The municipalities that make up large agglomeration areas are more and more interdependent. At the same time, socio-economic problems do not stop at city limits. In this context, existing administrative structures and policies are not sufficient to treat the growing number of challenges and the action needed. The nine partner cities that are part of the URBACT CityRegion.Net project worked together to develop new structures and tools that make it possible to improve collaboration on the "city-region" level.
As part of their Local Action Plans, the nine partner cities worked on three areas of inter-city cooperation: developing common land-use policies and instruments to avoid urban sprawl, building new financial instruments adapted to general interest projects, and getting all the various stakeholders involved by redefining integrated regional development.
CityRegion.Net identified three models for possible cooperation based on the size of the neighbouring cities/municipalities and the objectives pursued
Based on the experiences of partner cities, the CityRegion.Net project formulated recommendations for models of structures for cooperation that could be set up in cities that want to join efforts to face a certain number of issues and share the financial burden:
- A model of cooperation among small municipalities
- A model of cooperation between a large city and neighbouring municipalities
- A multi-level decision-making framework
The network added to this recommendation 5 methodological criteria and questions that should be raised during the development phase of this cooperation:
- The framework: What is the institutional framework in place? Will cooperation be made compulsory by law or will it be voluntary?
- The decision-making process: How? And who has a vote?
- Involvement of the appropriate parties: Who? How urgent is it? What is required? And what are possible external factors?
- The nature of the cooperation: What types of activities will it apply to and with what attributions? Who will be responsible for it and why?
- Funding: What model will be used for the cooperative structure itself, but also for setting up shared projects? Are revenues redistributed and how?
The project also developed tools and recommendations for the areas of involvement that could be the object of cooperation among cities:
- Land use: The best way to deploy measures aimed at reducing land use is to get all the municipalities to develop a compulsory territorial development plan.
- Public transport: It is important to share the financial cost and the income equally. Creating a transport association is one solution. All the transport available on the city-region level (train, bus, tramway, metro, etc.) should be include in the transport network with a single rate system.
- Participative planning: New approaches are needed to distribute costs in a fair and equitable manner between cities and their urban areas. More and more municipalities follow the measures applied by their neighbouring municipalities in order to be efficient in meeting their obligations, especially regarding waste collection and water management.
- Funding: In a period of financial crisis, creativity is needed to finance projects, notably by calling on private partners and Public-Private partnerships. It is not always possible to have support from European funds when the cities cannot raise the required matching funds of their own.
Download the CityRegion.Net Final Handbook "Practical guidelines for co-operations in agglomeration areas" (the document also includes a summary of the Local Action Plans)
- CityRegion.Net Project mini-site - URBACT website
- Zoom on Zurich - URBACT website