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The last edition of the Cities Forum – Working Together for Better Cities conference took place between 27th and 28th November 2017 in the Dutch city of Rotterdam. The annual event, organised by the European Commission, was entirely devoted to EU policy on cities and urban areas. This year, it looked closely at outcomes of EU Urban Agenda and existing partnerships between regions and cities.

The conference sessions tackled challenges faced by cities across Europe, including climate change, pollution – relating to emissions, youth drain from rural areas to cities, terrorism, inequalities and social exclusion, as well as managing space and urban planning.

During the conference, Corina Creţu, European Commissioner for Regional Policy and Vazil Hudák, Vice-President of the European Investment Bank presented a new tool helping to foster partnerships between cities and the Commission, as well as the EIB – European Investment Bank. Its aim is to overcome challenges to investment and help implement urban areas’ development strategies.

URBIS – Urban Investment Support is a new dedicated urban advisory platform, created within the EIAH – European Investment Advisory Hub. The motivation behind URBIS is to let cities plan investments more effectively, and what is more, within a shorter period of time. The platform was devised by the Commission – DG REGIO, with support from the EIB – European Investment Bank, in the context of EU One Stop Shop for Cities and guidelines put down in EU Urban Agenda.

In short, URBIS is meant to provide a packaged advisory service, accounting for strategic planning as well as more immediate finance decisions. Thanks to its integrated, holistic approach, the platform is supposed to redress aspects otherwise overlooked by existing programmes.

More information concerning URBIS is available online on EIAH’s website.