How do you make a city pleasant, productive, accessible and easy to interact with? These are issues that are being worked on within the URBACT program, which consists of networks of cities around Europe that work together to strengthen the development of localities by exchanging experiences and building networks between regional and local actors.

Åbo Akademi University’s Experience Lab is the first academic project partner in URBACT, which today includes all EU member states and also Norway and Switzerland.

The Metacity network , which focuses on small and medium-sized cities, aims to increase competitiveness of small and median tech-aware cities, benefiting from the opportunity to enhance service efficiency and citizen satisfaction provided by the metaverse. By integrating metaverse technologies, cities can create immersive digital environments for education, healthcare, tourism, and public services, enabling streamlined communication, remote access to services, and personalized experiences, levelling the playing field with larger cities. Metaverse-driven urban planning fosters innovation, economic growth, and ensures that citizens have access to cutting-edge solutions, ultimately improving their overall quality of life.

Experience Lab works with the city of Nykarleby in Metacity. The network also counts actors from nine other European countries participate, including Härnösand in Sweden, with which we will collaborate closely, and is led by Fundão in Portugal, with whom we have collaborated in previous URBACT and INTERREG Europe projects.