Urban Partnership Themes in a Wider Territorial Context

First partnerships of Urban Areas and Member States within the Urban Pact   European urban structure

First partnerships of Urban Areas and Member States within the Urban Pact (left image);
European urban structure (right image)

June 2016 - Over the last years, the movement in favour of an integrated European urban policy has gained momentum. Improving urban quality of life, addressing social challenges in cities, facilitating mobility and communications and ensuring that all cities fully contribute to national economic growth and job creation are important and interlinked objectives.

This discussion reaches an important milestone in June 2016, when EU member states and the European Commission will agree on an Urban Pact for Europe.

This Policy Brief aims at (1) showing examples of European-wide territorial evidence related to the first 4 partnerships of the Urban Pact that reveals the diversity facing cities within the same urban theme; (2) presenting some observations and policy considerations that are relevant from a wider territorial perspective; (3) informing the partnerships and all interested stakeholders of the approved plans to provide new evidence on the priority themes listed in the Urban Pact within the ESPON 2020 Cooperation Programme.

Key policy messages

Examples of EU wide evidence demonstrate a large diversity facing cities within each of the 4 urban themes. Analysis of presented evidence suggests a number of important messages that should be taken into account in the work of partnerships and in the envisaged Action Plans:

1. Aknowledge diversity Understanding urban diversity within each priority theme is an important precondition and starting point to arrive at proposals for Better Regulation, Better Funding and Better Knowledge that would be relevant for different types of urban areas in the European urban fabric. Neglecting urban diversity would result in a misused potential of the unique polycentric structure of Europe.

2. Consider territorial context The key social, economic and environmental opportunities and challenges facing European cities in an era of globalisation cannot be defined solely within existing administrative boundaries but need to consider a wider territorial context, the stronger international competition and the larger functional urban areas within which today’s urban development takes place. Equally, the achievement of wider EU territorial development policies cannot be addressed without reference to the key role of Europe’s metropolitan areas, cities and towns.

3. Promote territorial cooperation Metropolitan regions, cities and towns, even very small towns today need to consider joining forces in order to increase their development opportunities and competitiveness. This model of cooperation is in principle relevant at all levels of the European urban fabric. The cooperation with neighbouring metropolitan regions, cities and towns is about exploring competitive advantages, enhancing agglomeration economies and together reaching a higher level of critical mass. Such cooperation needs leadership, dedication and drive in terms of governance in a wider territorial context.

Read the Policy Brief below.