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# EURegions Week: A stimulating events for researchers and policymakers

Giancarlo Cot ella

I participated in the previous two editions of the European Week of Regions and Cit ies (EWRC), and I am really looking forward to the 2021 event.

I represented then, and will this time, the Associat ion of European Schools of Planning in the organisation and m anagem ent of the EWRC University Master Class. The Mast er Cl ass is a joint vent ure set up in collaboration with the Regional Studies Associat ion and the European Regional Science Associat ion. Each year since 2014, it has brought together 30?40 excellent doctoral students and ear ly-career researchers from across Europe and beyond, and has provided them with the opportunity to connect and interact with academ ics, policym akers and professionals who deal with European regional and urban policy issues in their daily activities.

In particular, the warm and informal atmosphere of the Master Class allows for an open discussion of issu es concerning European regional and urban developm ent and European Union cohesion policy, and enables doctoral students and ear ly-career researchers to exchange views and network with policym akers, EU officials and senior academ ics, often opening up interesting opportunities for career developm ent.

At these event s, I could really feel how beneficial participating in the EWRC was for students and ear ly-career researchers because of the enormous number of contacts they developed and the feedback they received on their work.

At the sam e time, I contributed by participating in a number of sessions that have been held during the 2019 and 2020 editions of the EWRC. In all cases, the events proved to be the perfect platform for displaying and discussing the results of various ESPON projects in which the research team I lead participated in recent year s.

The 2019 edition provided an ideal space in which to showcase the results of the ESPON COMPASS project, as well as the evidence we collected in relation to the Europeanisation of spatial governance and planning in the Member St at es, as it enabled a discussion of this phenomenon with policym akers who had experienced it in their daily activities and were keen to discuss their experience with us.

A session held in 2020 allowed us to raise awareness among policym akers and decision-m akers of the need to promote more sustainable urbanisation models and, building on the results of the ESPON SUPER project, of what might be the right objectives and instruments to pursue and adopt in order to promote these models in diverse institutional and territorial contexts.

Finally, this year we will draw on the results of the ESPON M ETRO project to advocate a stronger engagem ent of metropolitan authorities with the EU cohesion policy and in the forthcoming Recover y and Resilience Facilit y.

This enggem ent is a cr ucial issue for the future of Europe, considering the role that metropolitan areas play as a backbone supporting the econom ic, social and territorial cohesion of the continent.

This year ?s event will take place on 11 October, from 16:30 to 18:00, right after the EWRC opening session. Make sure you subscribe and follow us!

Overall, I consider t he # EURegion sWeek a m uch-needed, st im ulat ing event that raises awareness and understanding of the research potential in the field of EU cohesion policy and related instruments.

It ser ves as a platform that provides, for researcher s, students, policym akers and decision-m akers, as well as representatives of civil society organisations, the opportunity to meet and interact in a neutral space and to share and exchange knowledge and learning with each other without any bias or constraints.

Xabier Velasco Echeverría

I had the opportunity to attend the last in-person European Week of Regions and Cit ies (EWRC) in 2019, and my memories of the event are still vivid, not only because it was one of the last in-person meetings I had the privilege of attending before the COVID-19 pandem ic, but also because of the networking opportunities that it facilitated, with people coming from different regions and sectors. We are highly involved in topics such as clim ate change, energy transition and spatial planning, and the level of discussion we could have with key stakeholders at EU and regional levels about these complex matters surprised me.

Becau se of this event, and after attending several sessions promoted by ESPON, w e learned som e issu es t o consider in the review of the ongoing Navarre Territorial St rat egy, and obtained ideas for strengthening our network of partners that could ease our participation in several EU-funded projects.

This was possible because of the level of knowledge in the presentations and the possibility of engaging with people in person. Therefore, I am looking forw ard t o m eet ing in per son again at t he next # EURegion sWeek . In the meantime, we have the second-best option, that is, to attend the virtual 2021 # EURegionsWeek.

I am very happy that this year we will be able to present the first results from the ESPON Interregional Relat ions in Europe project, sharing new territorial evidence useful for researchers and policym akers alike. This is possible because of the group of talented people from different institutions across Europe that I feel honoured to lead.

We are trying hard to unveil the intensity and direction of interregional flows in Europe, as well as the drivers of and barriers to these interactions (trading of goods and ser vices, people, capital and knowledge). It looks like we might have an interesting story to share using data, maps and tools on 12 October!

