Urban Issues at stake

Under the series of themes in the menu, you will find an inventory of the various programmes and initiatives which are funded by the European Commission and which have an urban dimension. A link to the relevant web addresses on Europa or beyond is provided under each entry. In addition, some recommended links are provided to European associations or research consortia.

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Urban dimension of cohesion policy

Urban development

Cities symbolise the twofold challenge currently facing the European Union: how to improve competitiveness while meeting social, cultural and environmental demands.

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Urban Innovative Actions

Cities need to do more with less, responding to growing challenges but with lower budgets. This calls for innovative approaches. Therefore, the Urban Innovative Actions initiative has been created to test new approaches to the challenges faced by cities (through pilot projects). The aim is to generate knowledge of what works and what does not, and why so, what should be done differently, etc.. The total budget is EUR 371 Mio over the period 2015-2020. Projects will be selected through calls for proposals with an ERDF contribution which shall not exceed EUR 5 Mio per project, a unique co-financing rate of maximum 80% and duration of 3 years maximum. The topics of the calls will be defined annually by the Commission. The management of Urban Innovative Actions is delegated to the Nord-Pas de Calais Region in France.

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Political agenda

Green cities

Sustainable mobility in cities

The European Commission promotes sustainable urban mobility and the increased use of clean and energy efficient vehicles, to help strengthen Europe's economy and improve the quality of life of its citizens.

New political challenges have emerged in recent years: climate change, energy policy, air quality legislation, and the difficulties of tackling congestion are just some examples. The objective now is to improve mobility while at the same time reducing congestion, accidents and pollution in European cities.

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ELTIS is Europe's main portal on urban mobility, which helps to facilitate the exchange of information, knowledge and experiences in this field. It is aimed at individuals working in the field of transport, as well as in related disciplines, including urban and regional development, health, energy and environmental sciences.

ELTIS supports the creation of urban transport systems that use less energy and produce fewer emissions, while improving the competitiveness of urban areas and the mobility and quality of life of its citizens.

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The CIVITAS Initiative ('City-Vitality-Sustainability', or 'Cleaner and Better Transport in Cities') supports cities in introducing ambitious transport measures and policies promoting sustainable urban mobility. Its goal is also to achieve a significant shift towards people using sustainable transport, through encouraging both innovative technology and policy-based strategies.

Almost 60 European cities have been co-funded by the European Commission to implement innovative measures in clean urban transport. an investment amounting to well over EUR 300 million. The larger CIVITAS Forum network comprises almost 200 cities that are committed to implementing and integrating sustainable urban mobility measures.

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Environmentally-friendly cities

Many environmental problems are concentrated in cities, and the causes are often interrelated. These include changes in lifestyle (growing dependence on the private car, increase in individual households, increasing resource use per capita) and demography.

Many EU environmental laws and other initiatives exist to protect and improve the quality of the urban environment. For instance, EU legislation on air quality, a significant urban concern, establishes targets and limits values for different pollutants. There are action plans to reduce citizens' exposure to noise and to protect quiet areas, and legislation on waste management and urban waste water treatment has helped reduce cities' impact on the wider environment.

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The European Green Capital Award (EGCA) rewards local efforts to improve the environment, the economy and the quality of life in cities. Each year the EGCA is given to a city leading the way in environmentally friendly urban living and which can act as a role model to other cities.

The European Commission has already selected the following cities as European Green Capitals: Stockholm, 2010; Hamburg, 2011; Vitoria-Gasteiz, 2012; Nantes, 2013; Copenhagen, 2014; and Bristol, 2015.

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The European Green Leaf (EGL) is a new competition aimed at cities, with between 50,000 and 100,000 inhabitants, to recognise their achievements in green growth. The recognition is given to a city that demonstrates a good environmental record & green growth commitment; actively seeks to develop citizens environmental awareness; and can act as a “green ambassador” to encourage other cities. The European Green Leaf will be awarded on an annual basis by the European Commission in conjunction with the European Green Capital Award from 2015 onwards as a stamp of approval to Smaller Cities, Growing Greener!

