#EURegionsWeek

UDN: How to enhance a strategic approach for sustainable urban development?

Wed 9, October 2019
11:30 - 13:00 CET

Participants of the session will gain knowledge and capacity on how to turn their plans into strategic, integrated, measurable and fundable strategies to tackle their local needs and challenges.

  • Why is a strategic approach towards urban development important?
  • The big picture about the design and implementation of integrated strategies with some examples and how we pass from good strategy to good implementation based on the Integrated Action Plans study of URBACT
  • The Bonn case: how to localise Sustainable Development Goals?
  • Some other city cases: Waterford (IE) and Fundao (PT) what makes a strategy a good strategy?

Article 7 of ERDF on Sustainable Urban Development (current programming period 2014-2020), allowed cities to set-up integrated urban strategies that are now fully or partly funded by Structural Funds. For 2021-2027, the EC will continue this approach and improve it taking on board the lessons learned and good practices from the Urban Development Network, URBACT, JRC and other relevant stakeholders.

Sally Kneeshaw, Gender Equality Expert, Kneeshawconsulting, United Kingdom.
Adele Bucella, Head of Unit - Projects and Programming, URBACT, France.
Katherine Collins, Waterford Cultural Quarter Project Manager, Waterford Council, Ireland.
Verena Schwarte, policy advisor, Amt für Internationales und globale Nachhaltigkeit, Germany.
Ed Thorpe, Director and Policy Consultant, E40 Group, Hungary.
Fiona Wieland, Policy officer, DG REGIO, Belgium.
Paulo Águas, Councilman, City of Fundão, Portugal.
09WS573
Workshop
A Europe Closer to Citizen
European Commission - DG REGIO, Laura Hagemann Arellano
English (EN)

Session summary

Integration as such is not so easy to grasp, as termss like horizontal and vertical integration do not always ring a bell to everyone. To fully understand what "integrated" means, we need to break it down it into different, more manageable elements. In a study done by URBACT, which looked at 205 cities and their integrated local action plans, these elements were explained. The presentation can be downloaded from the EWRC website. The presenter Ed Thorpe made it clear that there is not a box you can tick "enough integration? Yes or no". No matter where you stand in the process there are always elements you can improve. "The main question is whether you have put the right process in place, not whether it is integrated enough". Adele Bucella from the URBACT secretariat explained what kind of tools URBACT offers. She reinforced that the process is the most important factor, not a collection of actions. Six implementation challenges have been formulated (as an outcome of working with 36 cities focusing on implementing their strategies). She said that "the cities that we worked with were supposed to have a strategy in place, but these were often not proper plans at all". URBACT will soon launch an online toolkit that will help cities set up and implement their strategies.

In case study presentations, the City of Bonn explained that "the Sustainable Development Goals offered them the opportunity to permanently anchor issues." It enabled them to bring forward issues relevant for their city. They succeeded in aligning different strategies at different governmental levels by using and localising the SDGs, noting that the process took them more than 3 years.

The city of Fundao, Portugal, showed that small municipalities (30 000 inhabitants) can work strategically by scaling up by working closely together with surrounding areas. The URBACT AGRI-URBAN network showed a new relationship between agricultural production and consumption in small and medium-sized urban areas, with the implementation of a new sustainable model.

"As a small city in a rural area we need to always think about territorial integration – to improve local food chains, but also cooperate with other towns and cities in the region, for our businesses to find markets and consider sustainability at every stage."

 The City of Waterford, Ireland, showed through their URBACT network creative spirits that entrepreneurship was boosted through creative urban strategies.

“We focus on the creative industries, as they have the potential  to not only drive economic growth, but also to create better quality of life,   by improving our cultural offer, animating public spaces and building  strong  communities.”

More support to work in a more integrated thus strategic way can be found at the URBACT website and the Commission websites: UDN and JRC. Soon there will be handbooks available for cities to assist them in setting up an integrated planning process aligned with Cohesion Policy programming.

 

Take away message

Take away: it is crucial to set up a qualitative planning process in advance based on the needs of stakeholders, participation of stakeholders and transnational exchange!

Photos



"the cities that we worked with were supposed to have a strategy in place, but these were often not proper plans at all" – Adele Bucella, Head of Unit – Projects and Programming, URBACT, France

 

"The Sustainable Development Goals offered them the opportunity to permanently anchor issues" – Verena Schwarte, policy advisor, Amt für Internationales und globale Nachhaltigkeit, City of Bonn, Germany.

"The main question is whether you have put the right process in place, not whether it is integrated enough" – Ed Thorpe, Director and Policy Consultant, E40 Group, Hungary.

"As a small city in a rural area we need to think about territorial integration – to improve local food chains, but also cooperate with other towns/cities in the region, for our businesses to find markets and consider sustainability at every stage" – Paulo Águas, Councillor, City of Fundão, Portugal

"We focus on the creative industries, as they have the potential  to not only drive economic growth, but also to create better quality of life, by improving our cultural offer, animating public spaces and building  strong  communities" –Katherine Collins, Waterford Cultural Quarter Project Manager, Waterford Council, Ireland

"The main question is whether you have put the right process in place, not whether it is integrated enough" – Ed Thorpe, Director and Policy Consultant, E40 Group, Hungary