19th Mar 2018


Future Cities: Shaping Europe from the bottom up

  • The EU of city-states is evolving and shaping Europe's future from the bottom up. (Photo: Lisbeth Kirk)

By 2050, over 80 percent of Europeans are projected to live in towns or cities. If I live long enough, I'll be one of them, and most likely you will be too.

But what will those cities look like in the future? Who will get it right, and who will lag behind?

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • The fifth edition of EUobserver’s Regions and Cities Magazine explores visions for future cities and learns lessons from the past. (Photo: EUobserver)

EUobserver's 2016 Regions and Cities Magazine explores visions for future cities and learns lessons from the past.

EU capitals such as London, Paris, Prague, and Rome host millions of foreign tourists each year and shape Europe's international identity.

The EU is grappling with difficult problems - Brexit, migration, and the economy to name a few - but despite the gloomy pall over EU affairs, lots of European cities are investing and reinventing themselves.

Many of them are old or even ancient. They can be drastically different from each other and fiercely independent. Some aren't doing so well. They compete, but they also inspire each other.

They are mini-states, where people get more involved in politics than at national, let alone at EU level. Residents protest against ugly new buildings, or about garbage collection. They share cars, create new businesses, and plan utopias.

As EU leaders focus on strategic issues, the other Europe, of city-states, is evolving in its own way.

It's a good story that should be told.

This story was originally published in EUobserver's 2016 Regions & Cities Magazine.

Click here to access EUobserver's entire magazine collection.


Europe's rare youthful villages

Some villages in the EU are bucking the trend by attracting young people. But unless there is outside funding and local action, Europe's countryside will be full of ghosts.


Student villages on the water

Students will soon be able to move into converted shipping containers in Gothenburg. Architects hope to spread their idea of cheap, waterside living across Europe.


Copenhagen harbour swimming

Copenhagen harbour, like many of its kind, used to stink of oil and garbage. Now, people swim in canals around the parliament, passing shoals of fish and jellyfish.


The stress hormone and EU garden cities

European town planners still borrow from the "garden city" ideals of the 19th century, but they might be doing more harm than good.


The EU Agencies Race

In this edition of EUobserver's Regions & Cities magazine, we take a closer look at some of the EU agencies, exploring how their location matters and the benefits for cities and regions to host them.

News in Brief

  1. Sweden emerges as possible US-North Korean summit host
  2. Google accused of paying academics backing its policies
  3. New interior minister: 'Islam doesn't belong to Germany'
  4. Hamburg 'dieselgate' driver wins case to get new VW car
  5. Slovak deputy PM asked to form new government
  6. US, Germany, France condemn 'assault on UK sovereignty'
  7. MEPs accept Amsterdam as seat for EU medicines agency
  8. Auditors: EU farm 'simplification' made subsidies more complex

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceConmtroversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  2. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  3. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  4. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  5. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  6. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  7. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  8. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership
  9. EPSUWill the Circular Economy be an Economy With no Workers?
  10. European Jewish CongressThe 2018 European Medal of Tolerance Goes to Prince Albert II of Monaco
  11. FiscalNoteGlobal Policy Trends: What to Watch in 2018
  12. Human Rights and Democracy NetworkPromoting Human Rights and Democracy in the Next Eu Multiannual Financial Framework

Latest News

  1. Brexit and trade will top This WEEK
  2. Dutch MPs in plan to shut EU website on Russian propaganda
  3. Four years on – but we will not forget illegally-occupied Crimea
  4. Evacuated women from Libya arrive newly-pregnant
  5. Merkel in Paris for eurozone reform talks
  6. Commission rejects ombudsman criticism over Barroso case
  7. Western allies back UK amid Russian media blitz
  8. Meet the European Parliament's twittersphere