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The LIFE programme is the EU's funding instrument for the environment. The general objective of LIFE is to contribute to the implementation, updating and development of EU environmental policy and legislation by co-financing pilot or demonstration projects with European added value. LIFE began in 1992 and to date there have been three complete phases of the programme (LIFE I: 1992-1995, LIFE II: 1996-1999 and LIFE III: 2000-2006). During this period, LIFE has co-financed some 3104 projects across the EU, contributing approximately €2.2 billion to the protection of the environment. The new LIFE Programme starting in 2014 will co-fund projects on air quality and emissions, including urban environment. The new LIFE Programme starting in 2014 will co-fund projects on air quality and emissions, including urban environment.

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Environmental Action Programmes (EAPs) have guided the development of EU environment policy since the early 1970s, and the 7th EAP should be seen as part of a continuous process spanning 40 years. The new EAP is more strategic in nature than its predecessors, 'setting out priority objectives to be attained' (art. 192.3 TFUE) in environment policy in the context of the Europe 2020 Strategy. One of the Priority Objectives of the new EAP is to enhance the sustainability of EU cities.

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http://ec.europa.eu/environment/newprg/7eap.htm
http://ec.europa.eu/environment/newprg/proposal.htm

The soon to be proposed air quality package replaces current legislation and will establish objectives for air pollution and proposing measures to be achieved by 2020. It will not only modernise existing legislation, but placing emphasis on the most harmful pollutants, and better involve the sectors and policies that may have an impact on air pollution.

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EU research and innovation has addressed issues such as: air pollution and climate change and linkages to health and cultural heritage; megacities; integrated tools for assessment and mitigation; urban disasters; spatial planning; urban water and waste management; and soil remediation. The new EU framework programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020, will support action in this field under the 'Tackling Societal Challenges' pillar.

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The initiative Renaturing Cities is promoted by Directorate I "Climate Action and Resource Efficiency" of DG Research & Innovation in order to investigate innovative tools, strategies and best practices in the field of Nature-Based Solutions that European cities are adopting. This initiative aims to show how renaturing of cities can lead the greening of the European economy by combining greater productivity and innovation capacity with lower costs and reduced environmental impact. Renaturing cities is set-up in line with a systemic, multidisciplinary and multistakeholder approach in order to link greening of cities with other key issues, notably resilience, urban risks, climate change adaptation, ecosystems restoration, human health and wellbeing.

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Cities targeting zero CO2 emissions

With almost 6000 signatories, the Covenant of Mayors is the biggest movement involving local and regional authorities in the fight against climate change, affecting the daily life of over 191 million people in Europe and beyond in a total of 53 countries.

Local authorities which sign the Covenant of Mayors make a formal voluntary commitment to meet and exceed the EU target of 20 % CO2 reduction by 2020, through increased energy efficiency and the development of renewable energy sources. Each local authority prepares and implements a Sustainable Energy Action Plan (SEAP), which is made public and submitted to the European Commission for evaluation. The cities also commit to encouraging the participation of its citizens and to report regularly on progress to achieving the goals set.

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The ELENA scheme, run by the European Investment Bank and financed under the EU's Intelligent Energy-Europe Programme, provides grants (up to 90 % of eligible costs) to local and regional authorities covering technical assistance costs related to the development of bankable large-scale sustainable energy investments. ELENA also assists local and regional authorities in the efficient spending of cohesion policy funds for energy efficiency and renewable energy.

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Intelligent transport systems (ITS) play a crucial role in the development of cities and benefit drivers, cyclists and pedestrians alike. These technologies allow vehicles to 'talk' to each other and communicate with the road infrastructure. They can improve traffic fluidity by offering alternatives to congested routes, as well as help to prevent crashes and reduce emergency response times in the case of accidents.

ITS applications can also help commuters to combine different modes of transport and rationalise passenger and freight transport by enabling informed trip decisions. Watch the iMobility video for examples of connected city mobility.

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The Energy-Efficient Buildings Public-Private Partnership was set up by the Commission in 2009 to tackle the consequences of the global economic downturn. The initiative examines energy-efficient construction and the refurbishment of existing buildings, as well as the design of new neutral/energy-positive buildings and energy-efficient communities.

