New report from the European Commission: The Human-Centred City
This report “The Human-Centred City: Opportunities for citizens through research and innovation” provides a very comprehensive and detailed analysis on a policy research and innovation framework that broadens the perspective towards more holistic approaches. It aims to trigger discussions among policy makers, EU institutions, the scientific community and society at large, and inspire strategic planning and investments within Horizon Europe and its dedicated Mission on ‘Climate-neutral and Smart Cities.
Today, more than half of the world’s population live in urban areas. This is projected to increase to 80% by 2050. Cities and metropolitan regions are centres of encounter and economic activity, but also major contributors to global challenges. In this sense, European cities and cities around the world have a critical role to play in enabling humanity to meet the goals and targets set out by international policy frameworks. Among these frameworks are the COP21 Paris Agreement and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Habitat III New Urban Agenda. As it is defined in the report:
Cities are living organisms and metabolisms – combinations of built physical fabric,
human creativity and activities, transactions, the in- and outflows of resources,
products and people. What happens in a city is both tangible and intangible. People and their cultures define place and place shapes its people.
To do this, European cities will have to take prompt action and adopt just, equitable and fair transformational strategies and solutions. This High-Level Expert Group report provides a vision for European cities of the future and recommends how EU-funded research and innovation can assist cities in their transition towards a resilient, climate-neutral, smart, inclusive, prosperous and sustainable future.
Marleen Stikker, a member of the High-Level Expert Group and the founder of Waag, said about the report:
Our guiding principle is that cities should be more human-centred. This is not just a right, but also involves responsibilities, obligations and duties. To be a city for citizens where citizens become city-makers and shapers, makers and co-creators of their evolving urban development is not an entitlement. It means being an active citizen concerned with the local and European context and with the urgency of the global context.
Across its four core chapters, ‘People’, ‘Place’, ‘Prosperity’ and ‘Resilience’, and its two cross-cutting ones on ‘Governance’ and ‘Measurement‘, the report emphasises the need for citizens to be involved in the conceptualisation, design and execution and dissemination of any research and innovation action. Such involvement will ensure a human-centred city transition that will provide equal opportunities for citizens and leave nobody behind.