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UrbanA - Arenas for sustainable and just cities


This new European research project was kicked off in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany in January 2019.

It aims to achieve a synthesis of existing work on sustainability governance and its effects on social equity by setting-up an Arena of city-makers, including practitioners, policymakers, and researchers. This Arena is based on (transition) governance principles and is centered on four iterative rounds of exchange, in which the consortium partners and Arena participants will co-creatively map, assess and distil the findings of relevant EU-funded projects, as well as other interventions identified by participating city-makers. The Arena is designed to generate convincing, actor- and context-specific, and actionable solutions – including in the form of policy recommendations – related to urban sustainability, regeneration and resilience, and that achieve interactional equity, the inclusion of traditionally marginalized groups and deep forms of democracy and citizens’ emancipation. Our vision is to promote shared economic wealth creation, green amenities, and environmentally-centered interventions, together with urban equity and inclusion.

The project will synthesise the knowledge and experiences generated in prior EU-funded research projects that deal with interventions tackling urban social inequalities and exclusion. Arena participants will then collectively assess their potential to improve urban social equity and inclusion, and identify ways of using them in different cities.

Over the coming three years, a series of four Urban Arenas will bring together policymakers, researchers, engaged citizens and others – collectively known as city-makers – from across Europe to discuss innovative solutions for sustainable and just cities.

The partners working together in the project seek to feed innovative integrated solutions for equitable and inclusive urban areas into sustainability policy regarding, for example, housing, energy, mobility and food. They also aim to empower city-makers to design and transform European cities into inclusive, sustainable and thriving urban and peri-urban environments.

The three project objectives can hence be summarized as:

1: To synthesize innovative and sustainable solutions for tackling urban social inequalities and exclusion
2: To feed innovative integrated solutions for equitable and inclusive urban areas into sustainability policy
3: To empower researchers, policymakers and practitioners to design and implement sustainable urban development in practice embedding strong social equity and inclusion


1/2019 - 12/2021


  • ICLEI Europe
  • ALU Freiburg, DE
  • DRIFT Rotterdam, NL
  • UAB Barcelona, ES
  • CEU Budapest, HU
  • FC.ID, PT


Research group leader PD Dr. Philipp Späth,
Sustainability Governance,
Institute for Environmental Social Sciences and Geography
Tel: +49 - 761 - 203 3725,