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

Will American cities be trumped?

Democrats are being bullish about the future of cities under a Trump administration, but financial realities will soon bite.   In general, larger cities are more likely to vote Democrat than small towns and rural areas. Ivan Tosics’ article of 15th November showed that it was often the smaller urban areas that supported Trump. Indeed, [...]

By Peter Ramsden, on December 20th, 2016

Reasons to be Cheerful? What 2016 taught us about the battle ahead

For many of us, the collapse of Communism in Europe was the most significant historical moment in our lifetime. The crumbling of the Eastern Bloc and the subsequent implosion of the USSR led to the reunification of Europe. At the time, it seemed like the catalyst towards the inevitable spread of liberal democracy throughout the [...]

By Eddy Adams, on December 14th, 2016

Lab Connections: Policy Labs in Europe for Europe #POLICYLAB4EU

Public authorities are faced with growing challenges and shrinking budgets. Innovation and modernisation of the public sector is a must to deliver more with less. More stakeholder – especially citizen- involvement can ensure more effective and to the point policies. Policy labs, through their user-centred design thinking and experimental approaches, can be instrumental for this. [...]

By Christian Svanfeldt, on December 8th, 2016

Cities making money by going 100% Renewables

Frankfurt is known as one of the global financial centers with a big airport. But there is more to know about this German city: In fact, the City of Frankfurt is one example that shows how local economies can be strengthened by transitioning to 100% Renewables. By 2050, the City will produce 100% of its [...]

By Anna Leidreiter, on November 28th, 2016

Visualising urban futures: TechTown dares to dream!

The TechTown network has been walking the talk, experimenting with digital tools both in transnational meetings and in between them to maintain momentum and keep the focus firmly on innovating, pushing boundaries, thinking of new ways to work. But low tech animation techniques can also help to open our minds, embrace the future and dare [...]

By Tracey Johnson, on November 21st, 2016

What lessons to learn from the US Presidential elections?

Cover image: Mark Makela/Getty Images Why is it important to write about the US elections on the URBACT blog? After all, the US is far away, the main topics of the presidential race have little European relevance and seemingly none at all for knowledge exchange programmes for cities, like URBACT. The two main (and fairly shocking) [...]

By Ivan Tosics, on November 14th, 2016