SMARTER 2020 Conference - 4th webinar - Quality of life in (European) cities: are cities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable?

  • 19 Nov 2020 to 19 Nov 2020
  • Online event open to all


Cities are important drivers of economic growth, both in the EU, and at the global level. It is in cities where most citizens live, where the biggest share of the Gross Domestic Product is generated, where a large part of EU policies and legislation are implemented and where a significant share of EU funds is spent.

The EU Urban Agenda, launched in 2016 with the pact of Amsterdam, covers a wide range of issues, including housing, mobility, safety, migration, poverty, and air quality.

Cities host around 40% of the EU’s population, and almost half the world’s population (48%) lives in cities. Cities offer access to many different employment opportunities, better access to public transport and proximity to many destinations, which can facilitate greener modes of mobility, such as walking and cycling. Cities offer good access to education, innovation and culture with a concentration of universities, research institutes, museums and other cultural venues. However, cities also face social and environmental problems including poverty, high housing costs, discrimination, crime, air pollution and noise. Last, but not least, cities need to respond to global challenges, such as climate change, and wide trends such as ageing. Cities have an important role to play in the shift towards a carbon neutral economy and to become a more attractive place to live for the elderly.

COVID-19 infections tended to arrive first in the larger and more connected cities in Europe, such as Milan, Madrid and London, before spreading out to smaller centres and more rural regions. With the gradual lifting of the restrictions, cities are exploring new ways to offer access to their amenities, while maintaining a safe social distance.

Since 2004, the European Commission regularly monitors the quality of life in European cities, through a dedicated survey. This webinar will present the main findings of the 2019 edition of the survey. The webinar will also highlight The European Handbook for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Voluntary Local Reviews, developed by the JRC. This tool offers policy makers, researchers and practitioners a framework to monitor the progress towards the achievement of the SDGs at the urban level. Moving to a more global level, the OECD will present the main findings of their recent work on well-being in cities in the world.

More information

Agenda and Presentations

Welcome and opening speech:

  • Alessandro Rainoldi, Head of Unit, Joint Research Centre, European Commission



  • Lewis Dijkstra, DG REGIO, European Commission and Nicola Pontarollo, University of Brescia: Report on the Quality of Life in European cities, 2020
  • Alice Siragusa, Joint Research Centre, European Commission: European Handbook for SDG Voluntary Local Reviews
  • Lukas Kleine Rueschkamp, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SME’s, Region and Cities, OECD: Well-being in cities in the world



  • Laura de Dominicis, DG REGIO, European Commission


Practical Information

19 Nov 2020 to 19 Nov 2020
Online event open to all


SMARTER 2020 Conference Webinar Series full programme