Our Project

Most towns in Europe face complex socio-economic challenges. To tackle the complex interactions between social, physical and economic factors which lead to the decline of neighbourhoods requires expertise and resources which often exceed those available to small and medium sized towns. Smaller municipalities therefore are increasingly looking for opportunities to develop their capacity to work more effectively with resident and business communities on the development of integrated and locally sustainable solutions. The SURE network is designed to develop this capacity and to support its partners in the implementation of integrated socio-economic regeneration strategies which build on local strengths and opportunities. This will be achieved by developing an integrated Socio-economic Urban REhabilitation Model for small and medium sized cities.

The SURE network is a space for learning and exchange, structured around core themes such as tourism, enterprise, physical improvements, strategy, and community. SURE is designed to support officers and politicians from municipalities in working hand in hand with their counterparts of other towns to explore whether there are better or different ways of tackling the commonly shared problems.

- Tourism as a way of facilitating local economic and cultural development;

- Encouraging small enterprise and innovation;

- Physical improvements to important buildings and open spaces;

- Strategic partnership and planning to regenerate housing markets, re-use land and buildings and manage town centres; and

- Community development to build confidence, tackle prejudice and engage both young and older people in meaningful activity and dialogue.

In addition, SURE network provides an important contribution for every city partner in the field of participatory planning as a cross-cutting theme. This is because the active engagement of local citizens is considered to be central to the development of

The main output of the SURE network will be the integrated Socio-economic Urban Rehabilitation model, which is based on the experience of SURE partners and best practices and designed to provide guidance for other practitioners who intend to develop similar strategies for their own towns and cities. This will be complemented by a toolkit on participatory approaches towards planning and strategy development in deprived neighborhoods. The SURE model will be disseminated in national languages in the frame of publication of booklets. It will be prepared with the help of the Lead Expert for the final conference, together with policy recommendations and a best practice collection.

In line with the URBACT II principles, each partner has to make a Local Action Plan (LAP), which must be based on the lesson learnt during the exchange and learning activities of the project, and Local Support Groups (LSG) has a central role in the design and implementation of the LAPs. The heart of the SURE network are the LSGs which have set up by each city partner. The overall aim of the LSGs is to improve the impact of URBACT exchange activities at local level. LSG helps to spread the learning from transnational exchanges to a broader cross-section of local stakeholders and to ensure that the lessons learnt lead to change at a local level. The animation of LSGs will be organised through at least 10 local workshops per city partner.

Within this broad framework SURE partners will focus on the exploration of the above five specific topics which reflect their particular local circumstances and which will have to be addressed in conjunction with each other. These include:(any) sustainable socio-economic regeneration for all partner cities. SURE partners are supported in their work through a continuous supply of information on practical examples which reflect internationally recognised good practice and study visits designed to explore particular problems in greater depth and to exchange experience with other URBACT networks that share similar interest.

SURE network opreates between November, 2009 and December, 2012.

Topic

Challenges

All the SURE network partners, small and medium sized towns from all around Europe are facing a similar starting situation and challenges.

- The recent economic crisis necessitates the implementation of integrated urban rehabilitation approaches, mainly in small and medium sized cities, where a few economic sectors are often overly dominant in the local economies and labour markets.

- Large deprived residential and partly industrial urban areas are very close to dynamic city centres attracting significant tourism. These deprived areas have the potential of becoming new poles of growth due to their specific location and characteristics.

- Most of the partners have already started to implement the physical rehabilitation of these previously identified deprived urban areas but are often lacking the necessary knowledge to implement integrated urban renewal programmes that lead to tangible results.

The need for integrated and complex approaches is emphasized by major EU and national policies and strategic documents. Through a stronger emphasis on the quality of life of inhabitants and on participatory policy methods, and in general, on the importance of socio-economic aspects of urban rehabilitation, these innovative approaches could be the key to boost the local economies efficiently.

Key point of focus

Thematic focal points of SURE network in Phase II

During the Development Phase SURE network enlarged and specified the sub-themes of the project. The main themes: 1. local economic development and diversification, 2. community building and public spaces, 3. housing and facilities, 4. local employment development remain as the broad conceptual framework for the SURE network, but they will be addressed under more specific thematic headings:

- tourism (including: marketing strategies, development of packages, local markets, quality services, tourism driven economic development, etc.)

- enterprise (including: local employment development start-ups, local economic diversification, social enterprise, job creation for young people, etc.)

- and physical improvements (including: housing, pedestrian areas, public spaces, traffic, etc.)

Equally, broad topics around ‘working in partnership’ and ‘governance’ have been turned into network specific themes included mainly under strategy and community. Hence the five thematic focal points for the Implementation Phase of the SURE network are:

1. Tourism

2. Enterprise

3. Physical improvements

4. Strategy (including: town centre management, partnerships, re-use bulidings, managing housing markets, etc.)

5. Community (including: youth, elderly, ethnic minorities, education, etc.)

In addition,

the SURE Network provides an important contribution for every SURE partner in the field of participatory planning as a cross-cutting theme. This is because the active engagement of local citizens is considered to be central to the development of sustainable socio-economic regeneration for all partner cities.

A word from the lead partner

What motivates you to be part of the URBACT adventure?

In Hungary, all cities with County Rights are due to elaborate an integrated urban development strategy, comprising of a compulsory social urban rehabilitation component and of a non-compulsory multi-functioning development component. It is always difficult to decide which are the fields of intervention that really serve the interests of urban rehabilitation instead of only keeping up the pretence of aiding certain purposes, and which are the social interventions of the city that serve the needs of the whole city. The aim of the city of Eger is to study how certain complex urban renewal programmes have been implemented, with a special focus on social issues. Based on the good practices and the lessons learnt, the city wishes to develop its own programme in the future.

Who would you like to benefit from the work achieved in your project?

In a small or medium sized town the whole society has to benefit from the situation, that a deprived neighborhood and its residents receive some solutions in their hand. It needs expertise definitely, but sensibility as well.