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Smart People

Tirana, the city for children

In Albania, children are the greatest value for the people. Taking this into account, the local government of Tirana considers the importance of future generations as a priority issue. First of all, they have changed the narrative of the city administration. Usually, in politics, they always worry about the next election. So they could take the conversation to the next level – how do we worry about the next generation, rather than just the next election?

I give you food

The idea of the food boxes is not the idea of the association, it has been present in the country for years, but they would have liked to make this initiative available to local people as well. The boxes are 65x59x39 cm cabinets made of plastic with reinforced metal. The cabinet is made of waterproof and UV-protected material. Each box belongs to a volunteer team. The team visits the box several times a day in hot weather or at least once a day, checking the food in it. Volunteers also clean the boxes daily.

Finding opportunities in declining cities

The overarching theme of this good practice is strategic management in the context of long-term decline and stagnation. After local industries closed, the population of Altena (DE) shrank by 43% between 1975 and 2014. Facing diminishing resources and increasingly complex problems, Altena shifted its strategic objectives to focus on controlling decline rather than growth. The municipality adjusted its priorities, working more closely with citizens.

Kolorcity Kazincbarcika

The Municipality of Kazincbarcika realizes a local community building and community development program in partnership with local NGOs, businesses and local governmental organizations, with the support of the European Union and the Government of Hungary.

With the slogan "Color City", the Kolorcity concept started in 2011, resulting in the creative painting of more than 30 facades of buildings; a number of new statues, street art works, and the yearly COLORFESTIVAL, sports and recreational events colored the city's everyday life.

Urban Farming and Gardening

The city of Vienna supports neighborhood and community gardens under the motto “gardening together” and thus creates a framework that facilitates access to nature for residents of the city. The citizens of Vienna are increasingly taking up their garden implements and creating little gems of communal, self-determined urban cultivation. Under the banners of “urban farming” and “urban gardening” a framework is being created that promotes closeness to nature within the city and self-initiatives.

Wien Gestalten

Be it volunteering projects for children and teens, designing community gardens, parks, roads or squares, the development of boroughs, or even “private” district initiative projects by “Lokale Agenda 21” or urban renewal and neighbourhood management – in total, over 300 projects and dozens of events every month are included in Vienna’s Volunteering Database and constantly updated. To simplify the process, current volunteering events in Vienna are also communicated via facebook and twitter.


Nesta is an innovation charity with a mission to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life. They are dedicated to supporting ideas that can help improve all our lives, with activities ranging from early stage investment to in-depth research and practical programmes. They rely on the strength of the partnerships they form with others to make change happen.

Decide Madrid

The open consultation and direct democracy platform was launched by the city of Madrid after the recent municipal elections. Enables citizens to propose, debate priorities and implement policy for the city. On the website citizens can create a thread where they can discuss any topic they want to share with other people in the city, and can propose what they want the City Council to do and support proposals from other people. Citizen proposals that reach 1% of support will be put to a vote. The first six months of each year citizens can decide how to spend part of the city budget.

Walk [Your City]

Walking is the most sustainable way to get around a city. It is also the most efficient and equitable way to use city space. Yet today, most major cities are designed far less for those walking than for motorised transport. Digital technologies offer people a way to campaign for city streets built for them, not just cars. In most cities, street signs are aimed at drivers, and often don't show those on foot the quickest way to a destination in a city. Walk [Your City] in the US produces signs that explain how long it will take to walk between popular destinations.

Block by Block

In developing countries, citizen engagement in the rapid growth and development that many cities are experiencing is not a priority. Even when city governments want to engage citizens, finding methods that effectively do this are often quite challenging. With “Block by Block”, United Nations Human Settlements Programme, and Mojang, makers of popular online game Minecraft, are exploring how the game could be used to find out how people want to see their cities develop in the future. Using the game, residents can build simple 3D models of their community.