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Open cities

Age-friendly cities

The European Commission has set up an Action Group for 'Innovation for age friendly buildings, cities and environments', as one of the six areas of action under the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing. By 2014, the Group aims to launch a network of cities/regions/municipalities committed to using innovative approaches to make their living environment more age-friendly. Updated guidelines for implementing age-friendly strategies in EU cities, based on the World Health Organization framework, will be finalised by 2015.

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Cities promoting integration

The European Agenda for Integration (2011) promotes the active involvement of cities in the formulation and implementation of integration policies, as cities are responsible for a wide range of service to migrants and they play an important role in shaping the interaction between migrants and the receiving society. EU instruments supporting integration policies are used to stimulate monitoring, promotion and exchange of local practices.

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The European Integration Forum is the Commission's main platform for consultation with civil society organisations on integration. Since 2013, representatives of cities and regions are also invited to attend Forum meetings.

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EWSI is a unique one-stop resource point for practitioners working on integration issues, both in local and regional authorities, as well as other governmental and non-governmental organisations. More specifically, it offers:

  • a collection of good practices
  • an online library of key documents, such as legislation, policy papers, conference reports
  • daily updated news and upcoming events
  • information related to European, national and private funding opportunities
  • country information sheets summarising the integration policies of each Member State
  • an interactive map of integration efforts of cities and regions ...

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Developed by the European Commission, the Handbook on Integration aims to improve the exchange of information and good practice between integration stakeholders in all EU Member States. The Handbook has been released in three editions and several topics covered relate to an urban context; the second edition contains a chapter dedicated to housing in an urban environment.

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The EU Framework for National Roma Integration Strategies emphasises the importance of integrated local actions, combining education, housing, health and employment initiatives, in order to achieve the sustainable socio-economic inclusion of Roma and other marginalised communities. To date, more than thirty municipalities and micro-regions in ten Member States have initiated such projects, developing expertise and adapting actions to specific local contexts.

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Urban-related research and innovation on socio-economic sciences and humanities

EU research and innovation has addressed the improving of understanding of major societal issues in Europe's cities, such as: sustainability and globalisation; cultural interactions and multiculturalism; migration; social innovation; local welfare systems; spatial planning challenges; shrinking cities; and urbanisation trends and processes in China. The new EU framework programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020, will support action in this field under the 'Tackling Societal Challenges' pillar.

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Resilience in cities

EU Adaptation Strategy

The effects of climate change will have far-reaching consequences across Europe, and adaptation is needed to protect people, buildings, infrastructure, businesses and ecosystems. In April 2013, the European Commission adopted its first 'EU strategy on adaptation to climate change', which aims to make Europe more climate-resilient

Urban areas are particularly sensitive to climate impacts, especially to heatwaves, flooding and droughts. Typically urban phenomena (such as the 'urban heat island effect' - where the urban area is significantly warmer than the surrounding rural areas because of human activity) and the impacts of extreme weather events (e.g. the flooding of the drainage system in Copenhagen in 2011) demonstrate the high vulnerability of cities. Specific urban adaptation strategies are therefore needed to make cities more resilient to climate change.

More Information http://ec.europa.eu/clima/policies/adaptation/index_en.htm
http://mayors-adapt.eu/

The European Climate Adaptation Platform (CLIMATE-ADAPT) is an EU initiative to help users to access and share information on: expected climate change in Europe; current and future vulnerability of regions and sectors; local, national and transnational adaptation strategies; adaptation case studies and potential adaptation options and tools that support adaptation planning.

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Mayors Adapt is a Commission's initiative that informs, mobilises and supports local authorities to adapt infrastructure and policies to climate impacts. This initiative is launched in the context of the EU Adaptation Strategy and is implemented within the Covenant of Mayors, the flagship European initiative for cities to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions.

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Innovative cities

The European Commission’s Smart Cities and Communities European Innovation Partnership draws together the areas of energy, transport and digital communication in order to strengthen EU-level action in support of sustainable urban development. The EU will finance this Partnership mainly through the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, alongside other EU, national and regional funding, and private investment.

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Two thirds of the EU population lives in urban areas. With the European Capital of Innovation Award, the Commission recognises those cities which are making major efforts to promote innovation and improving the quality of their citizens’ lives.

After the success of the first edition of the European Capital of Innovation Award in 2013-2014, the European Commission will launch a second, even more ambitious, edition in July 2015.

