Glasgow – After the Pandemic creative summer school

Glasgow’s initiative to bring together Glasgow City Council and its creative community to look at Life After the Pandemic saw the end of its first phase today.

Lateral North, a Glasgow research and design collective who have collaborated with Arctic and Nordic partners, are curating an initiative involving a Summer School. In partnership with the Design Weans, a Glasgow based creative networking organisation, the creative community were asked to develop ideas regarding how we bounce forward, not back, and the themes of environment, sustainability, health (including mental) and community. The Showcase will occur this evening, Thursday 09 July 20:00 (CET). You can register here.

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Cardiff – ‘Out of Doors’ online digital arts festival

Cardiff is looking for creative ways to entertain people in lockdown, and Cardiff-based Arts Active have come up with a digital arts festival that people can enjoy whilst staying safe and socially distanced at home.

‘Out of Doors’ will provide free access to online activities and will include artist-led activities and mini projects to encourage people of all ages, not just kids, to be at one with nature whilst learning in a creative and fun way.

As the city steps tentatively out of lockdown, it wants to encourage young people particularly to enjoy nature in a fun, creative but importantly, a safe way. Being out of doors, now more than ever, has a positive impact on mental health and wellbeing.  This digital festival will bring all of these elements together to learn new things in a fun and creative way. 

In addition, Arts Active are producing Creativity Parcels delivered to support young people who are unable to access online activities due to rural locality, areas of deprivation and others within central south Wales.

The festival will run from Saturday 18 July – Saturday 15 August 2020. More information here.

Contact: Beverley Watson

Karlsruhe – Indian summer days

Representatives from Karlsruhe recently spoke online with city partners in India about ongoing smart city initatives. They are especially exchanging on post-COVID19 recovery plans. In addition, the cultural festival ‘India Summer Days’, which celebrates the German-Indian partnership will take place in a digitally adapted version: whether cooking, dance classes or yoga online – the main and most important goal is: celebrating together. Read more here

Contact: Regina Hartig

Madrid – 352 measures for recovery

Madrid’s City Council approved the ‘Pactos de la Villa’, an agreement listing 352 measures to revive the city after the pandemic. Measures include the reinforcement of social services, a telecare program, and the creation of a municipal social card and many more. Read more here and here (in Spanish)

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Cities talking about food policy during crisis

Cities reacted to the crisis by setting up specific actions regarding access to food and food delivery, particularly for vulnerable groups. Different approaches and measures for new food aid systems have been put in place by the food policy teams of many cities that are part of the Milan Urban Food Policy Pact (MUFPP). The MUFPP team organised a talk between Sao Paulo, Milan, Barcelona and Washington DC to exchange on challenges and solutions.

Contact: mufpp.secretariat@comune.milano.it

Ghent – 1.5 million to boost sustainable tourism

Ghent is investing over one and a half million euro in boosting local tourism in a sustainable way. The city assists entrepreneurs in developing a new coronavirus-proof tourist offer. The offer also highlights sustainable aspects of Ghent’s tourist offer, for example, cycling and walking routes will lead visitors to the sub-municipalities, the periphery, the green belt and less frequently visited sites in the city centre. Read more here

Contact: Els Uytterhoeven

Bratislava – Overview of measures for culture

Bratislava quickly reacted to confinement with online broadcasts of theatre plays, concerts from windows and balconies, as well as cultural activities in hospitals. Read the full overview or Bratislava’s measures for culture here and more on the original article by Vlado Grežo and Pavol Demeš here (in Slovak)

Contact: Petra Dzurovcinova

Nice – Promoting local businesses

The city of Nice is launching a communication campaign in support of local merchants hit hard by the Covid19 crisis.

Besiktas – Anti-stress campaign

‘Besiktas Will Heal Together’ is the main slogan of a campaign this month by Besiktas municipality to help people in the transition to the new normal. The campaign comprises many events such as meeting with psychologists, music concerts, yoga sessions and sports, which will all be held in local parks.

Contact: foreignaffairs@besiktas.bel.tr

Cardiff – Virtual Food and Drink Festival

Cardiff going online with its popular Cardiff Food and Drink Festival. The Cardiff Food and Drink Festival will launch a new website www.cardifffoodanddrinkfestival.com  tomorrow at midday, to run throughout July. 

Visitors will find recipes, music and an online market place where a range of local and international food and drink can be ordered directly from the people who make them – things like cakes, marinades, flavoured oils, preserves, specialty gins and cider. More information here.

