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City Europe arrives, a space to exchange ideas and experiences at the local level

On Monday, November 20, the first Municipal Conference "Ciutat Europa" organized by the Fundació Catalunya Europa began, with the aim of discussing and debating the global challenges facing cities today.

The days are born with the desire to become a space for the exchange of European and local ideas and experiences by addressing social, urban, environmental, digital and political challenges at the municipal level.

For two days, on 20 and 21 November, the conference will bring together representatives of municipalities, the private sector, civil society and academic experts at the Barcelona Social Hub.

Based on local and European concrete cases, complemented by the eyes of expert voices, we propose five sessions to meet and exchange ideas, experiences and good practices to help local management of global problems:

  • Homelessness in our cities.
  • An urban model for breaking segregation.
  • An ecological transition to ensure the well-being of the future.
  • The digitization of local commerce.
  • A governance for the diverse city.

The conference began with welcoming remarks by Dolors Camats, Director of the Catalunya Europa Foundation, and Oriol Nel lo, member of the Executive Committee and Board of the Catalunya Europa Foundation.

The first session was devoted to the problem of homelessness in cities and was attended by María José Aldanas, Head of Rights at FEANTSA and coordinator of the Network Housing Rights Watch; Beatriz Fernández, head of the Arrels Foundation and promoter of the bill in the Parliament of Catalonia, of transitional and urgent measures to tackle and eradicate homelessness; and with Albert Sales, associate professor at the UPF and researcher at the Institut Metròpolis, expert in poverty and social exclusion in urban areas.

The second session was devoted to the planning of urban models to avoid segrergations in cities. On this occasion, Alba Bou, Deputy Mayor of Urbanism and Housing of the City Council of El Prat de Llobregat; Mar Esteve, architect and researcher in the Department of Geography at the Autonomous University of Barcelona; and Marc Pradel, sociologist and professor in the Sociology Department of the UB.

The speakers stressed the need to seek consensus with administrations and citizens to develop strategic plans that will last for the long term and not depend on political changes in governments. During the session we learned about the case of the municipality of El Prat, where the municipal government wants to prioritize green axes in its urban planning, as an element of social cohesion of the neighborhoods and in turn as a strategy to combat the climate emergency. We have also known the case of a great metropolis like Paris in relation to the Pla de Barris of the city of Barcelona.

The discussion of both sessions was moderated by journalist Pere Rusiñol, founder of the magazine Alternativas Económicas.

In the second day of "Ciutat Europa" three more sessions were held dedicated to the ecological transition, the digitalization of commerce and the governance models of cities to facilitate the processes of citizen participation and to achieve more impact at global level and have more decision-making power over everything that affects its citizens.

At the closing of the Municipal Conference "Ciutat Europa", the director of the Catalunya Europa Foundation, Dolors Camats, thanked the speakers and attendees for the five sessions of the two days of debate that have been held at the Barcelona Social Hub . Camats highlighted "the high level of the speakers and the quality of the interventions of the attendees who, due to their technical and professional profile, have added value to the days with their proposals and reflections that have enriched the debates of each session". In this sense, he invited attendees to participate in next year’s conference with proposals and suggestions of challenges or topics to address in the sessions of the next edition.

Finally, the director of the Catalunya Europa Foundation, also pointed out that municipalities must manage in their day to day the consequences of global, social, urban or environmental challenges, but unfortunately they do not have decision-making capacity in the global world ". For this reason, he called for "a model of European governance that allows the local level to have more presence at global level to influence everything that affects its citizens".

The sessions have been aimed at technical profiles and elected people, all of them with responsibilities or need to know experiences or alternative intervention. Also to people from the academic, associative or professional fields, and companies from sectors related to each topic. 

"Ciutat Europa" is promoted by the Catalunya Europa Foundation, with the collaboration of the Barcelona Metropolitan Area, the Diputación de Barcelona, the Ayuntamiento de Barcelona, the Ayuntamiento de El Prat de Llobregat and the Ayuntamiento de Santa Coloma de Gramenet.

More info at ciutateuropa.cat