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.
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:
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.
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.