Contact: Beverley Watson

Florence – All aboard, trams services

The number of the available seats on tram vehicles has been increased from 40 to 103, thus reaching a capacity of 40% compared to the total 272 persons capacity. This is part of the city’s steps towards phase 3 which will include reopening of schools, and hopes to reinstate 100% of public transport services on rail and road. Current measures on the tram include hand sanitising hand gels and markers indicating where to sit or stand. Read more here

Contact: Alessandra Barbieri

Bristol – #BristolFoodKind

Launched by the city partners behind Bristol’s bid to become a Gold Sustainable Food City, the #BristolFoodKind campaign offers practical ideas for people at home during the pandemic on how to grow and cook food, reduce waste and shop locally. Every act of ‘food kindness’ can help improve health and wellbeing, support the community and secure the future of Bristol’s food scene. Residents are encouraged to get involved by sharing their stories on social media. Read more about #BristolFoodKind here

Contact: Paul Davies

Lille Metropole – Health charter to reassure tourists

Lille Metropole attractiveness agency, ‘Hello Lille’ and the Lille Pasteur Institute have developed a health charter to insure the safety of Lille as a tourist destination. The charter has already been signed by 200 major players of the culture and tourism industry. The signatories will display their commitment to the charter through a specific logo placed on their facades and in their communicati­on tools.

This charter is based on 10 key commitments, including compliance with barrier gestures, social distancing, specific cleaning and disinfection of the premises, specific measures in the event of heat waves… Read more and see the signatories (in French) here.

Contact: Christophe Bolot

Lille Metropole – Cycling boom

Lille Metropole has implemented temporary cycle lanes to address the need of its increasing amount of users. Cycling has considerably increased within Lille Metropole area over the last two months, with an increase of 60% compared to the pre-covid period. Moreover, Lille Metropole launched the third edition of the metropolitan cycling challenge in June, inspired by the European cycling challenge organised up to 2017. The goal is simple, register with your family, friends or colleagues and try to cycle as many kilometres as possible during one month. A friendly competition to enhance cycling and promote regular users. More information (in French) here.

Contact: Christophe Bolot

Berlin – Temporary bicycle infrastructure

© Peter Broytman

The city of Berlin is dramatically increasing its ongoing production of bicycle infrastructure in order to improve the conditions for safe mobility while relieving streets, buses and trains. Berlin’s districts are cooperating closely with the Senate Department for the Environment, Transport and Climate Protection in setting up set up pop-up bike lanes, temporary cycling infrastructure.

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Bristol – Wellbeing campaign

Bristol is urging residents to make time to check in with one another following the launch of a new campaign. Developed by a partnership of local organisations, ‘Are you OK?’ aims to encourage people to focus on each other’s wellbeing and consider if others could be struggling or at risk as the lockdown begins to ease, with an initial focus on three areas: safeguarding of adults and children, domestic abuse and mental health. More information here.

Contact: Paul Davies

Sevilla – Tracking COVID-19 in wastewater

Sevilla’s public water company is using waste water to detect and anticipate outbreaks of COVID-19. By testing samples of wastewater that it freezes monthly as part of ongoing protocol, the company is able to study how early the virus arrived in the city and better understand the prevalence of the virus. More information (in Spanish) here.

Contact: Adrián Reina Hurtado

Cardiff – Real change campaign

A new campaign will build on the recent success in helping vulnerable people off the streets, in which two large hotels opened as additional emergency accommodation and shipping container homes were used as isolation units for clients displaying coronavirus symptoms. The campaign asks people not to give their spare change to those begging on the street, but instead to signpost vulnerable people to the services that can deliver real change in their lives. Read more here

Contact: Beverley Watson

Malmo – Acting on violence against women

Campaign video: “Isolation can stop the virus, but it can increase violence – seak help before it happens”

As part of its pandemic response Malmo has instigated measures such as a 24-hour helpline and counselling centres; a campaign directed to young people in the age range of 13 – 21, suffering from honour related violence on Snapchat; a follow up campaign on Facebook directed to girls and women aged 15 – 44; and sharing information at local bus stops about where perpetrators could go if they wanted help with changing their behaviour. Read more here and here

Contact: Margot Olsson

Vienna – For public services

Vienna has dedicated a section of its website to public services, and shares a dedicated video produced by the Austrian Association of Public Companies. Public and municipal companies continue to ensure security of supply in municipalities and keep the cities running. In times of crisis it is particularly important that the broad range of services of general interest in Austria functions reliably and smoothly. Employees do an extraordinary job every day to ensure this and the important role of companies providing services of general interest cannot be overemphasised. Read more here (in German)

