Navigation path

Additional tools

Urban Issues at stake

Under the series of themes in the menu, you will find an inventory of various programmes and initiatives which have an urban dimension (some of which funded by the European Commission). 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.

Urban platforms and initiatives

Support for better managed cities

Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities - Web tool

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.

More Information

European Environment Agency

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).

More Information:


European Urban Knowledge Network

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. 

More Information

Energy Cities

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

"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 ( 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.



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.

More Information


Council of European Municipalities and Regions

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.

More Information


Local Governments for Sustainability

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.

More Information

The European Sustainable Cities Platform

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.

More Information

Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Urban Europe

More Information

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

R&I actions

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".

more Information

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”.

More Information :

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

More Information

EU Regional Policy: Stay informed