The fifth edition of Urban Talks, part of a series of events created by UrbanizeHub out of the simple need to connect people who want to shape the future of cities, took place on October 4-6 in Timișoara. At last year’s edition, the Western Alliance was announced for the first time, and this year, a new planning of European funds for 2021-2027 was announced for the first time. This year’s conference was held under the high patronage of the Presidential Administration, with presidential advisor Laurențiu Ștefan opening the conference.
The event was a great success, as expected. When valuable and involved people from different fields come together, it can only lead to a successful event. The event in Timișoara was divided into two sections: the Urban Talks Conference on the first day, October 4, which brought together experts from the World Bank and the European Commission, mayors of cities from the Western Alliance, international experts from the Netherlands and Sweden, Members of the European Parliament, and some companies and start-ups that offer local solutions to global problems. The Friday conference was divided into three parts:
The first part focused on the vision and macro-strategy of Romania’s development, supported by World Bank experts.
The second part, entitled Future Cities Talks, was about entrepreneurship, technology, and innovation.
The third part focused on administration and institutions, where discussions were held about small and medium-sized cities, projects, development, the Western Alliance, as well as the future of European funds and how to improve the cities in Romania.
During the event, two reports prepared by World Bank experts were launched: Metropolitan Romania and Guide to Best Practices in Urban Development, which were handed out to participants. Another guide handed out to participants was the Mayor’s Handbook. The Future Cities of Romania campaign was also launched, which is the most extensive consultation process regarding European funds for 2021-2027.
The second and third day were dedicated to a solutions contest for cities, an Urban Innovation Hackathon on urban mobility issues, in an attempt to find intelligent solutions for traffic and congestion in Romanian cities. The prizes accumulated at this contest reached 2000 euros. Architects, urban planners, people from tech or civil society who have ideas about how to transform a city to become more friendly to its residents participated. PROtv made a report about it, which appeared on the news, and one of the prizes consists of promoting a solution at the urban mobility conference in Amsterdam next year in April.