Actors of Urban Change

Sustainable Urban Development through Cultural Activities and Cross-Sector Collaboration in Europe

A programme by the Robert Bosch Stiftung in cooperation with MitOst e.V.

You love your city → You have an idea to improve it → We help you translate it into action! Apply until 21. September 2019.

We believe people should join forces to tackle the problems their cities face. We empower urban changemakers to try new ways of working together.

Do you have an idea to change your city? Do you want to work together with partners from different sectors? Would you like to learn from, exchange with and be inspired by changemakers from other European cities? If so, apply now to become an Actor of Urban Change! Find all infos at

Actors of Urban Change aims to achieve sustainable and participatory urban development through cultural activities and by using specific potentials of culture as driver and enabler of positive change. This is carried out by strengthening the competencies for cross-sector collaboration among actors from the cultural, public and private sectors. Through local projects, an international qualification program, Europe-wide exchange and individual coaching, our participants put those skills into practice.

After two stages (2013-15 and 2015-17) of the program, the third program round takes place from autumn 2017 to summer 2019.

What do we offer?

We offer financial support to enhance your local project as well as international qualification activities focusing on workshops and peer learning activities. To support your local collaboration we offer a total amount of up to EUR 13,000. This includes:

  • grants for the implementation of your local project (up to EUR 5,000)
  • process-related and tailor-made support by experts (up to EUR 5,000)
  • mobility grants, i.e. financial support for Shadowing Internships in other cities in the network (up to EUR 3,000)

Additionally, we will reimburse all travel expenses and accommodation related to the international seminars. This financial support is embedded in international activities. These include participation in five international Actors of Urban Change Academy Meetings (4-5 days each) with a strong focus on peer learning, as well as mobility grants to spend Shadowing Internships in other cities in the network.

How does it work?

For 18 months, groups of three actors each, one from the cultural, the public and the private sectors, form a local cross-sector team for the implementation of an innovative project in their city. All teams from different European cities obtain support for professional training, their local project as well as through international exchange within the Academy Meetings. At a local level, the teams receive project grants and individual support for their projects through customized tools from experts such as coaching, moderation, counseling and process analysis. During the international Actors of Urban Change Academy Meetings, advanced training is given on topics such as project and process management, as well as transition management, citizen participation or design and implementation of cross-sector collaborations. Shadowing Internships in cities of other participants allow sharing of experiences and mutual learning, and help to extend perspectives from a local to an international level. Throughout the process, participants receive practical support for project-related and formal issues from the program management.

Who is it for?

Actors of Urban Change is designed to strengthen participants’ skills and practical experience as well as to foster knowledge sharing in the field of cross-sector collaboration and participatory urban development. It is for individuals who:

  • work in the cultural, the public or the private sector
  • apply as a local team with a joint project proposal for their city
  • are highly motivated to develop their skills in cross-sector collaboration and participatory urban development
  • are interested in international exchange and networking
  • are ambitious to engage in local project work as well as the international elements of the program
  • have a good command of English
  • are based in one of the 47 Council of Europe member states, Kosovo or Belarus.

The local projects need to address a particular aspect of urban or community development within their city (e.g. social inclusion and cultural diversity, affordable housing, environmental justice, the responsible use of resources). It must be relevant to the city’s development, innovative at the local level and it must involve the local community.

Why are we doing it?

We believe in the importance of skilled, open-minded and committed actors as drivers for a sustainable urban change directed towards the common good. We are convinced that such actors can create positive change more effectively through combining their competencies and pooling different resources. Moreover, interaction with new organizations and individuals with different backgrounds, both at local and international levels, provides inspiring learning opportunities and facilitates further cross-sector understanding and collaboration. We believe that culture is an enabler of and a driver in the sustainable development of cities. This is because culture is inherently linked to creativity, heritage, knowledge and diversity, and has potential to facilitate citizens’ participation, intercultural dialogue, mutual understanding, social inclusion, and innovation. Through our program we seek to further sustainable and participatory development of European cities by connecting and training change-makers and by building a European network across sectoral borders.

Events and Publications

In the beginning of 2017 two Urban Change Talks took place in the frame of the Actors programme.

  • The talk "Bologna: A Laboratory for Urban Commons" on 27 January at Tazcafé Berlin was organised together with the Urban Research Group “Urban Commons” of the Georg Simmel Center for Metropolitan Studies (Humboldt Universität Berlin). A summary of the evening can be read on the MitOst-Blog Beyond the News.

  • On 17 February, a public talk on DIY/DIT approaches was held in the Chamber of Architects Porto where Paula Marques (Deputy Mayor of Lisbon), Joao Pedro Rosa (VivaCidade), Anke Strauß (organisational researcher) and Samuel Kalika (Critical Concrete) exchanged views on how to balance the impacts of top-down and bottom-up initiatives in order to arrive at a sustainable do-it-together practice in the city.

Actors of Urban Change regularly publishes newspapers which give insights into projects and topics in the field of sustainable and participatory urban development. The latest issue on "Urban Commons" is available for download at MitOst editions. Documentations of the last programme rounds 2015-17 and 2013-15 can also be found there.

Deadline 29.09.2017


Online Application Form



Dr. Sebastian Schlüter
Programme Coordinator

Naomi Martin
Programme Manager

Joice Biazoto
Programme Communications Manager

+49 30 31 51 74 73


Programme Documentations
2015-17: PDF | online
2013-15: PDF

Impressions from the Final Meeting 2017: Video

Impressions of an Academy-Meeting 2014: Video

Actors of Urban Change on Facebook

Information about the
Robert Bosch Stiftung at