Within the mainstreaming of European initiatives to support an integrated and sustainable development of deprived urban areas, the role of regions as Managing Authorities for the Operational Programmes has become a crucial one.
The main objective of the RegGov Network is to provide all regional and local actors in neighbourhood regeneration with know-how and tools to develop and implement truly integrated and sustainable regeneration strategies. Only such strategies can lead to a re-integration of deprived neighbourhoods into the urban fabric and make the best possible use of regional funding opportunities, local political and administrational resources and – equally decisive – neighbourhood-based and private sector commitment and know-how.
The main issue to be addressed by the RegGov Network is the necessary horizontal and vertical co-operation in order to achieve a successful and sustainable regeneration of deprived urban neighbourhoods. The horizontal dimension – efficient and comprehensive Local Partnerships – has a long history in many of the old Member States.
A new dimension for most of the European countries lies in the vertical dimension of necessary co-operation: The new role of regions as catalysts of such policies in their new role of Managing Authorities for the European Structural Funds created a need for exchange and mutual learning processes all across Europe with regard to the co-operation between local, regional and, in some cases, national levels.
What motivates you to be part of the URBACT adventure?
From the very beginning, integrated development of deprived urban neighbourhoods in North Rhine-Westphalia has been understood and implemented as a ‘learning programme’. The exchange of experiences between cities was a crucial aim and led to the creation of the Regional City Network ‘Socially Integrative City’ in North Rhine-Westphalia in the early 1990s.
When the URBAN programme has been set up as an Operational Programme by the European Commission, the German-Austrian City Network has been created in order to improve the exchange of experiences at an international level. And the URBACT programme, in fact, represents an excellent platform for all European cities to discuss practical and theoretical approaches to integrated urban development of deprived neighbourhoods.
Who would you like to benefit from the work achieved in your project?
The RegGov project is looking for tools for Good Governance in integrated urban development policies. In a spirit of mutual learning, our network project is ambitious to make the importance of European policies, know-how and additional financial resources accessible for interested partners at local level in the participating cities and regions.
We are convinced that the policies developed and implemented in this field by the European Commission can generate important benefits for urban development at local level - but we do also know that local actors are still only rarely aware up to now about the crucial importance of European policies. We are happy that our network has been awarded the Fast Track Label, because this allows a more direct contact with the European Commission.
And in spite of all bureaucracy that European projects bring with them, we are convinced that local stakeholders can benefit from this European exchange programme because this experience can provide them with practical tools for local action and enlarge their possibilities to act within an international context. And that is the point in which we want our project to succeeded at the end.