Experience shows that whilst implementing UIA projects, beneficiaries are expending innovation capabilities that are crucial to shape their transformative role as urban policy makers. Other crosscutting challenges are identified, completing the above list of 7 challenges.
Integrated Territorial Approach
With the objective of fostering sustainable urban development, UIA projects are designed and delivered in accordance with the principles of Integrated Territorial Development.
As part of the new programming period 2021-2027, the Commission published a proposal for a multiannual financial framework for the new Cohesion Policy. The Common Provision Regulation (CPR) - regulating the uses of the EU structural funds - introduces a number of innovations, amongst which the identification of five Policy Objectives. While the policy objectives 1 to 4 address single thematic challenges, the policy objective 5 (PO5) addresses multi-thematic challenges in a certain territory.
PO5 is about : “A Europe closer to citizens, by supporting locally-led development strategies and sustainable urban development across the EU”
It has been designed as a horizontal objective, with the aim of fostering the integrated territorial, urban and local development strategies, providing greater thematic flexibility – as it allows the combination of all intervention fields available under PO1-4 – and incentivising a special governance method based on a more collaborative working and decision-making.
These changes are driven by the conviction that overcoming policy silos and institutional, sectoral, administrative and political boundaries at a lower level of proximity, integrated territorial development (ITD) can help increase the effectiveness, relevance and return on investments of Cohesion Policy interventions.
The urban dimension of the Integrated Territorial Development principles are defined by the New Leipzig Charter, a charter endorsed by the informal council of EU ministers on urban matters. It provides a strategic framework for the implementation of the ITD at the urban scale, with the aim to “stimulate innovative and participatory approaches in urban development, promote socio-economic and territorial cohesion, and support polycentric settlement structures”. It sets (amongst others) the following principles:
- place-based approach: Focusing urban strategies and funding instruments on the local situation, given potentials, in order to foster endogenous urban transformation and reduce socioeconomic inequalities
- integrated approach: Coordinating all areas of urban policy in a spatial sectorial and temporal manner
- participation and co-creation: Involving all urban actors to strengthen local democracy, letting citizens having a say in process that impact their daily lives. Including new form of co-creation and co-design practices that can help cities in managing conflicts, share responsibilities, find innovative solutions
- multi-level governance: tackling challenges jointly across all levels of urban and spatial policy
UIA projects are testing new delivery mechanisms for sustainable urban development and over their implementation process, projects generate valuable knowledge around questions such as:
- To what extent UIA projects have been delivered taking into account the above-mentioned principles?
- What has it meant for urban authorities to implement an integrated territorial development project?
- Has such an approach produced meaningful practices of innovation and how has it influenced the achievement of the expected results?
In 2021, as part of its capitalisation activities, the most promising experiences of the integrated territorial approach for sustainable urban development among ongoing UIA projects will be identified.