Cities and Towns Unite in Creating Experience Exchange Networks
Currently under development by the Association of Polish Cities, EMPIRIAE – Experience Exchange Networks will serve the purpose of sharing know-how related to successful development projects delivered by Polish cities and towns.

The Association of Polish Cities is launching a completely new proposal for its member municipalities, intending to convert each single efficacious project into a success sequence. The proposition is open to municipal “Local Development” Programme participants as well as to other Polish cities and towns.

Basing on the popular networking concept, EMPIRIAE – Experience Exchange Networks is a unique endeavour designed by the Association of Polish Cities. These will be special-purpose groups with an urban representative membership, operating to exchange experience, learn from one another and develop new solutions associated with specific issues, key to the development of small and medium-sized cities and towns.

For victorious municipalities of the “Local Development” Programme (i.e. grant awardees), Experience Exchange Networks will be an opportunity to consult their activities with a larger community of specialists and experts. It will afford options of approaching the issue from a different perspective, and receiving immediate feedback and evaluation of activities already engaged in. The solution will allow the experience of other cities and towns to be used.

Other locations who had not secured grant funding will be able to use these networks to appropriate winner municipality experience, using good practices to improve their work. They will also be able to promote their own successful solutions matching thematic requirements of network participants.

EMPIRIAE’s long-term and broader horizontal goal is to raise Polish municipalities’ awareness and improve their effectiveness in taking advantage of collaboration outcomes achieved as part of the Experience Exchange Network, letting them boost their own developmental and institutional potential.

Networking themes will involve issues essential and urgent to Polish municipality development, associated with activities notified under the “Local Development” Programme.

The Association of Polish Cities has created 8 networks (7 themed and 1 special-purpose network targeting leaders):

2. Local government finance / development funding – URBAN RESOURCES
3. Participation / consultations / cooperation – CIVIC CITIES AND TOWNS
4. Social / senior citizen-related policies – ACCESSIBLE AND FAIR CITIES AND TOWNS
5. Local entrepreneurship / tourism – ENTREPRENURIAL CITIES AND TOWNS
7. Human Resources management – URBAN HUMAN RESOURCES / STAFFING
8. Network for leaders (municipal mayors/presidents) – LEADERSHIP = VISION + ACCOUNTABILITY

The latter addresses municipal mayors and presidents or their deputies only, and does not provide for other Local Government Unit representative participation. This will thus be a closed experience exchange platform for local community leaders.

Quarterly network sessions have been planned for the period of April/May 2022 until January/February 2024. Face-to-face and online meetings have been planned (epidemiological domestic situation pending).

Joining the EMPIRIAE networking exercise promises genuine benefits to the city/town and municipal team:

  • Access to unique knowledge and reliable best practices,
  • Additional assistance at the stage of project delivery,
  • Collective and creative problem solving,
  • Testing new solutions in a trusted environment,
  • Building trusted partner networks (for use in other initiatives),
  • Gaining experience in networking-based collaboration (for use in other initiatives), institutional development improvements,
  • Improved networking participant competencies (local government career development),
  • Positioning and promoting cities and towns as experts/leaders.

The Network will focus on disseminating unique knowledge and reliable practices. The project’s importance has already been proven in the additional 90 applications filed by 41 cities and towns (“Local Development” Programme winners and finalists).

In June, the Association of Polish Cities will invite another participant group – cities and towns with OBSERVER status – to join the EMPIRIAE format. Their representatives will be given an option to join closed Facebook groups set up on the Association of Polish Cities profile, matching individual networks and their themes. OBSERVER municipalities will be i.a. the first to receive information concerning networking outcomes and evaluate them.