Posts Tagged ‘Sustainable Cities’

Tweeting the City: 10 Twitter Accounts We Follow On Urban Issues

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Eurasian Collared Doves preparing to take flightTwitter is a beloved place for exchanges on urban issues. Here is a (limited) list of accounts we particularly enjoy following, covering our interests – including but not limited to integrated urban development – in no particular order!

@eumayors is the twitter account of a transnational network of cities mayors working toward sustainable cities.

@energycities tweets on energy transition and (once more) their cities network’s achievements towards it.

@citiesforpeople is the account of Gehl Architects, micro-blogging on solutions developed towards ‘liveable’ cities. (more…)

Paradiso del Cibo (Food Paradise)

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

Photo courtesy of Pink Pony Express

As kids, coming home from school, my sister and I used to have a joke: “If you can’t smell burning in the kitchen, then we’re having salad for dinner.” My Mother has many talents, but cooking isn’t one of them, so it was routine for us to see black smoke billowing out of the kitchen, accompanied by colourful Glaswegian language! But every smoke cloud has a silver lining, and through necessity I developed an interest in cooking from an early age – and have been a foodie ever since.

Whether you enjoy growing, cooking or just eating it, this is a brilliant time for those with a shared interest in food and urban issues. All around us, there are amazing initiatives reshaping our cities and addressing shared problems through the medium of food. I’m going to come back to this subject in greater detail in another blog post, but here are some appetizers in the meantime. (more…)

Cities and Globalisation

Friday, January 24th, 2014

LyonThis week the economist, Harvard professor and author of Triumph of the City, Ed Glaeser, gave a fast paced and inspiring lecture at the London School of Economics on cities and globalization. Many of his comments resonated with the experiences of European cities and knowledge from URBACT networks. His optimism about the positive effects of urbanization around the globe was backed up by research linking density to both increased productivity and to improved life satisfaction.

Why proximity matters

Glaeser stressed that cities are forgers of human capital and clusters of genius, as illustrated by the Detroit of the Ford era and Silicon Valley now. Proximity matters for the transmission of information and ideas. In cities people compete and cooperate, buy and sell from each other, steal and build on each other’s ideas. Technology has revolutionized the way we are able to live and work virtually, but it can’t replace the advantages of this physical proximity. (more…)

Best Of URBACT Blog 2013

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

The URBACT Blog is a space for several contributors to share experiences on and insights in the diversity of issues they encounter in and around their activities in URBACT. Here is a selection of articles which we particularly enjoyed reading in 2013: Change and social Innovation, Shrinking Cities, Soft Mobility, Urban Struggles, Stakeholder’s involvement. There was for sure a lot to reflect upon.

Best Practice, Social Innovation and Change

These are of course major concerns at URBACT.

So when Eddy Adams read that ‘public managers and their employees are unwilling to take up ideas that others have already used, they prefer to have their own’, he decided to explore in a blog post some exceptions to that rule and interesting ways to promote exchange of good practice and generally build capacity for social innovation.
For Camilla Van Deurs of Gehl Architects, we can ‘examplify change rather than lobby for it’. (more…)

Cities in Action for Social Housing: Residents form central link in creating sustainable social housing

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Many European cities are currently dealing with the question of how to make social housing more energy efficient and sustainable, without leading to skyrocketing costs. Cities in Action for Social housing (CASH) was an URBACT-network consisting of 11 European cities and regions, which focused on this important and complex challenge. It did not only look at financial Solutions, but also considered the technical side of energy efficiency, legal frameworks, forms of successful project management, local energy production and – very importantly – resident participation.

Utrecht aims to reach considerable energy savings in social housing

The Dutch city of Utrecht is very ambitious when it comes to energy savings in the built environment. In 2013, the city wants to be climate neutral. In order to reach that ambitious goal, 26 million Euros were reserved for energy- and sustainability projects in the period between 2010-2014. However, energy efficiency in social housing remains a complicated issue, in which many different interests and ideas play a role. “Before 2010, we had already set up and implemented several projects focusing on behaviour change in tenants in the social housing sector,” Inge van de Klundert -  advisor at the department of Environment and Mobility of Utrecht Municipality – says. (more…)

