Nine projects have been selected as finalists by the jury for the 2016 EUROCITIES awards.
The awards showcase outstanding achievements in the delivery of good local activities or practices which improve the quality of life for citizens. The theme of the awards changes every year in line with the theme of the annual conference, which this year is ‘Sharing cities’. Hence, EUROCITIES members have presented their initiatives in the realm of the sharing economy, following the three permanent categories: cooperation, innovation and participation.
The three winners will be announced at a ceremony in Milan on 17 November.
Cities will produce a short film concerning the project presented. All videos will be published here in early November.
The following cities have been shortlisted:
Helsinki - Climate Street
A street in Helsinki is undergoing a climate smart transformation. Iso Roba street is an example of how historic urban centres can be transformed into energy efficient and climate smart zones. The renovation of Iso Roba street features strong involvement from local residents, housing associations, property owners and businesses, who are invited to share their visions for the street. A big focus has been put on collaborative and shared solutions, including crowdsourced electric cars, electric-assisted cargo bike hire and zero food waste schemes.
Nice - Urban Health Living Lab
Nearly a third of Nice’s population is aged over 60, and providing good quality healthcare and care at home is a priority for the city. Urban Health Lab is testing and demonstrating new technological solutions that could revolutionise the way healthcare is delivered. At the heart of the project is a demonstration apartment kitted out in new health innovations, connected objects and adapted furniture. An e-Health Business Innovation Centre and co-working space is supporting innovative start-ups and boosting the creation of new jobs in the ‘silver economy’. Other plans include training for health professionals, citizens and children in digital health technologies, and a number of research and EU-funded projects.
Zaragoza - La Colaboradora
La Colaboradora is a co-working space with a difference: this community of some 200 entrepreneurs, freelancers and creative professionals each dedicate four hours of their time every month in return for support with launching their projects. The principle is an exchange of services, ideas and knowledge through a ‘bank time’ approach. For example, a member may design a logo for another member’s project, and then claim back the time spent on IT training from yet another member. Since its launch in 2013, the community has shared over 8,000 of time, and has had a significant social and economic impact: around 75% of projects have launched or consolidated, creating new local jobs.
Athens - SynAthina
How does a city in crisis regain the trust of its citizens? How can they be part of the solution? SynAthina, a digital platform in Athens, aims to collect ideas from citizens of how to improve their city. Launched as a pilot project in 2013 in response to the economic crisis in Greece, the platform enables direct dialogue between the city administration and its citizens. Citizens and community groups can submit their ideas and be put directly in touch with the relevant people in the administration. Where necessary, the SynAthina team will look at updating regulations and procedures to facilitate innovative projects, and the input can be used by the municipality to shape its priorities. The platform has already facilitated nearly 2,000 activities from 222 community groups.
Glasgow - Cooperative Glasgow
Cooperative Glasgow is an innovative partnership between local people and public services. The scheme is rebalancing the power and responsibility for public services by considering which are best run by the city and which can be delivered better within the local community. Under Glasgow’s mission to become a ‘cooperative’ city, it has invested nearly £700,000 (€830,000) in 45 cooperatives and start-ups. Among these is Glasgow People’s Energy, an energy switching cooperative offering advice to businesses and residents, and support to households experiencing fuel poverty.
Utrecht - Solar car charging
Utrecht’s two-way solar charging scheme is the first of its kind in Europe. It enables local producers of solar energy to store excess power in electric car batteries, and redistribute this power back into homes or the grid as necessary. With one in 20 houses in Utrecht already fitted with solar panels, the system means unused energy can be stored and distributed where it’s most needed. The scheme, led by local company LomboXnet together with a number of partners, including the city council, is deploying further solar panels and a network of shared electric vehicles so everyone can benefit.
Amsterdam - Open borough
Amsterdam is experimenting with new forms of participative democracy through its Open Borough initiative, which uses digital tools to engage as many citizens as possible in developing their neighbourhoods. As part of an initial pilot project, citizens were invited to submit designs for the interior of a cycling tunnel. They could upload their proposals and vote on their favourites via an online platform. A second exercise focused on the redevelopment of a square, where citizens were invited to submit proposals, comment and vote on them. Successful ideas were then transferred to the project leader and team of architects.
Gijon - Citizen participation and open government
A new model of open, collaborative and participative governance in Gijon is changing the way citizens interact with the municipality. Using new digital tools and open data, Gijon has created platforms enabling the local community to react, debate and input into policies and initiatives. A new open data portal allows citizens to access, consult and analyse information in order to better understand their city. Seen a traffic light that needs fixing or a broken pavement? Citizens can use another online tool and app to flag up infrastructure problems directly to the municipality. They can also participate in local democracy through a portal enabling citizens to vote for, comment on and debate proposals.
Leeds - Migrant Access Project
Helping the local community to help others is the principle behind the Migrant Access Project in Leeds. Local citizens from diverse backgrounds are given the skills and knowledge to be able to help newcomers settle in the city. These Migrant Community Networkers (MCNs) offer support to new arrivals in a variety of languages. The project trains volunteers on issues from healthcare and employment services to housing and budgeting. Members of the community are best-placed to identify potential problems, and the council helps to resolve these. For example, the council helped a volunteer overwhelmed with requests to set up a drop-in hub in the neighbourhood to support newcomers. Another volunteer set up Syrian Kitchen, where new arrivals can volunteer and learn more about the local area.