The award will continue to celebrate the European city which is building the best “innovation ecosystem”- connecting citizens, public organisations, academia, and business - with a view to helping the city scale up its efforts in this field.

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The Green Digital Charter is a declaration committing cities to work together in tackling climate change through the use of digital technologies in cities. This includes encouraging them to reduce the carbon footprint of their information and communication technologies (ICT) and to roll out ICT solutions which lead to more energy efficiency in areas such as buildings, transport and energy. The initiative is supported by the European Commission, which has funded the FP7 project NiCE - Networking intelligent Cities for Energy Efficiency - to support cities in attaining their Green Digital Charter goals. The Charter is open to local authorities regardless of the stage of implementation of their energy and climate policies. By March 2013, 35 cities from 14 European countries had signed the Green Digital Charter.

Urban-related research & innovation

EU research and innovation in this field has focused, amongst other things, on smart cities and communities: an initiative of note is the European Energy Research Alliance’s Joint Programme on Smart Cities that coordinates research actions among the participating countries and focuses on energy efficiency and the integration of renewable energy sources within urban areas. The new EU framework programme for research and innovation, Horizon 2020, will support action in this field under the 'Tackling Societal Challenges' pillar.

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R&I has contributed, inter alia, to mobility issues in urban areas (take-up of transport innovation in urban and regional transport, automated urban vehicles, accessibility of transport systems,innovative design and operation of new or upgraded efficient urban transport interchanges and coordinating innovation for efficient bus systems in the urban environment). Under Horizon 2020, relevant R&I may be supported under the Societal Challenge on Smart, green and integrated transport.

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EU research and innovation in this field has focused on health issues in urban environments, health indicators and the related analysis for policy-making, in order to advance our understanding of health trends in societies and to improve knowledge of how to tackle health inequalities.

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EU research and innovation has supported, amongst other things, the development of regional research-driven clusters, consisting of research bodies, businesses and public authorities, working together to achieve common goals. Further projects address cities and urban development (for example, REDICT, WASTEKIT, THE ISSUE).

Creative cities

More than 25 years after its creation, the European Capital of Culture stands out as one of the EU's most well-known and sought-after cultural initiatives with recognised social and economic benefits. Its primary objective is to highlight the richness and diversity of European cultures as well as the features they share. European Capitals of Culture are proof that culture makes a major contribution to the EU's aim of smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, because they are part of the long-term development of European cities and their regions, as well as a stimulus for dynamism, creativity, and social inclusion.

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The EU Culture Programme supports a number of prizes in the areas of cultural heritage, architecture, literature and music. The awards highlight the quality and success of European activities in these sectors.

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'European Common Heritage' sites are milestones in the creation of today's Europe, celebrating European integration, ideals and history. They have been carefully selected for their symbolic value and the activities they offer to bring the EU and its citizens closer together The sites labelled as European Common Heritage also contribute to increasing the role of heritage in the economic and sustainable development of regions, in particular through cultural tourism.

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Cooperation and exchange of experience between cities

URBACT is a European exchange and learning programme promoting sustainable urban development, which integrates economic, social and environmental dimensions. It enables cities to work together to develop new, pragmatic and sustainable solutions to major urban challenges, reaffirming the key role they play in facing increasingly complex societal changes. So far 7 000 people from 500 cities, in 29 countries, have participated in the URBACT programme.

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Support for cities

Support for better managed cities

The Reference Framework for European Sustainable Cities (RFSC) is an online toolkit designed to help cities promote and enhance their work on integrated sustainable urban development. It is available free of charge to all European local authorities and offers practical support in integrating sustainability principles into local policies and actions. The RFSC is a joint initiative of EU Member States, the European Commission and European local government organisations.

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Urban monitoring tools for cities

The aim of the EU Copernicus programme - previously known as the Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES) land monitoring service - is to provide land cover information to users in the field of environmental and other terrestrial applications. Three elements of the geographic information service are coordinated by the European Environment Agency and one element by the European Commission's Joint Research Centre.

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The urban atlas provides free high-resolution land use maps for all major cities in Europe. The data for 2006 is available and 2011 is being developed.

