On May the 30th 2016, the European Commission and 28 member states established the Pact of Amsterdam: a new Urban Agenda for the EU. The Agenda will allow local and regional authorities to work with EU and national institutions to develop action plans in response to major challenges. With the pact, the EU strives to strengthening European cities, for a sustainable, socially inclusive, innovative and economically powerful Europe
The European Union is one of the most urbanized areas in the world. Today, more than 70% of Europe’s citizens lives in an Urban Area. The development of these areas will have a major impact on future sustainable development (economic, environmental, and social) of the European Union and its citizens. Urban areas of all sizes can be engines of the economy which boost growth, create jobs for their citizens and enhance the competitiveness of Europe in a globalized economy. These areas are, however, also places where challenges such as segregation, unemployment, and poverty are concentrated.
Considering the above, urban areas play a key role in pursuing the EU 2020 objectives and in solving many of its most pressing challenges, and local authorities play a crucial role in the daily life of all EU citizens. To realize the full potential and contribution of urban areas, the Pact of Amsterdam prioritizes a diversity ofthemes, from air quality and urban poverty, to climate adaptation, mobility and digital transition, and allow the different levels of government to launch joint initiatives and shape new legislation and improve existing EU rules.
These urban themes also play a key role in the upcoming URBACT Summer University. URBACT helps cities to develop pragmatic solutions that are new and sustainable and that integrate economic, social and environmental urban topics. The USU helps building the skills and capacities of urban professionals within the URBACT Programme and helps participants to manage local groups and to develop integrated action plans for a resilient city. Furthermore, the SU allows URBACT partners to share and work with other cities and practitioners across Europe, beyond their own network. Five different policy labs, from collaborative entrepreneurship and new business models to jobs and skills in urban economies, will be taught. DRIFT’s dr. Niki Frantzeskaki, lead expert at URBACT with a focus on urban sustainability, offers insight on urban sustainability transitions in energy, food and water systems. Registration for the URBACT Summer University is already closed, but stay up to date for new insights and findings resulting from the USU and of the URBACT project by following the initiative on Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn.