URBACT is a European exchange and learning programme that promotes sustainable urban development. It enables cities to work together to develop solutions to major urban challenges, reaffirming the key role they play in facing increasingly complex societal changes.
URBACT helps cities to develop pragmatic solutions that are new and sustainable, and that integrate economic, social and environmental dimensions. It enables cities to share good practices and lessons learned with all professionals involved in urban policy throughout Europe.
URBACT enables numerous European cities to work together in projects to share and capitalise on experience. Each project focuses on a specific urban issue, such as tapping into the positive potential of young people (MY GENERATION), social housing (SUITE), or taking built heritage into account in urban development (Hero). URBACT enables the development of solutions to urban challenges that other cities can then adapt to their own context. To do this, there are four missions:
Coordinating Exchanges to Make Things Happen
URBACT projects encompass primarily cities, but also other local authorities, as well as universities and research institutions. Proven methodologies are used to coordinate exchanges among these numerous, diverse and geographically distant partners. Quality and realistic outputs are ensured by involving key players from each partner city via Local Support Groups. They are helped to define a relevant Local Support Group and effective Local Action Plan.
Analysing and Capitalising on Learning
What is learned by the projects and develop integrated responses that encompass the economic, social, cultural, and environmental dimensions of urban development is collected. The expertise of practitioners from the partner cities, Experts working on each project, and Thematic Pole Manager is mobilised.
Disseminating Information and Outputs
The information about the programme is disseminated, particularly related to calls for proposals. The outputs are available to all city policy players throughout Europe. URBACT does not propose universal, ready-to-use recipes to the major urban challenges cities are facing, but rather makes available solutions that have proven effective in certain situations. To do this, the web site and National Dissemination Points are used, which are relay points that spread the information in each country’s national language. Conferences are organised regularly open to a broad audience and the publications distributed.
Funding Project Operations
Project operations are funded, with maximum budgets ranging from €300,000 to €710,000. The implementation of Local Action Plans, which can be funded by the partners or by other programmes (ERDF, European Social Fund, etc.) are not financed.
To date, nine thematic clusters have been identified under three Thematic Poles, which assemble URBACT projects that are workin
The European Commission defines and coordinates the overall activities linked to structural fund use in European regions. As part of these actions, the URBACT programme and its projects are partly financed by the Commission, which contributes 78% of the budget via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
It also plays a consulting role in URBACT II’s Monitoring Committee, where it is represented by the Regional Policy Directorate General (Policy Development Directorate)
Commission services provide specific support to URBACT projects that have received the Fast Track Label.
- Role: The Monitoring Committee sets URBACT's strategic direction and makes decisions to ensure that the programme’s work is effective and of high quality. For example, it approves URBACT projects, decides to launch new calls for proposals, regularly verifies project progress and monitors the budgets, makes all the decisions required to implement the programme, etc.
- In line with the principles of the European Union, it is fully transparent in its activities. It sets up strict approval processes with controls at various levels and at various moments during the span of the programme.
- Members: two representatives of each Member State involved in URBACT. They meet three times a year.
The president of the Monitoring Committee changes yearly.
The managing authority: SGCIV
The SGCIV (the General Secretariat of the Interministerial Committee of Cities) is under the responsibility of the French Ministry of Urban Policy.
Role: This committee is responsible for implementing the programme, making sure that it is managed in compliance with the law and with European financial procedures. For example, it established a computer system to save and store the accounting information for each URBACT project, it produces an annual report and a final report, etc.