This year the Awards will relate to "Planning for People”, following the three permanent categories: Innovation, Participation and Cooperation.
Nantes 2012 - "A new city politics - innovation, inspiration, involvement"
The EUROCITIES awards recognise outstanding achievement by EUROCITIES members in the delivery of local activities or practices which improve the quality of life for citizens and will be judged in the context of the theme of the annual conference. Entries are judged by an independent jury of five members from the thematic sector, academia, EU institutions, media and NGO. Jury members change every year.
Innovation: recognising innovation in the planning and implementation of activities or practices by a local authority.
Participation: for activities or practices of a local authority which are successful in actively promoting citizen participation.
Cooperation: awarding cooperation efforts undertaken by a local authority with partner organisations or cities.
Awards for innovation
Glasgow: Commonwealth Initiatives Team
At a time when jobs are hard to come by, apprenticeships can be a stepping stone to full time employment for many school leavers. In Glasgow, they benefit from an organised apprenticeship scheme, the Commonwealth Apprenticeship Initiative. They receive advice and coaching as the school year draws to an end, and can access apprenticeship opportunities using a dedicated website. The city, meanwhile, organises the application, shortlisting and interview process so businesses don’t have to. This is particularly appealing for small businesses, as is the lack of red tape and the prospect of financial assistance from the city to offset any costs associated with employing an apprentice.
✭ WINNER - Oulu: eCopper
It’s not every day you see young people engaging in friendly conversation with the police, but that’s what’s happening in Oulu. The eCopper chat room is an online, text-based service where young people can converse directly and anonymously with the police, while a youth worker moderates discussions. As many as 200 young people log in every Monday to report crimes and seek advice. Since 2009, this has helped improve links between the police and young people, and resolve prejudices that have in the past compromised this relationship.
The Hague: Burenhulp centrale – Neighbourhood CareLine
With 30% of the population over 65, the district of Mariahoeve in The Hague inspired a new approach to caring for the elderly. Neighbourhood CareLine (NCL) is a simple, 24-hour phone line connecting the elderly with local volunteers who provide the support they need. Services can range from walking the dog to cleaning or doing the shopping. During working hours, callers are connected to a manned helpdesk which coordinates volunteers, while an automated service operates outside that time. Volunteers have largely removed the need for professional carers, so these can concentrate on more serious concerns. The growing success of the pilot stage from 2007 to 2012 means the city is preparing for a rollout across all districts
Awards for participation
✭ WINNER - Berlin: Youth election project U18
Understanding politics can be daunting for young people. U18 helps to make it fun and accessible. Throughout the year, participants study manifestos, form parties and debate with politicians, culminating in a mock election which takes place a week ahead of the real election to the Berlin House of Representatives. Any organisation dealing with young people, from schools to youth centres, can register as a ‘polling station’, and benefit from online teaching resources. With a current lack of political education taking place in schools, the scheme helped reach 26,705 young people from diverse backgrounds in 2011, and is ever growing both in size and reputation.
Glasgow: Stalled Spaces Initiative
Frustrated with a lack of funding for temporary projects, citizens approached Glasgow City Council. This inspired the Stalled Spaces Initiative, whereby residents can ‘rescue’ temporarily vacant plots of land and recover them for new urban uses. Popping up around the city so far are a total of 50 playgrounds, urban gardens and allotments, amongst others, with a considerable number located in the poorest parts of the city. Funding and professional planning advice is supplied by the city council and the housing association, so residents are no longer put off by complex planning procedures, while landowners benefit from formal agreements and proper maintenance of their land.
Sunderland: Sunderland Youth Parliament
Sunderland Youth Parliament ensures young people’s views are reflected in local policies. It has grown considerably since its inception in 2001, and has become mainstreamed into local decision making, with funding from the local council and logistical support from the council’s democratic services team. Members meet regularly with local councillors are represented in the UK Youth Parliament. Its activities are showcased once a year at the ‘Young People’s State of the City’ debate, where they discuss some of the hottest topics affecting their generation, from student rights to careers and health. This leads to concrete action: most recently a comprehensive action plan was drawn up for better partnerships with employers and support for jobseekers.
Awards for cooperation
✭ WINNER - Ghent: Ghent Climate Alliance
By engaging its politicians, citizens and businesses, Ghent hopes to become climate neutral by 2050. Stakeholders meet in a range of Climate Alliance working groups, from farming to arts and the classroom, with the outcomes helping to formulate Ghent’s transition to a greener future. Residents can use a dedicated website to sign a charter of commitment, calculate their climate impact and identify the insulation quality of their roofs using a thermographic map. A weekly ‘veggieday’ sees many locals forgo meat on a Thursday, while others benefit from free advice and subsidies to carry out eco-friendly home improvements.
Konya: Social Integration Programme for Roma citizens
Konya is taking a holistic approach to the integration of its Roma population. Studies have revealed acute social problems linked to this community – homelessness, unemployment, crime and drugs – and the city is investing to tackle these. A local centre offers professional training courses, from hairdressing to needlework and tailoring, to Roma residents. Roma people are encouraged to practice their culture and to participate in activities with their Turkish neighbours. Houses are being constructed for Roma in areas that will promote integration with the local community. The Roma community has appreciated the city’s considerate approach, resulting in mutual respect between the partners – including the city council and NGOs – and the Roma residents.
Oslo: ‘Rusken’ – ‘Garby’ – a community campaign for a cleaner and more beautiful Oslo
When it comes to cleaning the city, it’s a community affair in Oslo. Rusken has been bringing young people, the unemployed, schoolchildren and residents from a mix of backgrounds together in a cleanliness campaign since 1976. Rusken takes on various forms, from the voluntary ‘Rusken at school’ and ‘River Rusken’ to ‘Street Rusken’, where NGOs team up with the private and public sectors to provide people with addiction problems with street-cleaning jobs. With as many as 200,000 volunteers every year, the success of Rusken can be partly attributed to a comprehensive PR campaign, with a mascot, prizes, TV and news coverage. It pays off: in return for the average two hours put in by each volunteer, the city calculates savings of €8 million in working hours.
The 2012 awards jury panel was composed of the following members:
Chairman of the Jury:
Member of the European Parliament, member of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats and of the Cyprus Democratic Party
Centre of European Studies at Sciences Po (CEE) - Paris
European Youth Forum
BBC London TV News