Contact: Michaela Kauer or stay up to date at @Stadt_Wien

Bologna – Your neighbourhood, a cultural centre

Copyright: city of Bologna

Bologna will organise affordable initiatives throughout the summer investing every courtyard and every square. Citizens will be able to meet and stay together respecting security measures. ‘Bologna Estate’ will have a wide offer of screenings, performances and concerts in addition to traditional museums and tourist attractions, and to bring culture in every corner of the city, each neighbourhood will turn into a culture venue hosting small theatre performances, mobile storytellers, monologues and much more. Read more here and here (in Italian)

Contact: Micaela Merli

Cardiff – Visit the city from home

Join The Big Walk in July, book online courses at the Summer School of Cardiff University and order your favourite Sri Lanka dish from The Coconut Tree – all through the ‘From Home’ project by the ‘Visit Cardiff’ team, showcasing the city’s most exciting lockdown activities. Visitors and residents can explore them here 

Contact: Beverley Watson

Cardiff – Celebrating the creativity of Wales

The annual Tafwyl festival celebrating Welsh language and culture will be live streamed this Saturday, 20 June, through AM, an online platform sharing creative work from Wales’ cultural scene. Along with live music, several of Tafwyl’s usual offerings will be provided, including Q&As, literature sessions and children’s workshops. Leader of Cardiff Council, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: “Of course the pandemic means the festival can’t go ahead with the huge crowds that it has attracted over the past few years, but by opening up Cardiff Castle for this live broadcast, I hope it will remind everyone of the great times the’’ve had there in the past, will give them a real buzz on the day, and whet their appetite for its full return next year.” You can read more here and follow the festival here, where you also can download the app

Contact: Beverley Watson

Madrid – Strengthening social services

Madrid City Council has allocated €5 million to strengthen social services with 264 personnel. The Temporary Employment Plan (PET) includes 118 social workers (a 22% increase over the total) and 41 administrative assistants (33% more). PET has a duration of six months, extendable up to three years. In addition, the employment plan approved this week adds 20 vacancies for social services assistant, which have already been filled by new officials. Read more (in Spanish) here.

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Beşiktaş – Anti-stress campaign

Beşiktaş Municipality has launched an anti-stress campaign to help people as restrictions are lifted. As part of the project, an anti-stress committee was established with psychologists at Beşiktaş Public Health Digital Management Center. Citizens will be able to meet with clinical psychologists at the events to be held in the public parks, online, or in private by appointment. Stress-relief activities such as yoga will be held at the local parks and other public places while keeping social distance. Musicians will also begin to play at many places in the district. More information (in Turkish) here.

Speaking to the Clinical Psychologist İbrahim Eke about the benefits of the ‘Anti-Stress Campaign’ for Beşiktaş, Mayor Rıza Akpolat asked Eke about the questions of neighbours and the work to be done.

Contact: foreignaffairs@besiktas.bel.tr

Rotterdam – Keeping mass transit safe

Rotterdam is now allowing a 40% occupancy rate on its public transport, as of 1 June. To achieve this goal, and to help citizens on their journeys, the city, the public transport company RET, and four companies who offer bikes, electric-bikes or electric motor-scooters, are working together to offer a clean and seamless connection. At transport hubs, the city has made room for the four companies to park their bikes/motor-scooters for easy access. On RET’s app, travellers can check in real time what method of transport would be best to continue or start their journey. It is the first time that all of these players have worked together to offer such a service. More information (in Dutch) here.

Contact: Murat Altunbas

Helsinki – Support to entrepreneurs

Helsinki has offered operating support to 5000 entrepreneurs. The support is a lump-sum compensation of €2,000 euros for sole entrepreneurs to cover costs caused by the coronavirus outbreak in the business activities. Around 5,000 entrepreneurs have already received operating support from the city. This means that Helsinki has distributed around €10 million to sole entrepreneurs, to cover damages caused by the coronavirus pandemic. More information here.

Contact: Toivo Utso

Rotterdam – Investing in the future

Rotterdam is investing €2.4 million in schoolchildren and €20 million in homeless services. The money for schoolchildren will help provide 6,000 children from disadvantaged families and areas with extra classes and courses this summer so that they don’t fall behind. The homeless services receiving investment include support for independent housing, chonselling, advice and providing better living conditions. This move follows the provision of 150 homeless shelters, with social distancing measures in place, since the beginning of the outbreak. More information (in Dutch) here.

Contact: Murat Altunbas

Angers – supporting local commerce

A new online platform, officially launched during the lockdown, aims support local businesses through this crisis and beyond, by providing them with a more traditional and local version of Amazon. With 120 businesses already signed up, 200 waiting in the wings, and 20,000 products already available, it has already proved a success. Read more here

Contact: Bruno Gourdon

Bordeaux – Fresh fruits and veggies for all

Bordeaux has launched a new trial project helping members of a dozen social grocery stores to buy fresh fruit and vegetables by having the city pay the difference between cost price and store price. The city also supports the Food Bank and various other organisations to give access to good quality food to those in need for free. The city and its partners have collected around €300,000 to finance food distribution actions.

