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Implementing community-led local development in cities: Lessons from URBACT

13 March 2012

How can community-led local development (CLLD) become a powerful tool for improving our cities? Drawing on URBACT’s experience, experts in urban development have put forward their first answers in an article entitled ‘Implementing “community-led” local development in cities. Lessons from URBACT’.

URBACT published the article following the European Commission’s inclusion of a new feature in its proposals for cohesion policy for the 2014-2020 programming period: four major funds are encouraged to work together to support “community-led local development”. With this CLLD initiative, the Commission proposes to “facilitate the implementation of integrated local development strategies and the formation of local action groups based on the experience of the LEADER approach”.

While this is a very promising proposal, it is important to consider how such a method or model, based on a predominantly rural experience, can be applied to the urban context, according to the URBACT article’s authors Paul Soto, with Melody Houk and Peter Ramsden.

Building on the URBACT experience, the article argues that while most of the fundamental principles of the LEADER approach are transferrable, it is necessary to adapt the model to the complex and specific characteristics of urban areas.

“We hope it will start a debate,” say the authors. “The proposals for the future are being developed as we write. It is essential to bring in the experience of different cities in different parts of Europe to ensure that these proposals are translated into operational proposals that can live up to the challenges cities face.”

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