Edit 25 November 2021

Time to learn from projects’ innovative stories!

Calico project
Let’s rewind to some of our projects as we come closer to the end of 2021. This year has seen 15 UIA projects closing their implementation period and sharing their first results during dedicated events.

This article lists the different projects and guides you through UIA website and knowledge Lab and the work that has been done by our projects in order to learn about their innovative solutions, activities, achievements as well as their difficulties and lessons learnt. Click below on any of the urban topics you are interested in and enjoy the reading!


Innovation and Circular Economy

Most of the UIA projects working on circular economy have a holistic or a large-scale approach as they combine a large range of actions dealing with economic, social and environmental issues. Thus, the projects deal with the challenge of zero waste cities’ strategy with a wide range of tools, activities and techniques including both offline and online tools. The combination of these different approaches and actions creates a new framework in which innovation can be found.

Five projects have ended their activities this year:


In addition to the closure events, first lessons learnt on Circular Economy projects have been shared during dedicated workshops in 2019:

Contributing to inclusive growth - Jobs and skills in the local economy

The cities of Bilbao - AS-FABRIK project, Milan – OpenAgri project; and Ventspils &Valmeria - NextGen Microcities targeting job creation and skills issues in an innovative way shared their experience and lessons learned in 2021 during their final event.

First lessons learnt are the following:

  • Traditional sector or cluster oriented way of thinking are becoming obsolete. All projects reflect the challenge to transcend traditional boundaries between sectors or clusters as innovation comes from cross-sectoral collaboration and from better alignment between industry and research/education. 
  • Foster cooperation between education, research and business stakeholders in order to provide trainings matching with the market’s needs. 
  • Encourage training and education that provide new mixes of competences (generic and specialist skills).


Look at the publication How are UIA jobs and skills projects contributing to inclusive growth? for more insights

Further analysis of the job market green renewal will be the focus over the next months during the Just Transitions knowledge activity , involving UIA projects working on this topic.

Innovation in Urban Mobility in the 2020s

UIA projects on urban mobility deploy a holistic or a large-scale approach as they combine a large range of actions dealing with economic, social and environmental issues. Thus, UIA cities deal with mobility issues with a wide range of tools, activities and technological devices including both offline and online tools. Five of them Alberstlund (LINC), Ghent (TMaaS), Lahti (CitiCAP), Toulouse Metropole (COMMUTE) and Szeged (SASMob) are ending their activities this year and give an overview of the major trends of innovative urban mobility solutions cities are implementing related to cooperation strategies, data and behavioural change.

Beyond their closure events, the five cities capitalised on their findings and results in 2020 on the following cross-cutting issues:

  • the right mix and format of collaboration when it comes to city administrations and private entities deploying solutions together in an urban context,
  • the most innovative ways to pull people from individual and motorized transport to a collective and more sustainable one,
  • the trade-off of privacy and communal good under the prism of data sharing and collection.

Explore the report Innovation in Urban Mobility in the 2020s available online.

UIA solutions to implement the right to housing

The implementation period of the CALICO project in Brussels ended on October. It was the opportunity for the team and partners to offer a first feedback on their experience and to discuss the project’s results and achievements. Watch this video to get more insights on how gender orientation, care and collaboration create a unique housing project.

Throughout 2020, UIA and URBACT explored how cities can design housing policies and practical solutions to implement the right to housing, together with Antwerp (BE), Athens (EL), Barcelona (ES), Brussels Capital Region (BE), Budapest (HU), Chemnitz (DE), Ghent (BE), Lyon Metropole (FR), Mataró (ES), Nantes (FR) and Thessaloniki (EL). Explore the right2housing platform to get more on the UIA housing projects results and findings.

Three overarching questions led to this work:

  • What are the most innovative practices at city level concretely delivering the right to housing?
  • What can cities do to ensure that everyone – particularly the most disadvantaged groups - have access to safe, adequate and affordable housing?
  • How can the EU and its member states create an enabling environment for cities to innovate?

Have a look at this playlist for all videos presenting UIA housing solutions.

Urban poverty and Integration of migrants and refugees

In the city of Nantes, the inauguration of the 5bridges building in November 2021 marked the very end of the project addressing urban poverty issues, opening the one-stop shop social equipment, integrating tailored support services for the homeless and socially excluded people.

UIA projects addressed the integration of migrants and refugees by capitalizing on local communities and developing tailor-made services in a one-stop shop approach. Fuenlabrada – Milma project and Coventry – MiFRIENDLY Cities shared their experience and findings during closure events this year. They also participated to a capitalisation workshop in 2019 together with other UIA cities addressing the same challenge, resulting in a dedicated publication on how UIA projects implement innovative ways for better managing inclusion.

UIA experts have accompanied all of the above projects during the implementation phase. The experts provided in-depth analysis of the topic and project implementation, focusing on the particularities of each and analysing how they responded to implementation challenges. Explore the UIA Knowledge Lab , filter the topic you are interested in and find all the experts’ publications.

Other news from this project