International cycle of Urban Time Policies begins

In today’s session, Barcelona, ​​Budapest, Bolzano and Solsona explained their initiatives to reorganize shopping hours, city schedules and the work of local public employees. These initiatives started during the toughest era of pandemic restrictions, but are intended to stay in place to promote healthier and more sustainable cities.

The Urban Time Policies cycle started this morning, a cycle co-organized between the Barcelona Time Use Initiative for a Healthy Society (BTUI) and Diplocat. The cycle contains three lectures in which Urban Time Policies for a healthier and more sustainable schedule organization are shared. The cycle will feature the participation of Catalan and European cities and towns and will last until June 17. The conclusions will be presented in October in Barcelona as part of the Time Use Week 2021.


The International cycle of Urban Time Policies was born with the aim of recognizing time as a political issue, conceptualizing it as a right for all citizens. Through the different municipalist experiences, the cycle aims to show the importance of European towns and cities’ networking, strengthening this meeting point to promote metropolitan networks, such as the European Cities Network for Time Policies promoted by the City Council of Barcelona in 2008 and currently managed by the French network of municipalities Tempo Territorial.


Since the 1990s, municipal city councils have become a key element in implementing time policies. Following the legacy of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe at its October 2010 meeting, which recognized the importance and potential benefits of urban and regional time policies, the cycle begins as “ an opportunity to analyze and share good practices in the face of new scenarios of post-covid19 economic recovery ”says Ariadna Güell, co-coordinator of the BTUI.


This cycle comes at a time of change, where the consequences of COVID-19 are making us rethink how we live and how we do things, especially from a time perspective. As Laura Foraster, Secretary General of DIPLOCAT, states, “The pandemic has forced many local administrations everywhere to accelerate existing initiatives and adapt services to this new reality.”


In this context, the urban dimension is becoming increasingly important and has been recognized by the urban time agendas recently presented by both the United Nations and the European Union, highlighting the importance of municipalities as key actors to achieve a fairer, more greener, healthier and more sustainable future.


5 good practices for reorganizing schedules in a post-pandemic environment


During today’s event, the speakers shared different initiatives that have been initiated during the pandemic, but that will be maintained in the future in order to make cities and towns more sustainable. Sònia Ruiz, director of Gender and Time Policies of Barcelona City Council, explained 2 pioneering initiatives, one aimed at citizens, called Concilia Program, which “offers a babysitting service to try to reduce time poverty for families and especially single-parent women ”and the Decalogue for a healthier, more equal and efficient organization of time, promoted by the City Council for its workers.


Also, as a key policy for City Council’ schedules, Sabina Scola form the Office of Statistics and Schedules of the City of Bolzano (Italy) shared the project “Age Management”, an initiative to manage the generational renewal within the City Council, and which includes the smart work method, helping workers to voluntarily adapt to the new, more digitized context.


Balazs Fejes, a senior expert in mobility planning at the Budapest Transport Center, explained the initiatives launched to make Budapest a ten-minute city, and boost local trade and services.


Small municipalities such as Solsona, with 9,000 population, can also play an important role in implementing time use policies. Dolors Corominas, a member of the Board of the Association of shop owners of Solsona, shared how they managed to apply compacted business hours, advancing the closing time at 19-20h, instead of 20.30-21h.


Finally, as noted by Silvia Llorente, Research & Policy Officer of the Metropolis Observatory, all participants shared the need to have an international network to share time use policies and obtain greater impacts to mig / long term to improve citizens’ well-being.


The upcoming sessions will also be posted on YouTube, in Catalan and in English:

  • Thursday, June 3 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.: Proximity cities and sustainable mobility, the (so-called city within 15 minutes).

  • Thursday, June 17 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.: The implementation of chronobiology in our daily life

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