• New times, new tools

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    Expert Eddy Adams reflects on the impact of Covid-19 on URBACT and transnational cooperation.


    On a scale of 1-10, how much did you love the lockdown? Most likely, the responses will cluster around either end of the scale. In this age of extremes, love and hate trump the safe centre. Reactions to the pandemic are no different.

    For many of us, the biggest lockdown shift has been to a work and social life largely on line.  If you’re a city official, as well as working from home, this may have been compounded by redeployment to new tasks and uncertainty about what’s ahead. For many, the  ‘New Normal’ will mean organisational disruption and budget cuts.

    The implications of this are significant for URBACT – and for transnational cooperation more generally. URBACT provides space and resources for cities to collaborate across Europe. It offers a platform for mutual learning, skills exchange and the co-design of solutions. It also encourages frugal innovation and small-scale implementation. How will this working model look as we emerge from the dark tunnel of the pandemic?



    It’s not all bad


    Let’s start by focusing on the good stuff. The birds are singing, the air is cleaner and the pace of life is slower. Of course, there is the small matter of the economy, but for now, let’s enjoy the moment. For many, this is the world we wanted: fewer cars, fewer planes, and reduced industry emissions. Except, it’s just not how we planned to get there. This truly is a “be careful what you wish for” moment.

    But the reality is that the status quo ante was never a sustainable option. If the key messages from the Paris Agreement were not already enough, the EU Green Deal underlined the tension between what we have to do and the way we were behaving. Even if we can return to our old lives, we have a duty to avoid doing that: a duty to the planet, to our communities and those who come after us.

    What does that mean for URBACT’s transnational city networks? In the short term it means rethinking and rescheduling. As far as international travel is concerned, we can pretty much say arrivederci to 2020. For our 46 ongoing city networks, this involves lots of creative thinking around working methods. How can we sustain collaborative momentum without the scheduled physical meetings?

    For the programme it has required some tough decisions like the cancellation of the URBACT Summer University (USU) in Dubrovnik. This unique capacity building event, gathering 500 URBACT practitioners from across Europe, provides the methodological foundations and the network cement for our Action Planning Networks.

    But this is not the time to dwell on what we have lost. Like all moments of crisis, winners and losers will emerge from the rubble of this experience.  Those who can apply the key lessons most effectively will be the biggest beneficiaries. For URBACT, the prize is to redefine the meaning of transnational cooperation in Europe in a way that’s more consistent with our environmental goals. If the COVID-19 experience teaches us anything, it must be the need to ruthlessly prioritise the planet’s needs over everything else.


    The end of transnational cooperation as we know it?


    This doesn’t mean the end of transnational cooperation amongst Europe’s cities. However, it should mean the end of countless publicly funded plane trips across the continent. At the same time, it doesn’t mark the end of face-to-face meetings. As humans, we need these personal connections, and cooperation is all about strong working relationships. A Zoom meeting with someone you have already met in real life, is a different proposition to exchanging with a stranger via a screen.

    In the coming months – maybe years – we will be feeling our way towards whatever the new transnational cooperation model is. This is likely to be a blended approach which combines far fewer physical meetings with a growing number of online collaborative exchanges. Some people won’t like this; for example, those who enjoy the budget air travel experience. But many others will welcome this shift: people with disabilities and those with caring responsibilities amongst them.


    How to make it happen?


    If your new life is wall-to-wall online meetings with monotonous talking heads, then you’re probably fearing the worst. In reality, the successful future of transnational cooperation is contingent on our ability to do better than this. Much better.

    On 4 and 5 June 2020, the APN kick-off online meeting for phase II gathered about 100 people from all across Europe. URBACT team redesigned the meeting for an online environment. This included shortening the sessions to focus on the essentials, allowing participants to float between one and up to 23 breakout virtual rooms, and even testing new online tools. Was this is a taster for what future cooperation could look like?

    Overall, participants were positive about the meeting and the possibilities offered by digital technology. Fabiana, Lead Partner of Healthy Cities, said: “I prefer face-to-face meetings, but I’m getting used to this new situation.”

    There was also a recognition that URBACT has a key catalytic role here.  Patrizia, Lead Partner of Thriving Streets, said: “URBACT is very much about interactions, exchanges, sharing, relationships: it's not just a matter of using platforms, but also about social innovation, now taking into consideration the digital divide, responding to new ways we relate to each other, new ways of doing, organising and also thinking”.



