other types of
care and support for elderly, handicapped
people, retirement houses, social and proximity services, etc.).
X Medical technology/equipment industry,
including, e.g., scanning machinery, medical
devices (e.g. precision tools, advanced textiles), diagnosis kits and assistive technologies (e.g. visual, walking and hearing disability
aids, wheelchairs, emergency response systems, prosthesis, home automation).
Pharmaceutical and Biotech industry:
drugs and medicine production, sales and
What can cities do to capture the opportunities offered by the health and care economy?
A number of options are open. First, (academic)
hospitals are potential engines of urban
growth; they can be developed into anchor
institutions in urban innovation districts, with
spillover effects on adjacent neighborhoods.
The best documented examples come from
the US cities (see box on Memphis, TN), but
similar initiatives could be taken up in Europe.
Second, some cities have opportunities to
develop medical tourism: classic examples
are cities with thermal and spa activities, with
a large tourism service industry around it.
Third, cities with strengths in biotech (university research, pharmaceutical firms, biotech
firms) may develop/support biotechnology
cluster organisations, that help to make regional networks stronger, support biotech startups & technology transfer, and “brand” the
city as biotech hub. Copenhagen’s Medical
Valley is the textbook example of publicprivate initiative to boost the region’s biotech
and med-tech industries. Last but not least,
Memphis, TN: Medical institutions as anchors of a new mixed
Innovation District
The City of Memphis, in partnership with many stakeholders, is seeking to create
an Innovation District in and around the Memphis Medical Center, located within two
miles of downtown. The area concentrates a number of life science Institutions and related
jobs in a small geographic area. There are six hospitals, several schools, two junior
colleges, a biotech incubator, and about 60 life science firms. In total, they employ around
11,000 people and attract some 450,000 visitors annually.
The plan is to build on these assets, and develop the existing, underutilized yet eclectic
“Edge” neighbourhood that lies between the Medical District and downtown; there is
land available land, as well as appropriate zoning for mixed-use development. Moreover,
the area is connected to downtown via a trolley. The goal is to leverage the area’s human
capital, facilities and existing activity to create, attract and nurture research,
development and technology commercialization in a reinvigorated mixed-use urban
Source: ULI 8
CApTURIng eConomIC oppoRTUnITIes
Putting the health economy
central: URBACT network
“4D Cities”9
The URBACT network “4D Cities”
explicitly seeks to exchange knowledge
on how to link local health challenges
and innovation towards new business
and growth opportunities. Eight partners
from different cities and regional
contexts compose the network
– Igualada, Leeds, Novarra, Tartu,
Plunge, Eindhoven, Jena and Baia
Sprie – seeking new models to intervene
and foster health-related innovation.
As the health and care economy
increasingly touches upon many sectors
and activities, one of the key objectives
of the network is to analyse the various
actors active in the fields of health and
innovation in cities, as well as the
relations established between them:
knowledge and training institutes,
companies, organizations from
the national/local health systems
and citizens/users.
cities may support or initiate the development
of new care concepts, for example e-health
solutions that enable elderly or less mobile
people get counselling or medical checks
from home. These solutions typically require
coalitions between care providers, technology firms, housing corporations, etc. For participating technology firms, engaging in such
coalitions can bring substantial benefits: it
helps to develop and test new products, and
if successful, it opens new markets. A key
challenge in care solutions is to involve the
end-user: it is increasingly realised that the
success of care innovations depends on an
early and deep involvement of the users, their
family and relatives.
Again, like in the digital and the green economy, cities differ in resources, and some
cities are better positioned to benefit from this
opportunity field than others. But for each
city, a pro-active attitude is needed to benefit
from the opportunities. Much depends on the
ability of urban stakeholders to create innovative coalitions.
Conclusions and outlook
Cities are facing constant economic change,
whether they like it or not. Clearly, the cities’
economic prospering is contingent upon
many factors beyond the control of urban
Cities can only capture
growth opportunities if
coalitions of relevant
actors (universities, firms,
citizens, NGOs) are
involved in policy design
and implementation.
managers, and thus their ability to “create”
growth and jobs is very limited. What, then, is
the scope for cities to pro-actively capture
emerging growth opportunities, and mitigate
the disruptive effects that change brings as
well? What options are available? In this
article, we focused on new growth opportunities offered by the digital economy, the
health&care economy, and the green economy, and provided some concrete examples
of adequate policy responses and delivery
What have we learned so far?
