Sunday

26th Feb 2017

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?

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  • 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.

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.

Dieselgate casts doubt over low emission zones

Many European cities use low emission zones, and some are considering to ban dirty cars. But there are limits to how well the EU standards can be used to determine which cars are clean.

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