Capacity Building:
Peer Reviews

Bring forward your city strategy to be improved with the help of European peers! Find out here everything you need to know about our Peer Reviews.

What is a Peer Review?

A Peer Review is a capacity building activity offered by EUI to support European cities to improve the design and implementation of their Sustainable Urban Development (SUD) strategies, through a process of benchmarking and peer learning.

Each peer review involves one ‘city under review’, working with four to six cities acting as ‘peer reviewers’ to address concrete challenges in developing, implementing or monitoring an effective SUD strategy.

Participation in an EUI peer review is based on a formal selection process following an open call. For more information, check our latest call page (call now closed).

Our Peer Reviews bring together people working for cities around EU. The exchanges between them are organised following a methodology based on the one developed by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission. Each Peer Review lasts between 10 to 12 months, from the notification of approval to the end of the follow-up phase. The most important moment of a Peer Review is a 2-day event when we group together several cities under review and their peer reviewers. 


Everything you need to know about the Peer Review.

Who can benefit from a Peer Review?

Cities under review are European cities receiving ERDF support for the design and implementation of their SUD strategy under article 11 of the ERDF Regulation (EU) 2021/1058. They are known as Article 11 cities and the only authorities eligible for this role. You can check if your city is an 'article 11' one at this link.

Peer reviewers are individuals working for a European city designing and implementing a SUD strategy. They may come from any urban authority, although the participation of peer reviewers working for article 11 cities is particularly welcomed.

What's in it for cities?


Why should you apply?

Peer Reviews are a great way to expand your mind and practices on Sustainable Urban Development in a warm and friendly learning environment.   

With Peer Reviews, you will:

  1. Improve your day-to-day practices and learn new skills.
  2. Strengthen the design, implementation or evaluation of your Sustainable Urban Development strategy and policy documents.
  3. Build lasting connections with other European urban practitioners working towards Sustainable Urban Development.

What's in it for cities under review?

As a city under review, you are at the heart of the Peer Review. More specifically, your city will benefit from:

  1. A structured self-assessment process to help identify specific needs in developing, implementing or monitoring your SUD strategy.
  2. Specific, tailored feedback, reflections, and inspiration from your peers to directly address a challenge your are facing.
  3. Constant expert support, guidance and advice from the team of approved EUI experts and the EUI Secretariat.


Check the testimonies from cities under review.

What's in it for peer reviewers?

As a peer reviewer, you and your city also benefit in multiple ways:

  1. Peer reviewers learn from, as well as inspire, the city under review – the learning always goes two ways.
  2. There are also opportunities to learn from the other peer reviewers taking part, hearing about a range of inspiring practices and approaches from cities across Europe.
  3. Finally, through the process of sharing your own approaches and practices, your are encouraged to critically reflect on your own successes and remaining challenges.


Check the testimonies from peer reviewers.

What is the scope?

What are the topics of a Peer Review?

An EUI Peer Review is required to focus on specific challenges related to the design and implementation of SUD strategies. Each city under review is tasked with identifying the challenge/s they want to tackle and formulating it into three ‘guiding questions’ to be addressed in turn.

The JRC’s Handbook for Sustainable Urban Development Strategies is a key reference material for cities to identify relevant topics that need to be addressed. The Handbook sets out the following ‘six building blocks of the EU approach to sustainable and integrated urban development’:

  1. A diagnosis of the urban area and strategic vision for its development (Strategic dimension).
  2. A selection of the target area(s), including integration across scales, from neighbourhoods to wider territories. (Territorial Focus).
  3. A multi-level governance and multi-stakeholder approach, ensuring citizen engagement (Governance model).
  4. Integration across sectors and policy areas. (Cross-Sectoral integration).
  5. Integration of multiple sources of funding, including prioritisation of actions to be supported by EU Funds (Funding and Finance ).
  6. A result-oriented logic and framework for monitoring and evaluation, linking Operational-Programme and strategy-specific indicators (Monitoring System).

What is the methodology?

Confirming the scope
Matching the cities under review and peers
Preparing for the peer review
The peer review event
Following up after the event
1. Confirming the scope

Cities under review and peers are informed of their selection three weeks after the closure of the call for Applications. Cities under review will then start preparing the content of the peer review, namely by revising the challenges they want to address in the peer review.

2. Matching the cities under review and peers

Cities under review and peers will be matched based on the challenges of the cities under review and the fields of expertise of the peers. This phase lasts around two to four weeks and includes confirmation of the dates and locations of the peer reviews.

3. Preparing for the peer review

Cities under review will draft a background paper detailing the specificities of their city and the challenges they face, which is the basis of discussion of the peer review. All participants will participate in several webinars to prepare the discussions of the event. Peers will be invited to prepare use cases to share to the cities under review before the event. The content preparation lasts a minimum of eight weeks.

4. The peer review event

Peer review events will follow a fixed agenda. They will last 2 days and will be organised through three discussion rounds dedicated to the three questions of cities under review.

5. Following up after the event

Two weeks after the event, cities under review will receive a Feedback Report detailing the discussions, recommendations and insights provided to them during the peer review.

At least six months after the peer review event, EUI will organise a feedback webinar for participating cities to discuss their progress in integrating recommendations in their strategies and identifying remaining hindrances or new challenges.

Testimonies and experiences

Still not sure what a Peer Review actually is? Check the Peer Reviews that took place in Thessaloniki (Greece), Coimbra (Portugal) and Kalisz (Poland) and read testimonials from our beneficiaries!

Being an EUI City Under Review is a unique opportunity to unlock the potential of your city or functional urban area and to enhance governance through the constructive feedback from peers. It's also reassuring to know that colleagues from across the European Union face very similar challenges but are equally committed to sustainable futures.

Klaudia Kwapisz, Kalisz-Ostrów Agglomeration - Peer reviewer in Coimbra and City under review in Kalisz.


It was truly a great pleasure to participate in the peer-review organized by European Urban Initiative in collaboration with CIM Região de Coimbra. It was an opportunity to expand our network of professionals and listen many insights from cities that have/are developing their sustainable urban development strategy.

Alberto Maria Rigon, Municipality of Padova - Peer reviewer in Coimbra.


Guided by a dynamic team of Experts with a solid experience in sustainable urban development and backed by a young and committed secretariat, “peer reviews” are an interesting tool for supporting innovation and developing transferable and scalable solutions to common challenges, always linked to #SustainableUrbanDevelopment (SUD) strategies.

Fernando Gomes, Municipality of Maia- City under review in Thessaloniki and Peer reviewer in Kalisz.

Current opportunities


A call for EUI Peer Reviews was open from 12th of March to 30 of April, 12:00 CET. All information regarding the call is available on this webpage. Follow our website for news regarding future calls!

Looking to know more? Have a look at the recording of our Info Session on April 9. 

If you have any questions, contact us at or book a consultation with one of the Capacity Building officers.