    Over the past ten years, the programme has carved out a reputation for applying the principles of participation and interactivity in its networks. Interventions like the Summer University have been vital in conveying this message and enabling city officials to put these principles into practice. In doing so, the programme has built strong trusted relationships in every corner of the continent – and with cities of all sizes. URBACT can now optimise these trusted networks to support the transition to the next generation of urban collaboration in Europe.

    Yes, there are significant barriers to this: public authority reticence around digital platforms is one; lack of familiarity with the new tools is another. But these are not insurmountable.


    What do you know…the tools were there all along


    The digital platforms and tools are already in place. Indeed they have been there for some time, but until recently we have chosen not to embrace them. Instead, we have jumped on planes and, at best, employed digital tools as no more than visual telephones. This is our big ‘aha’ moment, as we realise that the growing repertoire of digital products allows us to do almost everything we do in physical meetings – and more.

    URBACT is already in the vanguard of driving this shift. The programme is designing a range of resources to support its networks to optimise digital tools for collaboration. This includes diagnostic research into the growing range of platforms and tools. It also involves research into the competencies required to design and facilitate successful online events. For URBACT, that means sessions with clear objectives that are well managed, highly participative – and also enjoyable.

    We won’t pretend we are there yet. This remains work in progress. The redesign of the Summer University as a digital experience and our forthcoming online toolbox are important components of this. So too, are the programme resources to support and build capacity for online facilitation. We are in the foothills of the long climb ahead of us.

    What is important however, is that we recognise that going back is not an option. Framed positively, this crisis has helped show the way ahead, not only in terms of a short-term response to the pandemic. The message is clear: we must reshape our working model if it is to be sustainable, and consistent with the policy priorities set out in the European Green Deal. Cities of Europe, are you with us?





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  • Small cities finding their economic niches in a competitive world

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    Can small cities with populations below 100 000, including large towns between 10 000 and 50 000, compete with their larger counterparts for talent and investment?

    Are there examples and good practices among partners, and from small cities across Europe, that will inspire new initiatives, which could be examined and explored in the iPlace Project?

    All cities compete and collaborate. The URBACT Programme has developed proven methods for cities to work together in well-designed efficient projects to create mechanisms for analysing, learning and planning actions that will initiate integrated and sustainable urban development. Following from their kick-off summit meeting, the partner cities in the iPlace Project are confident that the potential exists for partners to learn and develop new pathways, especially if those pathways include exercises in re-imagining historical sectors that were the mainstays of their local economies in previous eras.


    The city of Amarante in Portugal is leading the iPlace Project, which also includes Balbriggan (Ireland), Gabrovo (Bulgaria), Grosseto (Italy), Heerlen (Netherlands), Kočevje (Slovenia), Medina del Campo (Spain), Pärnu (Estonia), Pori (Finland) and Saldus (Latvia). It is a partnership of small cities intent on exchanging their experiences in dealing with their respective challenges, ideas and pathways with the aim to find their niches for sustainable local economic development.

    Amarante was the location of a very successful kick-off meeting from 14 to 15 October 2019 where all the partner cities discussed the potentials for the project and became familiar with the URBACT method and the programme requirements. Most of all, partners got to know each other, also, with the help of a good session of karaoke!

    Photo 1: Karaoke singing

    The focus of the project

    Working together as a network during the Development Phase of the project, partner cities are co-creating the stages of a two-year process to deepen understanding of their respective local economic histories and its value for future economic activity.

    The expectation is furthermore that the project will add value by giving partners the opportunity to broaden their knowledge of global trends that will impact on their cities, both as disruptions and as new pathways for economic growth. These trends include the radical shift away from economies based on fossil fuel extraction to low carbon economies; the impact of technology in the world of work, specifically the ability to work remotely, together with the growing automation of manufacturing processes and services; as well as the core elements of local ecosystems that enable innovation and support entrepreneurship.

    These trends will be contrasted with the existing place experience in each partner city. Are their cities welcoming places for entrepreneurs to start businesses? Is the infrastructure and connectivity in place to enable relocation to their cities? Do their cities have policies and strategies to make them more liveable, walkable and less car dependent? How family friendly are their cities and is their quality of life a selling point? The analysis will empower partner cities to develop actions during the project lifetime that will create an environment for change in existing economic activities and to initiate new activities with clear short, medium and long-term targets in mind.

