By the year 2025, approximately two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas, with 95 per cent of the urban population growth taking place in partner countries and concentrated in the lowest income groups. Urbanisation has different causes including the migration of people from small towns and rural areas to major metropolitan areas and the rural-to-urban migration to the intermediate towns, as well as the natural increase of existing populations in metropolitan cities.
European cities have an extensive experience in dealing with urbanisation challenges, and in developing smart, green, inclusive and mostly attractive cities with a high quality of life. There is an emerging European model of cities, based on an appropriate geographical and functional mix, good access to key services (housing, health, education, green infrastructures, culture and mobility) that increasingly serves as a reference worldwide.
Promoting sustainable urban development is a key element of EU regional policy which is implemented through the design and implementation of tailor-made, integrated development plans prepared where possible in partnership with the authorities in Europe’s cities. EU urban policy experience shows that cities have to adopt a holistic model of development and work across sectors (social, economic, environmental and energy, cultural and political components) to deal with challenges in an integrated way. This comprehensive/integrated approach to urban problems is necessary to analyse problems, identify solutions and design projects taking into account the linkages that exist between different areas of intervention.
Such experience can be shared with cities across the globe. This allows the EU to strengthen its relations with its key partners by developing joint tools and solutions to similar problems.
The project facilitates the exchange of information and good practices on regional and urban development policy issues. Cooperation is based on the identification of pilot regions and cities and the development of concrete actions, for implementation in the short-term, in areas including urban innovation (smart-city) and green technologies (energy efficiency, low carbon development). Intervention areas will be decided by the involved cities/regions, with strong support of the project team, and in coordination with the EU Commission (DG REGIO), the EU Delegations in the respective countries and national authorities of the non-EU countries where relevant.
Actions will be designed to increase so-called ‘triple-helix cooperation’ between governments, research and business. World Cities ultimate goal is to strengthen market opportunities and job creation while pursuing the sustainable economic development of the cities involved, thus fostering win-win cooperation.
World Cities is scheduled to start in December 2016 and to end in May 2018.
For questions, please contact REGIO-DG02-HEAD-OF-UNIT@ec.europa.eu