The URBACT City Festival 2018 in Lissabon / Portugal

will celebrate the rising influence of cities as leading actors of change, throughout the 2-day event

We will share stories of urban renewal rooted in URBACT exchange and testimonies to the increasing power of cities to drive change. Cities are hotbeds of innovation, creating local solutions to the global challenges of sustainability, integration and resilience that can lead to the successful achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The rate of progress is accelerated when cities work together. In URBACT, cities show that they are striving to be better, are open to learn from each other and are ready to influence national and international policy with concrete practices from the ground up.

May you be joining the Festival or not, we invite you to have a look throughout the great variety of topics that will be discussed at URBACT City Festival 2018. 

Those topics will be explored in a variety of formats, including walkshops, to break-out sessions, labs and trainings. 

Imagine you get ready for a nice and inspiring walk in the city, here are the integrated urban development tours that you could join. 

GENDER EQUAL CITIES: How cities can understand and reduce gender based inequalities

Why gender equality is important for the city? This session will undertake a live analysis of public space in Lisbon to help us understand the gendered nature of urban landscapes. There will be a presentation and discussions of what cities can do to improve gender equality across key themes and city competencies in urban development, eg in mobility, planning, representation, with examples from Portugal and the opportunity to think of immediate actions to take home. 

AFFORDABLE HOUSING: Experiences from Europe, learning from Lisbon

Walk through the Alcântara neighbourhood and visit to the Housing First project, which focus mainly on vulnerable people. Following the harm reduction philosophy, the adaptation process in the housing context is strongly linked to the inclusion of the beneficiaires in the community as well. By providing houses for homeless people, the (re) insertion into the community is promoted by extension. Talk with representatives from the EU Urban Agenda Housing Partnership to see how this approach compares with other European good practices for housing. 


We often judge the success of a city centre by the way people congregate and interact in its public spaces. We sometimes see empty, degraded public areas and we wonder why when those could be lively places. This walkshop will explore ways in which how local inhabitants can take the lead in initiating improvement of public spaces, their design and physical development but also activities in and care for theses areas. 

THE CITY HERITAGE CRISIS: Reconciling tourism and local needs in heritage neighbourhoods

Alfama is an important historic neighbourhood in Lisbon that is at risk of being lost to tourism. This session will explore how local needs (in terms of housing, transportation etc.) can be balanced with those of the tourism industry. How to keep the neighbourhood authentic and avoid Disneyfication? How to find new uses for old and abandoned buildings? How to incentivise building restoration and preserve quality? The crucial role of cultural and creative sector in urban revitalisation will also be touched upon during the session. 

DIGITAL CITY FUTURES: ADAPT OR DIE: How to grow places to flourish tech entrepreneurship ecosystem

What can cities do to grow digital start-ups and how important are spaces and places to a flourishing tech entrepreneurship ecosystem? This walkshop will explore the key components of a tech entrepreneurship ecosystem and how can cities create the conditions in which it can flourish, through a visit to the city center of Lisbon. The reflection and discussion will be based upon the engagement with relevant players and urban actors and how it could contributed to a successful environment. 

MIGRATION INTEGRATION: It is not just about learning the language and finding work

Take a short trip to Amadora, a city on the outskirts of Lisbon built on successive waves of immigration, who has a long history of working on integration policies. Amadora, who led the Arrival Cities network, is currently sharing their good practice on the importance of demystifying the unspoken prejudices against newcomers. The visit will take place in key sites representative of the city’s approach to migrant integration and inclusion. You will meet and hear from those on the ground about practices to facilitate access to services, housing, and projects targeting minors in socially vulnerable situations.

REVITALISING THE RETAIL SECTOR: Reviving the local shops in medium-sized EU cities

This walkshop will take participants around the Baixa-Chiado area in Lisbon where they will have the opportunity to collect intelligence on how to tackle vacancy of retail offer in the city centre. Participants will reflect around the challenge of revitalising local shops in cities by listening to testimonials and sharing practical, transferable and integrated solutions that have been put in place. 

LOCAL FOOD IN URBAN FORKS: How agri-food production can help with social inclusion

Agri-food production is a mature industry that plays an important role in terms of GDP, employment and environmental sustainability, the main goal of the walkshop is to share the knowledge of Agri-Urban and Semear projects. Participants will visit the SEMEAR na Terra in Oeiras(link is external) and learn more about the complementaries between both projects and concrete examples that can highlight the role of cities food strategies to stimulate environmental and social solutions. 

AN INTEGRATED APROACH TOWARDS A DEPRIVED NEIGHBOURHOOD: How a deprived area can benefit from an Eco-neighbourhood project

Lisbon Municipality launched the Eco-Neighbourhood Boavista Ambiente + as an integrated model for sustainable innovation, in partnership with different stakeholders. Activities were dedicated to the reconversion and qualification of public space; implementation of measures to improve the energy performance; the remodelling of public equipment; and the promotion of awareness. This project, which is still under development, is a part of the BIP-ZIP programme. So get ready to put your helmets on and a visit a construction site as well! 

TACKLING URBAN POVERTY FROM THE GROUND UP: Empowering local communities is the strongest tools against inequalities

Local communities are instrumental in planning and shaping the city’s efforts to effectively eradicate poverty. Taking a trip into a priority BIP/ZIP neighbourhood – Marvila – we will explore how Lisbon is tackling deprived areas with community-led development to rehabilitate open squares, reuse public buildings, reactivate local commerce, and use graffiti to build a new narrative. We will also look at how the national policy can be channeled and fuel the work URBACT is doing on this topic.

Want to explore more Check out the full programme on the website: