Horizon 2020 project, TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA – Transition towards urban sustainability through socially integrative cities in the EU and in China – addresses a key challenge of urbanisation: how to best design and turn cities into intelligent, socially integrative and sustainable environments. Guided by the 13th Five-Year Plan (2016-2020), followed by the 14th National Urbanisation Plan (2021-2025) and the National New Urbanisation Plan, China wants to improve urban planning, development, and management to provide better living environments. These Plans provide strong policy support for strategic decision-making and implementation of sustainable development approaches, aiming to be innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared. Good practices and methods from Europe in terms of social inclusiveness, cultural dynamics and economic viability have proven to be very significant to China, but Chinese cities need new insights to implement, scale up and transfer these practices in their own operational realities. This exchange  produces positive learning effects on the European side, and provide insights for the European research agenda on sustainable urbanisation.

*This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 770141.


TRANS-URBAN-EU-CHINA has elaborated advice for policy makers, urban authorities, real estate developers, public service providers and citizens on creating socially integrative and sustainable cities in a financially viable way. With eight European and six Chinese expert organisations, the project has created new insights, practices and role models in sustainable urban transitions in China and in the EU.

Key results include:

  • Development of a systematic knowledge base on transition experiences in Europe and China, shown in a comparative way;
  • Advanced tools and measures to support transition in cooperation with local stakeholders and citizens, and testing them in two Living Labs;
  • Recommendations to support transition towards socially integrative cities, discussed with representatives of cities and a wider stakeholder community;
  • Creation of a set of web storylines on the future of urbanisation;
  • An online compendium of tested tools and measures, adapted to local socio-economic, cultural and political specificities.

The project’s key results are publicly available in the book “Towards Socially Integrative Cities”, which is available .

Findings were discussed with representatives from a large number of cities and a wider stakeholder community in Europe and China. It is hoped that the results of these discussions will nurture future research cooperation between the European Union and China.

ISINNOVA worked on three different levels of EU-CHINA urban collaboration, aiming specifically to:


Coordinator of Work Package 4, “Integrated transition pathways towards sustainable urban planning and governance”.


Technische Universität Dresden, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER), AIT Austrian Institute of Technology, EUROCITIES ASBL, Israeli Smart Cities Institute (ISCI), Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU), Politecnico di Torino (POLITO), China Academy of Urban Planning and Design (CAUPD), Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences (IGSNRR), Chinese Academy of Science and Technology for Development (CASTED), China Center for Urban Development (CCUD), Tongji University (CIUC), China (People’s Republic Of), Tsinghua University, China (People’s Republic Of).


Andrea Ricci

Giovanna Giuffrè

Project website