UrbanizeHub underwent considerable efforts to create the first structure of urban communities who show commitment for green development. We started a project in four Western Romania cities and created the League of Green Cities, based on the involvement of the citizens and on their collective genius.
In the last five years, we have held several hackathons that have generated 50 solutions for urban communities in Romania. Because we have accumulated this experience, we thought it necessary to go to the next level and create the UrbanLab for Green Cities concept. Through the project Innovative Solutions for Green Cities, we are coming to four urban communities from West Romania (Timisoara, Arad, Lugoj and Resita) to generate sustainable initiatives for the cities, together with the citizens.
Europe is moving in the direction of sustainability, on the idea that people are the ones who can change the destiny of a city and that if there are mechanisms to take the pulse of the citizens we will be able to live in the cities where we feel at home. For this reason we want to promote the values of the European Union and create active, responsible and educated communities for the cities of Romania.
In the second half of last year, four action plans were made for Timisoara, Arad, Lugoj and Reșita. Together with representatives of the public administration and civil society leaders, we developed four workshops in which project proposals have been generated. Their aim is to transform urban areas into green cities. These plans have been validated with the help of an online public consultation from which we collected the opinions of 1000 citizens from Western Romania related to how they see the future of cities. We analyzed the answers and proposals submitted by the people of Timisoara, Arad, Lugoj and Resita, and based on these analyzes we created three tracks for UrbanLab.
Track 1: Green City through urban design (mobility, green spaces, blue-green infrastructure)
Any proposal for urban design, urban regeneration, urban planning or sustainable mobility is welcome. Pedestrianization solutions, improving unused spaces, transforming abandoned spaces into green spaces for people. The quality of life in a city depends on how the city looks and how friendly it is to its residents. A city that fights against climate change, that wants to reduce its carbon footprint, is a city that aims to reduce traffic, stimulate the emergence of green spaces, transform the city into a walkable city, with quality green-blue infrastructure, to urban regenerate unused spaces, turning them into green spaces for people.
Track 2: Green City through technology (digital)
Any application idea that can improve the lives of citizens in an urban community and that is related to the concept of sustainability and green are welcome. Applications of food waste, mobility, energy efficiency, digitization of administration and reduction of bureaucracy, stimulation of the use of green energy, applications for education and public awareness, applications or solutions that stimulate collaboration between local actors to transform cities into green communities are welcome.
Track 3: Green City through involvement (education, volunteering)
More than 95% of the citizens who took part in the green questionnaire said that they are willing to get involved in the green transformation of the city, either through voluntary actions or by changing their behavior so that they have less impact on the environment, but also actively participate in the consultations on the measures that should be taken to make the city greener. Also, education through culture or other kind of impact events was the desire of a large number of citizens.
This track wants to stimulate citizens to get involved through concrete actions, ideas, project proposals that can engage more people in the green transformation of the community.
UrbanLab takes place between 21-23 April in hybrid format, in order to accommodate the residents for whom coming to the provided headquarters is a challenge. We seek to create a portofolio of solutions for the four cities included in the League. Throughout the process, they will have the support of our team of mentors and at the end a group of judges will decide which solutions are the most impactful and deserve the prizes.
The first three teams will present their ideas on the stage of UrbanTalks, where the League of Green Cities will be signed by the mayors of the four cities, thus committing the administrations to implement green and smart projects for the next period of 10 years.
Photo source: ettannatliv