The State of the Art / Innovation Landscape Report I have been working on for Baia Mare's Urban Innovative Actions project SPIRE has finally been published.
The Report provides a multidisciplinary overview of the state of the art and of the landscape of innovations in SPIRE Baia Mare's fields of intervention: ecosystem services; biomass-based value streams; land-use management; remediation and decontamination; circular nature-based energy systems; and digital technologies and instruments.
It has been a great team collaboration effort, and I wish to warmly thank and congratulate all the involved partners: Urbasofia, USAMV Cluj-Napoca, Green Energy Romanian Innovative Biomass Cluster, Indeco Soft
Here you can read the Report here, enjoy!
BAIA MAre, 1-2 APRIL 2020
We are now organising SPIRE Baia Mare Launch Conference, which is aimed at creating understanding and awareness with respect to SPIRE’s upcoming activities, and it will bring together international experts with the local partnership, local politicians, elected members as well as the wider group of stakeholders and local target users.
The Urban Innovative Actions project SPIRE (Smart Post-Industrial Regenerative Ecosystem) proposes a revolutionary approach to the reuse of heavy metal-contaminated land in the former mining capital of Romania, through adaptive phytoremediation and the creation of new urban ecosystems, as a long-term strategy for sustainable local economic development.
Join us in Baia Mare on 1-2 April, we are welcoming applications from speakers and attendees!
Register here: https://forms.gle/nywQkLtRSJCcTRzM9
The upcoming new season of Cohesion Policy looks to be a promising one for local development; at least for what emerged during Porto’s URBACT CityLab and CITIES Forum (29-31 January 2020).
The CityLab and the Forum touched upon key topics for the future of local development, including: the objectives and priorities of the Commission for the new programming period; the renewal of the Leipzig Charter; the launch of the European Urban Initiative; and the position of CoR, EESC and ELARD on Partnership and Subsidiarity.
First, in her keynote speech, new EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform, Ms Elisa Ferreira, recognized the pivotal role of cities, independent from their size, within the European social, economic and environmental systems, both from the point of view of challenges and transformations. Urban areas are indeed facing challenges of concentrated poverty and increasing inequalities; climate change and congested mobility. At the same time they are ideal experimentation labs since they are also the arenas of citizens’ and stakeholders’ participation; of smart mobility solutions and green experimentations; of digitalization, innovation and growing prosperity.
Thereby the Commission’s priority of giving more and more voice to the local dimension; embedding the local perspective in the EU policy-making and promoting local ownership of actions and measures. The three keywords of the new Cohesion Policy’s season – local participation, capacity, voice – indeed reflect in a fourfold set of objectives: better policy regulation; facilitated access to funding; priority setting at local level; and improved multilevel governance.
Second, in view of its presidency semester, Germany is preparing the renewal of the Leipzig Charter, which will focus on sustainable development, prioritizing the green, just and productive city. Additionally, Cohesion Policy will adopt new territorial nomenclature based on Functional Urban Areas (FUA, as defined by the OECD and the Commission), hence associating and strengthening the linkages between urban areas and their rural surroundings.
Furthermore, the new regulation will attempt to adjust the ESI Funds to the real need of cities to be closer to citizens (at least 6% of MFF to to the Objective 5), as well as to promote capacity building for cities in order to get integrated cross cutting policies. Integration, multilevel governance, participation, co-creation, and common good will be the keywords.
Third, building on the previous experiences of URBACT, the Urban Agenda and Urban Innovative Actions, and in pursuit of more efficiency and better coordination of EU urban policies, the European Urban Initiative is being developed. The EUI will foster an integrated participatory approach with a strategic link to EU policies, and it will combine capacity building; knowledge, policy and communication; and innovative actions.
Fourth, the CoR, EESC and ELARD have presented a joint document on partnership and subsidiarity. The document stresses the importance of territorial instruments such as the ITIs and the CLLD, and claims for the need to better recognize the achievements of Local Action Groups (LAGs) in order to have a stronger body of knowledge and evidence for negotiating the enabling of such instruments with the regional and national governments.
