URBACT III helps cities to work together on developing pragmatic solutions that are new and sustainable and integrate economic, social and environmental urban topics. The programme is built around four main objectives which are:

  1. Capacity of policy delivery: to improve the capacity of cities to manage sustainable urban policies and practices in an integrated and participative way.
  2. Policy design: to improve the design of sustainable urban policies and practices in cities.
  3. Policy implementation: to improve the implementation of integrated and sustainable urban strategies and actions in cities.
  4. Building and sharing knowledge: to ensure that practitioners and decision-makers at all levels have access to knowledge and share know-how on all aspects of sustainable urban development in order to improve urban development policies.

Cities can join URBACT by participating in three different types of networks:

  • Action planning networks: supporting cities in addressing a policy challenge by producing an integrated action-plan
  • Implementation networks: supporting cities with the delivery of an existing integrated urban strategy/action-plan
  • Transfer networks: supporting cities in adapting and re-using a good practice to enhance their urban policies

Besides these networks, the programme develops three types of interventions:

  • Transnational exchanges
  • Capacity-building
  • Capitalisation & Dissemination

For more information on those interventions and on URBACT networks (and how to join them) visit the URBACT website external link icon.

What is the relevance for Circular Cities?

The main focus area of URBACT is cities and specifically sustainable urban development. Circular city initiatives match this focus very well. Many cities already exchange good practices and knowledge on circular economies in cities through URBACT networks external link icon. The funding support provided by URBACT III covers mainly networking, knowledge exchange, and learning activities.

How to apply?

For open calls, check the URBACT website here external link icon.

You can also contact your URBACT National Contact Point for more specific information. A list of all contact points can be found here external link icon.


The European Commission has proposed to take into consideration the current envelopes of the URBACT programme and the Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) under the new European Urban Initiative (EUI). This new instrument should provide coherent support for cities that build on all thematic priorities of the Urban Agenda for the EU external link icon and covers all urban areas.

There is currently no certainty on the post 2020 programmes.