Urban change and regional development at the margins of Europe: an introduction

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Abstract

Since the beginning of the nineties the urban dimension has taken a growing relevancewithin the EU’s regional policy. The implementation of community initiatives or other areabasedprojects under the structural funds has meant for several cities a tangible opportunityto start urban renewal, introduce innovative planning instruments and implement newgovernance relations. In the so called “less developed” regions, this process has also beenaccompanied by significant financial resources, giving local governments and municipalitiesthe chance to start large infrastructure projects of metropolitan or even regional relevance.Development processes in regions and urban areas, however, have followed very differenttrajectories, particularly at the economic and geopolitical margins of Europe. While somecities and regions seems to have benefited from a positive interaction between urban andregional policies and, national and European initiatives, in many others local developmentand innovative planning processes encountered resistances and difficulties, so that resultsmust be evaluated carefully and from a critical perspective.With the general aim of understanding the place of cities and urban policy within the EU’scohesion policy, the paper provides an exploration of the concepts, the geographies and theprinciples surrounding the problem of regional disparities in the European Union, with aspecific focus on the instruments made available by the European Union to connect urbanpolicy to regional cohesion. Such an exploration focuses on three main arguments that areaddressed in the paper:• the problem of regional disparities and the way these have been faced by EUregional policy;• a description of the urban-regional diversities in the European Union;• the role of cities in the EU’s cohesion policy.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages32
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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