The 3rd meeting of the City Science Initiative (CSI)

The 3rd meeting of the City Science Initiative (CSI)

Tuesday, September 24th 2019 in Brussels

The City Science Initiative aims to strengthen the ways in which science and research can help address the urban challenges and to develop a structured approach to evidence-informed policy-making at cities’ level. The third meeting will gather representatives from cities like Paris, Hamburg, Cluj and Warsaw in Brussels. Below is a brief description of the program.


After greetings from Deputy Director-General Charlina Vitcheva (JRC) and Deputy Director-General Patrick Child (DG R&I), the session will start at 12.30pm with an introduction to the work programme and deliverables for 2019-2020 for the City Science Initiative by Caroline Nevejan. It will proceed with a presentation of the 5 city challenges, with a first part from Lead Cities and the presentation of the Knowledge dossier by the European Commission, concluding with a part dedicated to questions and discussion for each challenge.

At 3.30pm, after a short break, cities and networks’ representatives as well as actors will be invited to join groups accordingly to the challenge they are most interested in, and will discuss the methodology to adopt in facing this challenge. A plenary discussion will come next, based on the methodological ideas and recommendation emerged from the group sessions. The plenary discussion will also be the occasion for addressing the next steps of the City Science Initiative (CSI) and in particular the tools to activate better cooperation with cities willing to join the network. A presentation of the CSI’s website will eventually be set up.

In the evening, from 7pm to 9pm, R&I will provide for a presentation of Horizon Europe and Charles Landry will present the output of the High-Level Expert Group on Innovating Cities which will then lead to a discussion moderated by Jean François Aguinaga, Head of Unit ‘Future Urban Mobility Systems’, DG R&I.

Global Parliament of Mayors’ Annual Summit

Global Parliament of Mayors’ Annual Summit

LabGov’s co-founder Pr. Sheila Foster and Pr. Chrystie Flournoy will participate as experts in the Global Parliament of Mayors’ Annual Summit, that will take place this year from November 9-11 in Durban, South Africa.

The Global Parliament of Mayors will gather mayors from all continents who will discuss about their local experience, share their know-how on ways to tackle local challenges resulting from global issues as well as international city experts.

This summit is aimed at raising local voices and knowledge into the global strategy debates and at calling attention on the necessity for practical and action-based solutions.

Link to website:

The 2nd meeting of the City Science Initiative – June 11th and 12th, Amsterdam

The 2nd meeting of the City Science Initiative – June 11th and 12th, Amsterdam

After a successful meeting in February, the City Science Initiative meets again in Amsterdam from the 11th to the 12th of June. Cities like Groningen, Paris, Lublin, Warsaw and Hamburg will be hosted by Caroline Nevejan, Chief Science Officer of the City of Amsterdam in order to discuss their strategies. Below some of the challenges this new initiative is trying to tackle:

Governance and finance for City Science

Cities are not only in need of more research on the urban challenges they are facing, they are also in need of a better connection with science and a better understanding of available research. To bridge the gap between research institutions and local government one has to take into account their different needs: where universities insist on independence, local governments prioritize political responsibilities and specific solutions. This also means that definitions of ‘academic excellence’ in universities provide targets which are not directly commensurable with the targets of local government, where academic research is judged by its social impact, which is difficult to measure. Governance also implies financing. Even though both local government and universities are funded by public money, financing happens through differing channels. It is therefore often difficult to find a common ground.

How can universities be stimulated to maintain definitions of excellence that include social impact?

How can local governments formally or informally influence research agendas of universities?

Learning and communication between science and policy

Universities and local government make use of differing languages, processes and quality assessments. Therefore it is difficult to come to better cooperation and effective communication is a bottleneck issue. One of the ways to come to better cooperation between science and policy, is to better understand existing best practices. One of the aims of the City Science Initiative is to collect these best practices.

What best practices exist to improve learning and communication between science and policy that can be used in cities?

How can learning and communication between science and policy be improved on a structural level?

