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European Parliament

Policy Department: Structural and Cohesion Policies, European Parliament: The Possibilities of Success of the Sustainable Communities Approach and its Implementation

 In September 2006, CUDEM, together with partners in ERBEDU (the European Regional Business and Economic Development Unit, based in Leeds Business School) were commissioned by the European Parliament to look at the possibilities of success of the Sustainable Communities Approach and its implementation across the EU 25.

The work followed the Bristol Accord signed during the UK Presidency of the European Union in December 2005, where 25 European Ministers and representatives from European institutions debated and agreed a Europe-wide framework and set of principles and characteristics to help deliver sustainable communities across Europe. According to the Bristol Accord, "Sustainable Communities are places where people want to live and work, now and in the future. They meet the diverse needs of existing and future residents, are sensitive to their environment, and contribute to a high quality of life. They are safe and inclusive, well planned, built and run, and offer equality of opportunity and good service for all". Despite its diversity it was deemed that Europe faces common challenges in building better places, which it can best address through collaboration and sharing of best practice.

The purpose of the study was to provide the European Parliament's Committee on Regional Development with the factors leading to success or failure of the Sustainable Community approach and the wider EU Urban Acquis. The study was composed of three major parts. Firstly, it examined the extensive research carried out across the EU that has focussed on integrated place-making, spatial planning and urban practices in Europe, highlighting key challenges and trends on a country-by country basis.  Secondly, the researchers identified and analysed a number of good practice case studies at a variety of spatial scales and with a wide range of policy themes, drawing out the lessons for policy makers that are transferable between regions and Member States. Thirdly, the research undertook an analysis of available indicators that can be used to monitor progress towards adoption of a Sustainable Communities approach.

Final Report

The Final Report, which includes a series of recommendations to inform the European Parliament's deliberations on Sustainable Communities for 2007-2013, was published by the European Parliament in March 2007

The project team presented the Final Report at a Public Hearing on Sustainable Communities held by the European Parliament Committee on Regional Development in the European Parliament building in Brussels on 2 May 2007.

The project team was composed of:

  • Professor John Shutt (Project Director)
  • Dr Neil Evans (Project Manager, lead part 3 - European Indicators)
  • Mr Stratis Koutsoukos (lead part 2 - European Best Practice)
  • Ms Michelle Wishardt (lead part 1 - European Research Review)
  • Mr Steve Littlewood (lead on key links with the ASC)
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