First, effective stakeholder engagement
becomes ever more important. Cities can
only capture growth opportunities if coalitions
of relevant actors (universities, firms, citizens,
NGOs) are involved in policy design and
Second, cities must learn how to connect
and integrate different policy areas. They
need new types of organisations/platforms
that help to promote innovation and to rapidly
assemble active coalitions. Examples are
platforms such as Smart City Amsterdam,
Mila Digital in Zaragoza, or Manchester’s
Digital Development Agency, where stakeholders unite to build the local green or digital
economy. Citizen involvement becomes
increasingly relevant in the economic realm:
citizens are not only “passive” consumers,
end-users, or policy receivers; they are also
producers,innovators and funders.
Third, new types of leadership are needed. If
exploiting new growth opportunities is done
in coalitions, key leading persons in the city
(the mayor, or president of an important local
organisation, university or company) must be
ready for that: they should be able to mobilise
resources, to gather people behind a joint
vision or strategy. Good city leaders are able
to share power and engage in coalitions with
Finally, effectively fostering the urban economy is not a just matter of following good
examples and practices. if only it would be
that simple. Each city is unique and must
carve out its own growth path, building on its
local assets and strengths, merging tradition
and innovation.
(1) http://niesr.ac.uk/sites/default/files/publications/
(2) http://www.retailresearch.org/onlineretailing.php
(3) http://www.espon.eu/export/sites/default/
(4) http://ec.europa.eu/regional_policy/sources/
(5) http://amsterdamsmartcity.com/?lang=en
(6) http://www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/dk/
(7) http://mercatus.org/publication/us-health-carespending-more-twice-average-developed-countries
(8) http://uli.org/research/centers-initiatives/danielrose-center-for-public-leadership-in-land-use/
(9) http://urbact.eu/fr/projects/innovation-creativity/
Workstream coordinator:
• Willem van Winden, Lead Expert of the
URBACT EUniverCities network
Workstream core group members:
• Joep Brouwers, City of Eindhoven,
Vice-director of Brainport Development
N.V., partner in the URBACT 4D
Cities network
• Emma Clarence, Principal Researcher
Social Innovation, Nesta
• Tuija Mannila, City of Tampere,
Director, Mayor’s Office, partner in the
URBACT EUniverCities network
• Euken Sese, City of San Sebastian,
Director of Fomento San Sebastian,
partner in the URBACT Genius:
Open network
Witnesses and advisors
to the workstream so far:
• Maite Ayestaran, Fomento San
Sebastian, partner in the URBACT
Genius: Open network
• Angels Chacon, City of Igualada, Lead
Partner in the URBACT 4D cities network
• Jenny Koutsomarkou, Capitalisation
Officer, URBACT Secretariat
• Peter Ramsden, Freiss ltd., URBACT
Thematic Pole manager
• Mireia Sanabria, INVENIES, Lead
Expert of the 4D Cities network
foR moRe InfoRmATIon
Follow us on www.urbact.eu
and on Twitter @URBACT #NewEcons
Lead Partners
CALL PROJECTS (2008-2011)
Active A.G.E.
Strategies for cities with an ageing population
Rome – IT
Building Healthy
Developing indicators and criteria for a healthy sustainable urban development
Torino – IT
Urban sprawl and development of hinterlands
Graz – AT
Approaches to strengthening social cohesion in neighbourhoods
Berlin – DE
Creative Clusters
Creative clusters in low density urban areas
Obidos – PT
Cruise Traffic and Urban Regeneration of port areas
Naples – IT
Sustainable development of cross-border agglomerations
Mission Opérationnelle Transfrontalière – FR
Small and medium enterprises and local economic development
Aachen– DE
Cultural heritage and urban development
Regensburg – DE
Design coding for sustainable housing
University La Sapienza, Roma – IT
JESSICA 4 Cities
JESSICA and Urban Development Funds
Regional governement of Tuscany – IT
Joining Forces
Strategy and governance at city-region scale
Lille Metropole – FR
Implementing integrated sustainable urban development according to the Leipzig Charter
Leipzig – DE
Sustainable land use management
University of Karlsruhe – DE
Managing migration and integration at local level
Venice – IT
My Generation
Promoting the positive potential of young people in cities
Rotterdam – NL
City model for intermediate/peripheral metropolitan cities
L’Hospitalet de Llobregat – ES
Spatial planning and urban regeneration
The generalitat of Catalonia – ES
Opening cities to build-up, attract and retain international human capital
Belfast – UK
Science districts and urban development
Magdeburg – DE
Integrated policies and financial planning for sustainable regeneration of deprived areas
Duisburg – DE
Regeneration of abandoned military sites
Medway – UK
Strengthening potential of urban poles with triple helix partnerships
Gateshead – UK
Sustainable housing provision
Santiago de Compostela – ES
Promoting innovation in the ceramics sector
Limoges – FR
Integrated sustainable regeneration of deprived urban areas
Grand Lyon – FR
Urban N.O.S.E.
