Article of the UIA Knowledge base
Modifier 05 August 2021
by UIA PERMANENT SECRETARIAT

UIA Summer Reading List: Green, Just and Productive European Cities

Cluj Napoca photo
This Summer Reading List explores UIA projects’ contribution to the 3 pillars of the New Leipzig Charter, preparing for the Urban Agenda September webinars. Have a look and stay tuned to find out more about the agenda!

More than 20 years after the first Leipzig Charter, the context facing European cities has significantly changed. Climate change, the loss of biodiversity, resource scarcity, migration movements, demographic change and rapidly changing economies all reinforced by the ongoing pandemic, reveal the major challenges that cities are facing and will face in the future, therefore calling for innovative and creative solutions to overcome them. The renewal of the Leipzig Charter reflects these changes whilst reasserting the importance of those defined in 2007, the basis of integrated sustainable urban development that has been inspiring urban policy across Europe since.

Major global trends are directly impacting towns and cities across Europe, threatening to increase disparities in our societies. UIA projects are already implementing activities that address climate and social challenges (more about the Just Transitions Knowledge Activity here) and testing solutions for cities to become more resilient and adaptive to sudden changes, as well as transform their urban development policies towards the common good. Some of these projects will be part of the webinar series organized by the Urban Agenda for the EU (UAEU) on how are urban initiatives and actions supporting Green, Just and Productive Cities in the EU?

Joining forces with UIA and URBACT cities, the UAEU will further explore the 3 pillars of the New Leipzig Charter during this series of 3 webinars in September 2021.

To prepare for such an ambitious programme, we have put together a Summer Reading List for you to explore how UIA cities feed into the New Leipzig Charter pillars stated above. Have a look and save the date! UIA cities will be speaking at the UAEU webinars on 20 September (the Productive dimension), 27 September (the Green dimension), 4 October (the Just dimension) 2021. Find out more here.

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Summer Reading List

Economic sectors are shifting more and more towards a digital, service-oriented and low carbon economy further reinforcing the knowledge-based and cultural industries. UIA cities are in step with this turn and are providing solutions to shape the digital transformation, acting for public welfare, developing innovative services and infrastructures adapted to their local challenges as in Gava (ES) and Cluj Napoca (RO) – all for the benefit of society as a whole. Read more about the latest achievements of both projects below.

  • Cluj –Future of Work latest achievements. Guided by Simone d’Antonio, UIA expert, explore how Cluj Napoca is capitalising on creative-based industries and related knowledge, making them more competitive, digitalised and able to provide adapted training for local jobs under high risk of automation. Read the Cluj - Future of work Journal 2 here.

  • Gavà – GAVIUS: when AI serves the common good. Valentina Tageo, UIA expert, guides you through the first achievements of the Gavius project and how it uses artificial intelligence to improve the efficiency of social aid. Read Gavius Journal #1 here. 

As stated in the New Leipzig Charter, the fight against climate related phenomena and their impact on cities and their inhabitants includes the energy sector but also encompasses access to green, not polluted spaces. Baia Mare (RO), Paris (FR) and Manchester (GB) are among some European frontrunner UIA cities that are providing solutions to invest in innovative and efficient technologies as well as implementing fundamental changes to production and consumption. Read more about their latest achievements below.

  • Baia Mare – SPIRE: Resilient cities after COVID-19: the need for green infrastructure. Follow Amaya Celaya Alvarez, UIA expert, as she guides you through the SPIRE project. In light of the COVID pandemic, green urban planning seems now more compelling than ever. Baia Mare is re-incorporating its highly polluted brownfields into the productive urban fabric through nature based solutions to contribute to human physical and mental health, as well as general wellbeing. Read more. 

  • Paris – OASIS: From co-design to co-implementation of the OASIS Schoolyards. In this article, UIA expert, Maria Sitzoglou explains how Paris’ schoolyards are being transformed for, with and by children in a participative way (from design to renovation works). You will find more on how the project capitalises on ecosystem services to mitigate climate effects, implementing green and blue infrastructure in schools. Read more

  • Manchester – IGNITION: The long and winding road to financing nature-based solutions. Tackling climate change requires costly renovations and therefore innovative ways of financing them. It is a challenge faced by many cities in Europe to which Manchester is providing experimental solutions, taking the lead to convince businesses and organisations to take over such investments. Read more about their approach in UIA expert, Birgit Georgi’s latest article.

Major transformations sometimes have side effects on the most vulnerable. Yet, one of the pillars of the New Leipzig Charter is to provide opportunities for everyone to integrate in urban societies. Ensuring human dignity and access to core services is therefore key for EU cities to implement. This includes access to housing and other basic human rights. Athens (GR) and Milan (IT)  are both in their own field providing implementation schemes for fundamental rights with cities. Read more about their projects below.

  • Athens – Curing the Limbo latest achievements: In this Journal, UIA expert Levente Polyak explains how Athens is joining forces with the city’s civil society to help refugees and the local unemployed to overcome the twofold issue of housing and social exclusion. Refugees receive affordable living spaces from the city’s available housing stock and in return, they work for the public benefit, supporting the needs of the local community and participating in citizen-led activities that improve quality of life in Athenian neighbourhoods.

  • Milan –Wish mi latest achievements: As part of the renewal of its youth policy, the municipality of Milan is testing a participative and integrated approach involving children – especially deprived ones – and their families in the design of a digital platform, which will centralize all youth services addressing their specific issues (income inequalities, inadequate nutrition/ healthcare/ housing conditions, unequal access to education, social isolation, etc). Read more about its objectives in the project’s first Journal, written by Eddy Adams.

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