Results of the ATTRACTIVE DANUBE 3rd National Workshop

We are pleased to share the results of the final Romanian National Workshop of the ATTRACTIVE DANUBE! The workshop was held on 27th March 2018, in Cluj-Napoca, within the old historic monument „Cluj Casino”, now the Center for Innovation and Civic Imagination.

The meeting was part of the DANUBE ATTRACTIVE process for identifying, at national level, the sets of indicators that can be used to monitor and assess attractiveness at different territorial levels. With the TAMP establishment process well underway, the third meeting was also organized regionally, in Cluj-Napoca (the second largest city in Romania), in order to bring the discussion closer to local problems, solutions and peculiarities, and regional programs in Romania, and to allow for another perspective on prioritization. Its main objectives were the following:

1) To establish the national and regional specifics in Romania and the Key Territorial Capital Components, including methods of quantification;
2) To find out the data needs of the group of actors involved in the territorial planning process;
3) To receive feedback on the long and short lists of indicators which have been compiled during and after the two previous meetings;
4) To present / demo the National Territorial Attractiveness Platform and discuss the possible uses, synergies and barriers/limitations of such a tool.

After an introduction from Mr. Ovidiu Câmpean, Director of Projects, Cluj-Napoca Municipality, a presentation by Mr. Zoltan Coraian, Director of the Metropolitan Association Cluj followed, on the topic of Capitalizing the territorial assets and attractiveness at the regional / metropolitan area of ​​Cluj-Napoca.

On behalf of Urbasofia, Mrs. Sabina Leopa introduced the project and the TAMP: Territorial Attractiveness Monitoring Platform which has been set up through the project:

We had a total of 19 participants, among which Regional Authorities, County Councils, the Metropolitan Association Cluj, Cluj-Napoca Municipality, interest groups, academia, business and clusters. We are happy to share the fact that feedback was in general very good on the TAMP Platform, especially since it is an open platform and does not require registering. Economic attractiveness, cultural heritage and tourism were seen as key indicator domains to promote within the platform.

In closure, key stakeholders (Cluj Municipality, Cluj Metropolitan Area, Babes Bolyai University, Cluj County Council, the Region, and economy representatives invited) expressed their interest in keeping to be involved with the project and in participating to the Capacity Building sessions.

The meeting ended with a light dinner / aperitif and the receiving of participation diplomas.


Invitation: 3rd National Workshop in Cluj-Napoca


for participating in the 3rd National Workshop of

„ATTRACTIVE DANUBE – Improving Capacities for Enhancing Territorial Attractiveness of the Danube Region”

Against the backdrop of a demographic decline, not only in Romania but also in the whole of South-Eastern Europe, the policies for mitigating the socio-economic effects face difficulties in implementation. A concerted approach is needed to address the cause, not the effect of these downward trends: Why is it “better” elsewhere – or not attractive enough here? How do we define, quantify and strengthen territorial attractiveness at national level?

FEach territory has equity and a set of assets and territorial capital that can make it competitive compared to other destinations, investments, tourism. Through good governance, policies can create conditions for maximizing endogenous potential for development, thus enhancing the attractiveness of territories for its inhabitants, visitors and businesses. The transnational project “ATTRACTIVE DANUBE – Improving Capacities for Enhancing Territorial Attractiveness of the Danube Region” deals with the capitalization of the specific elements of potential that make up this region of Europe.

As a key partner of this project, URBASOFIA proposes an open, active and constructive dialogue with all relevant stakeholders and decision-makers involved in the planning and development policy making and development process. This dialogue takes the form of 3 workshops (workshops) that run between June 2017 and March 2018, the first being organized on June 29, 2017 at the Romanian Urban Registry, Bucharest, and the second at the headquarters Of Brasov City Hall on 18 October 2017.

The objective of the last meeting is to agree on the set of key indicators for assessing and monitoring the territorial attractiveness of our country within the Danube Region. The resulting indicators will be introduced into a TAMP – Territorial Attractiveness Monitoring Platform, along with equivalent information from all other countries in the Danube region (Austria, Germany, Bulgaria, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Hungary, Czech Republic and Slovakia).

URBASOFIA invites you to participate in the third national workshop of the ATTRACTIVE DANUBE project, which will be held with the support of Cluj-Napoca City Hall, on March 27, 2018, starting at 17:00, at the Innovation Center and Civic Imagination (CIIC) Cluj-Napoca, in the Casino building in the Central Park.

In the hopes that the subject is of interest to you, we invite you to confirm your presence by Friday, March 23, 2018, to the e-mail address, or by phone (+40) 773 702 216.