A need for a new research paradigm on City Science

The City Science Initiative could develop into a Community of Practice of City Science Officers: a community of people sharing experiences from their work practice and developing new knowledge from this cooperation, in a way similar to which scientists form communities of practice. The community of practice can develop a shared language and shared concepts to establish a new research paradigm for urban research: fundamental research across the board, including both social and natural sciences. This fundamental research is aimed at answering questions on the governance of research on the local level: what is the relation between university and the city and how can knowledge and data be shared? At this point, only few researchers are trained to answer these types of questions. This new form of research should be interdisciplinary and aim at urban social impact. City science is distinct in its methodologies, standardization, assessment valorisation and focus on agenda setting and impact.

What are the necessary ingredients for a new research paradigm for City Science?

What steps are needed to establish such a research paradigm and to create a community of practice?

These among others are the questions and challenges that will be addressed during the second City Science Initiative Meeting in Amsterdam. Stay tuned for our feedbacks on twitter!

The Heritour

The Heritour

On Sunday May 26th, the Heritour, an event dedicated to the rediscovery of the beauty of the co-district including -Alessandrino, Centocelle, Torre Spaccata neighborhoods- took place.

Organized by CooperACTiva in collaboration with Luiss LabGov, the first event which was initally envisioned to be a bike tour, shifted into a walking tour due to bad weather conditions. At 10am, the group, equipped with torches and helmets, was guided by several speleologists from Roma Sotterranea through the tunnel and its caves which was made accessible thanks to the cleaning operations carried out by volunteers, on the day preceeding the event.

Departure of the Tour

At lunch time, in the “In Venadi Vino” wine bar, the participants enjoyed a pleasant convivial moment, rediscovering the flavors of the typical local cuisine. In the early afternoon, they could take part in a treasure hunt, aimed at supporting the fundraising in favor of the reconstruction of the Cafeteria Library “La Pecora Elettrica”, victim last April 25th of an incendiary act, was set up by Centocellule.

At the InVenadiVino restaurant

The activities then continued at Fusolab 2.0 with a social aperitif, in collaboration with Legambiente. During the aperitif, and thanks to the presence of “La Scienza Coatta”, Andrea Satta and Paolo Pesce Nanna, the participants took joy in attending art and music performances.  Besides, a charity auction, organized in collaboration with Africa Sottosopra was put up.

At the Fusolab 2.0

The participants were eventually invited to participate in the “Quartiere in Movimento” (Moving District) contest, which was created with the aim of unfolding the patrimonial area of ​​Centocelle, Alessandrino and Torre Spaccata. It is thought as a means to generate a narrative that brings out the richness of the tangible and intangible heritage, and highlights the shared values, beliefs, knowledge and traditions.

Photo contest “The Moving District”
Presentation of the Biodistrict

Presentation of the Biodistrict

On June 6th the presentation of the Biodistrict will take place at the Granarone Palazzo in Cerveteri, a town in the province of Rome.

It will be the opportunity for farmers, citizens, tour operators, associations and public administrations to discuss the implementation of good agricultural practices, with a particular attention on resources’ management and protection of the territory. Economic fallout is indeed to be combined with the valorization of the territory and its peculiarities to ensure a personalised economic, social and cultural development.


6 pm: Opening with institutional greetings

Alessio Pascucci: Mayor of Cerveteri

Elena Gubetti: Coucilor on the Policies regarding the protection and the valorisation of the environment

Riccardo Ferri: Coucilor on the protection and boost of the environment

6.15 pm: What is a biodistrict? What advantages can it bring? How to join it?

An intervention by Massimiliano Mattiuzzo representant of the II Committee promoting the biodistrict and Claudio Caramadre from the firm Caramadre

Other presentations by:

Dr. Massimo Bistacchia: “I Terzi vegetable gardens”

Dr. Fabiana Dalmotto: “The biological agricultural firm Guendalina Morani”

Dr. Architecture Maria Beatrice Caldani and mayor delegate for the protection of the agricultural landscape: “The Biodistrict as an innovative tool for the protection and saveguard of the agricultural landscape: the figure of the landscape architect and the new productive activities for the territory development”.

Dr. Architecture Lucia Rivosecchi, landscape architect Soci AIAPP