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UAEU Series of Webinars: How are urban initiatives and actions supporting Green, Just and Productive Cities in the EU?

The Urban Agenda for the EU (UAEU) launched a series of webinars in September entitled ‘How are urban initiatives and actions supporting Green, Just and Productive Cities in the EU?’ The webinars took place on September 20th, September 27th, and October 4th and focused on the Productive, Green, and Just City dimensions as outlined in the New Leipzig Charter.

The three webinars showcased concrete practices and initiatives aiming at supporting cities with their socio-economic development, cities' roles in protecting and regenerating endangered ecosystems, and the importance of local government strategies in improving the development of solutions, such as affordable housing and access to services. All the webinars of the series ended with a discussion between participants and speakers.  

 

How are urban initiatives and actions supporting Productive Cities in the EU?

The first webinar focused on the Productive City dimension and showcased some achievements from cities in particular related to digital solutions, and created space for forward-looking explorations.

The first part gave floor to three local initiatives: Porto for Talent (City of Porto), FeelFlorence app (City of Florence) and municipality of Piraeus’ Blue Growth strategy.  The second part reflected on the on goinginitiatives and policies from DG GROW, DG CONNECT, and DG REGIO and their potential in supporting productive cities. For instance, DG GROW launched the Intelligent Cities Challenge to support cities in using technology for the green, digital, and socially responsive recovery. DG CONNECT mentioned the Living-in-EU movement gathering cities, while DG REGIO presented the urban dimension of Cohesion Policy for the 2021–2027 period.

 

How are urban initiatives and actions supporting Green Cities in the EU?

The second webinar focused on the Green City dimension and emphasising green transition as one of the Urban Agenda’s priorities, notably exploring current energy-efficiency and climate-neutrality initiatives.

The local experiences and interventions from the cities of Bologna and Prato, as well as the region of Navarra were presented and emphasised the significance of adapting and integrating EU policy frameworks to local contexts. The second part of the webinar focused on the efforts from DG RTD, DG ENV, and DG REGIO to support cities in their efforts for sustainable urban development and green transformation, promoting current opportunities. Horizon Europe EU Mission on Climate Neutral and Smart Cities was introduced by DG RTD, while the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 was presented by DG ENV. DG REGIO underlined how the policy objectives 2 and 5 in the urban dimension Cohesion Policy focus on a ‘Greener and Carbon Free Europe’ and ‘A Europe closer to citizens’ and allow to invest according to place based approaches. 

 

How are urban initiatives and actions supporting Just Cities in the EU?

The last webinar focused on how the Just City dimension represents a strategic vision for the future and showcased initiatives providing solutions in housing, inclusiveness, and integration.

The first part illustrated how the UAEU Partnerships Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees (City of Amsterdam), and Housing (City of Vienna) are leading the way in protecting children in migration and advocating for affordable housing through their Action Plans. It also showed how projects like ROOF and ICCARus (City of Ghent) are working to ensure wider access to affordable housing through innovative practices. The second part of the webinar presented various EU initiatives, such as the Affordable Housing Initiative (DG GROW) and the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights’snew framework based on the Human Rights City approach. DG REGIO also emphasised the importance of Cohesion Policy Objective 4 in making Europe ‘more social’, notably allowing investments to be targeted to deprived neighbourhood

 

Conclusion and main takeaways

The three webinars concluded that partnership approach and multi-level governance are key elements for developing local strategies for Productive, Green and Just cities. Collaboration is essential in all dimensions, and the concept of integrated approaches, involving national, local, and regional authorities, should be maintained. Cities are at the frontline of addressing the most pressing challenges (especially after the COVID-19 crisis), which could however represent opportunities for them. Moreover, knowledge-sharing among and with cities was highlighted as an important activity, as cities can capitalise on the knowledge acquired through different initiatives (such the UAEU, UIA and URBACT) to make societies more productive, green and just.

 

More information:

Žymos
Series of Webinars Productive city Green city Just city New Leipzig Charter City of Porto City of Florence Piraeus City of Bologna City of Prato Navarra Inclusion of migrants and refugees Affordable Housing City of Ghent City of Vienna City of Amsterdam