Dr. Pietro ELISEI,


Christmas Editorial

Dear Urbasofiers,

As much as I would abstain from writing this editorial, I cannot escape my duty, as the end-of-year communication is up to me. Being the director of URBASOFIA is a source of great satisfactions, above all linked to the ability, to the great humanity and to the creativity of all the collaborators, external and internal.

There are also many satisfactions from our high-level partners, with great ambitions, with which we sketch grand and concrete development paths related to the themes of urban planning and territorial development, with great enthusiasm.

I would like to reserve the same words to our customers, cities, public administrations, political interest groups with whom we daily interlace dialogues and suggest solutions through our work as policy designers, strategic planners, but I cannot do that.

Even if I love to see the glass half full, this time I cannot be so happy with them. I cannot shut my eyes for not seeing the lack of professionalism within the public administration, the inability to structure professional work groups, the incapacity of managers to give one single winning idea, the paucity of politicians who are not able to propose and believe in medium or long term development or providing a vision, showing a possible way to go.

In Romania we grow, but we do not develop. We follow the models, but we do not contextualize them to our problems, we do not exploit them to improve our way of being and living: we are not smart!

We fail to develop a complex system for territorial governance , we are not capable to delegate and allocate the right skills in their suitable places, and slowly we go back, because, after all, to live in a system that satisfies everyone, nobody takes risks and responsibilities and we get used to cohabit with “low competitiveness” development models, an usual quality of life, or rather mediocre, following resigned the philosophy of: merge și așa!

The coming year will be better, as Lucio Dalla sang: il nuovo anno porterà una trasformazione e tutti quanti stiamo già aspettando.

Hopefully, it is a true transformation, that helps us to live the opportunities of contemporary life, completely, and that does not bring us back to modern utopias having a stale taste, and that do not have the real salt of life: The courage, the hope!

The hope of continuing to design, experiment and risk in 2018 for the new, for the unprecedented.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all the Urbasofiers!

Pietro Elisei
URBASOFIA director
December 2017

URBASOFIA Director Dr. Pietro Elisei, recipient of the Cup of Integrity, Good Governance and Social Responsibility

URBASOFIA is proud to report that our Director, Dr. Pietro Elisei, received the „Cup of Integrity, Good Governance and Social Responsibility”, which rewarded his entire activities to date as an urban planner, scientist and manager of major complex projects, including those in favor of capitalizing on cultural and historical heritage and supporting urban innovation in Romania.

Within a remarkable event held at the Cotroceni National Museum on the 8th of December 2017, which marked the 20th Anniversary of EUROLINK – House of Europe, the ceremony was precluded by a debate on “The relationship between good governance and Smart City in terms of transposing the EU Strategy for the Danube Region”. The debate has raised real, pressing problems for Romania, but also solutions to the challenge of responsible and intelligent governance of our cities.

The awarding ceremony took place in the presence of prestigious personalities from the country and abroad, the diplomatic corps and the accredited mass media, and was organized by EUROLINK – House of Europe in partnership with the kind support of the Cotroceni National Museum. The other winners of the Gala have been: Elena-Simina TĂNĂSESCU – The Presidency of Romania; Liviu Sebastian JICMAN – Cotroceni National Museum / former Vice-President of ICR; Sorana BACIU – former Secretary of State – Ministry of Economy; Marilen PIRTEA – Rector of the West University of Timisoara; Claudiu VRÎNCEANU – Romanian Business Leaders; Peter LANGER – Chief Commissioner of the Danube Region – CoDCR; Vlad ALEXANDRESCU – former Ambassador / University Professor; Dumitru BORŢUN – University professor; Cristian UNTEANU – Press Correspondent; Sinteza Magazine; Agerpres.

We wish EUROLINK – House of Europe at least as many future years of accomplishments, and congratulate them on the great representation work carried out in support of our country within the EUSDR, on the efforts of supporting Romania’s accession to the OECD and the country’s commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals.

ROCK – Regeneration and Optimisation of Cultural Heritage in creative and Knowledge cities


Project website


After a successful kick-off in June 2017, ROCK project has continued the implementation at the same standard. In this context, URBASOFIA, as leader of task 2.5 – Implementation of Role Model Cities initiatives, has started an on-site support visits tour in the cities of: Vilnius, Eindhoven, Liverpool, Turin, Cluj-Napoca, Athens and Lyon.

A short communication on what we discovered during the visits and the fruitful discussion we had in the 7cities:

URBASOFIA has attended the first on-site support visit in Vilnius for ROCK project. Pietro Elisei and Miruna Drăghia are preparing for delivering a tailor-made methodology for the implementation phase of Role Model Cities initiatives.