    Photos 2 & 3: Plotting the project during the kick-off meeting

    The project will be a unique opportunity for each partner city to make a journey into their industrial past and re-examine possibilities for new economic activity as well as finding synergies between traditional and contemporary technologies. For example, some partner cities have histories of local enterprises in wood and textile industries who were successful in a previous era. Will new skills and insights be matched with such historical local industrial processes that could lead to innovation and the activation of new markets? The possibilities will be explored in the upcoming city visits to be conducted by the lead partner and the lead expert.

    The following graph aptly summarises the focus of the project. Delving into the industrial history of the city, mindful of the existing place experience and the imperatives for change that the future holds, partners will seek to find niches for new local economic development.


    What success will mean for the project partners

    The success of the project at city level will be evident when each partner city will have produced a robust strategy which will be the product of a process through a number of stages of action development including: an intense place and opportunity analysis using best available tools and techniques; sharing and learning good practices with and from partner cities; creatively engaging local communities and stakeholders in co-creation by exploring ideas, listening to feedback and understanding local challenges; tap into international expertise related to specialist knowledge required for the project made available by URBACT; and experimenting with small actions to test the core actions that will form the foundations of the strategy.

    Photo 4: Visit to IRIS, Social Innovation Hub in Amarante

    At project level success will be measured in the delivery of a set of coordinated network activities where partner cities will use a series of transnational meetings, hosted in turn by each partner city, to conduct seminars on global trends; to showcase good practices that demonstrate the agility of small cities to be competitive; to jointly train and develop skills and techniques that will build the capacity of partner cities to unlock creative responses in their communities and business groups for addressing local economic challenges; and to utilise the collective knowledge of visiting cities to conduct peer reviews that help host cities to see their challenges and opportunities through ‘fresh’ eyes.

    Photo 5: Group photo on the historical bridge in Amarante

    In conclusion, the iPlace Project can best be visualised as a journey where the partner cities are fellow travellers who are always seeking to find niches appropriate for their cities, while deepening their understanding of the nuances that make their cities special but also the dimensions that make them similar to others, with the determination to use the knowledge they gained for nesting new ideas that will sprout more sustainable local economic development.





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  • Attention all urban decision-makers! Did you know that you can do business without money?

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    We all want urban services to be efficient, redevelopment exciting, civic events colourful and new urban initiatives really able to make a difference! But how do you do this when many European cities - especially after the hard-hitting crises of the last decade - lack funding, resources, knowledge and the connections that make such vibrant governing work? One answer may surprise you. We can turn to our corporate and business communities. Because there is something called Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).


    CSR, in short, can be broadly defined   as the "the responsibility of enterprises for their impacts on society" (European Commission, 2019). The idea is that enterprises integrate social and environmental concerns into their mainstream business operations on a voluntary basis. So they respect human rights wherever they produce their goods and services, they treat staff well, don’t pollute the environment and are not corrupt. In a nutshell: responsible business. Sounds familiar, but where is the link to our cities, communities and civic services?

    This is where our brand new URBACT Action Planning network comes in. Fancily named ‘CITIES4CSR’, this 10-city pan-continental project is in a unique position to explore in practical ways how CSR can make a difference to our urban societies. Using the proven URBACT-principles, methods and tools - it sets out to support building, testing and implementing ‘comprehensive municipal strategies to foster and stimulate corporate responsibility in urban areas’. In other words, we aim to work towards realising a new vision across our European continent: cities not as places where local administrations rule top-down, but as sites where government and business are sharing urban responsibilities! We want to show how Corporate Social Responsibility can be lifted to a new level: Corporate Urban Responsibility.

    What makes our approach somewhat unique compared to other networks is the fact that what binds our cities together is not foremost a concern with changing one particular urban outcome. Rather, it is all about building purpose-designed local CSR-toolboxes that help to challenge the local status-quo in very different policy realms. Just like a building company may use its machinery, people, experience and know-how to build a train station in one city, a TV-tower in the next one and a shopping centre in another city, our joined efforts may trigger beneficial transformations in different policy areas in different cities. Actually exactly there where cities feel need is most pressing.

    So value could be added in urban regeneration, environmental protection, social cohesion or educational policies; you name it. The glue between cities, and the common concern, is the focus on how the aspirations, resources and leadership of the local corporate sector - in partnership with government and other stakeholders – will be the in the heart of change. 

