Skip to main content
European Commission logo print header

Future urban research in Europe

Final Activity Report Summary - FUTURE (Future urban research in Europe)

The main objective of FUTURE was to continue and bring forward the existing research on different features of urban life in Europe. To achieve this aim FUTURE supported young scientists in undertaking research on the European City and enabled them to participate in a training programme on an annual issue in the years 2005-2009. As a result, FUTURE aimed at establishing a substantial and sustainable network between the young researchers from different nations and with different disciplinary backgrounds such as urban planning, political science, urban design, sociology, management research, architecture, economics, regional planning and other relevant scientific fields. The idea of FUTURE has been realised with a training programme focussing on four different subjects and in an innovative dual structure of events: combining and interconnecting workshops and scientific conferences in a coherent way. While through workshops the particular training needs of young researchers in urban studies were met, at the conferences the prepared contributions of the workshop participants were presented to an international audience of senior researchers. Between the workshops and the conferences, an online training was provided and the preparations of the papers for the conference were supervised by experienced scientists. The results of the four training programmes have been documented in four books, the last two of them are still in the process of preparation.

Every training programme had a different annual issue:

First year 2005: Electronic city
Workshop and conference focussed on E-Government and new forms of political participation, e-commerce and the consequences for the consumer and E-Learning and the improvement of the knowledge society. The question was how local politics and economies can make best use of the new opportunities offered by the electronic exchange. It was furthermore asked in which way 'e-Europe for all' can be realised by integration of all citizens, and how digital divide could be overcome.

Second year 2006: Urban governance
The focus of the second period lied on new forms of urban governance in times of globalisation and Europeanisation, broader fields of urban governance with different social and economic partners and innovative strategies for a better participation of the urban citizenship. The basic objective of this annual theme was the development of a deeper understanding of the challenges of a European society and the adaptation of local politics to it. The programme has looked at the governance in European cities with regard to the innovations of social, cultural, economic and political potentials.

Third year 2007: Culture and the city
As the importance of the European city for the process of European integration lies also in the cultural heritage it provides for future generations, the third training programme was focused on culture as a factor for urban regeneration areas, as an industrial renewal strategy and culture and the creation of an innovative milieu. It was asked how culture can provide a sustainable urban development in ways that attract visitors and enterprises and at the same time enhance citizens' identity and everyday life and how sustainability should be optimised.

Fourth year 2008: The ethnically diverse city
As European cities will continue to be the destinations of migrants from all over the world seeking for refuge, education and work, the training programme 2008 focussed on the ethnic diversity and the requirements for urban policies, the integration of different ethnic groups in the local economy and society and innovative strategies for mutual benefit within ethnic diverse neighbourhoods. Workshop and conference have been addressing the main topics of ethnic diversity such as the spatial expression of different religions and cultural traditions, etc. and the mechanisms of migrations (work, refuge chain migration, illegal entry, crime, prostitution).