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Eurostat, the EU's statistical office, publishes:

  • annual data for all European cities; this includes a large data set for years when a census takes place
  • annual data for all cities of a country to measure the degree of urbanisation

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The European Environment Agency (EEA) is the agency of the European Union tasked with providing sound, independent information on the environment. The EEA assesses the urban environment in Europe on a regular basis and is strongly involved in networks that support urban strategies.

EEA's assessments cover not only single areas like urban land use or air quality but are working towards a more comprehensive and integrated approach.. They cover issues such as urban sprawl, water resource efficiency and adaptation to climate change. Assessments are complemented by indicators, datasets, networking activities and information for citizens (Eye on Earth).

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http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/urban/intro
http://www.eea.europa.eu/soer/europe/urban-environment

A survey is conducted every three years to measure the perception of the quality of life in cities. The 2013 survey covers 79 cities including 71 cities from 28 Member States of the EU and 8 cities in Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey. A number of issues such as employment, environment, housing, transport, culture, city services and immigration are addressed in this survey.

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International cooperation

On 14 February 2012, at the 7th EU-China Summit held in Beijing, leaders endorsed the EU-China Partnership on Sustainable Urbanisation. Its objectives include improving the functionality and attractiveness of Chinese cities, together with more efficient use of energy in urban settings. The annual flagship event is the EU-China Mayors Forum bringing together EU and Chinese mayors. 14 Chinese mayors have signed the 'EU-China Mayors Charter' with an equivalent number of EU counterparts.

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The European Commission is assisting partner countries around the world in their efforts to tackle the intricate challenges raised by urban growth. This support, which promotes a cross-cutting and long-term approach, takes the form of funding and expertise. It focuses primarily on urban planning and governance, disaster risk prevention and mitigation, slum rehabilitation, solid waste management, sanitation, cultural heritage preservation, and the rehabilitation and reconstruction of public infrastructure.

URBELAC is a joint initiative between the European Commission and the Inter-American Development Bank. The activities of this initiative rest on the common interest shared by the Inter-American Development Bank and the European Commission in supporting national and local governments in facing the new challenge of combining social cohesion and urban productivity, in front to the increasing urban growth and the centrality of cities in the development processes. All activities follow the objective of not only exchanging experiences, but also of creating real projects on the ground. Cities from Europe and from Latin and Southern America share their experience through site visits and study seminars and design and implement Local Action Plans which evolve from there (Latin-America only).

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Urban platforms and initiatives

European Environment Agency

The European Environment Agency (EEA) is an agency of the European Union, tasked with providing sound, independent information on the environment. The EEA is a major information source for those involved in developing, adopting, implementing and evaluating environmental policy, and also the general public. The 32 member countries include the 28 European Union Member States together with Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.
The EEA assesses the urban environment in Europe on a regular basis and is strongly involved in networks and working groups that support and develop urban strategies. As an agency with particular expertise in cross-thematic analysis, the EEA attaches high importance to the urban environment in the broader context of providing quality of life in Europe's cities and towns, which links to the socio-economic and cultural dimension. EEA's assessments cover not only single components like urban land use or air quality but move towards a more comprehensive concept - the urban metabolism and integrated urban monitoring.
Reports published by the EEA have addressed in the past issues such as urban sprawl, water resource efficiency and adaptation to climate change. Assessments are complemented by indicators (such as urban indicators for land take, vulnerability to climate change or air quality), datasets (covering noise and air quality, urban zones), networking activities and information for citizens (Eye on Earth).

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http://www.eea.europa.eu/themes/urban/intro
http://www.eea.europa.eu/soer/europe/urban-environment

EUKN

EUKN shares knowledge and experience on tackling urban issues. The key objective is to enhance the exchange of knowledge and expertise on urban development throughout Europe, bridging urban policy, research and practice. 10 EU Member States (National Focal Points), EUROCITIES, the URBACT Programme and the European Commission participate in this European initiative. The Dutch EU Presidency of 2004 saw the establishment of the European Urban Knowledge Network (EUKN).

The key objective of EUKN is to enhance the exchange of knowledge and expertise on urban development throughout Europe, bridging urban policy, research and practice.

EUKN is characterised by a demand-driven approach, based on the needs of urban practitioners and policymakers. EUKN has developed an extensive, high-quality knowledge database, based on shared standards and protocols. This extensive e-library provides free access to over 5000 case studies, research results, policy documents, context issues, network descriptions, updated news and meetings.

