[Public Seminar] EU Urban Innovation – Partnerships and Networks

[Public Seminar] EU Urban Innovation - Partnerships and Networks

Date(s): 03/02/2015
Time: 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm

DLB111, 1/F, David C.Lam Building, Shaw Campus, Hong Kong Baptist University 34 Renfrew Road, Kowloon Tong

Language: English

Admission: Free, please register below.

Event Partner(s): This event is organized in cooperation with Konrad Adenauer Foundation.

Speaker(s):Prof. Dr. Gerd Schwandner, former Mayor of City of Oldenburg

Moderator: Prof. H. Werner Hess, Deputy Director, EUAP


Prof. Dr. Gerd Schwandner 

 Event Description:

All European cities have a tradition of international urban partnerships, although such ‘twin cities’ arrangements have partly become outdated. The European Union’s strategic goal of increasing economic competitiveness, however, is now breathing new life into such relations. A whole range of different EU programs can be used by cities for jointly developing innovation policies.

Using Groningen and Oldenburg as an example, this seminar will demonstrate how this link between supranational development objectives (EU) and local urban action works in practice. Both cities recently participated in the EU-initiated Creative City Challenge (CCC) to assist in urban strategies to foster the emerging ‘creative economy’. The lecture explains how EU programs address overall urban development strategies and their transformation into concrete projects (EFRE).

EU-Summit_Signing_Mercator_Ge_Li_cut-Breite-600pxSimilar urban partnerships have also been initiated between European and Chinese cities. The second part of the seminar will discuss gradual relationship building between Groningen/Oldenburg and China (Expo 2010 Shanghai, Horticulture Expo 2011 Xian and 2014 Qingdao, Confucius Institute in Groningen 2011, EU-China Urbanisation Dialogue and the Mayor’s Forums Brussels 2012 and Beijing 2013 ).




 Event Summary:
This follow-up seminar further discussed aspects of urban partnerships among cities in the European Union.

Starting with the premise that ‘local policies must be internationally oriented’, Prof. Schwandner outlined the importance of wider networks of cities within Europe but also with urban centres in other developing economies. ‘Smart’ cities have to rely on (and invest in) primarily people to build post-industrial ‘knowledge-based economies’. Inward migration and the acceptance of an increasingly multi-cultural population are essential for economic growth as well as for the quality of urban living.

The seminar discussed bilateral (Groningen-Oldenburg) cooperation but also case studies of local companies (SMEs), which increasingly operate globally. Sports, arts and the health sector were further cited as examples of increasing internationalization even in small- and medium-sized European urban regions. Both cities’ are anchored in wider EU-supported urban networks, among them the ‘Crealab’ scheme and the EU’s ‘INTERREG’ programme, which brings cities along the North Sea cost and within a ‘Hansa Energy Corridor’ (HEC) from the Netherlands to the Baltics together. Such EU-funded programmes provide co-funding of otherwise difficult-to-realize projects (especially in the CCI sector) but also serve as platforms for the exchange of information and experiences.

In addition, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) was mentioned, a long-term programme of the European Union. Groningen/Oldenburg have tapped the ERDF so as to work on energy issues, the growth of maritime and of food-processing industries as well as for cultural projects serving the EU objective of ‘social inclusion’ and social coherence (‘Creative City Challenge’).


Click to download the presentation content:

EU Urban Innovation-Partnerships & Networks (By Prof. Dr. Gerd Schwandner)

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