Brussels, 19 December 2001
Urban II programme : European Union contributes Euro 9.97 million to urban regeneration in Porto-Gondomar, Portugal
Mr Michel Barnier, member of the European Commission responsible for regional policy, has announced the approval by the Commission of a programme for urban regeneration in an area located between the municipalities of Porto and Gondomar, in the North of Portugal. This URBAN(1) Community Initiative programme will mobilise total resources of € 14.1 million over the period 2000-2006, of which € 9.98 million come from European funds. The programme has attracted € 4.19 million in further investment from the public sector, mainly from the municipalities of Porto and Gondomar. Priorities will include renovating the urban environment and public spaces, preventing drug addiction, promoting social inclusion, developing economic activities and facilitating the reintegration of young people into the education system.
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 at all stages in the decision making process. The programme for the cities of Porto and Gondomar is no exception. It mobilises a strong local partnership and I fully endorse the programme priorities of development of the potential of the information society, urban development and communication measures. I am confident that this programme will make a substantial contribution to urban regeneration in the cities of Porto and Gondomar."
The Porto-Gondomar URBAN area covers part of the freguesias (boroughs) of Campanhã, in the municipality of Porto and, Rio Tinto, in the municipality of Gondomar with an estimated population of 27,365. The area is located in the common administrative border between the two municipalities, and despite belonging to two different municipalities, presents remarkable physical, economic and social similarities and suffers from the same problems. The area is characterised by the proliferation of ruined districts with social problems and phenomena of drug addiction and drug trafficking. Public spaces and urban environment are extremely degraded and part of the population lives in shanty areas. The two municipalities decided to co-operate to set up this programme manly due to the common nature of problems they face and to achieve a better co-ordination of proposed remedies.
The programme aims to tackle the problems referred to above, with three main priorities:
An additional amount of € 0.69 million will finance technical assistance for this programme.
The main objective 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 some 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 allocation for Portugal amounts to € 19.2 million. Programmes have been submitted for Vale de Alcântara, in Lisbon; Damaia-Buraca, in Amadora and in the border area between Porto-Gondomar.
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.
Funding is available for initiatives such as the renovation of buildings and public space, 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.
URBAN II is financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), under the responsibility of Commissioner Barnier.
The managing authority of the Porto-Gondomar URBAN Programme is the 'Comissão de Coordenação da Região Norte' which can be reached at the following address:
Presidente da Comissão de Coordenação da Região Norte
Rua Rainha D. Estefânia, 251
Phone: 22 608 63 00
Fax: 22 600 20 40
More detailed information on the URBAN II Community Initiative can be found in MEMO/01/301 of 25 September 2001 or at the following websites:
European Commission : http://www.inforegio.ec.europa.eu/urban2/
Direcção Geral do Desenvolvimento Regional: http://www.dgdr.pt
Comissão de Coordenação del Norte: http://www.ccr-n.pt
(1) See below for a description of URBAN II