Over the past years, EUKN has proven itself to be an efficient one-stop urban shop, providing city practitioners, policy makers, project managers and other users with high quality urban knowledge and experiences. By monitoring the actions of its visitors EUKN has been able to develop a clear picture of the sort of knowledge that they are looking for and the topics they are interested in. At the same time, EUKN is more than a virtual knowledge network. It constitutes an international platform stimulating the exchange of knowledge and experiences during international and national meetings, and offering topical dossiers, expert opinions and specific practical assistance through the National Focal Points of the network and support for EU Presidencies. This year EUKN is organising thematic meetings (Policy Labs) in all of its member states, each bringing European knowledge to a local context.
EUKN focuses on the following main themes

  • social inclusion & integration;
  • housing;
  • transport & infrastructure;
  • urban environment;
  • economy, knowledge & employment;
  • security & crime prevention;
  • skills & capacity building.

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Energy Cities

"Energy Cities is the European Association of local authorities in energy transition"

20 years of experience in European matters
Energy Cities was created in 1990 as a non-profit organisation. It is the European association of local authorities in energy transition. Since its foundation, it has been committed to sustainable energy policies and is active in sharing its experience and know-how with its members.
The network of cities now represents more than 1,000 members from 30 countries.

Energy Cities' mission

  • Strengthening local authorities' capacity to accelerate the energy transition
  • Representing cities' interests and influencing national & EU policies
  • Developing and promoting our members' initiatives

A trusted voice in Brussels
Energy Cities is a credible and trusted advocate of local authorities in the fields of energy efficiency, renewables, climate mitigation, regional policy and financing. We lobby local authorities' interests at the European level by:

  • contributing to public consultations,
  • publishing position papers,
  • establishing strategic partnerships with relevant EU decision-markers.

Energy Cities leads the Covenant of Mayors Offices (www.eumayors.eu) and is one of its official Supporters. Our network is proud to play an important role in this powerful initiative closely linking EU policies with local issues.

www.energy-cities.eu
twitter.com/energycities
www.facebook.com/Energy.Cities

Eurocities

EUROCITIES is the political platform for major European cities. Founded in 1986, it is a network of local governments comprising over 130 of Europe's largest cities and 40 partner cities that between them govern some 130 million citizens across 35 countries.

Based on Europe's three key challenges, EUROCITIES' present policy priorities are recovery, inclusion and climate. The network engage in dialogue with the European institutions across a wide range of policy areas affecting cities. These include: economic development, environment, transport and mobility, social affairs, culture, the information and knowledge society, and services of general interest.

EUROCITIES provide a platform for cities to share knowledge and ideas, exchange experiences, analyse common problems and develop innovative solutions, through a wide range of forums, working groups, projects, activities and events.

EUROCITIES is committed to working towards a common vision of a sustainable future in which all citizens can enjoy a good quality of life.

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CEMR

The Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) is the largest organisation of local and regional authorities in Europe. Its members are over 50 national associations of towns, municipalities and regions from 41 European countries. Together, these associations represent some 100 000 local and regional authorities in the European Union.

As a representative of local government, CEMR deals with urban development in different ways: in the context of the EU cohesion policy where we emphasise the important role of cities and municipalities of all sizes, in particular with regards to creation of jobs and growth. Furthermore, we promote good collaboration between cities and their surroundings, and a 'functional areas' approach.

Moreover, CEMR supports sustainable urban development and has been involved in the development of the Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities (RFSC); a webtool that aims at helping cities to prepare a sustainable urban development strategy or project. In the current dissemination phase (2013 - 2014), we provide assistance to the management and a permanent helpdesk for cities and stakeholders.

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ICLEI

ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability is the only network of cities operating worldwide that is working towards sustainability. With over 1,000 members, ICLEI promotes local action for global sustainability and supports cities through advocacy, information, training and capacity-building, networking and cooperation in pilot projects.

In Europe, ICLEI is involved in various initiatives related to urban development, such as the Aalborg Process and European Sustainable Cities Platform, the Covenant of Mayors, the European Green Capital Award, the Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities, and the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities.

