FOCI - Future Orientation for Cities


Cities and Urban Agglomerations: their functionality and development opportunities for European competitiveness and cohesion.

Thematic scope

Cities and urban development are a focal point of current territorial development policy. Against the background of the Lisbon Agenda’s aim of growth and jobs, cities are seen as the main potential motors for the achievement of the set goals, which was also acknowledged in EU Cohesion policy documents for 2007 – 2013, including the Community Strategic Guidelines, as well as the Territorial Agenda and the “Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities”, complementing the Territorial Agenda by focusing on the issue of sustainable cities.

This project shall thus analyse the current state, trends and development perspectives for the largest cities and urban agglomerations within the European territory. It shall identify the driving forces of urban development which are the most relevant for understanding urban evolutions and offer scenarios for the development of Europe’s cities leading to alternative policy options.

Please read more about the main research areas and main results envisaged on the next page.

Lead Partner

Free University of BrusselsIGEAT, Brussels (Belgium).
Detailed information on the contracted project team can be found under Transnational Project Groups

Sounding Board

Karl Peter Schön, Germany
Wiktor Szydarowski, Sweden

Budget: € 998 888,00

Project’s lifetime: September 2008 – December 2010

Delivery of Reports

Inception Report: 11 November 2008
Interim Report: 30 April 2009
Draft Final Report: 30 September 2010
Final Report: 15 December 2010


Reports will be published once they are approved by the ESPON Monitoring Committee

More information

Please contact the Project Expert at the ESPON Coordination Unit:
Michaela GENSHEIMER, e-mail: [email protected]

Main research areas

  • The relation between the functionality of cities and their competitiveness, their socio-economic and environmental situation as well as their urban quality.
  • The trends of and opportunities for European cities in terms of competitiveness, social cohesion and environment, contributing to the description of the realities of European cities and to the understanding of the driving forces of urban development in the next 15 – 20 years.
  • The relation of cities to their hinterland, especially their role as growth poles / motors, identifying the factors determining the strength of ties between metropolis and the region and their affect on competitiveness of these systems.
  • Analysis of existing and identification of potential « polycentric » inter-city cooperation for increasing competitiveness and service provision, confronting the concept of polycentricity with the reality of networks at different scales.

The above mentioned research areas are examined on three different scales – the intra-urban, the regional and the supra-regional and European scale with its networks of cities by making use of the most recent results of the Urban Audit.

Main results envisaged

  • Data input to the ESPON Database.
  • Indicators offering additional information on the functional specification of FUA/LUZ and new complex indicators of cities´ development opportunities, competitiveness, socio-economic and environmental situation.
  • Typologies of the urban system of Europe according to the functional specialisation of the cities and their competitiveness, including the possibilities of enhancing the competitiveness through cooperation and the impact of cities in relation to different types of territories.
  • Case studies of cooperation opportunities of cities/urban agglomerations to improve competitiveness and cohesion.
  • Maps of the European urban system revealing functional strengths and weaknesses, territorial classification and variations of urban functionality, opportunities for competitiveness and cohesion and possibilities for cooperation of cities/urban agglomerations in polycentric zones/clusters.


Final Report - Executive summary

  • Acrobat Document | 897KB

Final Report

  • Acrobat Document | 6.91MB

Final Report - Scientific Report

  • Acrobat Document | 23.49MB

Draft Final Report

  • Acrobat Document | 15.62MB

Draft Final Report-Executive Summary

  • Acrobat Document | 8.32MB

Draft Final Report-Scientific Report

  • Acrobat Document | 63.30MB

Press Release-Interim Report

  • Acrobat Document | 23KB

Interim Report

  • Acrobat Document | 1.60MB

Interim Report Annex

  • Acrobat Document | 11.47MB

Inception Report

  • Acrobat Document | 190KB

Inception Report Annex

  • Acrobat Document | 332KB

Project Specification

  • Acrobat Document | 76KB