Launched at an international conference held in Brussels, Belgium in September 1997, the European Urban Research Association (EURA) aims to encourage international exchange and co-operation in relation to urban research, to stimulate and encourage interdisciplinary and cross national urban research, and to contribute to urban policy debates.
In the 21 years since EURA was founded the international focus on urban issues has strengthened, particularly in the last decade. The UN Habitat III Summit held in Quito in 2016 agreed to back a ‘New Urban Agenda’ while in the EU urban issues and concerns have also come to the fore in policy making. Recent important EU policy statements include the Riga Declaration 2015 and the Pact of Amsterdam, 2016.
Given these developments, high quality, academic interdisciplinary urban and regional research and analysis are needed more than ever. So too, is effective cross national research and policy exchange. Since its establishment EURA has strongly advocated the need to develop sound European urban policies. Now that there is growing awareness and engagement at both international and EU level with this perspective, it is crucial that academics engage in the debate, producing innovative and challenging ideas and research.
As a well-established international network of urban scholars EURA promotes innovative research design, exchange of knowledge and policy-transfer and, in particular constantly reiterates the importance of building strong bridges between research and policy. Members of EURA, while recognising the difficulties, want to help policy makers support social integration and collaboration in the area of urban policy. It is hoped that policy makers will come to appreciate that researchers have an important contribution to make. Our aim in the period ahead is that our shared agenda in relation to urban challenges can be developed, explored, extended and indeed challenged.
Among other initiatives, the EURA Journal, ‘Urban Research and Practice’, plays a key role not just in advancing knowledge and understanding, but also in bringing forward policy suggestions. Our Working Groups are another tool in that direction. Our annual conferences provide a space for urban academics and practitioners to meet face to face and engage in international exchange and debate. For colleagues at an early stage of their careers our Young Scholars Award is a key support.