UrbanA (Urban Arenas for Sustainable and Just Cities) is a three-year EU-funded project that began in January 2019 and will finish in December 2021. Its main aim is to gather knowledge from previous EU-funded research and other relevant projects amd mobilise it more effectively for action and policy influence. It combines synthesis of existing information with active engagement of diverse city-makers in a series of four Arena events.
The UrbanA project was developed in response to a funding call on 'Innovative solutions for inclusive and sustainable urban environments' (TRANSFORMATIONS-03-2018-2019) issued within the Horizon 2020 funding programme in late 2017. The project consortium is led and coordinated by ICLEI-Europe, and also includes the Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (DRIFT), FCiencias.ID at Lisbon University, the Barcelona Lab for Urban Environmental Justice and Sustainability (BCNUEJ), Freiburg University, the Central European University, and the ECOLISE network of community-led sustainability initiatives. It was the first EU-funded project to involve ECOLISE directly as a project partner; in addition, ICLEI-Europe, DRIFT and FCiencias are all ECOLISE members. Following notification that the proposal had been awarded funding in July 2018, the project began with a kick-off meeting in Freiburg, Germany, on January 21st-23rd 2019. The project website is https://urban-arena.eu/.
The basic structure of UrbanA combines synthesis of findings from previous research relevant to urban justice and sustainability by consortium partners with collaborative scrutiny of the findings by a wider group of city-makers working in relevant areas at Arena events. This process has four iterations, each the subject of its own work package emphasising a particular topic, lead by a specific partner and leading up to an arena event hosted by that partner. On this basis, the project will assemble and sustain a community of practice on urban justice and sustainability, consisting of consortium partners, arena participants, non-participants engaging with the project via other avenues (such as webinars and the project wiki), and wider end users of findings.
The detailed structure is as follows:
|Work Package||Lead Partner||Main Topic||Arena Location and Timing|
|WP3||DRIFT||Approaches to urban sustainability and justice||Rotterdam, November 28th-29th 2019|
|WP4||BCNUEJ||Drivers of urban injustice||Barcelona, June 4th-5th 2020|
|WP5||Freiburg University||Governance frameworks for sustainability and just cities||Berlin, Feb/March 2021|
|WP6||ICLEI||Policy recommendations for urban sustainability and justice||Brussels, October 2021|
These phases work incrementally, with each incorporating and building on the findings of the previous work package.
Gathering and synthesis of information from previous projects follows a three-stage process of mapping, distillation and deepening, undertaken by consortium partners under the guidance of the respective work package leader.
- Broad surveys to identify findings of possible interest
- More detailed examination of mapped information to identify topics of particular relevance
- In-depth examination of topics identified during the distillation phase
In the deepening phase, information is compiled on a project wiki. Wiki pages can be read, commented upon and changed by Arena participants as a first expansion of the project's co-creative circle and establishment of its community of practice.