Lead Partner

Cluj-Napoca Municipality, Romania

Project Partners

Development Agency of Slavonski Brod ltd., Croatia

Development Agency North -DAN ltd, Croatia

European development agency, Czech Republic

Municipality of Prague 9, Czech Republic

EUTROPIAN GMBH, Austria

Pakora.net – Network for Towns and Regions, Germany

Neckar-Alb Regional Association, Germany

City of Kranj, Slovenia

Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, Slovenia

Metropolitan Research Institute, Hungary

City of Szarvas, Hungary

Sofia Municipality, Bulgaria

Sofia Development Association, Bulgaria

URBASOFIA SRL, Romania

City of Zenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina

City Hall of Chisinau Municipality, Moldova

Associated Partners

EUROCITIES, Belgium

University of Rome Tor Vergata – Department of Management and Law – DMD, Italy

City Municipality of Koprivnica, Croatia

Zenica Development Agency ZEDA ltd, Bosnia and Herzegovina

„Local Communities along the Danube River” Association (CLDR), Romania

INSTITUTE FOR LOCAL DEVELOPMENT Association, Romania

Spatial Foresight Limited, Luxembourg

State Scientific & Technical Centre for inter-sectorial & regional problems of the Environmental Safety and Resource Conservation (Centre “EcoResource”), Ukraine

European House, Hungary

ITALIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE IN BULGARIA, Bulgaria

Creative Space Vienna, Austria

Project value

2.313.778,81 EUR

EU co-financing

1.966.711,97 EUR (ERDF & IPA II)

Start and End date

01.07.2020. – 31.12.2022., 30 months

Project summary

The transitional phase in which the Danube Region (DR) cities found themselves after the 2008 economic crisis allowed a windowof opportunity to enact positive change on the planning policy level. There have been numerous initiatives in the past aimed to reuse, even temporarily, un-valued physical assets for launching novel forms of economies by a new generation of highly skilled/educated youth. Yet such initiatives remained disparate or difficult to replicate – the biggest provocation remains that of embedding the necessary instruments into governance, creating local capacity and instruments to fast-track urban regeneration.

A crucial challenge is thus to increase public administration (PA) capacity to directly harness local potential: a paradigm shift is now needed towards more flexible, inclusive and creative instruments for Public-Private-People-led physical and social regeneration (PPPP). To achieve this, cities need to become a key player able to catalyse a critical mass of interest groups from different levels around the broader goal of local socio-economic development: PA needs to become an agency for endogenous growth. At the same time, cities also need to overcome a spectrum of bottlenecks, which include legal, administrative and organisational, financial, technical, capacity and expertise barriers and gaps.

AGORA addresses this by deploying and adopting new, creative governance instruments for PAs, building their capacity for effectively involving, connecting and empowering a wide group of stakeholders in the reintegration of vacant buildings and land, public and private, into the productive city value system. We want to achieve substantial change in the process and workflow of PAs at local level, as well as to launch a transnational policy-learning platform for supporting Danube Region cities in the reintegration and reconnection of local undervalued assets, giving new sense to abandoned spaces, brownfields, urban areas in decline.

Main and Specific objectives

AGORA aims at achieving substantial change in the process and workflow of PA at local and regional level, enhancing their capacities to become credible and active leaders of local regeneration through the development, testing and embedding of innovative and operational policy instruments for urban assets’ revalorisation and recovery. The recovery of unused public or private land or buildings is often prevented by a spectrum of governance, participatory, administrative, financial and human capacity bottlenecks that the PA struggles to overcome, thus creating a stock of unexpressed socio-economic and environmental potential. The project builds institutional bridges and capacities, tackling constraints of existing legal and regulatory systems and implementation norms for cooperative or public-private-people-partnerships. Our goal is the joint creation of a policy instrument platform, representing a tested and validated Toolkit of instruments enabling entities to become drivers, catalysts and mediators for the reintroduction of vacant/ underused land and buildings into the productive value chain of the cities by matching them with economic, social or cultural activities and through them defining innovative pathways (material and immaterial) for planning safer and more resilient urban places. In this sense, the project will foster the creation, exchange and ultimately consolidation of a holistic „instruments package”, which will be embedded in the transnational policy learning and exchange platform of the project. The project will thus experiment and transfer a fast-tracking procedure to cooperatively re-valorise unused buildings, such as former military barracks and forts, vacant spaces left into business and housing areas, and brownfields, legacy of large-scale post-industrial districts, in 10 areas across the DR. The difficult urban challenges are to be addressed through the application of novel partnership, financing, cooperation and regulatory tools.

Main result

AGORA will support territorial partners (cities, regions and agencies) to improve their capacities of addressing long-standing challenges related to the recovery and redevelopment of unused city assets, at the same time coming up against new territorial and urban issues and contemporary society’s needs, through a multi-level quadruple-helix cooperation model. From the point of view of administrative capacity enhancement, the joint learning, developing and testing of an operational instrument toolkit will assist the PAs to become leaders of urban regeneration and recovery. As a result, new economic, social, entertainment activities or cultural service hubs will find their space in the cities’ urban tissue, thus improving their growth potential. The project will further produce a meaningful impact at the level of the entire macro-region, using validated instruments to offer a fast-track methodology, in order to accelerate administrative processes and to be able to keep up with upcoming challenges. The project will achieve this result through a two-level comprehensive capacity building and co-design methodology: the local participatory processes defining key strategic Regeneration Agendas will generate institutional learning experience, dialogue and cooperation between public and private stakeholders in the DR area, simultaneously at local and transnational level. The interactive Capacity-building Platform, Guidelines and Policy Recommendations will be the principal outputs towards a better governance of urban regeneration. In addressing the common challenge of the DR of tapping into and valorising unused physical resources of cities, AGORA’s contribution to the intensity of cooperation of key actors in the DTP area is manifold: developing networks (AGORAs), sustainable strategies (Agendas), new instruments (Toolkit, and subsequent testing / piloting), as well as enhancing capacities in PAs (Transnational Capacity-Building and Transfer Seminar).

For more information

Anita Krnjić, anita.derek@ra-sb.hr, +385 (0)99 786 0230

Remark

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