Edit 20 June 2022
by UIA Secretariat

Transferring Innovative Actions - what’s the update?

UIA and URBACT have been collaborating for over a year to share and transfer tested solutions from UIA projects to other cities facing similar challenges in Europe.

The UIA transfer mechanism builds on the successes of the URBACT Transfer Network method “understand, adapt, re-use” which reflects the core principles of the transfer process: one city benefitting from another. UIA and URBACT have developed a pilot transfer mechanism for UIA projects that have already come to an end and are ready to share their experiences. Overall, it has been an important journey of learning, exchanging and sharing between cities, effectively building cities’ capacities, knowledge and practices. The UIA cities selected to be part of this collaboration are Bilbao (AS Fabric TRANSFER), Turin (CO4CITIES), Birmingham (USE-IT), Viladecans (VILAWATT) and Milan (NEXT AGRI).

Each step of the transfer process includes a specific milestone and set of deliverables: 


  • Stage 1 – Understand: the first 6 months are dedicated to developing a deep and shared understanding of the UIA practice and to the production of a Transferability Plan.
  • Stage 2 – Adapt: the second 9 months are dedicated to exchange and learning activities focusing on the adaptation of the UIA practice to different city contexts.
  • Stage 3 – Preparing for Re-use: in the final 3 months cities will review their investment plans and improve them with a specific focus on future implementation   This period will also see the production of a final report. 

Currently, the transfer networks are in the adaptation phase, preparing to enter the Re-USE phase. The networks are developing their mid-term reviews and are thinking of the work they have done, where they will go in the future as well as what they can change about their transfer process. The partner cities are sharing their respective investment plans and springboard plans for UIA cities in order for others to potentially adapt and implement their own version. This type of collaboration between cities helps stakeholders understand, achieve their goals, adapt plans locally and according to the situation on the ground. 

The good news is there has been two-month deadline extension due to the impacts and consequences of Covid, the networks needed more time and resources to design and implement their integrated action plan. They have also been allocated an extra budget for each partner to test and develop small scale actions. This has given the partners an opportunity for tangible actions, try to find funds, prepare their bids and to test other specific actions. The partners have until November 2022 to finalise their integrated action plan and communicate on their actions.

There are already interesting lessons learnt on this transfer journey and methodology. Transferring the entire innovative system in only 18 months is a complex task for some networks considering the lifetime duration and budget of a UIA project. In response, the network has to split their actions into several pillars to break it down to each city and how they can appropriately adapt similar actions. Considering the nature of the project, it was a challenge prioritising which pillar would be the most suitable according to the particular setting. As a response, the partners worked to learn what others wanted and needed to be imported: representing indeed a pilot journey that will lead to the adaptation of the transfer methodology

Why should this transfer mechanism interest you? While UIA’s programming period is coming to an end, we are currently looking forward to implementing a transfer component in the soon-to-be-launched initiative, the European Urban Initiative, that will be an important source of funding, capacity building, knowledge sharing and transfer of good practices between cities in Europe. 

Looking to get some first-hand experience from one of the networks as part of the UIA-URBACT transfer mechanism? Rewind to the URBACT festival last week June 14-16 for some live sessions! 


Other news from this project