Leaflet MiP2014Europe 2020 needs a Metropolitan strategy

Europe’s metropolitan regions and areas play a crucial role in the economic, social, territorial and environmental future of the continent. Europe’s metropolitan territories are not only a major part of the EU’s image, its cultural identity and attractiveness, but also powerful motors for competitiveness, employment and innovation.

While there is no universal definition for metropolises, a common feature is the complexity and multilevel nature of the local government mechanisms rarely corresponding to accepted territorial administrative limits. The parallel process of both metropolisation (territorial integration) and local empowerment (proximity) 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 conceiving the interactions between territories, actors and institutions both horizontally and transversally; weak or inappropriate metropolitan governance is a barrier to sustainable and equitable development, potentially leading to social disruption. Initiatives for intensified political dialogues, discussions forum, technical exchanges and capacity-building 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 and attractiveness, greater territorial efficiency. At the same time metropolitan systems display a concentration of problems, as well as increasing social and economic disparities.

Today local policy leaders need to anticipate and respond to economic changes with less public resources. Many local authorities wonder why the socio-economic segregation has not changed for the better in spite of years of different kind of intervention on different territorial levels. The municipal block (communes and their cooperative mechanisms), despite the regular launching of several public programmes, do realise that important factors remain beyond the responsibility of a single municipality. 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.
The Metropolitan level is becoming the appropriate scale at which social and economic solutions can be found.

Metropolitan territories are positioning themselves as drivers of innovation and smart growth they provide the core for education and scientific networks; these territories foster sustainable growth since their transport, energy and environmental policies have a decisive impact on the European continent. These large urban systems are at the heart of efforts for inclusive growth as poles of social, cultural and ethnic diversity.
They are in position to combine a sectoral approach with a territorial one, the multidimensional prosperity.

The experience of INTA members is that a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth, called by Europe 2020, will not be achieved without effective metropolitan governance. This is why INTA recommends strengthening social cohesion of metropolitan system focusing on the cooperation between different stakeholders from different territorial levels. 

INTA, together with the Dutch Association DeltaMetropolis, is engaged since 2011 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 metropolitan challenges and dilemmas, Metro in Progress is focusing on one side on the socio-economic development policy and on the other side on the governance mechanisms 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 actors.

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. Several metropolitan areas facing similar challenges join the programme to create a wider scenario of cases and practices fostering innovative approaches to metropolitan sustainability. The programme is also an occasion to appraise the living environment of small and large European metropolises.

Two streams of thematic perspectives framing the discussions have been retained:

Innovative Economic Development
How can metropolitan level 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? What makes some metropolitan areas more resilient/adaptable to economic changes and crisis, and more competitive?
How to ensure at the local level the effectiveness of public metropolitan policy?

Social Cohesion and Territorial Solidarity
The multiple interactions of actors, scales and functions shape today’s performing territories. These systems of interactions between flows of people, goods, capital and ideas are components of a “metropolitan 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.
How the inhabitants appropriate in their daily life the metropolitan dimensions?
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 small urban centres, rural and urban fringes? What are the responsibilities of the metropolis toward its area of influence?
How to reconcile proximity with territorial integration?

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


The metropolitan dialogues in details

Host cities: (indicative)
Copenhagen, Denmark; Malmö, Sweden; Tallinn, Estonia; Ljubljana, Slovenia; Bucharest, Rumania; Paris and Lyon, France; Turin, Italy; Stuttgart, Germany; Istanbul, Turkey; Randstad, the Netherlands...

1/ Metropolitan development under economic crisis: which way forward?
Ljubljana, Slovenia, 25-26 September 2014
After a period of "overheated" economic growth accompanied by ambitious spatial development, resulting in strong pressure on land for construction of housing or business zones and infrastructures, as well as in an increase in environmental burdens, the Ljubljana metropolitan region is facing a downturn of economic activity, aggravated social situation of large parts of its population and diminishing funds for provision of services for its population as well as for large development projects. What can be the main tasks of a metropolis and its governance system in such a situation? How can it prioritize its tasks? Which actors should be included? What models, tools, experiences are available for »crisis management«? What are the opportunities for sustainable development? An important aspect is the metropolitan 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 fulfill the expectations of growing populations; accessible urban services and health care facilities. How Tallinn can strengthen an innovative 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 / Malmö, Sweden - 2015

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 in order to reduce 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 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 affordability, and the process of balancing tenure and price within the housing markets over the medium to longer term, has a clear metropolitan dimension.

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

Back to previous page

International Urban Development Association

A global membership association of urban policy-makers and practitioners to share knowledge, experience and tools for integrated territorial development.  // READ MORE