On October the 24th, URBASOFIA has attended the 2nd on-site support visit for the ROCK project in Eindhoven, where URBASOFIA experts met representatives from the Municipality of Eindhoven (Marianne Willemsen and Sandra de Bres) and TU Eindhoven (represented by Gamze Dane). The meeting has been held at the Strijp-S Urban Regeneration Office. Alwin Beernink, director of the office, illustrated the on-going strategy for the regeneration of this particular area, a vivid expression of the material and immaterial heritage of Philips. A heritage of creativity and innovative products that influenced the way of living at a global scale. The first part of the meeting was focused on how to best set up a methodology for further implementation and how to contextualize the contribution of ROCK technological partners, being followed by a site visit. During the site visit, the already running “smart projects” in the Strijp S area have been tested by URBASOFIA team. One of the most important considerations of the meeting highlights the fact the principles of thinking services first and afterwards collecting necessary data to design and operationalise them, in order to avoid collecting data for no purpose. Small scale and effective smart solutions running in Strijp S make this neighbourhood one of the few cases in Europe really experimenting the change that will characterize our European cities in the next years: a real on-going best practice.

URBASOFIA has attended the 3rd on-site support visit (task 2.5) for ROCK project on the 26th of October in Liverpool, a city full of tangible and intangible cultural heritage remains. URBASOFIA experts (Miruna Drăghia and Pietro Elisei) were welcomed by representatives from Liverpool City Council (Lesley Woodbridge, Jen Caine, Claire Perry and Lisa Houghton) and St George’s Hall Manager – Alan Smith, one of the most captivating storytellers. The meeting was held at Liverpool City Council, where urban regeneration, culture and financial departments meet. The building itself was a good illustration of the cultural-led regeneration process in the World Heritage Site (WHS) of Liverpool. Not only cultural heritage buildings were the main aspect discussed during the meeting, but also the use of innovative technologies to increase the visibility and understanding of the cultural heritage through digital means of interpretation.

URBASOFIA team (Sabina Leopa and Miruna Drăghia) has attended a 2-day on-site support visit (task 2.5) and SC Meeting in Turin for ROCK project, during 9th – 11th of October, being welcomed by representatives from Commune di Torino (Erica Albarello) and Urban Centre Metropolitano Torino (Chiara Luchinni) and interacted with local stakeholders. During the visit, the city of Turin revealed its huge potential to accelerate a cultural-led regeneration process in the functional periphery of Barriera di Milano neighbourhood, an underused area full of contrasts, though very active. The use of new technologies to monitor and measure crowd flow (LBASense sensors) within certain points of the city will complement a database collection of public assets, aimed at providing the proper framework for a better understanding of how creative industries could diffuse from the city centre to surrounding neighbourhoods.

On the 17th of November, URBASOFIA team has attended the 5th on-site support visit (task 2.5) for ROCK project ( in Cluj-Napoca, a city distinguished by a progressive cultural-driven growth, supported by innovation, ICT and creative industries. Pietro Elisei, Miruna Drăghia and Sabina Leopa were warmly welcomed by Municipality representatives (Ovidiu Cîmpean, Dalila Criștiu, Mihaela Boc, Florin Morosanu, Ioan Bogdan) and ARIES (Asociația Română pentru Industria Electronică și Software – Oana Rujan). The meeting was aimed at establishing the framework for monitoring and measuring tools provided by DFRC, partner of ROCK project (LBA Sense – Large Crowd monitoring tool), which analyses anonymous data and provides real-time insights on activity and mobility patterns), leading to a comprehensive reading of the crowd’s nature and flow patterns during large-scale cultural events and festivals. The city of Cluj-Napoca will benefit from innovative technologies for a better understanding of users’ behaviour, aimed at providing a tailor-made offer within the cultural heritage and tourism sectors.

URBASOFIA has attended the 6th on-site support visit (task 2.5) for ROCK project on November the 21st, in Athens, a city endorsed by a rich presence of the past times, materialised into ancient cultural heritage remains. Despite the impressive testimony of the antique glory of Athens, the city has even more to offer – a modern atmosphere, dominated by a mix of ethnicities and cultures, embracing the tangible and intangible heritage from historical times. The meeting was held at Serafio Athletic and Cultural Centre, a recently renovated public building, where URBASOFIA experts (Pietro Elisei and Miruna Drăghia) were welcomed by Athens ROCK-team (Katerina Gkoutziouli, George Stefas, Sophia Handaka, Maria Felidou and Amalia Zepou – Vice Mayor for civil society and innovation). The discussion was focused on culture as a means for urban regeneration, while providing the proper framework and environment to facilitate social inclusion and cohesion through enhanced cultural heritage accessibility (physical, economic, social and emotional).

