URBACT is a European exchange and learning programme promoting sustainable urban development and is part of Europe’s cohesion policy. It 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. URBACT is 300 cities, 29 countries and 5,000 active participants. It is jointly financed by the European Union (European Regional Development Fund) and the Member States.
URBACT has four missions:
- Coordination of exchanges: URBACT projects encompass primarily cities, but also other local authorities, as well as universities and research institutions. It uses proven methodologies to coordinate exchanges among these numerous, diverse and geographically distant partners. It ensures quality and realistic outputs by involving key players from each partner city via Local Support Groups. It helps them to define a relevant Local Support Group and effective Local Action Plan.
- Analysis and capitalising on learning: URBACT collects what is learned by the projects and develops integrated responses that encompass the economic, social, cultural, and environmental dimensions of urban development. It mobilises the expertise of practitioners from the partner cities, Experts working on each project, and Thematic Pole Manager.
- Dissemination of information and outputs: URBACT disseminates information about the programme, particularly related to calls for proposals. It makes the outputs of work 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 programme uses its web site and National Dissemination Points, which are relay points that spread the information in each country’s national language. The programme also regularly organizes conferences open to a broad audience and distributes publications.
- Funding of project operations: URBACT funds project operations, with maximum budgets ranging from €300,000 to €710,000. It does not finance the implementation of Local Action Plans, which can be funded by the partners or by other programmes (ERDF, European Social Fund, etc.)