Article of the UIA Knowledge base
Edit 16 October 2020
by UIA Permanent Secretariat

Knowledge Activities in motion – 2021 is coming!

TUPPAC LINC project credits to Rasmus Degnbol
Building on the knowledge generated by the 86 UIA ongoing projects, the Initiative is leading, together with its partners and UIA cities, three knowledge activities on housing, urban mobility and monitoring and evaluation.

In this article, we keep you updated about the latest events and findings on UIA cities reflection and experience on innovation and mobility; European cities engaging in right to housing and UIA cities different practices to capture and evaluate the results and impact of the innovative interventions. Enjoy the reading!


Since January 2020, UIA and URBACT have been exploring how cities can design housing policies and practical solutions to implement the right to housing. Coordinated by Laura Colini (UIA and Urbact Expert), the activity builds on UIA and URBACT cities experiences and knowledge to explore innovative solutions and push further the agenda on the right to housing EU wide on 3 specific topics:

What happened since last October?

EU Week of Regions and Cities 2020: How to implement housing in times of Covid?

UIA and URBACT presented a session at the EU Week of Regions and Cities on cities responses to the COVID crisis in the housing policy field. Indeed, in the last few months, governments across Europe have invested unprecedented efforts to keep safe those at risk, with cities implementing exceptional strategies and measures to keep everyone housed. In some cases, this has nearly reduced homelessness to zero. However, in the aftermath of the peak of the emergency last spring, long-term affordable, suitable and dignified solutions become a mandate that cannot be ignored.

The goal of this session was therefore to explore cities' engagement in housing strategies, and their experiences in practice, bringing several EU-level organisations to the table to discuss housing strategies at urban level.

You can watch the session again here

Fair Finance: How can cities fight against the financialisation of their housing market

The last web conference of the series took place on 19 November explored municipal strategies to implement fair finance mechanisms to ensure affordability and inclusion. From UIA, the Yes We Rent! project from Mataró presented its experience with innovative financial mechanisms protecting housing from speculation at local level (provision of social rent, reuse of vacant building). We also heard about the URBACT case of Riga where a taxation system on vacant buildings is being developed. This discussion opened up on a debate in which housing policy researchers and high-level speakers from different EU organizations and also a Member of the European Parliament took the floor to discuss the different levers of action cities have in relation to the financialisation of their housing market.

Laura Colini and Ivan Tosics tell you more in this follow-up article.

As the series of web conferences has now ended, reaching a great success and much interest across European institutions, initiatives, associations and cities, 2021 first semester will be dedicated to collect the knowledge generated by the activity and to disseminate it widely. To achieve this, URBACT-UIA are building a common platform bringing together the main lessons learned across 2020, more insights on projects and initiatives on which we built the activity.

We will jointly launch the platform through a common event in March! Stay tuned to find out more about it here.

The UIA Urban Mobility journey began last February together with UIA mobility cities Albertslund, Lahti, Ghent, Toulouse, Szeged, exploring the innovation concept applied to urban mobility challenges; and seeking to understand whether the sole deployment of unprecedented technological advances will be able to address mobility issues related to the increasing urbanization and urban resilience challenges. Therefore, the activity included 3 workshops in which UIA projects looked into how and what kind of innovation is necessary today for achieving a smarter, greener and more integrated urban transport of people and goods.

The three main subtopics that have been leading the discussions are:

  • Data: The first capitalisation workshop addressed data aspects in Urban Mobility, and discussed how UIA projects deal with data as a resource to support sustainable mobility strategies. Get a first flavour of the final report on data here
  • Collaboration and governance: UIA cities met for the second time in July to discuss about Collaboration & Governance challenges. Get an overview of the first results and findings of this workshop in the article summarizing contents of the final report here
  • Behavior change: UIA cities met for the second time in September to discuss about Collaboration & Governance challenges. A report will follow.

What happened since last October?

What policies to achieve behavior change in urban mobility?- 1 December @Interreg Europe PLP and UIA

The European Union has committed to achieving a net-zero carbon economy by 2050, which will require, amongst other actions, a shift to clean and sustainable mobility. As well as new investments and financial measures to reduce the use of polluting vehicles, there will also need to be efforts to make people more aware of the negative impacts of their travel choices and change their travel behaviour and preferences, particularly to active and public transport.

On 1 December 2020, the Interreg Europe Policy Learning Platform and the Urban Innovative Actions Initiative organised a joint webinar on behaviour change for sustainable mobility, looking into the activities and results of four projects: two from UIA, which presented their pilot projects for stimulating behaviour change (Citicap in Lahti and TMaas in Ghent), and two from IE, which gave a more thematic perspective.

To know more about it read the article of Simon Hunkin, summing up the key messages and conclusions of the event: Webinar recording: Behaviour change for sustainable mobility | Interreg Europe

You can watch it again here:

Innovation for Urban Mobility – 14 October @ EU Regions Week

Through this session, UIA, sought to answer how and what kind of innovation is necessary today for achieving a smarter, greener and more integrated urban transport of people and goods. It did so by bringing to the forefront five European cities (Albertslund, Lahti, Ghent, Toulouse Metropole, Szeged), who are currently implementing innovative projects funded by UIA and whose mobility challenges are representative of those of several cities in the continent, in an effort to shed light into how innovation on differing levels and sectors can cope with addressing trending mobility challenges.

Although there is no formula that will fit all cities, a balanced combination of enhanced data utilization, better collaboration and radical governance, and provision of incentives for achieving travellers behavioural change, is promising for the future.

To address the effects of pollution, cities need to transform into living laboratories for the design, development and testing of innovative solutions – Iraklis Stamos, UIA Project Officer

If you want to hear a summary of the main lessons learned from the activity, watch this session! Dr. Iraklis Stamos, Project Officer at UIA Permanent Secretariat walks you through the 3 subtopics and the lessons learned from UIA projects to achieve a smarter, greener and more integrated urban transport of people and goods.

In 2020, with the help of Ecorys, UIA explored the different practices, methodologies and techniques developed by on-going UIA projects to capture and evaluate the results and impact of the innovative interventions. This one-year capitalisation activity on how to monitor and evaluate innovative urban projects contributes to the existing knowledge on sustainable urban development and to future activities of capacity building for urban practitioners with concrete and real examples.

Barcelona, Utrecht, Rotterdam, Antwerp, Vienna, Athens, Szeged, Aveiro, Brussels, Helsinki and Paris’ experiences have been interviewed as case studies to feed the knowledge activity. Building on the experiences and lessons learnt from these frontrunner cities, a final web platform on monitoring and evaluating innovative urban projects will be launched in March, together with a dedicated capacity building activity in the beginning of 2021.

On top of those 3 activities currently ongoing, the UIA Secretariat is already preparing the new main knowledge activities for 2021 that will be focusing on inclusive and fair transition towards an European Green Deal as well as on analyzing how UIA cities translate on the ground the main principles of the integrated approach for sustainable urban development.

Stay tuned on our channels for more updates and watch UIA playlist!

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