Urban Diplomacy Exchange German-British Partnership Conference | 19-21 June 2023 | Leeds

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Program and Documentation

The Urban Diplomacy Exchange German-British Partnership Conference “City partnerships for an inclusive and sustainable future” took place from June 19th to 21st, 2023 in Leeds, United Kingdom.

The conference was planned as part of the Urban Diplomacy Exchange project funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and implemented by the Service Agency Communities in One World of Engagement Global in collaboration with the Association of German Cities. 

The purpose of the event was to bring together German-British city-to-city partnerships and to raise awareness of urban diplomacy within the framework of theSustainable Development Goals.The conference will also provide space for the German and British cities to discuss about the common vision, current developments in their partnerships and ways forward.

The two and a half day program was geared towards both political and administrative city levels, offering various formats including panel discussions, partnerships pitches, fireside chat, thematic exchange workshops and site visits in Leeds.

The main topics of the event focused on the environmental and social sustainability, covering such areas as social cohesion and inclusion, equitable health, climate adaptation, sustainable mobility and greening the city. 

The conference brought together over 60 participants including Lord Mayors, Mayors, Councillors from both Germany and the UK, as well as representation from national governments, German Ambassador to the UK, city networks (Core Cities, Association of German Cities) and other actors relevant for German-British relations (British-German Association).



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Site visits

The host City of Leeds offered 3 site visits on the third day of the event. See below for more information.

Walking toor

The Leeds Climate Innovation District is a £250 million housing development by private developers CITU , with 800 zero‑carbon homes, which aims to accelerate the shift to sustainable cities.

The Climate Innovation District is believed to be the largest urban sustainable development in the UK, and CITU intend it to radically change the way we live in cities, and accelerate the shift to zero-carbon cities.

The scheme’s design targets the three major emission sources of carbon contributing over 60 per cent of UK emissions: buildings, energy and transport.

Walking toor

South Bank Leeds is believed to be one of Europe’s biggest regeneration programmes, propelled by £500 million investment.

It is the result of a visionary plan to double the size of Leeds city centre by rejuvenating the formerly industrial area south of the River Aire, covering an expansive 253-hectare space equivalent to 350 football pitches. The goal is to create a world-class destination that seamlessly integrates living, learning, creativity, leisure, and investment opportunities. The scheme is projected to create 35,000 new jobs across various sectors.

Sustainability is at the heart of the vision, as it encompasses the creation of vibrant public spaces, including Aire Park, which will be the largest new city centre green space in the UK, as well as cultural amenities, and enhanced connectivity.

The project also emphasizes the preservation and integration of historical elements, ensuring that the rich heritage of the area is celebrated and woven into the fabric of the new developments.

Two combined site visits by mini-bus – maximum 10 participants (first come first served basis)

The participants were taken out of Leeds city center to see work in Harehills and Seacroft. Harehills and Seacroft. Two communities with very different demographics, doing excellent work to support cohesion and inclusiveness.

  • CATCH are based in Harehills Leeds – a culturally diverse community bringing together many people who were (or whose parents or grandparents were) born outside the UK. CATCH have been working with adults and young people from diverse backgrounds for over 10 years. They have a popular youth programme with over 1000 members providing a range of opportunities for sport, creativity and learning, as well as for volunteering and social action projects. A group of eight young people from CATCH were recently involved in a visit to Dortmund, facilitated by Leeds City Council, Stadt Dortmund and Jugendring Dortmund, and funded by UK German Connection.
  • Seacroft, where LS14 Trust is based has a mostly white British demographic. They offer an exciting and sustainability-driven community centre bringing together diverse communities and tackling Far Right radicalisation. The LS14 Trust was set up in 2009 by a group of local people who wanted to work together to change the communities that they loved across Seacroft, Swarcliffe and Whinmoor.
Park Square Skyline - Carl Milner Photography for Leeds City Council