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Nantes – Becoming a giant vegetable garden

Less flowers, more tomatoes, courgettes and potatoes to feed vulnerable people in Nantes. The city is transforming green spaces, greenhouses, shared gardens or unoccupied green areas into vegetable gardens. Around 50 plots, for a total of 25,000 m2, will grow tomatoes, courgettes, beets and corn to be harvested in mid-July, and potatoes, squash and dried beans to be harvested in October. In total, the city hopes to collect 25 tons of vegetables, to be distributed to about 1,000 households in difficulty via the Food Bank, the Secours populaire, the Restos du cœur and neighbourhood associations. Read more here (in French)

Contact: Elsa Thual

Recovery – Mayors call for a new pact between the EU and cities

Eurocities’ mayors meet online with Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans from the European Commission

Cities want to play an active role in Europe’s recovery after the corona pandemic. Mayors of major European cities have offered a ‘new pact between the EU and city leadership’ to overcome the impacts of the crisis. In meetings with the European Commission’s Executive Vice President Frans Timmermans and Commissioners Paolo Gentiloni and Johannes Hahn on Friday, organised by Eurocities, the mayors proposed to involve city governments more in the EU recovery programmes and demanded direct access for cities to European funding. More details are outlined in a joint declaration: ‘EU recovery powered by cities’.

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Düsseldorf – Childcare is back

Düsseldorf opened kindergardens and daycare facilities regularly again on 8 June. In cooperation with the youth and health departments, the virology division of Düsseldorf’s university hospital will conduct a clinical model study in local kindergardens. It’s the first study of this size and concept in Germany. 5,000 children and child care workers will be regularly examined and  tested for the coronavirus in order to obtain results concerning the spread of the virus among children.

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Guimarães – Culture is back with security and trust

Guimarães is reopening some of its cultural institutions, including ‘The Workshop’ which has designed an exceptional programme for exceptional times. Cultural events during June and July will be staged on patios, gardens and museum rooms with a programme of performing arts, visual art and training. To take ensure the safety of audiences and performers, the scale, security and context of each cultural event have been carefully considered. More information (in Portuguese) here.

Contact Adelina Pinto.

Chemnitz – Online assembly

Chemnitz addressed all its inhabitants in a live stream assembly. The mayor, several deputy mayors, and high representatives from the health sector participated to the assembly. To put the limited time to good use, the administration collected questions in advance in addition to answering questions during the event. More than 2000 people watched the live stream and more will be able to watch the recording. After the event, answers to the questions were collected and published on the city’s website. Read more here (in German).

Contact: Marcel Krippner

Vienna – Education and training for young people

© Brigitte Gradwohl

Vienna is investing €17 million to help out the more than 16,000 young people currently without a job. The package includes intra-company vocational training, qualification passports, assistance for catching up the missed time and offers to enter into professions in health, care and IT, dedicated to the young generation.

Continue reading “Vienna – Education and training for young people”

London – Restarting

Transport for London, working closely with the Mayor, has put together a plan to ‘re-open carefully, safely and sustainably’. This includes gradually increasing the frequency of services on public transport routes, easing pressure on public transport by creating more space for walking and cycling, and providing specific briefings for businesses. Read more here

Contact: Ian Catlow

Frankfurt – Campaign for local shops

As part of its economic support programme, the city of Frankfurt is promoting local shops with a campaign. Posters, print and online ads are being used to advertise local businesses and restaurants, or to encourage citizens to take advantage of the numerous delivery options. The aim is to get citizens and guests to support the local businesses. You can read more here (in German)

Contact: Hendric Fuchs

Berlin – Emergency centre for corona patients

A corona treatment centre with 800 beds has been established at the exhibition centre in Berlin. The idea is to relieve the city‘s hospitals so they can focus on treating critical Covid-19 cases. Patients not in need of intensive care may be transferred to the treatment centre. So far, the centre has not been needed. You can read more here

Contact: Johanna Eisenberg

Frankfurt – More space for outdoor restaurants

The city of Frankfurt is temporarily allowing larger public spaces to be used by restaurants and bars with existing outdoor seating areas. In addition, outdoor consumption approvals will automatically be extended for two months without additional costs. Restaurants in Frankfurt are allowed to open again after the corona lockdown since 15 May. You can read more here (in German)

