Master Classes

On Wednesday, 28 August, participants of the USU2013 will have an opportunity to take part in one of the four parallel master classes where experts will provide their insights on urban challenges.

Master Classes page

Catalin Berescu (Romania)- "Roma Ghettos in European Cities: Who Made Them?"

Roma Ghettos in European Cities: Who Made Them? is an inquiry that aims to bring forward and put together some forgotten pieces of history and some contemporary facts from around Europe. Planning is rarely regarded as a racist activity, and in fact, it rarely is, however, the amount of recurrent mistakes in what concerns Roma settlements, Gypsy camps or Travellers’ camping sites deserves a retrospective and a comparative regard.

If we are to find an alternative to current practices, we should first not name these places mahala, campo nomadi, village d’insertion and maybe go for poverty neighbourhood, slum and ghetto in a technical and normative way. Indeed, the sweet life in some of these places might give us a better perspective on co-housing than a visit in a hippy community and give us ideas about the value of common shared space but the misery in most of them should put us to shame and it shouldn't be allowed to blame it on the victims anymore.

From the social housing inferno of the communist era to the massive growth of ethnic slums – either as fragile developments around East European cities or as informal camps in the West – there is a long way that is full of misunderstandings, misconceptions, lack of power, money and goodwill. We clearly need some new tools to deal with the Roma/Gypsy settlements, old and new, spontaneous or planned.

Linda Cheung (United Kingdom) - "How Cities Can Make the Most of Social Media"

Once deemed a fad that wouldn’t last, social media is now a vital communication channel for businesses and public services. URBACT has increased its use of social media in recent years, enabling participants to communicate, network and share information.

This class explores how cities can make the most of social media.The class will include:

  • Why social media is important and how “old rules” can be applied to “new tools”;
  • The key social media platforms: where best to start, and differences in tone and use;
  • Examples of how social media can be used in cities and communities;
  • Tips and actions to improve your social media use and profiles.

For those who already use Twitter, Linda is @LindaCheungUK and the Summer University’s hashtag is #URBACT2013.


Marco Ranieri (Italy)- "Participation, Social Innovation and Youth Policies: A 2.0 Recipe"

In this period of crises and change, can we still leave young people on the bench? How public policies can create the enabling conditions for innovation, facilitate community and invest in people’s ideas and creativity, contributing to economic prosperity and social wellbeing?

Presenting the case of Bollenti Spiriti (a regional programme of youth policies, with a strong multi-sectoral approach, promoted since 2006 by the Apulia Region - south of Italy), the class will focus on the participative practices of community-led development, valuing the endogenous resources of the young citizens, pursuing the aim of networking, opening up spaces for social, cultural and educational initiatives and endorsing the entrepreneurial and creative potential of young generations.

The evolution of the role of local authorities will be analyzed: not just bodies that allocate and monitor, but institutions that act responsibly as server and platform, promoting great transparency and collaborative attitude, fostering sustainable and cohesive development and using smart communication channels and social media.


Ivan Tosics (Hungary)- "Designing Urban Policies in an Integrated Way"

Integrated Urban Policies: why, what, how? Who would doubt that cities face in the upcoming years a growing number of challenges: slowing economic competitiveness, demographic changes (ageing), difficulties with migration and social inclusion, energy shortages, global warming and environmental decline.

And who would doubt that these challenges have to be addressed in an era of economic and financial crisis with no economic growth (at least for a while) and radically reduced public budgets (for longer period). The saying "more has to be achieved with less” became a bitter reality.

However, "do not waste the crisis”: this difficult situation can be turned into positive, leading to deep changes in urban policy making. It is the local governments who are the closest to the problems and they are also the closest to the solutions.

The class will be about the very much needed integration of planning and policies. Three types of integration will be analysed:

  • Between policy areas (avoiding silos);
  • Between neighbouring municipalities (allowing for cooperation in functional urban areas);
  • Between different levels of government (allowing for multi-level governance).

These types of integration, essential for better planning and policy making, will be illustrated with good (and less good) examples of European cities. Procedural aspects, such as strategic planning with participatory mechanisms, and institutional aspects will also be tackled.