DanuP-2-Gas 2nd Partners Meeting

It’s been a week since the DanuP-2-Gas consortium meeting. This was the second major meeting after the Kick-off meeting, of course excluding Steering Committee meetings.

The event was organized by the Energy Agency of Savinjska, Šaleška and Koroška Region and due to the COVID-19 pandemic had to be held online.
The meeting had two sessions.
The first of these was the presentation of certain models of good practice such as :

  • Strategic framework of the Republic of Slovenia for renewable energy and gas
  • Sustainable public transport powered by CNG
  • Regional waste management center RCERO Celje
  • Waste to energy – District heating plant Celje
  • Novel gasification technology for the production of synthetic methane
  • Hydrogen deployment in the Savinjsko-šaleška region
  • SHREC project, Interreg Europe

The second part of the project focused on the DanuP-2-Gas project. Each WP Leader presented the way the work package goes, the activities that have already been done and those that follow. The conclusion is that all the work packages are following their normal course, the consortium even managed to develop some deliverables such as communication and dissemination strategies but also a first analysis of energy legislation for each country participating in the project.
A spring and a summer with intense activities will come, so that by the end of the year some of the most important deliverables of the project will be done: Subsidies Catalog – practically a huge database that includes programs, subsidies, financing in the energy field for each country. The other deliverables are represented by the databases for biomass and the infrastructure related to its storage and transport.

At the end of the meeting all partners were delighted with the way the project is going and although we were all left with a bitter taste because we did not meet in person, we are confident that by the end of the project we will be able to have a physical meeting. Maybe on that occasion we will re-edit the pictures you can see below. By the way … This is us.

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ISTER – Our first public kick-off meeting was a success!

The aim of the meeting, which took place on 17th November online, was to reach out a wider group of potential stakeholders and raise awareness about the ISTER project among potential synergic initiatives. The public kick-off meeting got together 131 participants, both ISTER project partners, regional and local public authorities, interest groups (incl.NGOs), SMEs and general public participants. The meeting consisted of 2 main modules:

(1) Keynote speeches by main speakers & Virtual exhibition tour at the National Museum for the History of Transylvania entitled „Frontiers of the Roman Limes in Romania”

(2) Panel discussion with representatives of Leading Partners of Projects related to the topic of Roman Cultural Heritage and Q&A section

The meeting highlighted the importance of  two aspects: (1) activating a cluster at local level through an approach that  involves  both private and  public stakeholders, local communities, tourists, but also politicians and (2) incorporating Cultural Heritage protection and preservation with socio-economic environment to provide a sustainable development of the cities.

Furthermore, ISTER consortium has also advanced the work regarding the baseline screening of the physical legacy of Roman network of Routes & settlements, which will be open to the public starting early next year! Urbasofia has intensively contributed with content regarding the policy and regulations framework for archaeological heritage at national level, as well as for defining land use issues for preserving cultural heritage and key ‘ingredients’ for CH preservation, with a focus on Cultural (Roman) Routes. The baseline screening framework will assist ISTER partners in developing the ISTER Catalogue on Roman Routes and Settlements along the DR.

And because there are never enough good news… our initial ISTER project leaflet has come to light! You can see it below. Stay tuned on our website and social media accounts for more news  about the progress of the project!

Christmas Editorial

Before turning the page, let’s re-read 2020 carefully!

When we urban planners, especially in strategic planning contexts, emphasize the unpredictability of events, we refer to situations such as those that 2020 brought us with COVID19. However, I do not want to talk to you about this topic, I think too many words have been spent, when perhaps, in the face of certain situations, the silence of reflection is worth more. I think for the moment, it is more important trying to understand what needs to be changed, now, to prevent these situations from happening, repeating more frequently in the years to come.

We, who deal with the city, with how to organize its administration, design its spaces, imagine its services and so on, must be aware of the fact that cities are the great defeats of this 2020. The model of the contemporary city has shown everyone their flaws. The city has been laid bare. The limits and risks of urbanization have become evident. The urbanization of many areas of the planet means only informality, peripheralization, exploitation for many people and growth in disparities.

The enthusiasm of the many who invest in themselves and their wealth to find redemption, a different life in the city, is often disappointed. They leave the countryside to usually end up having to manage a life of hardship and live in situations of informal transition, in a limbo that is neither hell nor heaven: permanent transition areas where the hardest challenges to face are generated, and which we are often unable to face; but where a disease, for which we have not yet started studying the vaccine, is evident: the disparity.

