EPRSauthor By / February 17, 2014

What is a city? In focus on urban areas

What has anything from around 700 people to more than 17,000,000 and can cover from 0,44 square metres to more…

© grki / Fotolia
What is a city?
© grki / Fotolia

What has anything from around 700 people to more than 17,000,000 and can cover from 0,44 square metres to more than 2,500 square kilometers? Cities: whether a huge metropolis, a national capital or a historic town or port – cities have much in common.

The typologies proposed for Europe’s cities by various organisations all have their limitations, but for the first time, a common methodology, agreed by the EU and OECD allows a comparison of the number of cities and their share of population on a harmonised basis across Europe.

Are you wondering how well your city performs? Or, maybe, you are thinking your city needs better adapted policies and instruments to tackle its specific situation.

And, how important cities are for the EU economy? Some statistics:

  • 72% of the entire EU population lives in cities, town and suburbs;
  • some 85% of EU GDP is generated by cities;
  • around 50% of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) will be invested in urban areas;
  • 40% of CO2 emissions from road transport are emitted in urban areas.

First Europe was rural…

As early as the middle of last century, Europe had turned from a mainly rural to an urban continent. Either you live in rural or urban environment, you’re certainly concerned by city sprawl, which leads to loss of agricultural land in Europe.

Nowadays things are changing and new urban – rural relationships develop.

Then Europe became a predominantly urban continent….

In focus on urban areas
© Sunny studio / Fotolia

On 17-18 February 2014, the European Commission’s experts and key urban stakeholders will be exchanging views on the Forum “CiTIEs: Cities of Tomorrow: Investing in Europe on the need to strengthen the urban dimension of EU’s policies and programmes in which cohesion policy, also known as regional policy, will play a major role. The Forum will also give the local authorities the opportunity to outline what they would need from the EU in order to successfully deliver the policies on the ground. The urban dimension is even important enough to trigger a change of name for the Commission DG REGIO, to Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy on October 2012.

How could cohesion policy support cities to face their social and structural problems and challenges aggravated by the economic crisis? Housing, unemployment, immigration, climate change, energy saving or demographical changes, all affect our urban lives.

Some €21.1 billion has been earmarked for urban development between 2007 and 2013, representing 6.1% of the total EU Cohesion Policy budget. In the new financial framework 2014-2020, the urban dimension of the cohesion policy will get greater resources for integrated projects in cities – on top of other spending in urban areas.

In the future, Europe should encourage more sustainable cities…

Some believe that EU should invest still more on sustainable development of urban areas.

Sustainable urban development is one of the key elements of regional policy for 2014-2020. Investment priorities for urban areas include promoting low-carbon strategies, improving urban environment and promoting social inclusion. We bet that you been stuck in a traffic jam going in or out of a city once in a while. Urban mobility, another priority, is an increasing challenge for local governments.

Want to know more about the driving forces for sustainable urban development? Our keysource gives a selection of relevant analyses on the subject.

More on the topic (available to MEPs and EP staff only)

To stay informed on this topic, and receive both in-house analysis and external info sources, MEP offices and EP staff can subscribe to an e-mail alert on Urban Policy. You can also get a glimpse of the documents we have in our catalogue on the issue.

Urban Week - Cities of Tomorrow

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: