Europe 2020 needs a Metropolitan strategy

It is clear that Europe’s metropolitan regions and areas have a role to play in the economic, social, ter- ritorial and environmental future of our continent. The Europe 2020 Strategy supports this statement. However, it is also clear from the experience of INTA members that a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth will not be achieved without effective metropolitan governance.

While there is no universal definition for metropolises, a common feature is the complexity and multilevel nature of the government mechanisms rarely corresponding to accepted territorial administrative limits. The parallel rising of both metropolitan process (globalisation) and local empowerment (decentralisa- tion) recomposes territories, and overlapping administrative perimeters are putting into question the efficiency of existing planning tools, plans, programmes and projects, and governance systems.

Metropolitan process requires to conceive both horizontally and transversally the interactions between territories, actors and institutions operating on the same territory; a weak or inappropriate metropoli- tan governance is a barrier to sustainable and equitable development, potentially leading to social disruption. Calling for intensified political dialogues, discussions forum and technical exchanges and capacity-building initiatives are part of the solution.

The creation of a metropolis is quite often the result of alliances among municipalities to achieve better resources management, higher urban quality or attractiveness: Greater London, Paris, Mumbai, Tokyo, Jakarta or New York are well known example. However, today the main reason seems to anticipate and respond to economic changes and pressure on public investments and their consequences: reuse of urban land and buildings, control of urban extension, promote economic growth, optimise infrastruc- ture provision, provide housing and services of public interest. This seems the case of most European cities becoming metropolises.

INTA, together with the Dutch Association DeltaMetropolis, is engaged in a worldwide comparison of metropolitan strategies through a collaborative programme called Metro in Progress.

Metro in Progress 2014-2015 – Metropolitan dialogues and visit’s tours around Europe

After a first phase of interviews and meetings with a worldwide range of stakeholders that framed met- ropolitan challenges and dilemmas, Metro in Progress is now focusing on the socio-economic develop- ment and governance of larger territories in Europe.

The main forum for supporting a rich exchange and learning environment is a series of “Metropolitan Dialogues” held in different European cities involving policy-makers, practitioners and metropolitan ac- tors. These discussions are a follow-up to the Brussels conference of 2013.

The objective and themes of the programme

“Metro in Progress” will encourage participants to develop understanding of common issues, and share effective and integrated responses at the metropolitan level. Six cities facing six different metropolitan challenges compose the six chapters of the programme thus creating a wider scenario of cases and practises fostering innovative approaches to metropolitan sustainability that is now central to territorial decision-making processes.

Thematic perspectives framing the discussions include:

1/ Innovative Economic Development
How can metropolitan development be optimised to support the most dynamic and innovative sectors of the economy? How can, on one side, social and cultural policies such as housing and the provision of services, and on the other side, development of infrastructures, be used as instruments to shape a receptive environment? Which projects and programs should be the outcome of such a development process and how can they be put in practice? What makes some regions more resilient/adaptable to economic changes, more competitive? These questions will frame the analysis of the innovation’s dy- namics at the metropolitan scale.

2/ Social Cohesion and Territorial Equity in delivering services for all
Metropolitan dynamics redefine and recompose territories where people live, work and consume. The multiple interactions of actors, scales and functions shape today’s performing territories. These sys- tems of interactions between flows of people, goods, capital and ideas are components of a “metro- politan space”. However, these large territories not only face conflicting objectives -speed or slowness, distant linkages or proximity, attracting mobile creative people or nursing local talents – but also have to manage different levels of human interaction, social disparities, phenomena of breakdowns and lack of stability.
The metropolitan space is a complex reality made of multiple synergies and probably the more pertinent scale to address the issues of accessibility, territorial solidarities and inclusive development. What are appropriate integration strategies to foster complementarities between agglomerated spaces, peripheral and rural areas? Is the metropolitan scale better equipped to face social inequality and to reduce uncertainty, and the policy towards the urban enclaves, rural and urban fringes? What are the respon- sibilities of the metropolis toward its area of influence.

3/ Spatial aspects of the Metropolitan Development: Density, Intensity or Sprawl?
Presently, peri-urbanization is one of the most pervasive processes of land use change in Europe with strong impacts on the environment, ecosystem services and quality of life. The peri-urban – a transition zone where rural and urban features co-exist – is growing even in shrinking cities. In growing cities it is a potential zone of innovation and knowledge-based and globalized enterprise, but it also attracts new types of housing, transport infrastructure and multifunctional agriculture, with a diverse range of recre- ation sites and ecosystem services. However, there is also an obvious risk of urban sprawl.
In many European countries urbanization may have come to an end, but urban growth has not as the result of the emergence of metropolitan regions, integrating vast parts of rural areas into the urban sys- tem. Agricultural and nature areas are thus under significant transformation pressure and growth man- agement strategies are necessary to secure balanced and sustainable future development throughout the whole of urban regions

4/ Urban ecosystem services and quality of life
Urbanization and metropolitan development are both a challenge and an opportunity for management of ecosystem services globally, regionally and locally. Special accent is put on the ability of an ecosys- tem to improve human wellbeing and enhance the sustainability of urban areas. Health and environ- mental inequalities are interlinked and poor environments contribute significantly to both poor health and health inequalities. Careful urban development has a clear influence on healthy choices made by individuals, highlighting issues like the location, density and mix of land uses, access to public services, safety and security, open and green space, community interaction and transport

Host cities: (indicative)
Copenhagen, Denmark; Malmo, Sweden; Tallinn, Estonia; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Bucharest, Rumania; Paris and Lyon, France; Turin, Italy; Stuttgart, Germany…

Target participants
Policy makers, professionals, urban stakeholders and all the people working in the process of con- struction and/or implementation of metropolitan strategies in the European context.

This year programme works as a platform of exchanges of experiences to identify common problems and learn from each other practices. The programme includes 6 field trips-events in six different cities giving the occasion to the participants to personally visit the case-study contexts in small and large European metropolises.

The metropolitan dialogues in details

1/ Metropolitan development under economic crisis: which way forward?
Ljubljana, Slovenia, 25-26 September 2014
After a period of »overheated« economic growth accompanied by spatial development phenomena, such as strong pressure on land for construction of housing and setting up of business zones and infrastruc- tures, as well as an increase in environmental burdens, the Ljubljana metropolitan region encountered a downturn of economic activity, aggravated social situation of large parts of its population and diminish- ing funds for provision of services for its population as well as for larger development projects. What can be the main tasks of a metropolis and its governance system in such a situation? How can it prioritise its tasks? Which actors should be included? What models, tools, experiences are available for »crisis man- agement«? What are the opportunities for sustainable development? An important aspect is the metro- politan quality of life in crisis or »new reality« circumstances: how can it be retained or even improved?

2/ Framing cross-border metropolitan governance
Bucharest, Rumania, October 2014
Development strategies through transnational alliances (economic and metropolitan corridor from Bucharest to the Danube border with Bulgaria). Metropolitan process cannot ignore their regional and interregional dimensions. How large territories address their social, economic and environ- mental issues? Interregional approach can help creating a coherent framework in polycentric urban contexts.

3/ Innovation clusters in the Baltic Area (Russia, Finland, Estonia)
Tallinn, Estonia in cooperation with Helsinki, Finland and Saint-Petersburg, Russia (tbc), January 2015

Strengthening an innovative service based development. Good quality housing opportunities at affordable prices able to fulfil the expectations of growing populations; accessible urban services and health care facilities. How Tallin can strengthen an innovative service based development on a wider metropolitan level in cooperation with Helsinki and St.Petersburg?

4/ How territories shape the metropolis: caring for the urban metabolism
Copenhagen, Denmark / Malmo, Sweden – 2015
Governance of Strategic Development. Metropolitan relationships can arise from shared problems and opportunities. Borders and natural barriers can present administrative and technical problems to be overcome jointly. Natural resources can form the basis for a common interest in their sustainable use. Water and renewable energy resources, in particular, offer opportunities for metropolitan collaboration

5/ Construction of Metropolitan institutional arrangements
potential cases: Paris, Bordeaux, France
The Metropolitan Governance: the place of the commune in the larger territory. How metropolitan instruments become accountable, democratic and participatory enlarging the gap between decision- making, communities and other stakeholders’ points of views in order to promote equitable and right- based access to opportunities?

6/ The metropolitan dimension of housing for all
potential cases: Lyon, France
The overload of urbanisation creates pressure on existing public policies in terms of provision of housing for all. In some European Union cases, with a high level of owner occupation, housing has been used for speculative investment as well as for dwelling purposes. House prices may rise to the point where they are no longer affordable and rent levels may follow. As housing is such a central aspect of metropolitan competitiveness, and such a main factor in social cohesion, that affordable housing has become a key metropolitan issue. The assessment of housing need, by tenure and possibly afford ability, and the process of balancing this with housing supply, within housing markets over the me- dium to longer term, has a clear metropolitan dimension.

If you are interested in participating or hosting such event, please contact the Secretariat at intainfo[@]