Looking to step up urban transitions? Explore ideas from the JPI Urban Europe community!

On the 5th and 6th of May the Stakeholder Involvement platform AGORA gathered 40 active participants from all over Europe and across professional backgrounds, to discuss and co-design key elements of the Driving Urban Transitions programme. With carefully carried out facilitation, participants brought forward ideas on how to turn urban sustainability ambitions to action. We are proud to share some of the creative ideas, in its purest form, generated by the JPI Urban Europe community during this event! Do you have one too? Let us know! 

The potential of atomic shells around a city The future development of cities similar to the development of our ideas during Agora will be a function of three factors: Creating CAPACITIES + mobilizing ACTORS + supporting ACTIONS. It is important that the new programme will focus on these trends, leaving the exploitation of outcomes to the mechanisms of attraction of good ideas by the potential of cities (similarly to electrons circulating on different shells around the atomic core).
Create space for unlikely collaborations Solutions for mobility, energy, buildings and infrastructure are known and being implemented at the small scale – however, their uptake has not reached a critical mass for sustainable urban development. We should put more emphasis on exploring and facilitating processes that support sustainable urban action from the side, introduce an experience or need that inspires taking the leap – unlikely collaborations could include art and mobility, gaming and climate adaptation, music and energy solutions…
Engaging decision-makers How can we reach the local and regional politicians in order to upscale in the normal policy-making  the successful pilot actions: JPI urban Europe summer school, training days, information sessions for politicians?
Creating a city-wide sense of place / stewardship of planet Earth We need to generate a societal sense that connects geographies: from personal to city-wide landscapes, to ecoregions and so, up to the Planet level. Covid-19 is probably the best opportunity so far (will climate change bring others?) for every citizen to understand how connected each one of us are within all scales. That connection both as personal culture as a scientific fact would trigger change in cities. It is a concept that connects to environmental psychology / philosophy, but also to practical and clear ecological processes people can understand. The question, of course, is how do we generate this sense of place & stewardship?
Learn on > Apply > Celebrate  successes in the change process People in cities & towns do not know/think on sustainability terms except for a very limited numbers of “classical” practices (reduce plastic bags, use public transport, save water, etc.). The idea is to develop a mechanism for cities, citizens and societal groups to increase the overall “sustainability alphabetising”, in practical terms, leading to application and finally evaluate results and celebrate relevant steps in sustainability. I am not thinking on an app, contest, or a specific tool, rather on a systemic approach of city relations.
Think beyond “governance -as -usual” Define new potential synergies between stakeholders of urban development beyond the conventional dipole of public-private partnership, emphasizing the potentials of networks of collaboration within and with  actors of civil society.
Urban Spaces: Universal principles-local adaptation We need to adapt the (cliche) phrase “think global-act local” to the generation of new spaces (e.g public spaces). There need to be a universal framework that aims towards the integration of persepctives that ensure the quality of spaces taking at the same timo into account the contextual particularities and local conditions, as well as identities.
ULLs and the scaling of urban experiments How can the networking of experimental urban practises foster diffusion processes of scaling up of succesful practises. What kind of networks drive the scaling up of the outcomes of urban experimentation?
Define the “Citizen” in participatory processes We need to dig deeper into the notion of who are the citizens we consider as integral parts of participatory processes. If we more concisely define and break down the broad term “citizen”  that we usually use then we can maybe understand who is usually left out of the discussion and which perspective is not  taken into account. Understanding the notion of “citizen” can be a precondition to investigating new channels of communication between local authorities, other stakeholders of urban development and urban residents.
Knowledge and language translation In order to have a truly participatory process of urban policy making, there is a need to translate  knowledge and language created at different urban scales (from the citizen to the national level). What is the role of the policy-research-practice interface? How do we capitalise on learning? Can cooperation be institutionalised or shall we rely on experimentation (e.g. Urban Agenda for the EU model)?
Reflecting on ‘change’ as a process not as an end The concept of a /big leap’ forward might be problematic if it does not see change as an iterative vs linear process made of smaller changes that need to happen at different scales and sectors. How do we integrate systemic thinking into urban planning and account for the feedback loops of sustainability as a transition?
Creating a ready to implement roadmap/way of working for civic engagement & collaboration Where people are in the heart of decision making and governmental role is not control, but organising governance of requirements. A time framed, structured, but still agile process with measurable results or learning evaluations from experiments. Using methods like appreciative inquiry, dialogues, participatory design/planning and decision making. Presenting & celebrating results, creating common ground and cultivating trust, ownership and commitment from all stakeholders to be part of the solution, not only to te problem.
Shared Value Creation Creating integrated platforms for knowledge transfer and knowledge exchange that open up access, rethink ownership and empower citizens and professional stakeholders as co-creators of urban solutions. Enabling us to go far beyond the historical roles and the social frames typically assigned to the participants of a process — partner, stakeholder, neighbour, tenant, consumer, owner, developer, and so on.
City of the opposite We should work out in an ULL the opposite city, which means everything in the current city would be done the opposite way: like a city run of fossil energy would run an renewable ones… and in the ULL we would dream all details to this opposite city. if we have a car based city, we would dream a walkable city, if we have a segregated city, we would have a inclussive city etc. by the power of imagination, we might find practical set of solutions for our current urban problems.
Weaving a collaborative city:  Weaving in decision makers, who know they are just part of the common energy of their cities, giving a respected platform of inhabitants.
? Do you want to add an idea? Let us know!


> Join the webinar about the Driving Urban Transitions program on 18 June
> Read more about the AGORA event “From ambitions to local action: Co-designing a programme for urban research, innovation and experimentation” 




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