Cluj was the fastest growing city economy in Europe between 2001 and 2019 its GDP grew by a factor of 4.5 with several expanding sectors and a housing market at risk of overheating. However, many of its leading industries are sub-contractors and research by Cluj Future of Work suggests that they are vulnerable to external shocks and to competition from cheaper locations.
The project Future of Work came about as a result of the city bidding to be European Capital of Culture, which brought together new partners and also helped the city form links with actors in Bucharest who were bidding at the same time. Although the Cluj bid failed, it led to a new dynamic which, when the opportunity arose in 2018 to respond to the UIA call on jobs and skills, meant that an embryonic partnership was ready to go into action.
The innovative aspect of the UIA project lies in its effort to apply future thinking to the local economy and to build new relations and new capacities to make the city more resilient in the future. As a result it is a project with multiple components which link together in time and place.