In the ancient Greek city (polis), the Agora was the most important spot, a marketplace and a civic centre. Besides being a place to buy goods, the Agora was the place where people came together, assembled and discussed all kind of different topics from politics, to business to current events to philosophical questions of the universe. The Agora was the place where Greek philosophy came to life for the first time. Thus, the Agora was the political and commercial centre of the ancient Greek city.
Against this background, the JPI Urban Europe borrows the term but also the concept of the ancient Greek Agora for its Stakeholder Involvement Platform. “The Agora – JPI Urban Europe Stakeholder Involvement Platform” aims at creating the space to meet and exchange for urban actors with a diversity of background (researchers, practitioners, public administrators, entrepreneurs, social innovators, etc.), discussing current themes and priorities and identifying the most pressing urban challenges of today and the future. Furthermore, as in the ancient Greek Polis, the Agora – JPI Urban Europe Stakeholder Involvement Platform will serve as a marketplace, a marketplace of ideas, concepts, strategies and research/innovation results.
Urban development is a complex matter and so is urban research and innovation. To achieve impact and find reasonable ways to tackle pressing urban issues and challenges of today and tomorrow, a holistic model of partnership respecting the necessity to reflect current developments and catalyse opportunities is needed. This is why JPI Urban Europe conducted an extensive co-creative process to develop the Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda (SRIA). The FP7 funded SEiSMiC project [Social Engagement in Science – Mutual Learning in Cities] which built up networks of very diverse urban actors and stakeholders has been a great resource in this endeavour. As SEiSMiC ended in October 2016, the JPI Urban Europe would like to continue the work with the actors mobilised in the project. Thus, the Agora will follow the some key principles:
- Facilitating the widening of participation and capacity building in terms of countries, regions, stakeholders and urban actors
- Providing an ecosystem and environment for co-creation and multi-stakeholder involvement, in particular considering the four main stakeholder groups – science, cities, civil society and business.
- Anticipating the different logics and needs of the different countries, stakeholders and urban actors.
- Mobilising the different actors for contributing to the defined implementation activities of the Strategic Research and Innovation Strategy.
The Agora Sounding Board
As a very important step, the Agora Sounding Board has been established which consists of representatives of urban networks, civil society organisations, urban practitioners, policy makers, etc. The Sounding Board will provide strategic exchanges on latest urban policies and RDI activities, jointly (co-)organise events, discuss thematic priorities and cooperation options. We hope that the members of the Agora Sounding Board could also act as ambassadors for the Agora, promoting its work and events and attracting relevant people and organisations to the platform.
Stakeholder Involvement Officer, JPI Urban Europe Management Board