25th Oct 2016


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?

  • 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.

The fifth edition of EUobserver's Regions and Cities Magazine can be downloaded here.

Lisbeth Kirk is the founder of EUobserver.

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