Last but not least, URBASOFIA has attended the 7thon-site support visit task 2.5) for ROCK project, during 6th and 8th of December, in Lyon, which was overlapped with the amazing event of Lights Festival (, which presented a variety of different artistic light up buildings and public spaces all over the city . The city of Lyon has a vast experience in cultural-led planning, especially after adopting a management plan for the historic centre which was entitled as World Heritage Site with an Outstanding Universal Value, aimed at conciliating between the Historic City and the Project City. The meeting was aimed at establishing the framework for the implementation task in ROCK project, which focuses on the up-scaling local initiatives in Role Model Cities. The city of Lyon foresees to upgrade the Heritage Observatory (which is only based on quantitative and location-based indicators, for now) with a qualitative dimension of indicators, aimed at monitoring and assessing heritage-related policies to support decision-making processes.

Stay tuned for more information on and on our website!


ATTRACTIVE DANUBE: towards an integrated analysis and monitoring framework for territorial attractiveness in the EUSDR and Romania

Through the ATTRACTIVE DANUBE project, we are continuing our work to identify, within a multi-stakeholder group, the most relevant indicators at regional, county and local scale, which can be used to analyze and monitor Territorial Attractiveness in the context of the EUSDR.

The second national Romanian „ATTRACTIVE DANUBE” workshop was organized by URBASOFIA on October 18th 2017, in Brașov, with the support of the Brasov Metropolitan Agency, Brasov City Hall and the CLUSTERO Association. The meeting was part of a suite of three such workshops under the ATTRACTIVE DANUBE project, aimed at jointly identifying national-specific sets of indicators to be integrated in a web-based platform, freely accessible for any stakholders interested, called National Territorial Attractiveness Monitoring Platform (N-TAMP). The first working meeting took place on 29 June 2017 in Bucharest and was organized at the Romanian Register of Urban Planners, aiming to open the dialogue with professionals, institutions and the central administrative level. Following this discussion, the meeting on 18 October was organized in order to bring the discussion closer to local problems, solutions and specificities, but also regional-specific traits in Romania.

The 5-hour meeting was productive – many important local needs and specific territorial traits at regional and national level have been analyzed, and the participants identified and ranked based on importance a first set of territorial attractiveness indicator categories. These indicators will complement the 22 general ATTRACT-SEE indicators previously developed, on which the ATTRACTIVE DANUBE project relies. More information on the workshop and full minutes are available HERE.

In February 2018, we will organize the third National Workshop, and also present the N-TAMP platform for the first time to the users and stakeholders.

If you wish to take part in this initiative, to participate in the 3rd Workshop or the working group on National Attractiveness Indicators, please contact us!


Lately, REFILL Cluj has focused on defining the main aspects of the Integrated Action Plan for the city of Cluj-Napoca, which were also presented during the Transnational Meeting from Ostrava, held in September. In parallel, some local meetings were organised in order to define the strategic approach for temporary use of vacant spaces in Cluj-Napoca.

In addition, an urban exploratory walk was organised in the pilot area of the project: Railway station neighbourhood, Feroviarilor Park and Someș riverbanks (facebook link here).


sub>urban – Reinventing the Fringe





Recently, URBASOFIA team participated in a 2,5-day Field Trip to Marseille (France), together with the city of Baia Mare, aimed at providing insights into the local challenges and solutions regarding the urban renewal processes. City of Dusseldorf and the Metropolitan area were joining the trip as well. The aim of the trip was to go deeper into the certain topic of urban renovation and renewal which the cities share. During this meeting, the relevant experts on the topic were invited.

During the Field Trip, we have visit urban rehabilitation projects of the City of Marseille (being guided by Marseille Rénovation Urbaine), paying special attention to three different neighbourhoods:

BoostINNO – Boosting Social Innovation



In the period October – December 2017, there were organized three local activities in Baia Mare within the BoostINNO Urbact III project:

  • Picture/panel of the district aimed to encourage citizens to identify both the problems they face in neighbourhoods and to find viable solutions to them.
  • Two Boostino Talks events (18th of October and 20th of November) to promote social innovation concepts, examples of best practices, methods and means of active participation and involvement in community life. During these events, the main topic was social innovation through IT&C, a presentation held by a local keynote speaker – Sorin Pop.
  • Open ULG Forum (7th of December) aimed to discuss the results of BoostINNO activities and to define the main strategic elements, the pilot area for the Integrated Action Plan.