    Corporate social responsibility is surely not a new concept. Academic debates link the ascent of CSR to five societal transformations: more affluent societies, growing sustainability concerns, intensified globalisation, stronger role of the media and the rise brands (Chandler and Werther, 2013). CSR can be implicit, embedded in the values, norms and rules of societies, or explicit, encompassing voluntary programs and strategies by corporations based on their discretion (Matten and Moon, (2008). And, across Europe there seems to be a CSR-gap as more progressive policies in Western Europe, Scandinavia and the Anglo-Saxon countries have not been equally shared by governments in Central and Eastern Europe (Steurer, 2015). µ

    The good news is that we don’t have to wait for business to come forward in urban affairs; local governments can be incredibly proactive. Our toolboxes are already filled with a variety of proven CSR policy instruments, from awareness-raising that can spread the word about CSR to procurement strategies that require suppliers to meet certain environmental and social criteria. So no reinventing the wheel. Yet, finding the right CSR-solution may mean confronting deep-seated trust issues between public authorities and corporate actors and differences in terms of everyday languages, work habits and planning horizons. In other words, we should not be surprised to encounter gaps of various kinds, misconceptions and stumbling blocks in our project.    

    So who are the ten cities that take on this challenge? Lead Partner is Milan (Italy), a city with profound experience in managing European projects. Partners are: Sofia and Vratsa from Bulgaria, Kekava municipality from Latvia, Rijeka from Croatia, Molina de Segura from Spain, Guimarães from Portugal, Budaörs from Hungary, Bratislava from Slovakia and Nantes Metropole from France. The network covers different geographical parts of Europe relatively well, and incorporates varying sizes of local government. Excitingly, we are proud to have in our midst the 2019 European City of Innovation (Nantes) and the 2020 European City of Culture (Rijeka). 



    Our network has plenty of opportunity to build institutional bridges. For example with the United Nations Global Compact that constitutes the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative. Its urban arm, the UN Global Compact Cities Programme, promotes city and regional governments collaborating with the private sector and civil society in order to address complex global challenges on the local level; implementing the so-called Melbourne Model. CSR-initiatives can also be directly related to the European Urban Agenda and the European Commission.  Finally, CSR Europe’s vision is that by 2030 the European urban population, or three quarters of the total population, will be living in sustainable cities that will provide them with economic opportunities, reliable infrastructure and high standard of living.


    The Melbourne Model – Cross-sectoral collaboration to address complex urban challenges (Source: UN Global Compact Cities Programme)




    The work has already begun. Our network kicked-off in gorgeous Milan in September, where well-organised site visits taught all participants much about local corporate initiatives that in very practical ways help local communities. Currently the various local baseline study visits are getting under way, problem analyses are being conducted, and first ideas about solutions and small scale actions are being developed. Local multi-sector stakeholder groups are slowly emerging.

    ”As SMEs we are so busy, so focused on our businesses and on making money – but we can’t do it without having a focus on the outside world. It is crucial to look outside, and around you.”

    Jean-Marc Barki  - Executive Director, Sealock, French SM

    It is already clear that one of the policy focus will target the small-and medium sized enterprises (SME), a sector that often forms the backbone of European urban and regional economies but so far is rather seldom considered as member of the CSR-community. Neighbourhood upgrading appears to be another objective for corporate urban engagement. We are very curious where local path-finding will lead to. One thing is for sure: cities can gain a lot when they turn to their corporate stakeholders. Doing meaningful urban business without spending money does not have to be a fairytale!



    The author acknowledges the creative input from Lead Expert Project team in Milan, with special thanks to Giusy Chierchia for coming up with the title for this article!


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  • Enhancing the vitality of small cities: “let’s make it a priority!”

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    How can small towns thrive today? Here we highlight an array of local actions to help small and medium sized cities become more vibrant.


    From unique shopping experiences, distinctive local products and cultural events to community engagement and financial incentives, smaller cities are looking for ways to stay attractive – and convince enough business, talent and visitors to resist the pull of larger urban areas.

    Hundreds of small towns and cities have joined URBACT networks over the years, working with local groups and international expertise to find sustainable, cross-sector solutions to problems such as empty high streets, dwindling jobs or ageing populations.

    URBACT networks RetaiLink, Agri-Urban and City Centre Doctor shared a selection of such solutions at a Vitality of Smaller Cities conference in Barcelona (ES). Read the full report with case studies and policy recommendations here. The event brought mayors, city officials, urban practitioners and researchers from 23 countries together to investigate how to create lively city centres, boost the marketability of local produce – and make smaller cities a priority.