Shrink Smart : A Challenge for Polish Cities

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

While the urban population is growing extremely fast in the world, some cities are shrinking dramatically, especially in Europe. It poses a series of problems in terms of liveability, sustainability and rehabilitation. Here the URBACT National Dissemination Point in Poland presents the case of two Polish cities – Bytom and Sosnowiec – that have explored solutions to such a challenge in the framework of Shrink Smart, a 3-year scientific project on the management of shrinking cities developed within the European Union 7th Framework Program.

schrinking citiesURBACT is also very active on this thematic. Shrinking Cities was the theme of one of the 6 URBACT workstreams for the preparation of the URBACT Annual Conference 2012. The workstream gathered experts, who built on URBACT projects results, in particular those of the project SURE ( Socio-economic methods of Urban REgeneration in deprived areas), to create new knowledge on the topic.


Calling Mobility Mindsets

Monday, May 21st, 2012

What is your vision of urban mobility? What is the definition of quality and sustainability with regards to mobility? How do cities define long term mobility strategies that will deliver on climate goals and maintain competitiveness?

These are the challenges outlined in the Cities of Tomorrow European Commission report to be tackled by the URBACT Capitalisation Mobility Workstream team. We will be organising a workshop at the URBACT Annual conference on 3-4 December and producing a report to inspire cities on the journey to people-centred smart mobility.

We need your ideas and good practices to feed into our work. We will be at ECOMM in Frankfurt in June and at the CIVITAS Forum in September

Feel free to contact us at if you have your own challenges or solutions to share. And be sure to join us in Copenhagen for the URBACT conference to participate actively in defining the best approaches for the Cities of Tomorrow.

Sally Kneeshaw
EVUE Lead Expert

Picture: Left to right we are  András Ekes, Metropolitan Research Institute, Budapest,  Paolo Gandolfi, Deputy Mayor of Reggio Emilia, Sally Kneeshaw URBACT EVUE and Coordinator, Robert Stüssi, URBACT Expert, Anette Enemark, Tetraplan, Copenhagen.

Eltis – The Urban Mobility Portal gives you the knowledge to deliver new mobility solutions

Monday, February 20th, 2012

eltis“Interested in Know How on Urban Transport?”
“Change urban transport”
“Take action to make it more sustainable”
“Find out what you need to really make a difference”
“Inspire others – and be inspired by them”
“Build your network to help you deliver”
“Share your experience to build better urban transport”

Just log on to
Browse its more than 1500 best practice case studies (selected ones in all EU languages)
Read inspiring news stories – 2 per news items working days
Download photos for own use or video clips on good practice implementations.
Get materials and tools to strengthen your arguments
Find events where you can find out even more
And follow the links to build your network. Become a Friend of Eltis. Registration doesn’t give you any obligations, doesn’t cost anything and takes you 2 minutes. Click to
Wit a registration you can get all services of Eltis free of charge and additionally the monthly Eltis Mobility Update in 6 languages.
If you want to disseminate your urban transport solutions, see Eltis as your dissemination platform. Use the online submission forms for case studies or news items.

The URBACT projects EVUE and Active Travel Network already spread their findings via Eltis.

Eltis which exists since 1998 is an initiative of the EC, DG MOVE and operated by the Executive Agency for Competitiveness and Innovation (EACI).
Eltis intensely co-operates with other big initiatives like CIVITAS, EPOMM, Managenergy or Covenant of Mayors

Link to Eltis promo clip:

Robert Pressl
Active Travel Network Lead Expert

Are Electric vehicules sales falling flat?

Monday, February 13th, 2012

chickenRecent coverage in the UK media has questioned the viability of the electric cars with the observation that there are now more charging points than cars registered in the UK. Given the nascent state of the market, this is a point that is likely to be closely followed.

Most research indicates the ‘chicken or egg’ scenario when it comes to the vehicles as prospective buyers are hesitant due to the lack of charging infrastructure and infrastructure providers are hesitant due to the low number of vehicles. From the URBACT EVUE project experience however, it has become clear that once an initial availability of charging points has been provided, the focus needs to go on education and awareness training.

This can be achieved through Electric Vehicules days where people can test the cars and experience the cars for themselves. In addition, a focus on getting electric vehicules  into commercial fleets will contribute significantly as they give access to large numbers of employees to travel. So perhaps it’s less of which comes first, but both come together.

Read more:

Matthew Noon
EVUE Lead Partner

Deprived Urban Areas: RegGov Infographic

Monday, January 9th, 2012