Driving Urban Transitions to a Sustainable Future

Driving Urban Transitions to a Sustainable Future

As part of the preparation of the next European Research and Innovation Framework Programme – Horizon Europe – new mechanisms for public-public partnerships are under development. One of the candidates for such a European partnership is Driving Urban Transitions to a Sustainable Future (DUT).  This partnership builds upon the achievements of JPI Urban Europe and aims to strengthen our joint efforts towards sustainable urban development and bringing knowledge and evidence into action.


It is time to step up the game to make susatainability transformations a reality, and to benefit from existing knowledge and evidence- to bring research and innovation into action. JPI Urban Europe is working together with the European Commission on a longer term programme called „Driving Urban Transitions towards a Sustainable and Livable Urban Future“ (DUT). This programme aligns European and Member State’s efforts to build a critical mass for urban transitions.

The DUT Partnership builds upon the achievements of the Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) Urban Europe created in 2010 to address the global urban challenges with the ambition to develop a European research and innovation hub on urban matters, and create European solutions by means of coordinated research. JPI Urban Europe so far has implemented eleven joint calls (out of which five were in cooperation with the EC, two in international cooperation).

With 111 funded projects, bringing together 765 beneficiaries from 35 countries throughout Europe and the world JPI Urban Europe has contracted EUR 116.8 million. We have published strategic research and innovation agendas in co-creation with urban stakeholders and R&I actors, which have effected a transnational European urban programming interface.

In addition, active AGORA community and city network groups have been created. While DUT will build upon all these achievements, the partnership will at the same time allow to enhance the ambition, strongly increase the portfolio of projects, set up new measures towards capacity building, urban policy support, demonstration and mainstreaming of results.

For more details on the achievements of JPI Urban Europe, go to our EXPLORE page.

Common vision and priorities

Our future relies on tackling complex grand challenges here and now, many of which must be addressed within cities and by urban communities. The DUT partnership aims to address these challenges with an integrated approach to offer decision makers in municipalities, companies and society the means to act and enable the necessary urban transformations.

“The DUT partnership steps up the game to tackle urban challenges. We enable local authorities and municipalities, business and citizens to make global strategies into local action. We develop the skills and tools to make urban change happen and boost the urgently needed urban transformations.”
– Vision of the DUT partnership

This bold vision is not intended merely to support sustainable urbanisation but to foster transformations to regenerative urban areas and urbanism which supports and replenishes as far as possible the planetary resources they consume and enhance the various ecosystems they are part of and live by.

Cities and urban areas are the nexus for the transformations required if the EU is to achieve targets of the European Green Deal and to fulfil commitments related to the UN’s Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UN-Habitat’s New Urban Agenda, the Urban Agenda for the EU, the Paris Agreement and support the New European Bauhaus movement. The urban nexus challenge is primarily characterised by the need for integrated approaches and to translate research and innovation results to actions.

Institutional fragmentation, non-inclusive and non-participatory governance structures still too often lead to a lack of shared vision and direction regarding urban transformations, incoherence in policies and strategies, uncoordinated planning and decision-making, ineffective measures and inefficient use of resources.

Building upon existing activities and experiences of Member States, municipalities and research communities, the DUT partnership will shape an urban innovation eco-system for urban transformations.

The DUT Transition Pathways will be embedded in the doughnut economy model, which aims to ensure that our societal needs are met within the planetary boundaries.

Joining forces in the DUT Transition Pathways

The DUT Transition Pathways to drive the realisation of the vision and the ambition will be embedded in the doughnut economy model, which aims to ensure that our societal needs are met within the planetary boundaries. In order to support cities along their specific strategies, the Partnership focuses on three critical urban sectors (and their interrelationships):

  • The Circular Urban Regenerative Economies Transition Pathway (CURE) promotes actions to relieve urbanisation pressure on the global ecosystem and become more resilient and robust towards the effects of climate change. It aims to drive urban transformation and facilitate regenerative urbanism at different spatial scales to support cities and urban areas to increase their circularity, restore natural capital and increase the use of multi-functional greening approaches such as nature-based solutions to address climate change mitigation and adaptation. The mission is to have accomplished by 2030 at least two longer term local innovation platforms in each DUT partner country aimed at the goals specified in the CURE roadmap. In this, CURE will also support community and planetary resilience, including climate action, while improving ecosystem (including economy) robustness, liveability, inclusion, equality, public health and well-being.
  • The Positive Energy Districts Transition Pathway (PED) aims at supporting innovative solutions for the planning, large-scale implementation and replication of PEDs with the mission to have at least 100 Positive Energy Districts by 2025. These should be synergistically connected to the energy system in Europe by applying an integrative approach including technology, spatial, regulatory, legal, financial, environmental, social and economic perspectives. PEDs raise the quality of life in cities, contribute to achieving the COP21 targets and the European Green Deal objectives and enhance European capacities and knowledge to become a global role model.
  • The 15-Minute City Transition Pathway (15minC) aims to foster sustainable transitions in urban mobility and city planning through creating accessibility and connectivity. The concept takes up the principle that city dwellers can cover the vast majority of their daily needs within a 15-minute radius from their home – primarly by walking, cycling and other forms of sustainable transport. To achieve this transformation an integrated (planning) approach is required that links (1) the urban mobility system to (2) city planning and design of public space and (3) logistics and production. Until the end of the partnership, a collection of 50+ solutions for the transformation towards climate neutral and liveable and inclusive cities in the field of urban mobility and planning is aimed at.

Cover page with download link of DUT Online Consultationh Report   Cover page of DUT Reoprot on the AGORA Strategic Dialogues


Cover page with download link of Report on DUT Focus Group Workshops  More information

>> Draft Proposal of the DUT Partnership (2020)

>> JPI Urban Europe Policy Conference

>> DUT Information Webinar Recording (18.06.2020)

>> Report on the DUT Online Consultation (above)

>> Report on the DUT AGORA Strategic Dialogues (above)

>> Report on the DUT Focus Group Workshops (above)




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