Anna Lisa Boni: the challenges for European cities today

  • culture

Anna Lisa Boni spoke at the Shaping European Cities conference in Brussels on 15 September.

Anna Lisa Boni, EUROCITIES secretary general, outlined some of the main challenges facing European cities at the ‘Shaping European Cities’ conference on 15 September in Brussels.

‘Shaping European cities’ was the opening conference for the EU Prize for Conteporary Architecture - Mies van der Rohe award exhibition. The award, considered one of the most prestigious in the world for architecture, is currently supported by the European Commission’s Creative Europe programme.

The launch event on 15 September consisted on talks and debates on architecture and urban renewal. Speakers, including policy makers and architects, reflected on the role of quality architecture in regenerating European cities and discussed new opportunities for collaboration. It drew around 600 participants, including urban planners, artists, architects and decision makers.

In her speech, Anna Lisa Boni outlined the five main areas we have identified in which cities confront different urban challenges. They include creating quality jobs and ensuring sustainable growth; fostering inclusive, diverse and creative cities; ensuring green, free-flowing and healthy cities; making our cities smarter; and urban innovation and governance.

She stressed that urban architecture has an important part to play in addressing all of the challenges cities face, especially when policy makers and architects work closely together. Quality architecture, she continued, can contribute to more inclusive, greener and economically sustainable cities. She also pointed out that more than half of the nominees for the Mies van der Rohe Award since its inception in 1988 have been for cultural infrastructure, thanks to the central role culture plays in improving quality of life and making a city more attractive to talent, investment and tourism.

Finally, Anna Lisa Boni introduced our European initiative on culture for cities and regions, which is supported by the Creative Europe programme. It brings together cities to share knowledge on how cities and regions have successfully invested in culture, often with an architectural component. The initiative is currently in the process of publishing 70 case studies highlighting many of these examples, which you can find at


EUROCITIES staff contact

Julie Herve