AGORA

 

The transitional phase in which the Danube Region (DR) cities found themselves after the 2008 economic crisis allowed a window of opportunity to enact positive change on the planning policy level. There have been numerous initiatives in the past aimed to reuse, even temporarily, un-valued physical assets for launching novel forms of economies by a new generation of highly skilled/educated youth. Yet such initiatives remained disparate or difficult to replicate – the biggest provocation remains that of embedding the necessary instruments into governance, creating local capacity and instruments to fast-track urban regeneration.

A crucial challenge is thus to increase public administration (PA) capacity to directly harness local potential: a paradigm shift is now needed towards more flexible, inclusive and creative instruments for Public-Private-People-led physical and social regeneration (PPPP). To achieve this, cities need to become a key player able to catalyse a critical mass of interest groups from different levels around the broader goal of local socio-economic development: PA needs to become an agency for endogenous growth. At the same time, cities also need to overcome a spectrum of bottlenecks, which include legal, administrative and organisational, financial, technical, capacity and expertise barriers and gaps.

AGORA addresses this by deploying and adopting new, creative governance instruments for PAs, building their capacity for effectively involving, connecting and empowering a wide group of stakeholders in the reintegration of vacant buildings and land, public and private, into the productive city value system. We want to achieve substantial change in the process and workflow of PAs at local level, as well as to launch a transnational policy-learning platform for supporting Danube Region cities in the reintegration and reconnection of local undervalued assets, giving new sense to abandoned spaces, brownfields, urban areas in decline.

 

Project co-funded by European Union funds (ERDF, IPA, ENI) with the financial contribution of partner states and institutions.