Inequality has an enormous creative and generating force: ethnic conflicts, infectious diseases, terrorism, impacts on the climate, energy insecurity, food and water scarcity, migration flows are consequences of an inequitable model of planetary development that is still far from creating resilient and sustainable models.

Where to place our contribution as urban planners?

Obviously, there is no single answer. From the Urbasofia laboratory we observe the change in our profession. A change that holds two apparent contradictions together, but which instead are strongly linked and generate synergy:

• A renewed attention to the physicality of the territory (Green Deal, Nature Based Solutions, Cultural Heritage Valorization, Place making…).

• A strong need to work at a high and intangible level of coordination and integration of the values ​​structuring territorial governance (just transitions of territorial policies, requirements to promote and manage multi-actor decision-making processes, rethinking the mechanisms of urban and territorial governance in a multi-scalar way …).

On the one hand, we talk about a strong materialization of our discipline, on the other  a strong call to return to thinking about the principles of planning, the frameworks that structure decision-making relationships at the basis of sustainable and coherent development.

I take the opportunity of this year-end newsletter to thank all the people and institutions, more and more, who have chosen to work together with Urbasofia, who have placed their trust in our ideas and our services. Finally, a big hug to all the Urbasofia team, to the seniors, now international professionals, and to the newcomers. I have not met in person many of the new researchers and planners hired this year in the team, due to the pandemic; to them, with whom I have interacted only through the computer screen, I want to say that I hope to meet them in person soon and to be protagonists, together, in many new projects.

Many happy holidays to all readers of our newsletter and Urbasofia followers in Romania and the rest of the world!

Pietro Elisei

Urbasofia Director

December 2020


ROCK PROJECT (Regeneration and Optimisation of Cultural Heritage in creative and Knowledge cities)

After more than 3 years of implementation, ROCK project has eventually come to an end! All the energy, efforts and the successful results have been shared during the final four-day event, offering an extensive programme of 20 sessions, with more than 50 speakers and hundreds of participants. Luckily, the recordings of the ROCK Open Knowledge Week event are now available online. During the ROCK CityTalks and Campfire Sessions, the ten cities (Athens, Bologna, Cluj-Napoca, Eindhoven, Lisbon, Liverpool, Lyon, Skopje, Turin and Vilnius) presented their flagship urban interventions implemented at the local level, shared stories of change and discussed lessons learnt.

In these last months of 2020, URBASOFIA, as coordinator of the implementation process conducted by Role Model Cities, has edited a Booklet dedicated to the implementation results in all 7 Role Model Cities. The booklet gives an overview on the achievements obtained at local level through ROCK project, explaining where and how did ROCK approach step in and facilitated the upgrading process of different practices already in place. The journey through the specific actions of each city highlights both soft and technological tools that have been used to support the transformation of historic city centres and sites. Finally, a dedicated section is focused on how the ROCK role model cities faced coronavirus, capturing a short overview of the immediate impacts of the pandemic on the ROCK implementation process and the management of the crisis. The Booklet is now available online.

Last but not least, our special thanks go to the colleagues from Bologna-team, who coordinated the entire consortium, to the ten partner cities who provided substantial content to work with, but also new challenges to be tackled, and of course to all ROCK partners, whom we collaborated very well with!

Find out more about ROCK project’s results and resources produced at: https://rockproject.eu/

Download the booklet from our website in the REPOSITORY SECTION


Sharing a first insight into the activities developed within the AGORA project: TRAINING SEMINARS. AGORA’s first Training Seminar took place on the 29th of October via zoom. The training was devoted to the presentation of the project’s areas for urban regeneration, and thematic clusters, in addition to the guidelines for developing the state of the art analysis of partner cities.

“AGORA areas and thematic clusters with best cases” presented by Serin Geambazu (Urbasofia)
Opened the seminar, giving terms & definitions to territorial partners. These definitions are going to be used within the project implementation in order to have a common AGORA dictionary and background. Here, the three thematic clusters and the methodologies with which they have been analyzed were also presented. These thematic clusters are: Large-scale post-industrial land; Unused/ Underused buildings; Unused/ Underused areas as public spaces potential 

Operational analysis, best cases and stakeholders “presented by Barbara Mušič (Urbanistični inštitut Republike Slovenije) Introduced guidelines, objectives, and the structure of the project’s operational analysis. The guidance will be shared with all the partners and will accompany all the cities throughout their process of regeneration agendas’ implementation. Tools, policy instruments, master plan instruments, were provided to help each partner in their own territorial analysis.  

“AGORA approach to stakeholders’ involvement” presented by Torsten Beck (PAKORA)
Explained to partner cities the importance to have a good connection between formal and informal stakeholders as well as the relevance of timing; stakeholders have to be involved from the beginning of the project but not too early in order to have already a methodology for their involvement and clear ideas about the objectives of the project. 

AGORA and Covid – Community spaces in times of pandemic “presented by Jorge Mosquera ( Eutropian )
Here EUTROPIAN shared some learnings from its weekly webinar during the quarantine, where its team was discussing with international guests about community spaces and centers and how to better build and exploit them during and after this pandemic situation. Furthermore, some examples of policies and initiatives started during quarantine, especially in Italian areas, were shown highlighting the use of an open approach to re-use and adaptation through new and innovative tools to cope with the crisis. 

“AGORA platform – requirements and functionalities” presented by Liviu Purtator (CLUJ-NAPOCA Municipality)
A final part of the seminar was dedicated to the policy learning platform and a discussion on how it will be built. Lead Partner Cluj-Napoca Municipality plans to use the existing Cluj-Napoca platform “Refill” (www.clujrefill.ro) to develop the new AGORA platform. The aim is to create a collaborative platform that can respond to the necessities of different target groups (citizens, municipalities, private companies). To do so, every partner’s feedback will be collected through a questionnaire.  

CRISALIDE news from 2020

February 2020

In 2020, CRISALIDE project partners will focus their efforts on delivering the prototype of the IDMT, an Innovative Decision-Making Tool, aimed at facilitating not only interdepartmental and inter-institutional cooperation, but also the participatory planning process in relation to urban development. The Intelligent Decision-Making Support System for City Environment Management is developed by SPIIRAS Hi-Tech Research and Development Office Ltd., located in St. Petersburg, Russia. The tool includes four main functionalities, such as: 1. Integrated territory development2. Spatial redevelopment3. Assessment of availability of services on the territory under development4. Distribution of new services on the territory under developmentStay tuned for more details about this new tool! By the end of 2020, a replication guide will be available for those interested in testing and adopting this type of product.https://www.crisalide.international/#crisalideproject#innovativedecisionmakingtool#spatialplanning#evidencebased#urbandevelopment

Este posibil ca imaginea să conţină: text care spune „CRISALIDE City Replicable & Integrated Smart Actions Leading Innovation to Develop Urban Economies PROJECT CO-FUNDED BY: https://www.eranet-rus.eu/ Net RUS Plus”

June 2020

URBASOFIA is going full speed in conducting the replicability study of the Innovative Decision-Making Tool (IDMT). One of the objectives of the CRISALIDE project is that once the IDMT instrument is developed, awareness should be raising, and the tool could easily cross the borders of the pilot city (Rostov-on-Don, Russia) and be transferred to other urban contexts. Therefore, URBASOFIA is providing know-how on scoping the possibility of replication in other territorial contexts, through a guide that addresses the principles of replication and adaptation. This replication guide goes beyond the technical perspective and provides also insights into the process that lays behind its development and piloting, discussing how to operate with the IDMT platform.Stay tuned to find out what does the replication process entail!https://www.crisalide.international/#crisalideproject#innovativedecisionmakingtool#spatialplanning#evidencebased#urbandevelopmentSource of images: SPIIRAS Hi-Tech Research and Development Office Ltd, St. Petersburg, , Russia

September 2020

On the 16th of September, URBASOFIA participated at the REAL CORP – International Conference on Urban Planning and Regional Development in the Information Society, entitled SHAPING URBAN CHANGE: LIVABLE CITY REGIONS FOR THE 21st CENTURY, with a presentation on the Decision Support System Design as a Method to Enhance Public Participation in Urban Development: The CRISALIDE Project. The presentation was focused on the implementation process of the CRISALIDE project, starting from the initial phase of developing and testing a methodology for effectively and efficiently running a participatory planning process capable of grasping the local territorial demand coming from citizens and stakeholders in the pilot city of Rostov-on-Don. The presentation also touched upon the subject of the development of a smart platform, driven by intelligent GIS technology, aimed at shaping the local decisional environment towards smart design and land use planning.https://www.crisalide.international/#crisalideproject#innovativedecisionmakingtool#spatialplanning#evidencebased#urbandevelopment#REALCORP#conference#shapingurbanchange

