The final Urban Arena for Sustainable and Just Cities is gathering next week, on 30 September and 1 October. Together with knowledgeable and committed city-makers across Europe and beyond, we explore how to influence policies, find allies, and take action to support just sustainable cities.

The Arena’s concept is to give the floor to our participants in a structured way. The participants will learn about the identified ‘keys’ needed for just & sustainable action, and discuss and debate on the policy context in which we have to act. We will have facilitated discussions on various formats for mapping, visualising, inspiring…

After two years of research, and hosting Arenas and community conversations, the UrbanA project is nearing the home straight. We have captured all that we have learnt into a series of suggested keys — keys to unlock sustainable and just cities. Each key will serve as an entry point to the knowledge we have gathered since the project began (see current UrbanA resources).

However the keys are still under construction! We invite your input to tell us what, if anything, is missing from them. And we’d like to enrich them with stories from your network(s)! For now, we have clustered…

Pic: By Unsplash

There are many inspiring initiatives for sustainability and justice in cities across Europe, but how can these experiences be effectively shared with others? Translocal learning — the process of sharing locally-rooted knowledge with people in other places — is no easy feat.

At last week’s webinar, on Feb 23rd, over 40 people gathered virtually to learn about learning and to provide feedback on UrbanA’s new governance scenarios as tools that aim to facilitate knowledge-sharing between cities.

As a knowledge broker that synthesizes and shares experiences of sustainability and justice from many different cities, the topic of translocal learning is highly…

Under the current pandemic, cities are having a difficult time engaging businesses to take climate actions.

Representatives from the German city of Gelsenkirchen joined one of the UrbanA Community Conversations to talk about how they are finding it increasingly difficult to involve the economy of the city in committing to more ambitious climate action and align with the city’s targets, and what they are doing about it.

Gelsenkichen is part of the Urban Transition Alliance, a platform for cities with an industrial legacy to come together and empower each other to move towards more vibrant and sustainable economies, improving their…

How can we create more just and sustainable cities from the children’s point of view? How can we produce knowledge on our cities in collaboration with children? How can we as scholars, urban planners or activists overcome our adultcentrism? What is the pandemic teaching us about justice and sustainability from the children’s point of view?

These were some of the questions addressed four days after World Children’s Day, on the 24th of November, with Kitti Baracsi, Tuline Gülgönen and 63 other participants at the 11th UrbanA CoCo. Kitti is an educator, researcher, activist specialising in critical pedagogies and collaborative methods…

For this Community Conversation (CoCo) the UrbanA Community of Practice came together to learn, share and discuss what urban planners can do to plan eco-inclusive districts that fulfill both social and environmental sustainability goals.

The CoCo, join by 34 people, was opened by UrbanA fellow Maarten Markus and his colleague Marije Ruigrok, both working for the Dutch urban development agency AM. AM initiated a consortium taking an interdisciplinary approach for sustainable and just neighbourhood development, involving universities, governments, private business and other consultancies.

You can rewatch Maarten’s presentation here, and see his slides here. …

On the 29th of September, about 60 people connected for another inspiring Community Conversation. This time it was about Municipalities in Transition (MiT), part of the larger Transition Network Movement. This was also the last “European Day of Sustainable Communities” event and it celebrated its part of the “Communities For Future” (CfF) launch by playing the CfF video, made by the ECOLISE team. Like every Community Conversation, it started with a 20 minutes presentation by Cristiano Bottone, who presented what Municipalities in Transition is all about.

Municipalities in Transition supports citizens and municipalities to better connect, learn from each other…

The UrbanA Community of Practice meeting in October

The UrbanA Community is an open network of individuals committed to taking constructive action towards more just and sustainable cities.

We are so grateful so see how the UrbanA Community of Practice has grown in the past months. But first of all, who is part of it? If you are reading this, you probably are. You might have subscribed to our newsletter to stay up to date with what UrbanA does, joined one of our Community Conversations, co-created with your knowledge directly on our Wiki or during one of the Arena events, listened to one of our podcasts, or simply…

Avantgardenist Peace activists,thinkers and supporters are creating a space in the urban realm

The first event of our second #UrbanACoCo season was a very special and emotional event (see slides here). Nearly 30 people turned up to listen to UrbanA fellow Burcu Eke Schneider and other team members from the Avantgardenist Peace garden of Wuppertal urban garden at the Alevi Culture Center, in the heart of Wuppertal city in Germany. With team members including native Germans and newer arrivals from Turkey, Syria, Bosnia, Czech Republic and further afield, the talk looked at the power of community gardens to create peace and heal traumas, while contributing to environmental sustainability such as a boost in…

Insights from the UrbanA Wiki on Sustainable Just Cities

By Karlijn Schipper & Flor Avelino, DRIFT, The Dutch Research Institute For Transitions

A community garden in London, UK

Cities are complex and contradictory. On the one hand they are the scene of persistent injustice and unsustainability, exacerbated by COVID-19 lockdowns. On the other, they are home to a multitude of initiatives — participatory budgeting, energy cooperatives and community gardens, for example — which strive for sustainability and justice.

Urban injustice and unsustainability needs transformative change

Worldwide measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 have highlighted and exacerbated urban inequalities and injustices. Enforced isolation and physical distancing has been unsafe or nigh impossible for vulnerable groups…

Urban Arenas

Urban Arenas for #sustainablejustcities. Distilling innovative #urbansolutions through a co-creative process with city-makers & city-thinkers

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