Additionally, the document also proposes the creation of a CLLD support unit at EU level as well as the development of specific training programmes in order to assist and empower local urban actors and public administration in the implementation of locally-based measures.
What emerged from the CityLab and the CITIES Forum allows expecting a very promising season for local development initiatives across Europe. In particular, within this framework, LDnet efforts of bridging research and knowledge with practice and policy-making seem particularly relevant, and might open up to interesting opportunities in the near future!
Pietro L. Verga
Maria Joao Filgueiras Rauch
Local development is multi-faceted with practitioners split between the urban and rural domains, while researchers come from different academic disciplines. A community of experts dealing with local development could help harvest lessons learnt and overcome silo mentality.
LDnet and the European Commission are very keen on building bridges between research and practice and on making sure research results are used and benefit practice.
In this short article I take a first step in this direction with an initial overview on the state of play and emerging trends of the work of selected LDnet members and friends, active either in the academic or in the practice fields.
[Click here to read the article on LDnet.eu]
Today I am extremely happy and proud to announce that SPIRE – Baia Mare's project proposal to the 4th Call of the Urban Innovative Actions that I co-designed with Urbasofia – is one of the 20 out of 175 projects selected for financing under Sustainable Use of Land & Nature-Based Solutions category by the UIA Secretariat!
The project SPIRE - Smart Post-Industrial Regenerative Ecosystem will strive to create a local value system based on key ecosystem services, adaptive phytoremediation and innovative land-use management, for kick starting a smart postindustrial reuse process. The solution includes innovative planning and land-management instruments for regenerating the formerly industrial sites, renaturalisation of contaminated land by long-term phytoremediation process and enabling new bio-based economic development opportunities supported by active participatory approaches to co-create and promote environmentally-friendly actions and behaviours.
Read more here:
European Commission's Press Release
UIA Secretariat's Article
Read here the synthetic brochure of SPIRE: Baia Mare's project proposal to the 4th Call of the Urban Innovative Actions that Sabina Leopa and I developed at Urbasofia
Read here my latest contribution for LDnet.eu, about overcoming EU discontent in the so-called places that don't matter using the CLLD and innovative digital participatory platforms and token-based value systems.
Between October 22-24 I participated to the EUROCITIES Social Affairs Forum in Stuttgart. It has been an extremely compelling and productive Forum, filled with engaged presentations and alive workshops about how to better achieve the UN's Sustainable Development Goals and the European Pillar of Social Rights.
In this context, I also had the opportunity to host a table during the speed-networking session, where I discussed the results of my research on Community-Led Local Development and Neighbourhood Management initiatives with city representatives and experts from all over Europe.
The booklet of my presentation is available below, please feel free to comment here or write me an email with your questions, impressions, and suggestions!
After having collaborated with Nextdoor as a GIS mapper and ad-hoc advisor, today I will have the honour to give a short speech during the party for the official launch of the neighbourhood-based social network in Italy.
I will talk about Nextdoor's potential in participatory processes, and here you can read my discourse, both in Italian and in English.
The way in which the multi-ethnic – and rather blighted – neighbourhood of Via Padova in Milano has been addressed by politicians and the media over the last decades seems to fit within a revanchist framework. Between the late 1990s and the early 2010s the debate mainly concerned the reproduction of fear and the embitterment of punitive measures against newly settled foreign migrants (I wrote about this here).
Years later, also due to a growing presence of the so-called urban creatives, a gentrification process seems to have been triggered, as Chiara Vitrano, Ph.D. and I found out in our working paper (available here).
My position is that the displacement of the poor is not the solution for the regeneration of deprived urban neighbourhoods. Rather, we should aim at redressing imbalances and improving the quality of life for the most disadvantaged people, possibly fostering an inclusive participatory planning approach.