The URBACT Summer University 2013 – A promising start

Segolene Pruvot

By Segolene Pruvot, on August 29th, 2013

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Yesterday morning, the second URBACT Summer University started in the wonderful setting of Dublin’s famous Trinity College and it is – once again – bound to become a very dynamic and interactive event with lots of intense discussions and fruitful exchanges. The Summer University is dedicated to the Local Support Group members and aims to provide the city practitioners with the fundamental tools for sustainable integrated urban planning. 

In the upcoming three days, around 300 participants (out of which 52% are women!) representing 130 URBACT cities and 26 European countries will be developing innovative ideas and solutions for the imaginary city of Allium. In his introductory speech, the Mayor of Allium – moderator Peter Ramsden – has presented his city’s eight core challenges, which form the basis for the eight working labs:

  • Loss of mixed use in the medieval city centre
  • Lack of a culture of innovation and user participation
  • Shared public spaces
  • Youth unemployment and emigration
  • High carbon emissions
  • Inefficient public services
  • Weak culture of entrepreneurship
  • Mismatch between human capital and employer’s needs.


Each Lab will present its recommendations to the Mayor of Allium on Friday. We can’t wait to hear which ideas they will come up with!

All in all, this year’s URBACT Summer University presents an interesting mix of different activities: The working labs are complemented by plenary sessions, inspirational stories from around Europe, master classes on key urban challenges as well as study visits. Social events such as early bird Thai Chi & Qi Gong classes, a midnight run, common breakfast with porridge and scones as well as after work Guinness in the nearby Temple Bar district help to generate new ideas, to balance participants’ bodies and brains and to keep up the good spirit.


As Michael Layde from the Irish Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government and Chair of the URBACT Monitoring Committee pointed out in his welcome speech this morning, the URBACT Summer University 2013 is a place, where smart ideas are born and smart practitioners are trained – both of which being crucial for European cities to face the challenges of today. We encourage you to follow the URBACT Summer University online at and on Twitter @URBACT and #URBACT2013


See photos on FLICKR and videos on Daylimotion.

By Tom Becker, University of Luxembourg, National Information Unit for Urban Policy, URBACT National Dissemination Point for Luxembourg

And Barbara Bühler, German Association for Housing, Urban and Spatial Development, URBACT National Dissemination Point for Germany and Austria




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