Urban and Regional Policies : Charter and Agenda to Be Adopted in Leipzig

Article excerpt

The German presidency of the EU is actively preparing the informal meeting of urban development and territorial cohesion ministers which is to take place in Leipzig on 24 and 25 May. The meeting is expected to conclude with two documents being adopted: a charter on sustainable European cities and a "territorial agenda". The German secretary of state, Ulrich Kasparik, came to explain the basic outline to the European Parliament's committee for regional development on 12 April.

The two documents set out what are expected to be the priority actions at local and regional level for "integrated" urban development, and define the basics of what is seen to be "new governance", with greater involvement of all levels of authority and civil society. The draft versions of these documents, of which Europolitics was able to obtain copies, list a number of fairly ambitious objectives. The charter for integrated urban development insists on development that involves all players, both internal and external to the administration, and which allows "citizens to play an active role in shaping their immediate living environment." The draft recommends that all European cities consider developing integrated urban development programmes to be used as "implementation-oriented planning tools" that describe the strengths and weaknesses of cities and neighbourhoods based on an analysis of the current situation, define consistent development objectives and develop a vision for the city. "We must stop considering urban development policy issues and decisions in an isolated manner" indicates the draft, recommending that cities establish networks at European level. In addition, the document recommends the creation of high-quality public spaces, the modernisation of infrastructure networks (such as transport, and water treatment), increased energy efficiency in buildings (compact settlement structures rather than the urban sprawl make more efficient use of energy resources), and innovation policies in the education and training sector. …