The ICLEI European Secretariat works with teams specialised on Sustainable resources, climate and resilience; Sustainable Economy and procurement; Governance and social innovation; and Communication and member relations. It provides local governments in Europe with a strong voice on the European and international stage, and works closely with the European Commission and the United Nations to involve cities in multi-level governance processes for issues related to sustainable development.

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The European Sustainable Cities Platform

Launched at the 7th European Conference on Sustainable Cities & Towns in Geneva (Switzerland) 2013, the European Sustainable Cities Platform is an information hub for local governments, organisations and interested individuals.
Recognising the variety and diversity of schemes, awards and activities organised for local governments by a multitude of organisations, the Platform aims to bring together all relevant partners working on issues around sustainable cities, and offers a one-stop shop for any local community trying to find the right entry door for engaging in sustainability action.
The European Sustainable Cities Platform is an initiative by ICLEI and the City of Aalborg, emerging from the European Sustainable Cities & Towns Campaign, and carrying its heritage further into the future. The Platform is open to partnerships with, and contributions from other organisations.
There are many ways to make your city sustainable. Find out which is the right one for you.

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Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Urban Europe

http://www.jpi-urbaneurope.eu/

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The Platform of Local Authorities and Cities Engaged in Science (PLACES)

R&I actions have stimulated, inter alia, harmonious integration of scientific and technological endeavour and associated research policies into European society. The Platform of Local Authorities and Cities Engaged in Science - PLACES builds with local administrators and policy makers the "City of Scientific Culture".

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http://ec.europa.eu/research/science-society/index.cfm
http://www.openplaces.eu

Research Platform: SOCIAL POLIS

One of the main goals of the Social Polis platform has been the production of a European Research Agenda on "Cities and Social Cohesion".

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Research platform: SPREAD

SPREAD focused on identifying research and policy needs in the area of sustainable lifestyles up to 2050; it published a related R&I agenda document that proposes thematic lines for future R&I actions that could be taken up by all levels regional, national and European

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Reports, studies, surveys, data collection

Cities of tomorrow - challenges, visions, ways forward

More than two thirds of the European population lives in urban areas. Cities are places where both problems emerge and solutions are found. They are fertile ground for science and technology, for culture and innovation, for individual and collective creativity, and for mitigating the impact of climate change. However, cities are also places where problems such as unemployment, segregation and poverty are concentrated. The 'Cities of tomorrow' reflection process will provide inspiration for policymakers and practitioners involved in urban development, whether at local, regional, national or European level.

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Quality of life in cities - Perception Survey in 79 European cities (2013)

A survey is conducted every three years to measure perception of quality of life in cities. A number of issues such as employment, environment, housing, transport, culture, city services and immigration are addressed by this survey.

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Good practice in urban development - Study

The Commission has published a study on European Regional Development Fund projects aiming at improving the standards of living and working in Europe's cities. 'Urban development in the EU' presents 50 projects which received ERDF investment and offers an information package for selected cities, with detailed information on projects and results there. The study gathers a range of urban practice, and is a 'state of play' in how the cities have put local urban policies into action with ERDF investment from 2007 to 2013.

Final Report

Projects' descriptions

Sustainable Urban-Rural Partnerships - Study and conference

The EU is working together with countries, regions and other partners to promote urban-rural linkages. A truly integrated approach to development must go beyond intra-city policy coordination and traditional rural issues. The integration with surrounding areas, both urban and rural, needs also to be considered. The benefits of stronger urban-rural cooperation include more efficient land use and planning, better provision of services (e.g. public transport, health) and better management of natural resources.

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ERDF Investments in Housing - Study

The aim of this study is to improve the understanding of how the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is used in housing projects in the 2007-2013 funding period.

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CiTIEs - Cities of Tomorrow: Investing in Europe

More than two thirds of EU citizens live in urban areas - but does policy making in the EU reflect the realities of today's Europe? As calls grow for an EU Urban Agenda, the European Commission hosted a main forum and a series of side events to debate how Member States and EU institutions should work together to ensure that cities play their full role in European development - and that their needs are fully reflected in policy thinking.

"CiTIEs - Cities of Tomorrow: Investing in Europe" provided a forum to shape a debate that matters to all of us.
You can listen to presentations through the links provided in the agenda.

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