Modifier 01 September 2021

ICCARus and NextGen Microcities selected for the RegioStars Awards

rEGIO Star awards
With a record of 214 applications up to May 2021, the 14th edition of the RegioStars Awards is arriving at its final stage. Two UIA projects are selected for the annual competition.

NextGen Microcities from Ventspils & Valmiera and ICCARus (Gent knapt op) from Ghent have been selected to get a RegioStars award in Smart Europe and Green Europe categories.

Smart Europe, Smart Micro Cities 

Lack of skilled workforce, brain drain, reduced young active population and not enough public support for job creation are some challenges that micro-cities like Ventspils and Valmiera are facing. NextGen Microcities project aims to create workspaces with high innovative approaches and a more comprehensive career support system for students and adults. Another solution proposed by the project is the training of current workforce and students with digital skills to access a more competitive labour market at local level.  Recently the two cities opened their first makerspaces, offering new opportunities and implementing business models specific to the requirements of each micro city (Read more here). NextGen Microcities will create an innovative model for smart cities to replicate in other micro cities across Europe.

A recurring fund for green housing

The second listed UIA project is ICCARus (Gent knapt op) in the Green Europe category. With 10 000 households living in bad conditions, Ghent housing situation is getting worse. The ICCARus project is addressing this situation by renovating 100 houses of ‘captive residents’ to which technical, financial, administrative and social support is offered. A starting capital of EUR 30 000 is provided for each renovation via an innovative financial instrument: a recurring fund. Public finance can then be reinvested to fight this key urban challenge. 

Other innovative solutions on housing implemented by cities can be found on the UIA-URBACT platform that also gathers inputs from experts, researchers and activists.

RegioStars Awards

RegioStars Awards competition, organized by the European Commission - DG REGIO, is once again awarding EU-funded projects that are implementing solutions through five different axes on urban development and regional policy: 

  • Smart Europe
  • Green Europe
  • Fair Europe
  • Urban Europe
  • Topic of the year: European year of the Rail.

The finalist of each category will be announced early September and the Awards Ceremony will take place on 2 December in Dubrovnik, Croatia. Stay tuned for more information on RegioStars website.