No 2 | June 2010

TABLE OF CONTENT

Welcome to the 2nd edition of the Informed Cities Update!

This newsletter will keep you up to date with the key developments within the Informed Cities initiative, which aims to make research work for local sustainability. The Informed Cities initiative is a European project dedicated to bridging the gap between research and policy-making in sustainable development, with a focus on tools for urban management. The Informed Cities Update is designed for local governments, researchers and other partners interested in advancing urban sustainability.

1  |  Informed Cities news

  • Evaluate and benchmark your sustainability processes with our support!
  • Local authorities and researchers from 24 countries meet in Newcastle
  • National partners support Informed Cities initiative
  • Cooperation between research and cities discussed in Dunkerque

2  |  Upcoming events

  • Informed Cities Implementation Workshops in 12 European countries
  • Local Renewables Conference, 14-15 October 2010, Freiburg (Germany)

3  | Improve your local sustainability processes!

  • Guidelines on Urban Regeneration
  • Urban Growth and Green

4  |  Opportunities to get involved

  • Informed Cities for local authorities
  • Informed Cities for researchers
  • Informed Cities for national partners

Visit the Informed Cities website at informed-cities.iclei-europe.org for the latest news.
Read this newsletter online


1 | INFORMED CITIES NEWS

Evaluate and benchmark your sustainability processes with our support!

The Informed Cities initiative offers interested European local authorities the opportunity to take a critical look at their sustainability processes and results. We all “do” sustainable development now but the question is how do we do it right! Based on our long-term cooperation with local governments, we have identified two research-based tools for sustainable urban management that will help you find the best answer to this question.

The tools selected, Urban Ecosystem Europe  and Local Evaluation 21, are based on existing data that you have collected, they are easy to use and provide relevant, complementary information on local sustainability, taking into account both governance processes and quantitative indicators. Both offer also the opportunity to benchmark your activities against those undertaken by other local governments. Participating local authorities receive dedicated, individual support in the implementation of tools. This support, available free of charge and in a number of EU languages, includes hands-on advice and the possibility to participate in one of 12 dedicated implementation workshops, to be held throughout Europe.

Register your interest today!
Please let us know by 10 September 2010 if you wish to participate in this exercise, by emailing informed-cities@iclei.org. Data can be submitted from September to March 2011, according to your preferred schedule.

Local authorities and researchers from 24 countries meet in Newcastle

Over 110 participants from 24 countries took part in the first Informed Cities Forum in Newcastle upon Tyne, a key European event linking research and local policy-making for sustainable development, hosted by Northumbria University. Offering a platform for a mutual transfer of knowledge, the Forum paved the way for translating the wide range of existing European research tools into practice.

We would like to thank all the participants for their contributions, energy and dedication and are looking forward to further exploring the ideas that emerged from the discussions. All the materials from the Forum, including the presentations, live vote results and notes on the brokerage process, are now available online.

National partners support Informed Cities initiative

The first Informed Cities European Roundtable, held back-to-back with the Informed Cities Forum, gathered representatives from 14 EU countries. The national representatives presented the main sustainability challenges and initiatives being undertaken in their respective countries. The focus was mostly on the Local Agenda 21 legacy, sustainability indicators and climate mitigation and adaptation activities.

The Roundtable participants have expressed their interest in further bridging the gap between research and policy-making, declaring their support for the Informed Cities initiative. The discussions started in Newcastle will be continued, contributing to better understanding of different barriers to and specific requirements for an effective application of research results in each of the Member States.

Cooperation between research and cities discussed in Dunkerque

The 6th European Sustainable Cities and Towns Conference – Dunkerque 2010 explored how sustainable development can help local governments to face the current economic, social and climate challenges, with a strong focus on multi-sector partnerships. One of the main issues here is the successful cooperation between cities and research organisations, as presented during the Informed Cities session.

The example of Turku, Finland showed how forging close ties with a local university can advance local sustainable development, while the presentation of Advancity, French urban innovation pole, proved that excellent solutions can be developed by public, private and academic sectors together.

All the presentations are now available online.

2 | UPCOMING EVENTS

Informed Cities Implementation Workshops in 12 European countries, September 2010 – March 2011

Local authorities’ representatives, interested in evaluating and benchmarking local sustainability processes, are invited to take part in one of 12 Informed Cities Implementation Workshops that will take place throughout Europe in the next nine months. Each of the workshops will gather a selected group of local authorities from one country or region and focus on exploring the methodological, practical and technical issues related to measuring and benchmarking sustainability performance. The workshops will reflect both the national and European context, enabling the participating cities to better understand their strengths and weaknesses in terms of local sustainable development.

Secure your place today!
Contact us at informed-cities@iclei.org to find out more and secure your place at one of the workshops. Participation is free of charge, there are limited funds available to reimburse travel expenses. More details concerning the workshops’ schedule and programme will be available soon at the Informed Cities website.

Interested in hosting the workshop?

We are currently looking for cities interested in hosting the Informed Cities Implementation Workshops. Please contact us at informed-cities@iclei.org for more details.