Contact: Hendric Fuchs

Cardiff – One-way sidewalks for pedestrians

An improved walking and cycling infrastructure shall help Cardiff to restart public life in the city safely after the coronavirus lockdown. The plans include one-way pedestrian systems, designated queuing areas for shops and spill-out areas for bars and restaurants, to allow for physical distancing. Welcome points will be set up to explain how moving round the city will work. Pop-up cycle lanes shall encourage people to leave their cars at home. You can read more here

Contact: Beverley Watson

Frankfurt – Solidarity with twin city Milan

The city of Frankfurt has donated €10,000 to help its northern Italian twin city of Milan in the fight against the corona virus. Mayor Peter Feldmann had promised the support to his Milan counterpart Giuseppe Sala in a letter on behalf of the city government. The amount was donated to the ‘Coronavirus. Fondo di mutuo soccorso’, Mutual Aid Fund. End of May, the city had organised the ‘Frankfurt World Conference’, a virtual meeting with its twin cities Milan, Italy; Birmingham, England; Eskisehir, Turkey; Philadelphia, USA; and Guangzhou, China. You can read more here (in German) and watch the sessions here and here. A school exchange with Guangzhou had to be postponed, while the schools are keeping contact, as you can read here (in German)

Contact: Hendric Fuchs

Berlin – Traffic lights guide corona measures

Currently all three lights are green – Berlin has installed a coronavirus warning system, constantly following three indicators: the reproduction value of the virus, the number of new infections and the demand for intensive care in hospitals. Two yellow lights trigger a debate in the Senate of the city, two red lights mean need for action, for example curbing the traffic. The updated information is available online.

Contact: Johanna Eisenberg

Antwerp – adding 19 km of bicycle streets

Credit: Belga

The city of Antwerp will speed up the construction of 19 km of new bicycle streets to guarantee social distancing for cyclists and improve the flow of bicycle traffic this summer. Currently, Antwerp possessed about 4.5 km of bicycle streets, to be increased to 23.5 km after the summer. Read more here

Lille – 32 millions to support local economy

Lille Metropole is injecting about 32 millions, in the form of different support systems, into its local economy. The “Rebound Fund” will allocate €20 million to small businesses, such as shopkeepers, craftsman, and farmers, who will have to pledge in favour of their ecological or energy transition to benefit from the fund. A new facility dedicated to small companies or associations with less than ten employees has been created; it will provide loans up to €6.6 million that can be payed back over a 3 to 5 years period. Another €5 million will be managed by a new dedicated local economy department supporting and promoting the metropolis’ local and social economy, as well as the tourism and events sectors. Read the full plan here (in French)

Contact: Christophe Bolot

Vienna – 1000 new municipal apartments

Mayor Michael Ludwig and City Councillor Gaal, responsible for housing. © C.Jobst/PID

The City of Vienna has announced to build 7 new municipal housing sites with 1,000 apartments in the coming years. “The effects of the pandemic are a particularly clear reminder of the importance of social housing policy for the well-being of the Viennese population”, as Mayor Michael Ludwig stated. Following the long and successful Viennese tradition of social and affordable housing, providing for more municipal housing is a guarantee for safe housing and high quality of life at affordable prices. The new buildings will be spread all over Vienna, the projects are to create a high-quality and affordable offer in attractive residential environments. The start of construction is planned for 2022.

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Nice – Mapping positive impacts

The Côte d’Azur University, together with the city, launched the “Open Map of the Global Pause”, a project collecting positive phenomena that have occurred throughout the world, since the beginning of the crisis. Open Map has already collected more than 355 contributions from all over the world. These include natural phenomena, innovations, art and culture, initiatives of solidarity, research and some unusual events. The city plans to use the map as an educational tool in the future. Read more here (in French) and contribute to the map

Contact: Jérôme Sieurin

Leicester – Transport Recovery Plan

Leicester has released a plan setting out how its transport system can best meet the challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic and help the city’s economy to recover, as well as securing longer-term environmental benefits. The is centred around safety, sustainability and social equity, and can be read in full here.

Contact Leicester Transport

Madrid – Public transport gratitude

To celebrate world cycling day, Madrid has authorised the deployment of 4,800 free-standing shared electric bikes throughout its city, the use of which will help people get around while still respecting physical distancing guidelines. Read more (in Spanish) here.

Besides celebrating this move, Madrid has also taken a moment to pause and thank those operating public transport during the coronavirus crisis: 3,100 bus and train drivers who have been getting necessary workers around (more in Spanish here), and taxi drivers, who have given more than 135,000 free rides during the crisis (more in Spanish here).

