Protect Allied Cities against TErrorism in Securing Urban aReas

How can cities and local security actors better protect their vulnerable public spaces? The PACTESUR project aimed to empower cities and local actors in the field of security of public spaces, mainly in the face of terrorist threats, but also against other risks inherent to public spaces.


The PACTESUR project followed a series of initiatives by the city of Nice, with the support of the European Commission and Efus, in the field of the prevention of and protection against terrorist threats affecting public spaces. As a member of Efus, this municipality promoted the Declaration of Nice, which was co-written by the Euromed network and Efus and adopted by both networks alongside 60 mayors from 18 countries. It was published at the end of  the Conference of Mayors of the Euro-Mediterranean region organised in 2017 by the city of Nice and Euromed with the support of Efus, the University of Toulouse Jean Jaurès and the University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.


The PACTESUR project aimed to empower cities and local actors in the field of security of public spaces, mainly in the face of terrorist threats, but also against other risks inherent to public spaces. 

Through a bottom-up approach, PACTESUR gathers local decision makers, security forces, urban security experts, urban planners, front-line practitioners, designers and other professionals in order to shape new European local policies to secure public spaces against different threats.

The project will draw conclusions from lessons learnt, create training materials for security forces, and present case studies and factsheets, including tools and recommendations on communication, innovation and cooperation in crisis management.


The PACTESUR project was led by the city of Nice. The consortium includes the city of Liège (Belgium), the city of Turin (Italy), the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI) Piemonte (Italy), the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus) and the Métropole Nice Côte d’Azur.


The sharing of knowledge, good practices and tools not only between representatives of European local authorities and local security actors, but also between town planners and security and terrorism experts is essential for the development of new local policies to secure public spaces against threats. The project helped build and consolidate a multidisciplinary exchange network between actors involved in the security of European public spaces.

The activities included, amongst others,

  • The organisation of three annual meetings in order to identify priorities and to prepare a comparative study of local governance standards in different European countries, with recommendations to national governments and European institutions.
  • The development of specialised training courses for European security actors in the three partner cities in order to equip them with the necessary knowledge and tools to better secure their public spaces.
  • The project is testing pilot security equipment/infrastructure for securing public spaces in Nice, Liège and Turin, which can be transferred to other European cities. Particular attention is given to their integration into the urban landscape, natural and cultural heritage, aesthetics, design and urban mobility to avoid the “bunkerisation” of cities. These security devices also reflect the different approaches of these three cities when securing urban public spaces.
  • Through open debates such as the Local Governance Workshops or the European Weeks of Security of Nice, Turin and Liège, the project aims to give a voice to European local stakeholders, police representatives, experts and civil society in debating on security and public spaces.
  • The Final Publication of the project will include various case studies and factsheets including concrete tools on a variety of topics, such as communication, innovation and cooperation in crisis management.
The Role of Efus

Efus has led a working group of 11 European cities (Athens, Edinburgh, Essen, Gdańsk, Leeds, Lisboa, London, Madrid, Munich, Riga, Xàbia) that have specific issues and knowledge on the protection of urban public spaces, as well as the Expert Advisory Committee (EAC), a group of 14 specialists from various fields who are working on how to design safe, open and accessible public spaces.

The Publication Series

Safe and inclusive public spaces:
European cities share their experience

The management and protection of urban public spaces remains one of the top priorities of local and regional authorities, and a key mandate from the electorate, given their central role in the attractiveness of cities and in fostering the social inclusion of all groups of the population, as well as cities’ offer of culture, leisure and trade opportunities.
Unsurprisingly, this has long been a key area of work for the European Forum for Urban Security (Efus), as a network dedicated to urban security gathering some 250 cities of all sizes from 16 European countries.
The waves of terrorist attacks against European cities since the mid-2010s have sent shockwaves in European local and regional authorities, which found themselves confronted with the complex challenge of securing their urban public spaces without turning them into “bunkers”. What can cities do to render their public spaces more safe, inclusive and open to all? How to collaborate more efficiently with national authorities, but also police forces and all the other relevant local stakeholders? How to take into account new technological developments? How to better involve citizens and civil society?

The Publication Series of PACTESUR is a collection of articles, interviews and guides written by the project’s Associated Cities and the EAC with the aim of contributing to the European debate on the protection of public spaces. Because the security challenges affecting public spaces are in constant evolution, this collection intends to be a space for reflection and discussion on these issues. Topics include, among others, the challenges of Covid-19, protecting places of worship, raising citizens’ awareness, the impact of urban planning and design in feelings of (in)security, the use of drones and the importance of art in public spaces.

> Read the articles:


January 2019 – December 2022


Marta Pellón Brussosa – Programme Manager

Visit the project’s website

The PACTESUR project is financed 90% by the DG HOME’s (European Commission) Internal Security Fund (ISF) Police programme.