Placing your city in the European context: the Urban Data Platform

A little background… One of the main aims of the Urban Agenda for the EU is to improve the knowledge base and the collection of comparable and reliable data on urban development issues – this would in turn facilitate the monitoring and benchmarking of European cities, and foster the engagement of citizens in urban related [...]

By Claudia Baranzelli, on March 28th, 2017

Internet of Things, from home to city

For years I had a secret. I didn’t really understand what the term ‘Internet of Things’ actually meant. I knew what the ‘Internet’ was. I even knew what a ‘thing’ was but somehow when put together this term baffled me. So a quick definition, ‘Internet of Things or IoT refers to the Internet working of physical devices, vehicles [...]

By Peter Ramsden, on March 21st, 2017

4 lessons every European city can learn from Oberhausen

Oberhausen is a city in the Ruhr Area in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia. It has about 211 000 inhabitants and is one of the cities still fighting to overcome its industrial past. Over the past two years, Oberhausen has often served as an example of a German city coping with the influx of [...]

By Petra Očkerl, on March 14th, 2017

Universal Basic Income: who’s laughing now?

A few years ago, many cities would have laughed at the idea of introducing a Universal Basic Income. Fast forward to today, and the concept is being tested in neighbourhoods and cities across the EU, from Barcelona and Copenhagen to Stockholm and Utrecht. The Catalan Joke As a Scot, I’ve given my various Catalan friends [...]

By Eddy Adams, on March 10th, 2017

Break out of our comfort zones: Play Szociopoly!

How to inspire in a meeting? How to make participants imagine the life of others and of hard choices? In October 2016 I was preparing my next CHANGE! study visit, which was – partly – about how to generate deep insight into the needs of local communities to create meaningful outcomes and thus redesign public [...]

By Ferenc Szigeti, on February 16th, 2017

Walking Bus and Bike Train to Promote Sustainable Mobility

As the traffic lights change to green, a long line of children on their bikes accompanied by adults wearing reflective safety vests crosses the road. It is the bike train. A form of accompanied school travel that promotes sustainable mobility, daily exercise, and trains children to become independent and capable road users. Active school travel [...]

By Petra Očkerl, on January 27th, 2017

Blue Monday: Or why paying tax is good for us

They say it’s the most depressing day of the year. Blue Monday. Three weeks into the New Year, most of us have already abandoned our resolutions. The weather is rubbish. And it’s the day the Christmas bills arrive, if you’ve got a plastic habit. It’s also the week before tax bills are due in many [...]

By Eddy Adams, on January 19th, 2017

How cities can rebuild trust in politics through meaningful public engagement

One oft-repeated phrase in 2016 was: ‘the people have spoken’. Despite the myriad of reasons behind voting intentions, the referendums in the UK, Hungary and Italy have all been claimed as victories for politicians claiming to represent ‘the people.’ By its nature, however, this form of direct democracy is divisive, playing into a narrative of [...]

By Claudia Chwalisz, on January 11th, 2017

2016: A year at URBACT

From many points of views 2016 has been a year full of surprises, deceptions and worries (see previous article by Eddy Adams), but at URBACT we like to look at what has been positive, strong, energising and happy too. And 2016 has been a long and fruitful year at URBACT! In this short article, we [...]

By URBACT, on December 22nd, 2016

Finding solutions to complex challenges through ESPON targeted analyses

Cities face numerous and complex challenges linked to climate change, poverty and demographic shifts to name but a few. They need to define measures to tackle these problems and design policies to achieve smart, inclusive and sustainable urban development, which are difficult tasks to deal with. Development strategies should be evidence-based, consider local circumstances and [...]

By Johannes Hofinger, on December 20th, 2016