SMARTER 2020 Conference Webinar series

Sustainable Urban Development and Innovation: aligning policies for change

03 December 2020

Date and time

03 December 2020, 10:00
03 December 2020, 11:45


Sustainable Urban Development and Innovation: Aligning Policies for Change 10.00 - 11.45 CET 

In our fast-changing world, Europe is facing pressing challenges – climate change, digital transition, ageing, migration and social inequalities – and cities are often in the frontline to deliver solutions. Moreover, cities and urban regions are not just mere containers for innovative activities but are actively involved in the generation of new ideas, organisational forms and solutions (products, services, and businesses).

The importance of cities in driving the transition towards a sustainable way of living for all is well recognised in the Urban Agenda for the EU, the upcoming “New Leipzig Charter - The Transformative Power of Cities for the Common Good" and in global agendas, such as the Sustainable Development Goals and the New Urban Agenda. This is also mirrored by the fact that cities’ innovation is at the core of different EU initiatives for post 2020, from EU cohesion policy to the new mission-oriented approach of Horizon Europe. Both policies aim at fostering new alliances and coalitions for change, and achieve common and broader development goals.

The webinar will address the nexus between urban development and innovation and explore the possible integration of different policy instruments and frameworks. The issue of policy alignment is particularly relevant considering that on the one hand, integrated and place-based approach is gaining importance in the EU innovation policy debate, and on the other hand, cities are regaining control of innovation agenda at local level, with emphasis on collaborative models, participation and strategic thinking. In other words, there is a need to address conditions and opportunities for aligning EU policies, as well as the role of national urban policies in promoting innovative solutions and arrangements.

Following a framing speech by Kevin Morgan, the webinar will present reflections on ongoing experiences as Sustainable Urban Development strategies supported by cohesion policy, the JPI Urban Europe research network and the co-creation process of the New Leipzig Charter. All together, they will provide the opportunity to discuss to what extent the EU discourse on integrated urban development can steer a different approach to innovation.


Kevin Morgan, Cardiff University, UK
Margit Noll, JPI Urban Europe, Austria
Martina Pertoldi, European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Spain
Mart Grisel, European Urban Knowledge Network (EUKN), The Netherlands

Moderator: Carlotta Fioretti,  European Commission, Joint Research Centre, Spain


Lesa Reynolds
Event Organiser (for RSA Europe)

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