‘Learning with Cities, Learning for Cities’

How to tackle the EU Urban Agenda? A Dutch institute provides insights on what will be crucial in its ongoing development.

The Urban Futures Studio has recently published an essay on the potential of the Urban Agenda for the European Union. Suzanne Potjer and Maarten Hajer analyse the three central principles (local, horizontal and vertical) on this new working method, arguing for a comprehensive system of experimental learning that could enable cities to have a significant impact at a European scale.

The Urban Agenda is a new working method to take the social challenges and growth happening in European cities. It aims to promote cooperation between both bottom-up and top-down stakeholders, in order to stimulate liveability and innovation within the urban context.


‘If we want to achieve concrete results, it is absolutely necessary to integrate different approaches and different policies. We can discuss on the European level for years and years what is an integrated approach, but on the city level it is done by itself. There projects have to be multidimensional. They have to be broad. They have to not only be technical but also include citizens to develop them.’ – Jan Olbrycht, European Parliament (Source: Urban Future Studios)

©Urban Futures Studio

Urban Futures Studio, a transdisciplinary institute based in Utrecht, published the essay ‘Learning with Cities, learning for Cities’ as a starting point that will trigger us to think about what can be the crucial steps in the development and implementation of the Urban Agenda for the EU. Starting from an academic perspective on the three principles of the Urban Agenda – the important role of cities (local), the collaboration opportunities (horizontal), and the issue of multi-level governance (vertical), the essay focuses on the importance of experimentation in developing an innovative urban mechanism.

Feeling inspired? The essay is available online here.

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