Beat riz Irala

I think that the European Week of Regions and Cit ies provides a good opportunity for the region of Navarra to enhance its cooperation and networking with other regions and cities. In addition, it provides the opportunity to exchange views and discuss common goals and challenges. In the EURegions week 2021, these discussions will be on high-quality architecture and the New European Bauhaus.

For instance, for the ?Quality architecture for all cities and regions: Exch an ge of good practice? workshop, Navarra was identified as a good exam ple and has been invited to m ake recommendations to local and regional authorities and other stakeholders wishing to improve their built environment. Therefore, Nasuvinsa will present the achievem ents and next steps in relation to # NavarraBauhaus, the Navarra region?s initiative for the New European Bauhaus, in which a participatory process among several stakeholders is being carried out to design and build beautiful, sustainable and inclusive living sp aces.

Considering that the 19th edition of # EURegion sWeek is titled ?Together for Recovery?, during the ?Quality architecture for all cities and regions: Exch ange of good practice?workshop and other sessions we will learn from others about their good pract ices, challenges and goals related to new forms of co-living and designing living spaces in a sustainable, inclusive and beautiful way.

I think that the # EURegions week will benefit Navarra and that it w ill allow us t o learn about t he w ork t hat ot her regions are doing in areas that are very important to us.

More than 150 people have registered for the workshop and we look forward to seeing them there.

Alessia Giorgiut t i

The European Week of Regions and Cit ies has m arked some of the most important moments in the storytelling arc of my adult professional life. In 2019, the day after my promotion from intern to officer cam e into force, I participated in my first ever event as a representative of my organisation, POLIS Network. In 2020, I was asked to speak at the MATCH-UP-led participatory lab to represent two of my projects (the ongoing e-sm artec and the returning REFORM). In 2021, I will enjoy my role as part of the audience ?I will listen, take notes, network and enjoy the am azing opportunity this event provides.

,,In 2021, I will enjoy my role as part of t he audience ? I will list en, take not es, net work and enjoy t he amazing opport unit y t his event provi des.,,

In particular, I am excit ed for what POLIS and our members are going to bring to the table: we have been working together for recovery since day 1 of the pandem ic, when we had no idea where the recovery would lead us or when it would happen. We supported local and regional authorities during a period of unprecedented change by giving them the instruments they needed to navigate these difficult times and bounce back when the occasion arose. Showing how we did it and our progress (touching on the rail renaissance of urban nodes, the age of digital twins for freight, the steps in co-learning for mobility co-planning, the future of cit izen science, the promotion of soft mobility in the Mediterranean and more) is a great rebirth-like moment that I love seeing and being a part of.

Piet ro Gonzalez

Our city, located in the north-west of Spain and a recent signatory of the Green City Accord, is committed to a greener future. We have developed an integrated strategy for sustainable urban developm ent (EIDUS) supported by the ERDF funds, and we are one of the first cities in Spain to adopt the implementation of the Span ish Urban Agenda, which is closely aligned with the Urban Agenda for the EU and the United Nations Sust ainable Developm ent Goals.

We are partners in the Horizon 2020 Connecting Nature project (2017?22), which is devoted to the co-creation of an innovative framework for the design and implementation of nature-based solutions (NBSs) in cities, with the creation of an Urban Gardens Network being the project ?s exem plar. In 2021, this network received the award for best local practice for clim ate in the category of NBSs from the Span ish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces.

,,Europea n Week of Regi ons and Cit ies is an out st anding opport unit y to show ca se our advances and to connect with ot her part ners,,

The innovative tools developed and the evidence obtained in this project will be used to scale up the model and place NBSs at the centre of green infrastructure policies in the city, helping mitigate clim ate change effects and boost biodiversity, improving health and well-being, and offering new opportunities for leisure, economy and jobs.

As a city, we are determined to pursue our engagem ent and m ake use of the many opportunities that the next programming period will offer us. Participating in the European Week of Regions and Cit ies is an outstanding opportunity to showcase our advances and to connect with other partners committed to a greener, resilient and more inclusive Europe.

This article appears in the EURegionsWeek 2021 Issue of TerritoriALL

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This article appears in the EURegionsWeek 2021 Issue of TerritoriALL