    But why are smaller towns and cities so important?

    Small cities are the backbone of the territorial equation of Europe. These cities are scattered all around the continent and play a very important role to bring services in the closest way to citizens,” says Emmanuel Moulin, Director of the URBACT secretariat. “Europe can do more for small cities. Sometimes the focus is only on big metropoles, based on the perception that they are the drivers of economic development. I think that Europe needs balanced territorial development and should give more support to smaller cities.”

    Larger, better-known cities can act as major focal points for urban economic development and innovation. And with the potential for agglomeration and significant infrastructure investment, they can have distinct advantages over small and medium cities.

    But the Urban Agenda for the EU recognises that urban areas of all sizes can boost growth, create jobs for citizens and enhance Europe’s competitiveness in a globalised economy. As the Netherlands’ Urban Envoy Nicolas Beets says, “the European Union is for its citizens and there are at least 40% who live in small and medium sized cities”.

    Establishing the EU Urban Agenda in 2016, the Pact of Amsterdam states that although urban challenges are of an increasingly local nature, they require “a wider territorial solution (including urban-rural linkages) and cooperation within functional urban areas”. The pact calls on urban authorities to “cooperate within their functional areas and with their surrounding regions, connecting and reinforcing territorial and urban policies” as urban solutions can spark wide territorial benefits.

    Here are just a few URBACT-inspired resources for cities of all shapes and sizes

    URBACT is a unique programme open to all European cities, irrespective of size or geography,” says Nuala Morgan, head of URBACT’s Capitalisation and Communication unit. “Smaller cities often lack the resources of their larger neighbours to participate in EU programmes and other urban initiatives, so it is important that URBACT helps them build their capacities.” 

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  • Planning model for cross-border agglomeration

    Grand Genève

    Managing sustainable projects in cross border governance with participatory urban planning model

    Marion Charpié-Pruvost
    Responsible for urban planning in charge of a PACA
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    Grand Genève is a metropolis around Geneva (CH). The agglomeration has common issues (housing, transports, environment, social cohesion) spread over two countries. This includes two distinct legislative models, three territories (Geneva Canton, Nyon District, the French Regional Cooperation Assembly - ARC), as well as a number of partners (Geneva City, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes French Region, two French departments etc.).
    As this situation makes it hard to develop common policies, the Local Association for Cross-Border Cooperation (GLCT) has been created. It involves politicians and civil society representatives in order to develop pragmatic projects at local scale. After professional teams had presented a vision for these territories, discussions held at the local level within the "perimeters of coordinated urban planning" (PACA) led to a number of mobility, urban or environmental projects.

    The solutions offered by the good practice

    The PACA seemed the proper scale to involve all our partners. Three teams presented their different visions for the territory, and then everybody gathered in roundtables to discuss and improve these ideas. The roundtables were the best solution we found to build pragmatic projects for urban planning. The brainstorming was very productive. Thanks to that method, we have developed projects such as buses crossing the border, with priority lanes, urban projects near the railway stations, a nature project along our rivers, etc. This is a good practice which can be developed by every city.

    Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

    This practice makes it possible to mix every scope with themes of sustainable development by bringing very different actors together: politicians, environmentalists, architects, engineers, members of associations, industry representatives etc. The visions of the teams had to mix environment, urban and mobility themes, with the objective of building a sustainable future.

    Based on a participatory approach

    The participatory approach is key to the project. Bringing together professionals, politicians and representatives of civil society not only fosters good brainstorming sessions, but also makes it easier to find solutions that are supported by everyone, with all the participants seeking to realise those solutions using their own skills.

    What difference has it made?

    The project has created a helpful tool for dialogue between politicians, civil society and urban planning professionals. Also, an appropriate scale has been found between the Grand Genève as a whole and individual municipalities. The result has been intellectual emulation and better understanding between Swiss and French actors of the territory, along with projects for sustainable urban living, mixing social, environmental and economic themes.

    Why should other European cities use it?

    This practice can be useful for each city wanting to develop a real emulation around its urban planning and which wants to involve many partners.