Urban incubators for social enterprises
Gela – IT
Promoting entrepreneurship for women
Celje – SI
CALL PROJECTS (2009-2012)
Active Travel Network
Promoting walking and cycling in small and medium-sized cities
Weiz – AT
Sustainable and affordable energy efficient housing
Echirolles– FR
Economic strategies and innovation in medium-sized cities
Basingstoke and Deane – UK
Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe
Westminster – UK
Improving the attractiveness and quality of life in old historical centres
Bayonne – FR
Strategic positioning of small and medium-sized cities facing demographic changes
Leoben – AT
Integration of the Roma population in European cities
Budapest – HU
Socio-economic methods for urban rehabilitation in deprived urban areas
Eger – HU
Developing co-responsibility for social inclusion and well-being of residents in European cities
Mulhouse – FR
CALL PROJECTS (2012-2015)
4D Cities
Promoting innovation in the health sector
Igualada – ES
Innovative city brand management
Utrecht – NL
Creative SpIN
Cultural and Creative Industries
Birmingham – UK
CSI Europe
Role of financial instruments (Jessica Urban Development Fund) in efficient planning
Manchester – UK
Railway hubs/multimodal interfaces of regional relevance in medium sized cities
Reggio Emilia – IT
Partnerships between cities and universities for urban development
Delft – NL
Local partnerships for youth employment opportunities
Cesena – IT
My Generation at Work Youth employment with focus on enterprising skills and attitudes
Rotterdam – NL
Involving parents in the prevention of early school leaving
Nantes – FR
Renewing high-rise blocks for cohesive and green neighbourhoods
Budapest XVIII District – HU
Sustainable Food in
Urban Communities
Developing low-carbon and resource-efficient urban food systems
Brussels Capital – BE
URBACT Markets
Local markets as drivers for local economic development
Barcelona – ES
Re-utilizing existing locations to avoid land consumption
Naples – IT
Involving users and inhabitants in urban sustainable planning
Agglomeration Grenoble Alpes Metropole – FR
Local economic development through the (re)use of brownfield and buildings of the wood furniture
Paços de Ferreira – PT
PILOT PROJECTS (2013-2015)
Diet for a Green Planet Cooperation to align eating habits for an ecologically sustainable development
Södertälje - SE
Economic strategies and innovation in medium sized cities
Basingstoke and Deane - UK
Electric Vehicles in Urban Europe
Westminster - UK
Gastronomic Cities
Promoting gastronomy as a key urban development
Burgos - ES
Genius: Open
Creating innovative solutions to city challenges via an on-line collaborative platform
York - UK
Udine - IT
Healthy Ageing
Cities' action for an active and healthy ageing
PlaceMaking 4 Cities
Useful public spaces instead of nice public spaces
Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council - IE
Roma-Net II
Integration of Roma populations
Budapest - HU
Temporary use as a tool for urban regeneration
Rome - IT
*Fast Track Label
URBACT is a European exchange and learning programme promoting integrated
sustainable urban development.
It enables cities to work together to develop solutions to major urban challenges, reaffir­
ming the key role they play in facing increasingly complex societal changes. URBACT helps
cites to develop pragmatic solutions that are new and sustainable, and that integrate
economic, social and environmental dimensions. It enables cities to share good practices
and lessons learned with all professionals involved in urban policy throughout Europe.
URBACT II is 500 different sized cities and their Local Support Groups, 56 projects,
29 countries, and 7,000 active stakeholders coming equally from Convergence and
Competitiveness areas. URBACT is jointly financed by ERDF and the Member States.
URBACT Secretariat
5, rue Pleyel
93283 SAINT-DENIS cedex - France
Tel.: +33 (0)1 49 17 46 02
Fax: +33 (0)1 49 17 45 55