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Milan – Security matters

As Italy moves into a new phase of emergency management, thus closing phase 2 of the lockdown, the Municipality of Milan has compiled figures on how it has stepped up to bolster the health system and ensure compliance with lockdown measures. This includes the provision of over 2 million face masks and conducting more than 15,000 controls to monitor whether regulations are being followed. Read more here

Contact: Olimpia Vaccarino Aureli

Bristol – Online hub for youth

Bristol City Council has launched #WeAreBristol Kids, a new online resource to better connect children with the city during the coronavirus pandemic and beyond. Building on Bristol Children’s Charter, it aims to bring kids together in an entertaining and informative way. The interactive hub includes a growing range of content to encourage reading, cooking, physical activity and art, based on the input of children from across the city.

You can view the latest stories, tips, challenges and activities here.

Contact: Paul Davies

Lille Metropole – Renovation at heart of €80 million plan

Lille Metropole has announced a €66 million recovery plan to support its local economy, adding to the €14.6 million already pledged at an earlier stage of the crisis. As part of this plan more than €35 million will be invested in the renovation of 3,000 social housing units, more than 3,600 private homes and 600 student residences over the next three years. Renovations will be focused on making the homes more energy efficient. This will create jobs and support the construction sector, as well as favour the transition towards climate neutrality, in line with EU priorities. You can read the plan (in French) here.

Contact: Christophe Bolot

Mannheim – Posters for hygiene discipline

The city of Mannheim has launched a poster campaign to support hygiene and health measures after the lockdown. Under the title “Mannheim remains cautious – to keep things going well”, the posters promote to open a window to let air in, to keep distance, to wear a mask and to do a corona test when showing symptoms. A fith poster will be available once the corona tracing app is published. You can read more (in German) and download the posters here

Contact: Nelly Saemann

Nice – Pact for jobs

With a pact for employment the city of Nice, France, wants to support the economic recovery after the corona pandemic. Mayor Christian Estrosi met with representatives of the state and the local economic community on Friday to launch the initiative. He announced to allocate an additional budget of €3.5 million.

Continue reading “Nice – Pact for jobs”

Kungsbacka – Digital doers help you stay connected

To enable all citizens to use digital tools for social contacts during the corona pandemic, the Swedish city of Kungsbacka has initiated a support service: people can book a ‘digital doer’ to assist them at home on how to make a video call, download an e-book or enjoy a live streamed concert or digital museum tour. The service is available for people aged 70 years or older and others who belong to a risk group and have difficulties using online tools. They can also borrow a tablet from the digital doers. Information about the offer is given via an outreach programme of the municipality and through a senior citizens network. You can read more here (in Swedish)

Contact: Astrid Bayard

Cardiff – Time to say thanks to volunteers

Volunteers across Cardiff are being celebrated this week, including the 1,200 strong Together for Cardiff force which was set up by the city council at the onset of the COVID-19 emergency. Working with council staff, the volunteers helped preparing and delivering more than 5,000 emergency food and essentials parcels for people experiencing difficulties getting supplies during the outbreak because they are self-isolating or because of the financial impact of the crisis. You can read more here

Contact: Beverley Watson

Madrid – Lower taxes for local businesses

The city council of Madrid lowers taxes to promote the recovery of commerce, leisure, hospitality and culture. The reduction will lead to a drop of more than €66 million in business taxes. The aim is to mitigate the negative economic effects in sectors especially affected by the pandemic. You can read more here (in Spanish)

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Cardiff – Digital support for local shops

Cardiff based fintech company Yoello has joined forces with FOR Cardiff to launch a campaign to ‘#BackCardiff’ – offering cash-flow support to Cardiff based hospitality and retail businesses struggling whilst physical distancing restrictions are in place. The goal of the campaign, backed by TheFinTech Wales and Cardiff Council, is to motivate communities to help local businesses increase their cash-flow by purchasing right now to ease the strain that the lockdown has caused. Through the web-app platform, local merchants can create a shop page to sell their products and services during lockdown. You can read more here

Contact: Beverley Watson

Sofia – Thank you to volunteers and donors

The mayor of Sofia, Yordanka Fandakova, has acknowledged the help received from people and institutions during the corona lockdown. She mentions that a total of €211,000 has been donated in the form of food, medicine, protective masks and clothing, medical equipment and disinfectants. More than 140 people in Sofia have received warm food daily. Furthermore, 238 citizens joined as volunteers. You can read more on the mayor’s Facebook page (in Bulgarian)

Contact: Sevdalina Voynova

Vilnius – Holiday!

