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Brussels, 3 December 2001

Urban II programme: European Union approves EUR 9.9 million support for urban regeneration in Dortmund 'Nordstadt', Germany

Mr Michel Barnier, member of the European Commission, responsible for regional policy has announced the approval by the European Commission of a programme for urban regeneration in Dortmund in the state of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany. This URBAN(1) II Community Initiative Programme will provide € 9.9 million from the European Union over the period 2000-2006. The European funding has attracted about € 18 million in further investment from the public sector and € 0.8 million in private investments, creating total resources of about € 28.7 million. Programme priorities will include improving the quality of urban infrastructure and spatial planning, supporting the local economy, preventing social exclusion, and supporting local inhabitants' networks.

Announcing the decision, Michel BARNIER said: "The URBAN Community Initiative is a creative and innovative approach to urban regeneration. These programmes have a strong "grassroots" emphasis, involving local people and organisations at all stages in the decision making process. The URBAN II programme for the Nordstadt-district in the city of Dortmund is no exception. It mobilises a strong local partnership and I fully endorse the programme's priorities for local development. I am confident that this programme will make a substantial contribution to urban regeneration in Dortmund."

The programme area covers part of the 'Nordstadt' district, with an eligible population of 55,000 inhabitants on a surface of less than 300 ha. The socio-economic problems of the Nordstadt are related to the phasing-out of the coal mining and steel industry. Many of the local inhabitants had been employed in the steel and mining industry. The area still experiences high unemployment, especially among ethnic minorities and young people. Poverty is widespread, increasing the danger of social exclusion and the education level is low.

In order to address these problems, the programme focuses on three priorities:

  • Improving the quality of the physical urban environment, focusing on public spaces in housing areas. Areas formerly occupied by factories should now get a 'green' destination or a recreational function, especially for children and young people (Community contribution: € 2.3 million);

  • Supporting the local economy, in particular strengthening local businesses through counselling and investment support, promoting the area, as well as stimulating entrepreneurship, employment pacts, and local business networks (Community contribution: € 4.5 million);

  • Stimulating grassroots initiatives and structures by local inhabitants, in particular integration of groups at risk of being socially excluded, supporting schools as centres for social integration. Project examples are measures (counselling, therapy) for prostitutes, drug and alcohol addicts, stimulating social activities in and around schools, involving students' parents, etc (Community contribution: € 2.5 million).

A Community contribution of € 0.6 million will be reserved for technical assistance.

In accordance with the aims of URBAN, special attention will be given to innovative development strategies and pilot projects, (inter) national exchange of experience and best-practice, introduction of local governmental improvements, participation in city-management, local capacity-building and the implementation of a communication plan.

The URBAN II Community Initiative

The goal of the URBAN Community Initiative is "economic and social regeneration of cities and of neighbourhoods in crisis in order to promote sustainable urban development". The second round of URBAN ("URBAN II") will cover the period 2000-2006, supporting 70 deprived urban areas across the EU. Total funding from the EU alone will be € 728,3 million and this will attract at least as much again in matched funding from both public and private sectors.

The total URBAN II allocation for Germany amounts to € 145.7 million Programmes have been submitted for Berlin, Bremerhaven, Dessau, Dortmund, Gera, Kassel, Kiel, Leipzig, Luckenwalde, Mannheim/Ludwigshafen, Neubrandenburg and Saarbrücken.

A particular feature of URBAN II is the development of innovative models for urban regeneration. Another feature is a strong emphasis on partnership and on involving local actors. There will also be an exchange of information and experience on sustainable urban development across the European Union.

URBAN II is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which falls under the responsibility of Mr Barnier. Funding is available for initiatives such as the renovation of buildings and public spaces, local employment initiatives, the improvement of education and training systems for disadvantaged groups, the development of environmentally friendly public transport systems, the introduction of more efficient energy management systems and the use of renewable energy, developing the potential created by information society technologies.

The Commission adopts programmes, which are proposed by a partnership including local and community groups. These programmes run for the whole of the period 2000-2006 and local actors are involved at all stages in this process.

Managing Authority

Ministerium für Städtebau und Wohnen,

Kultur und Sport des Landes Nordrhein-Westfalen

Breite Straße 31

D-40213 Düsseldorf

Phone: +49 (0) 211/3483-288

Fax :+49 (0) 211/3483-651

E-Mail :

Further information

More detailed information on URBAN II can be found in MEMO/01/301 or at the following European Commission website :

(1) See below for a description of URBAN II.

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