Joint organiser: Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA)

The 2020 New Leipzig Charter reiterates the core message of its predecessor, the 2007 Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities: to move past the silo mentality and towards an ‘integrated approach’ in urban policies. This powerful concept has come a long way since 2007, entering mainstream EU policymaking. Nevertheless, its implementation at different levels of urban governance has presented challenges.

This Policy Lab was designed to support the ongoing collaboration of the Spanish Ministry of Transport, Mobility and Urban Agenda (MITMA) with Spanish cities to develop and trial Local Action Plans within the framework of the Spanish Urban Agenda. The event explored pioneering examples of the integrated approach in urban policies, on various scales within Spanish and wider European contexts. The cases presented spanned the local, national and EU level, facilitating expert exchanges on context-specific policies and programmes, identifying both bottlenecks and opportunities for further uptake and experimentation post-pandemic.

Expert contributions

Valentina Corsetti

Programme Manager, Unit Spain and Portugal, DG REGIO, European Commission

The evolution of EU policy’s urban dimension has gone hand in hand with horizontal, vertical and territorial integration of EU policies. In the post-pandemic era, increasingly complex and nuanced challenges call for the mainstreaming of the integrated approach in urban policies more than ever before. The new Cohesion Policy highlights a fundamental role for cities to rebuild a smarter, greener, more connected and social Europe which is closer to its citizens, providing different territorial instruments for integrated and participatory development.

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Tilman Buchholz

Deputy Head of the Urban Development Policy Unit at the German Ministry of the Interior

Germany fully reflects the integrated approach in the governance of its National Urban Development Policy, involving all levels of government, from the Federal State to the Federated States, and local authorities. Establishing an integrated legislative framework combining these three levels has resulted in the co-funding of three major federal assistance programmes. Launched in 1999, the Social Cohesion Programme promotes an interdisciplinary take on upgrading deprived neighbourhoods, combining interventions in the built environment with social and economic measures.

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Martijn Kanters

Urban Development Manager at Tilburg City Council

After years of decentralisation, the Dutch government has started regaining leadership in defining urban policy. With a new National Spatial Vision based on regional integration, a new definition of the ‘Urban Network Holland’ is emerging. Through the stipulation of Regional Urbanisation Agreements, Dutch cities now have access to investments for large-scale, integrated urban development subsidised by central government. In this context, the Breda-Tilburg functional area is being redefined implementing a truly integrated vision.

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Rui Neves Bochmann Franco

Deputy City Councillor – Portfolios of Housing and Local Development at Lisbon City Council

Launched in 2008, Lisbon’s Local Development Strategy links city-wide strategic development to local, surgical interventions that empower communities in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. Through the BIP/ZIP programme, this area-based strategy looks at urban poverty as the result of overlapping dynamics that combine social, economic, environmental and spatial dimensions. In order to reverse these dynamics, the strategy employs a series of tools, from mapping to collaborative funding, co-governance and the establishment of a Community-Led Local Development Network.

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Mar Rodríguez Beltrán

Technical Coordinator of Ebrópolis - Association for the Strategic Development of Zaragoza

Supported by Ebrópolis, the strategic vision for Zaragoza as a “real city” considers the temporal scale of development, as well as different territorial levels, from the neighbourhood to the larger metropolitan scale. Strong connections between the urban and the rural are created, while promoting alignment with national and international sustainability agendas. Within this framework, the Urban Agenda of Zaragoza (AUZ) pilot focuses on three key areas: the fight against climate change, social cohesion, and smart cities.

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Francisco Gutiérrez

Head of the Mayor’s Office, Sant Boi de Llobregat City Council

Sant Boi de Llobregat hosts two psychiatric centres that, together with the logistics industry, represent the main economic engine of the city. Transforming what could be considered a social stigma into an asset, the city became a reference for good practice in urban health, and specifically mental health. The creation of a multidisciplinary unit to assist city departments in planning and evaluation facilitated, over time, the dissolution of sectoral silos to promote integrated municipal policies.

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Jose Ramón Bergasa

Alfaro’s Municipal Architect

The municipal territory of Alfaro is far-reaching and encompasses a great variety of altitudes, landscapes and biodiversity. This heterogeneity influences spatial planning, based on the delineation of a series of protected areas. The recently developed SUA Action Plan defines 10 strategic objectives along thematic axes, each containing multiple indicators and actions. Municipal priority actions integrate different aspects of sustainability, from valorising urban-rural relations to enhancing elderly and young people’s opportunities for a healthy, fulfilling life.

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