Residents of Lithuania can travel around the world by visiting their capital, Vilnius, this summer. While travelling abroad will be limited in this holiday season, communities of the city, tour and event organisers, restaurants, hotels and artists have teamed up to create an exotic experience at home. The project is expected to help businesses that have lost tourist traffic due to the corona restrictions. The programme starts next weekend, 5-7 June, with Italy in Vilnius, followed by India and the USA. You can read more here

Contact: Jurga Pociūtė-Mikūtienė

Brussels – City centre becomes residential area

Pedestrians can walk on the streets in the centre of Brussels, with cars going on a maximum speed of 20 km/h. Until mid-August, the city centre is treated as residential area. The measure shall promote cycling and walking while ensuring physical distancing to limit the spread of the coronavirus. You can read more here. The city also plans for 40 extra kilometres of cycle paths.

Contact: Geert de Roep and Antoine Umbrain

Dusseldorf – Study of children and corona

The University Hospital of Dusseldorf in cooperation with the Youth and the Health Department will conduct a clinical model study testing 5,000 children and childcare workers in June, when Kindergartens are reopened after the corona lockdown. The results of the voluntary tests shall inform the research concerning the dissimination of the coronavirus through children. It is the most extensive study of its kind in Germany. You can read more here (in German)

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Braga – Cheaper bus tickets for the unemployed

Starting 1 June, public transport passes will become almost 50% cheaper for the unemployed in Braga, Portugal. The city had made it’s buses free of charge in April and May. With returning to normal operations after the corona lockdown, the passes with reduced fee will be introduced to support those in need. You can read more here

Contact: Nuno Gouveia

Dusseldorf – Sweets after Ramadan

Muslims celebrating ‘Eid al-Fitr’, the religious festival of breaking the fast at the end of the month of Ramadan, did get bags with tasty sweets brought to their homes last weekend in Dusseldorf. The initiative ‘Refugees welcome in Düsseldorf’ had donated 50 bags to muslim refugees in corona quarantine.

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Leeds – Connecting ‘Communities of Interest’

In order to ensure that information and support in the corona crisis can reach the most marginalised and vulnerable people, the city of Leeds is working with a network of community-based organisations to support ‘Communities of Interest’: groups of people who share an identity, for example people with a learning disability, or those who share an experience, such as the homeless community. Since the amount of information and guidance can be overwhelming and confusing, partner organisations act as a ‘link’ to support the flow of information. You can read more here

Contact: Titus Carey

Dusseldorf – More space for restaurant terraces

With restaurants suffering severely from the impacts of the corona lockdown, the city of Dusseldorf wants to help restaurant owners by giving permissions to enlarge outdoor terraces. That way they can host more guests at the same time whilst applying to safety regulations. You can read more here (in German)

Contact: Stefanie Nietfeld

Athens – Pedestrianisation for physical distancing

Athens is banning cars from its historic centre for three months from mid-June to provide more space to pedestrians to physical distance. The measure, which could be further extended for another three months, is seen as a precursor to the project announced by the Athens Municipality, and approved last week by City Hall, foreseeing the creation of a large pedestrianized network unifying downtown areas of the Greek capital. More information here.

Contact: Dimitris Konstantopoulos

Madrid – Support for safe mobility

Madrid is curbing the return of cars to its streets by cutting traffic on several roads to allow children to play and exercise on the road on their bikes, scooters and rollerblades. More information (in Spanish) here.

The city has also opened a new car park reserved entirely for shared vehicles. More information (in Spanish) here.

The addition of 45km of new bus lanes is expected to further support residents who want to avail of public transport rather than turning to using cars. More information (in Spanish) here.

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Antwerp – Mobility for social distancing

Antwerp is taking measures to reduce the return of cars to the street and provide safe mobility options for locals, including by promoting safe walking and cycling and adding new features to its mobility map and route planner, as well as supporting companies to continue allowing employees to work from home. More information here.

Contact: Kris Van Berendoncks

Brno – Support for businesses


Brno is supporting the areas of business that have been most affected, such as gastronomy and tourism & culture, and has also approved complex measures for businesspeople. It provides easier administration of permits for the outdoor areas of restaurants, and it also suggests that the establishment of these areas should be done at no extra cost to the proprietor.

© Brno City Municipality
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Manchester – Support for social distancing

Manchester has committed to creating enhanced space for pedestrians and people on bikes across the city-region, to enable people to keep their distance for safe essential journeys and exercise during the coronavirus lockdown and through recovery. £5 million of funding has been made available through the Mayor’s Cycling and Walking Challenge Fund. More information here.

Contact: Grainne Bradley

Bordeaux – Emergency cycling plan

Bordeaux has developed an emergency cycling plan that responds to physical distancing requirements. The measures should help ensure that cycling infrastructure can accommodate any potential wave of new cyclists. NGOs working to promote cycling and cycling service operators have helped to develop it.

