Sustaining, and scaling-up are frequently discussed in relation to urban, regional and national policy. Although there are no widely accepted definitions, one definition used by UN agencies in the context of rural development (IFAD, 2015) and others (Jowett & Dyer, 2012) describe scaling up as: the expansion, adaptation and sustainment of successful policies, programmes or projects in different places and over time to reach more people.
For this study we have developed a set of definitions. A project can be thought of as sustainable when a continued utilisation of its results can be assured after the completion of the funding period of the project. This can be achieved in two different ways. Either by securing ongoing alternative funding, as some projects, especially certain revenue-based projects will always need additional finance to continue. This might come from the municipalitie’s own budget, from additional grants from ERDF or from elsewhere. Some projects are capable of continuing into the future without fresh funding because they are based on a viable business model. For example a workspace which will continue to sustain economic activity as long as the building is in good shape and where the rental income is the income source.
Scaling up refers to the deliberate efforts to increase the scale and therefore impact of successful innovations so as to benefit more people. Scale can be increased by expanding the size of the original project to cover more territory and/or more population. Expansion mostly happens within the same administration.
Scaling up can also be increased by spreading and transfer. Spreading can occur informally, for example by another city visiting the project to learn how it was done and then going on to implement something similar back home. It can also happen more formally through a funded transfer mechanism for example through the URBACT programme which opened a call for proposals for UIA round 1 projects wishing to transfer their approach in early 2020. Five pilot UIA/URBACT transfer networks were selected.
Some preparatory actions are possible within the funding envelope of the UIA project itself, especially around developing toolkits, websites and other dissemination activities as well as hosting visits from other cities for field visits.
Projects can also increase their impact through policy mainstreaming. Policy mainstreaming represents a stage when the new innovation becomes normal practice for example in the original municipality, in its Member State or even at EU level. Urban innovations that have made this leap since the millenium include shared cycle schemes and more recently shared electric vehicles (scooters, bikes and cars).
The spiral diagram (see Figure 6.1) assumes a certain linearity which may be altered in practice. Not every project goes through the stages in the diagram in the same order or starts at the same place. Some approaches within UIA were of immediate interest to other cities and attracted considerable interest from the outset. As part of its capitalisation strategy, UIA encouraged projects within the same Urban Agenda theme to work together especially in the later stages of the programme. For example, Utrecht plan Einstein took part in a review of migrant and refugee integration projects in Antwerp in June 2019 along with three other projects from round 1 of UIA which led to a report by UIA experts.
In analysing sustaining, scaling up and transfer the research questions were developed according to the four principles: place-based approach, multi-level governance, participatory approach and cross-sectoral approach. The hearings with project coordinators and partners aimed to answer a range of questions:
- Did the project develop long term sustainability?
- Did the project succeed in obtaining new funding for its continuation and/or expansion after the UIA funding ended and from where?
- To what extent will the MUA replicate the place-based approach?
- How can projects be upscaled and what are the place-based, partnership and cross-sectoral conditions?
- Will the main urban authority apply the same place-based approach in the future? What have been the longer-term organisational effects within the city’s administration?
- Was the project transferred or spread to other similar areas, in the city or to other cities?