November 2020

On the 17th of November 2020, CRISALIDE partners URBASOFIA & URBAN INCD INCERC have organised a Virtual workshop on the Innovative Decision-Making Tool and its Replication Modalities. The meeting was organized as a Focus Group and it was part of the last phase of CRISALIDE project as a capitalization event of the project results. The discussions were focused on the Innovative Decision-Making Tool (IDMT) developed by project partners and the modalities of this model’s replication. The purpose of the virtual workshop was to bring together specialists from various fields, such as public administration, IT, geodesy, geography, urbanism, holding expertise in developing and implementing decision-making tools in territorial planning activities at national or local levels.Among the focus group conclusions, participants agreed that a tool such as the IDMT is crucial for a successful management of territories and in monitoring strategies, through its GIS component and the related database; is integrating, in a flexible way, different information from different departments and is putting together different stakeholders and last, but not least, it can overcome barriers of communication between the main institutions, urban stakeholders and the local government of the city, encouraging a democratic participation and governance.Stay tuned for finding out more about the IDMT prototype!https://www.crisalide.international/#crisalideproject#innovativedecisionmakingtool#spatialplanning#evidencebased#urbandevelopment#capitalisationevent#focusgroupSource of images: Southern Urban Planning Centre, Rostov-on-Don, Russia

SPIRE WEBINAR – Post-Industrial Cities and Green Economy

We just had the first webinar of a set of five. The topic we tackled was Post-Industrial Cities and Green Economy, a thematic subject that concerns Baia Mare and SPIRE project. 
As panel speakers, we had some very inspiring people, that are working in the related domain: Raffaele Barbato (Urban Innovative Actions), Pietro Elisei (UIA and URBACT Expert), Luigi Iannitti and Valerio Manelfi (RESET), Sabina Leopa (Urbasofia). Some of the topics we discussed: the important role of experimentation and knowledge transfer/ the state of industrial cities and its opportunities /shift towards a more environmentally friendly behavior/ sustainable green energy value chains/ Baia Mare state of pollution against SPIRE ambition and objectives. The discussion is an engaging one, with a focus on innovative and creative solutions for the future of post-industrial cities. SPIRE Baia Mare has the objective of enabling urban, social, and economic regeneration.  Check the full recorded webinar below and stay in tune for the next one on 3 Nov Rethinking Participation and Co-Creation in Times of Social Distancing.

Watch the full webminar below:

Our webinar today was extraordinary and this is thanks to the speakers, the participants in the discussions and all of…

Publicată de SPIRE Baia Mare pe Marţi, 20 octombrie 2020

Build-in-Wood: 1st Early Adopter City Workshop in Copenhagen

How can we start using more timber in urban environments to provide sustainable and affordable housing to our citizens?

The second workshop in the Build-in-Wood project, coordinated by Urbasofia and project leader Danish Technological Institute, focused on this key question.

After the in-depth analysis of the contextual city questionnaire and over 15 local stakeholder questionnaires, Urbasofia (as work package leader) developed the concept for Copenhagen’s first Early Adopter City workshop: shedding light on challenges, possibilities and the path for more sustainable urban construction. The city of Copenhagen is the second one in the project to host their workshop.

Altogether about 30 people took part in the workshop (7 attendees in person at DTI headquarters + over 20 attendees digitally via MS Teams). The workshop was divided into various sections, including:

  • the presentation of the Build-in-Wood project by Anders Kjellow from DTI
  • Catharina Winberg from the city Counsel of Växjö in Sweden speaking about how they managed to achieve a “timber” rate of 48% in 2020 in all new public construction
  • Representatives of the City of Copenhagen, explaining current climate initiatives and the city’s goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2025
  • Inputs and discussions guided by Sabina Leopa from Urbasofia, open discussion and Q&A

Sabina Leopa addressed a general issue we keep facing regarding acceptance and regulations of timber construction:

“You need a critical mass in order to convince people. But you need to convince people, in order to get a critical mass.”

The official workshop with presentations was followed by an open discussion between:

  • Project Coordinator DTI
  • By & Havn
  • the Danish Transport, Construction and Housing Authority
  • KAB Bolig
  • the City of Copenhagen

The conclusions will inform the next steps in co-creating a more sustainable, more wood-oriented agenda at local level.