cover zoom-in 3 UFIL
UFIL is close to its completion and project's partners were invited to point out the main lessons learnt throughout implementation. By sharing this experience, other cities wishing to locally replicate a forest bioeconomy initiative may possibly benefit from the knowledge gained in this UIA project.

This zoom-in summarizes the lessons learnt identified by UFIL's project partners. Its core is the video made and featured by the City of Cuenca and its partners, where they directly tell us about their experience. You can look at the  video on YouTube.

Click here and enjoy! 

You Tube

Cities have available different resources and opportunities to locally create employment and economic development. The Mayor of the City of Cuenca, Dario Dolz Fernandez, explains how the project highlighted the importance of awaking the city's 'sleeping giants'. In the case of Cuenca, the 'sleeping giants' are the over 54,000 hectares of forests owned by the municipality. The lesson learnt is to value in a sustainable manner the potential of existing resources, especially if these resources are owned by the public administration. 



The University of Castilla-La Mancha is a project partner with a regional scope. Thus, it was fundamental for its research and innovation  groups variously related to the forest bioeconomy area to converge on a common line of action in order to effectively support the project. According to César Sánchez Meléndez, the lesson learnt is that within a relatively big partner synergies among existing working groups are necessary for the creation of shared solutions. They are also at the core of the creation of a wider ecosystem where the university exchanges knowledge and ideas with the private sector.  



The Polytechnic University of Madrid, represented by Carmen Aviles Palacio and Camilo Muñoz Arenas,  highlights the importance for a project to tackle a concrete change. In the case of UFIL, the change was represented by proposing solutions for the sustainable use of forests that were not previously imagined.  Besides acting as a 'changemaker', the lesson learnt is that a project's impact and the future sustainability of project's initiatives are more likely if an ecosystem of actors at the territorial level  is developed and involved. 

Camilo and Carmen from PUM


Gonzalo Anguita Alegret, Executive Director of FSC Spain, highlights the importance of having an operative communication plan  in order to effectively connect the project with  the target audience - a lesson whose relevance was amplified by the occurrence of the pandemic. A second lesson is the need, in a bioeconomy development project, to emphasize the participation of the business sector and avoid too academic approaches.



The interaction of design and creativity with other disciplines adds value to the transformation of reality. According to José Francisco Garcia from the European Institute of Design, UFIL clearly demonstrates the potential of this approach.




Khora Urban Thinkers supports the City of Cuenca in the management of the project. Its CEO Pablo Macías Bou points to three key lessons learnt. First, as a project develops over 3-4 years, it is necessary to keep it focused on its scope over time. Second, it is important to be ready to fail - especially if the project is meant experimenting something new. Third, comprehensive and well-mixed partnerships may still need the input of other stakeholders and thus it is important to keep the group open and be inclusive.



ACMSA is the municipal company focused on wood's primary transformation and commercialization. Its CEO David Serrano Cruz explains how the project widened the company's vision. Originally focusing on wood extraction and primary processing, ACMSA is now considering other business opportunities, also as a consequence of interacting with young entrepreneurs who are much more interested in new technologies and online ways of selling products. 



CEOE-CEPYME Cuenca is the most representative business organization in the province. Its local dimension makes it close to the needs of Cuenca's entrepreneurs. According to Raquel Alvarez Torres, being a local entity implies full involvement and dedication of time to a project like UFIL whose scope is the strengthening of the territory's productive fabric .  

Raquel, CEPYME


About this resource

Rossella Soldi
Cuenca, Spain Small sized cities (50k > 250k)
About UIA
Urban Innovative Actions

The Urban Innovative Actions (UIA) is a European Union initiative that provided funding to urban areas across Europe to test new and unproven solutions to urban challenges. The initiative had a total ERDF budget of €372 million for 2014-2020.

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