An EU-funded coordination and support action for New European Bauhaus transformations towards climate-neutral, beautiful and inclusive cities

How can you make cities climate neutral, beautiful and inclusive? Which local collaborative governance models can help to achieve this? These questions are at the core of a new project which will be carried out by three Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS) Centres of Expertise in collaboration with an international consortium of universities and cultural organisations. The project is led by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and will be financed by the Horizon Europe programme of the European Union.

The project Creating Actionable Futures (CrAFt) is part of the European Union’s New European Bauhaus (NEB) initiative and aims to develop a new approach to delivering climate neutrality and the European Green Deal. NEB focuses on the central values of sustainability, aesthetics and inclusivity. An interdisciplinary perspective is at the heart of the project, combining art and culture in addition to science and technology, inclusivity and a broader focus on quality of life rather than only focusing on sustainability. The European Union aims to support this by financing various projects involving governments, cultural organisations, knowledge institutes and individuals.

Knowledge sharing and impact

CrAFt is one of the first NEB projects honoured and focuses on the testing and sharing of local governance models to integrate inclusivity, aesthetics and sustainability into climate neutral cities. This will be done in a number of ways. Firstly, by developing new local collaborative governance models where art and culture play a central role and testing these in spatial projects in three sandbox cities (Amsterdam, Prague and Bologna). Sandbox cities are places where, in short cycles, innovations can be developed, experimented with and lessons can be learned. The idea is that CrAFt will deliver generic knowledge about how common challenges of collaborative governance can be addressed. Secondly, CrAFt will share these lessons. During the project, insights will be shared with 70 reference cities and the project will deliver an NEB Edition of the Smart Cities Guidance Package to help even more cities who are eager to get involved in New European Bauhaus.

Developing governance models 

The Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences’ role will be to coordinate the work on the ground in the sandbox cities. Together with partners universities in Bologna and Prague, AUAS will gain insight into governance challenges that arise in spatial projects that pursue the New European Bauhaus (NEB) values. Examples include finding the right techniques for implementing cocreation processes and analysing how cost-cutting restrictions can put aesthetics and inclusivity under pressure. Finally, AUAS will develop interventions and apply and monitor them in practice. These ‘impact stories’ will be widely shared and will provide input for the NEB Edition of the Smart Cities Guidance Package.

Collaboration across three Centres of Expertise

The CrAFt project involves three Centres of Expertise at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences’ Creative Innovation, Urban Governance and Social Innovation, and Urban Technology. In addition, four research groups are collaborating in this project: Building Transformation (professor Frank Suurenbroek), Civic Interaction Design (professor Martijn de Waal), Coordination of Urban Issues (professor Stan Majoor), Creative Media for Social Change (Tamara Witschge). The international consortium is led by the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.