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  • Atlas of metropolitan spaces


    An atlas of interdependency and interconnections, with a view to implementing efficient partnerships across the territory as a whole

    François Cougoule
    Urban Designer, a’urba
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    For the Agence d'urbanisme Bordeaux métropole Aquitaine (AURBA), accepting that society functions as a network is central to understanding the changes at work in urban and metropolitan systems. In 2016, they produced an atlas of the metropolitan spaces of Bordeaux (FR) that not only analyses the evolution of factors like population, employment and mobility, but also shows exchanges with other territories.
    The idea is that this “relational approach” to certain spaces enables the notion of changing reality to be integrated into their development and urban management. In this way territories can be understood according to their interdependency and interconnections, rather than in terms of distribution and localisation alone.
    The atlas builds on the conviction that in a context of diminishing public resources and inward-looking attitudes, improving familiarity with, and understanding of, our neighbours fosters greater openness and new forms of partnership.

    The solutions offered by the good practice

    Metropolisation is a process. Our analysis does not focus on a finished geographic object, but rather seeks to shed light on dynamic processes and trends. Our angles of interpretation and perimeters are multiple. Pre-existing limits are discarded in favour of explorations of territories fashioned by exchange networks. The Bordeaux metropolitan area is varied in nature - Bordeaux exchanges employees with the Arcachon basin and Libourne, patients with La Rochelle and Toulouse, clients with Bayonne and Langon, second home owners with Royan and Périgueux, spectators with Angoulême and Toulouse, engineers and editors with Paris and Lyon, tourists with Barcelona and London, students with Bucharest and Dakar, researchers with Munich and Los Angeles, and bottles of wine with the whole world. Our aim is to promote ways of developing territorial strategies in full knowledge of the forces at work, the existing stocks, interactions and exchange networks. Whether metropolisation is to be endured or desired, ignored or regulated, it concerns everyone. The issues at stake are thus extremely numerous - demography, migration, employment, the economy, public facilities, services, the environment, tourism, local resources. In addition to exhaustive monographs of stabilised perimeters and detailed indicators, dynamic explorations are also presented, with a view to comparing and contrasting different scales, themes and objects of observation (as well as exchanges and stocks).

    Building on the sustainable and integrated approach

    Over and above urban challenges, specifically territorial challenges lie at the heart of this atlas. Understanding the functional reality of a territory, by comparing and contrasting themes and scales is the raison d’être of this work, as a means of shaping a global, structuring vision of how territories function. This approach examines a variety of interrelated themes: the environment (water resources, nature reserves etc.), the economy (links between head offices and branches, patents, exports etc.) or social factors (residential migration, utilities and public facilities, etc.). Horizontal thematic integration is essential if we are to gain a full grasp of the metropolisation phenomenon. This comparative approach is also adopted in terms of spatial scale, as a means of exploring this subject on a comprehensive level. Metropolisation is of course a large-scale phenomenon, taking place on the European or world scale, but it is first and foremost a daily development, clearly observable in cities and neighbourhoods.

    Based on a participatory approach

    A participative approach has not been implemented in the development and production phase. The complexity of the phenomenon under study is such that it demanded the formation of an academic committee comprising researchers in the field of geography and experts in data analysis and cartography. The most significant phase is now commencing, with the delivery of our first results for discussion. These findings were initially addressed to political decision-makers, as they are directly responsible for managing territorial resources. The light shed on existing and upcoming partnerships makes it possible to make budget savings by offering support to ongoing dynamics (be they social or economic). The results are also of interest to people living in the areas studied. People across the region have shown a clear interest in our research and cartography during public presentations of our work.

    What difference has it made?

    As described above, our research aims to shed light on areas of effective partnership between territories, towns and cities. In the current climate, it is becoming increasingly necessary for services, facilities and resources of all natures to be pooled, and towns will be able to build on our findings to begin to work with rather than against each other. This will make way for the creation of new structures on which partnerships may be founded, such as the “Metropolitan Poles” already in action across France, through which territories commit to clearly defined cooperation goals in a range of precise areas (e.g. academia, culture, economic development).

    Why should other European cities use it?

    Metropolisation is a process which affects the whole of Europe, both in urban, peri-urban and rural environments. While major conurbations often see it as a positive element, rural and outlying areas seem to endure rather than control it. Tracing the contours of the process shows that, in reality, all territories have their part to play and that rather than merely modifying the size of our towns, a whole set of measures and policies of an inherently local nature are driving this trend. If metropolisation is inevitable, then it is important that it be understood by all, and that all territories should play their role to the full.

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