How data can support sustainable urban futures

Dr Luca Mora, (pictured) Associate Professor of Urban Innovation at Edinburgh Napier Business School, has been invited to write the second in a series of articles  reporting on the work of the 14 Partnerships of the Urban Agenda for the EU.

The requests comes from the Department for Regional and Urban Policy (DG REGIO) of the European Commission, and the article will be distributed via Futurium, a platform dedicated to discussing EU policies.

Urban areas face multiple and interconnected challenges related to employment, migration, demography, water and so on. But they are also engines of new ideas; dynamic places where change happens on a larger scale and at a faster pace.

This process is captured in the idea of the ‘Productive City’, one of three urban dimensions defined in the New Leipzig Charter.

The Charter is a key policy framework document for sustainable urban development in Europe, and it seeks to harness the transformative power of cities in the EU for the common good. (Approximately 72% of the total EU population live in cities, towns and suburbs.) It suggests urban development requires to combine three city dimensions: the Productive, the Green and the Just City.

Futurium’s series of articles link actions and activities that support the new Cohesion Policy: this calls for integrated territorial development and sustainable urban development in order to establish Productive Cities.

The Charter highlights that cities need to establish integrated and sustainable urban development strategies, and Dr Mora will reflect on why the use of data will be an increasingly powerful tool to make cities more productive and sustainable.

In turn, these strategies must benefit the city as a whole – from its functional areas to its neighbourhoods – because urban authorities must be bold and innovative if they are to rise to the increasingly complex challenges they face.

Futurium’s articles showcase how different tools and funding support can help cities move towards sustainable urban development in a strategic way. Dr Mora will consider case studies that include Urban Innovative Actions. These projects – almost 90 in total now, across the EU – are testing new solutions to address urban challenges.

The New Leipzig Charter ultimately provides a key policy framework for sustainable urban development in Europe. It is supported by the work of the Digital Transition Partnership and Culture and Cultural Heritage Partnership.

Dr Mora has been recently appointed Professor of Urban Innovation at Tallinn University of Technology, where he is collaborating in delivering the €32m Horizon 2020 project FinEst Twins.


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