The city wants to entice people who would not normally cycle to do so, particularly those who regularly use public transport. The plan focuses on 100 priority zones within the metropolitan area that have a high potential for cycling but currently lack the appropriate infrastructure. In total, Bordeaux is building 78km of temporary bike lanes. More information here.

Contact: Marie-Elisabeth Sapin

Dublin – Recovery mobility plan

Dublin has released a framework of mobility proposals together with the National Transport Authority, ‘Enabling the city to return to work’. This plan proposes measures such as more space for pedestrians, cyclists and where people are waiting for public transport, and possible additional parking in the periphery of the city core area. The plan is available to read in full here.

Contact: Grainne Kelly

Madrid – Buses ramping up service

Madrid’s municipal transport company increased its operational bus fleet to 90% of normal service at peak times in response to the first stage of deconfinement, which began on 25 May. The buses are running with a much lower capacity, having blocked off half of the available seats and capped the number of people who may travel standing. More information (in Spanish) here.

This move has come in combination with a new campaign to raise awareness about the needs of disabled people traveling on public transport. Learn about the campaign (in Spanish) here.

Contact: Ana Buñuel

Sofia – Open air summer programme

20 outdoor stages for concerts and performances in parks, movie screenings under the stars – some of the things Sofia has planned for the summer culture programme, after the corona lockdown. Also the zoo, the city library and the Regional History Museum will be open, yet all with a maximum capacity of 30%. You can read more here (in Bulgarian).

Contact: Sevdalina Voynova

Vilnius – Masks for the elderly

Vilnius has given 2,000 reusable face masks to senior citizens. As the Lithuanian government is moving ahead with easing quarantine, free food support to the most vulnerable people is being replaced with reusable face masks. Seniors, disabled people and other Vilnius residents at risk, little by little are starting to move around the city and supermarkets. Therefore, Vilnius Municipality decided give them free reusable face masks with the symbol of the capital and flyers with recommendations on how to protect yourself. More information here.

Contact: Jurga Pociūtė-Mikūtienė

Paris – Updated overview of deconfinement measures

Paris started to gradually ease confinement on 11 May. Doing so has involved a host of measures, from distributing face masks and increasing testing, to information campaigns, reopening of schools, introduction of new bike lanes, and support measures for businesses, cultural institutions, NGO’s and other organisations that are now opening up. These measures are evolving as the situation progresses – read a full updated overview of these measures in English here, or in French here.

Contact: Jean-Yves Camus

Guimarães – Disinfecting Kindergartens

Guimarães has begun the the disinfection of the kindergartens of the public preschool network, through a specialized company, with a view to reopening next Monday, 1 June. This process started last Monday and runs throughout this week, covering around 50 schools in the municipality, in all school groups.

The Ministries of Education and Social Security have issued guidelines for the reopening of kindergartens, which open doors for children aged three to five again. The document for kindergartens indicates that “under no circumstances can masks be put on children.” These personal protective equipment will only have to be worn by adults. More information (in Portuguese) here.

Contact: Adelina Pinto

EU budget and recovery – Reclaiming the future for cities

Cities were hit hardest by the corona pandemic – Dario Nardella, mayor of Florence and vice-president of Eurocities, declares a state of social and economic emergency for his city and many others across Europe. In an article published on Euractiv, he argues that cities are key for a sustainable recovery in Europe.

“Cities need direct and rapid access to national and European funding – otherwise we will collapse,” Dario Nardella writes in view of the new EU budget and post COVID-19 recovery fund presented today, Wednesday, by the European Commission. “In exchange, cities have a lot to offer. We can inspire national and European politics to build back better, to create a sustainable recovery.”

You can read the full article here

Karlsruhe – Music for Europe Day

Karlsruhe marked Europe Day with a performance of Ode to Joy from the city’s balconies and windows. Four musicians of the Karlsruhe City Youth Orchestra at the town hall, members of the Badische Staatskapelle at the Baden State Theater and five groups in different locations in the Grötzingen district supported this expression instrumentally. A simultaneous performance took place in Karlsruhe’s twin city Nancy to mark 65 years of friendship, as well as Nancy’s other twin city, Lublin.

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Madrid – Easy moving for people with disabilities

Madrid is running a campaign to raise awareness among public transport users about the importance of following daily gestures such as respecting seat priority for people with disabilities, people with reduced mobility, pregnant women or the elderly. These gestures will make mobility easier and more pleasant for these groups who are particularly impacted by deconfinement measures. Read more here (in Spanish)

Contact: Ana Buñuel