Skip to main content
European Week of Regions and Cities

#EURegionsWeekUniversity – Are Integrated Sustainable Urban Development Strategies contributing to a more cohesive EU territory?

This session takes a reflective approach and looks at whether EU Integrated Sustainable Urban Development Strategies (ISUDs) in 2014-2020 contributed to the overarching EU policy goal of territorial cohesion by supporting sustainable and inclusive urbanisation and promoting knowledge mobilisation/exchanges between politicians, policymakers, practitioners and researchers, who share experiences of implementing the ISUDs in several EU countries.

The goal of this session is to debate the contribution of EU Integrated Strategies for Sustainable Urban Development (ISUDs) to promoting sustainable and inclusive urbanisation in Europe, as pillars towards a more cohesive EU territory. This session aims to promote knowledge exchanges between politicians, policymakers, practitioners and researchers and to develop networks and alliances focusing on urban and regional development. The session will include presentations of practitioners' perspectives on what worked well and less well in the implementation of the ISUDs in 2014-2020. By focusing on a recent policy tool, this session will provide new content and perspectives for policymakers and practitioners that have not been presented previously. It will allow for the identification of practical measures and public policies aimed at investing in a fairer, greener and more digital future through implementation of the ISUDs, such as support for green transportation and socio-economic rehabilitation of deprived neighbourhoods.   


Wed 13, October 2021
09:30 - 11:00 CET
Eduardo Medeiros, Geography Professor and Integrated Researcher, ISCTE – Lisbon University Institute.
Arno Van Der Zwet, Senior Lecturer, School of Education and Social Sciences, University of the West of Scotland.
Sylwia Borkowska, PhD Candidate, European Policies Research Centre, University of Strathclyde.
Bernardo Campos, Head of Department, CCDR Centro.
Cristina Fernandez, Architect, EUROsociAL+ Programme (EU) / FIIAPP.
Minna Torppa, Programme Director, 6Aika Strategy Office, 6Aika/ Forum Virium Helsinki.
Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP), European Regional Science Association (ERSA), Regional Studies Association European Foundation (RSA Europe)
English (EN)
Replay – English

Session summary

This workshop debated the contribution of EU Integrated Strategies for Sustainable Urban Development (SUDs) to promoting sustainable and inclusive urbanisation in three EU Member States (Portugal, Poland and Finland) and a complementary analysis of an urban integrated strategy and subregional planning process in Central America. The presenters concluded that the EU SUDs have had an important impact on promoting a more cohesive EU by helping fund projects which support: (I) environmental sustainability processes in several domains; (ii) social cohesion via the physical and social rehabilitation of deprived urban neighbourhoods and specific buildings, and (iii) territorial governance and cooperation processes via the engagement of multi-level governance, metropolitan collaboration and shared strategy-shared leadership. Likewise, a regional integration perspective has the potential to increase the coordination of urban planning responses in Central American cities.

Take away message

An integrated and sustainable urban development policy approach is challenging, since it requires the involvement of several different partners, with different needs. However, the workshop presented examples demonstrating the added value of these integrated development approaches to promoting more cohesive territories, from increasing inter-urban collaboration to tackling common urban development challenges and increasing support for green and social inclusive urban development.


Finish case - Minna Torppa: Collaboration between cities, companies, R&D&I organisations and citizens enhanced the innovation capacity and resilience of the whole ecosystem in the 6Aika project.

Central American case - Cristina Fernández Ramírez: "Central America mostly has highly centralised land use systems, despite promoting autonomy in the land planning process of local governments. However, coordination difficulties are detected between central policies and the specific needs of each territory and their possibilities for implementing the general guidelines, which may cause duplication of efforts and loss of resources."