Local Renewables Conference, 14-15 October 2010, Freiburg (Germany) Changing fuels or changing patterns? The role of renewables in sustainable urban mobility

Around 300 participants from local governments in Europe and worldwide, decision-makers from various levels of government, energy service providers, business representatives, as well as experts on sustainable energy and urban mobility are expected to discuss, exchange, learn and get ideas for local policy and local action, framework conditions, infrastructure and technological developments at Local Renewables Freiburg 2010.

To learn more about this year’s programme priorities, visit the event website

3 | IMPROVE YOUR LOCAL SUSTAINABILITY PROCESSES!

In this section you will find profiles of selected urban sustainability tools that will help you improve your local sustainability processes. All the tools featured here will be discussed in detail during Informed Cities events.

Are you interested in presenting your experience with urban sustainability management tools? Would you like your tool to be featured in the next edition of the Informed Cities Update? Contact us at informed-cities@iclei.org

IUPM/ENTRUST Guidelines on Urban Regeneration

Innovative Urban Planning and Management project produced the ENSURE guidebook for regeneration of urban deprived neighbourhoods, based on the experience of its partners: Copenhagen, Rostock and Vilnius. The guidebook targets stakeholders in the deprived neighbourhoods, explaining key issues for regeneration of deprived urban neighbourhoods in laymen’s language.

The collaboration continued into the ENTRUST project, including more cities – Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Glasgow, Hamburg, Lisbon, Valletta and Vilnius, creating guidelines for public authorities on involving the private sector in the regeneration of mixed function neighbourhoods.

Both tools are interrelated and can be useful for local authorities engaging in urban regeneration projects. Whereas researchers have been involved in production of both tools to ensure sound methodology, the guidebook and the guidelines are made by practitioners for practitioners. This means they can share experience and help guide the process, making collaboration with external stakeholders easier, based on experience and examples of the participating cities.

To learn more, visit the ENTRUST website.

GREENSCOM Urban Growth and Green

GREENSCOM (EU FP5 project 2001-2004) aimed to develop and improve planning instruments that strengthen the integration of urban green space in urban development, with a focus on governance and communication.

The case studies from Gothenburg, Cergy Pontoise, Aarhus, Utrecht, Houten, Tampere and Helsinki clearly show how the involvement of inhabitants can help to save and develop recreational green areas for the future generations. This also prevents time consuming appeal procedures. The examples collected prove that shared learning and mutual trust are among the key principles for progress. In addition, they indicate that communication is a time-consuming and therefore costly process. The goal should not be to have as much communication as possible, but  targeted adequate and effective communication.

Case study reports and their evaluation, as well as additional reports on governance, policy and communication issues, are available on the project website. The Greenscom toolkit for urban practitioners, compiling the instruments for planning, management and communication of urban growth and green, is now closed, but may be relaunched.

For further information visit the project website at www.greenscom.com or contact carmen.aalbers@wur.nl

4 | OPPORTUNITIES TO GET INVOLVED

We want to invite you to be part of Informed Cities! Below you will find a short overview of the opportunities offered by the Informed Cities initiative. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Informed Cities for local authorities

As a representative of a local authority, you will have the opportunity to discuss your needs and experiences with the leading European researchers in the field of urban sustainability management, access the latest tools and guidance, as well as get hands-on advice in using the tools that will support your sustainability process.

Share your experiences in implementing sustainable local development with national and European partners, present your approach to evidence-based policy making and make your voice heard in the European debate on local sustainability.

Informed Cities for researchers

As a researcher, you will get a unique chance to present your tools and recommendations to the champions of local sustainability, as well as to the national institutions responsible for local sustainable development policies.

Through your involvement in the Informed Cities initiative, you will gain a better overview of the needs of local governments, receive critical feedback about the products you deliver and refine ideas for future research. You are also invited to contribute to the proposal of EU Reporting Mechanism on Urban Sustainability, based on data linking governance and policy outcomes in the field of sustainable development, to be delivered by the project.

Informed Cities for national partners

If your institution is concerned with coordinating and advancing local sustainable development policies, the Informed Cities initiative will support your work, offering a unique meeting place for researchers and local authorities from your country to develop new, more effective modes of cooperation.

Our aim is to encourage experience-sharing and networking on the European level, linking the Informed Cities initiative to the ongoing process of the Local Action 21 European Roundtable. Annual Roundtable meetings will also offer the opportunity to discuss the link between governance and policy outcomes in the field of sustainable development, based on the results of the explorative application and European Report on Urban Sustainability. These discussions are then expected to feed into the proposal for an EU Reporting Mechanism on Urban Sustainability.

To find out more about this process and the opportunities it offers, please visit the Informed Cities European Roundtable section of the Informed Cities website.

IMPRINT

The Informed Cities Initative is funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union under the name PRIMUS – Policies and Research for an Integrated Management of Urban Sustainability.

The sole responsibility for the content of this newsletter lies with the authors. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the European Communities. The European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

Published by ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability, 2010
Contact: informed-cities@iclei.org