Antwerp, Munich and Zaragoza win EUROCITIES awards

This year’s EUROCITIES Awards were awarded under the theme ‘cities at a crossroads’, reflecting the new political landscape at the EU level as well as the changing landscapes in cities themselves.

The EUROCITIES Awards 2019 were handed out to winners in three permanent categories: cooperation, innovation and participation.

Antwerp won the award for cooperation with its infrastructure project to complete its ring road. According to a Cities Today article, the project had been deadlocked for 20 years until a group of citizens, architects, engineers and teachers put forward a proposal in 2014 to cover the ring road to improve mobility, promote air quality and add more green spaces.

“It is an award which we are accepting on behalf of all 520,000 inhabitants,” said Deputy Mayor Koen Kennis on accepting the award. “But most of all, for those Antwerpians actively involved in an unprecedented process of participation to take this this into a new and bright future.”

Munich won in the category of innovation for its method to deescalate conflict in public spaces through mediation. According to Cities Today, the city is working with a budget of only €20,000 for volunteer staff to train people from a cross-section of society to mediate complaints such as disagreements between residents, conflicts in public spaces, socially disadvantaged people in parks and streets, and refugee shelters.

In the participation category, Zaragoza won for its former flour mill that has been converted into the first cultural center in Spain co-managed by the city and citizens.

“Usually public venues are managed by public officers or an arrangement with private companies and associations,” Diego Garulo, Officer for Planning, New Projects and Community Culture for Zaragoza Cultural, told Cities Today. “But this is the first experience where we are managing on an equal basis with the community of the neighbourhood and the cultural community within the city.”

The winners were selected by an independent jury, comprising a representative from the host city, academia, EU institutions, the media and community groups.

Image credit: EUROCITIES

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