More than two-thirds of Europeans live in towns, making Europe one of the most urbanised continents in the world. Today towns play an important role in the lives of European citizens. They are the focal points of modern Europe - where important solutions are found to many of our most pressing concerns. In the fields of competitiveness, employment, education, transport, environment, and innovation, developments in towns provide solutions that can be applied throughout society.
Towns have a crucial role to play in lifting Europe out of the crisis. However, as well as these positive attributes, they are also the places where unemployment, segregation and poverty are concentrated. Towns have to face various challenges, from providing adequate housing to mobility and environmental issues. The European Union (EU) supports projects that help to improve the living conditions in towns.
'100EUrban solutions' is an exhibition showcasing dozens of projects, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Each responds in a different way to the challenges found in Europe's towns today.
Cities are engines of growth, spaces of creativity and innovation which can stimulate enterprise and employment. Many cities face the challenge of reinvigorating their economies. Business innovation and diversification, and cultural investment can help create a sustainable economic transition.
Cities have to address a range of environmental issues: A major challenge is to reconcile economic activities and growth with cultural, social, and environmental concerns. Cities and towns can play a key role in encouraging greener behaviour.
Residents in all their diversity are the heart and soul of a city. Consequently, cities must be designed for them and focus on youth and education, integrating older people and preventing the marginalisation of vulnerable groups. Well-designed and more ecological homes are also essential for a better quality of life. Citizens have the opportunity to come up with projects to develop their community.
Europe is a patchwork of urban and rural areas, where people live differently but face common challenges. Town and country dwellers are mutually dependent and need to cooperate to ensure a sustainable future for all. Many good examples of rural-urban cooperation already exist around Europe, on issues such as energy, water supply, food production, transport and tourism.
Cities play a crucial role in the daily life of all EU citizens. Cities and towns can develop strategies to tackle the economic, environmental and social problems affecting urban areas and citizens can play an active role in shaping their immediate environment. Involving residents brings greater neighbourhood cohesion, and is crucial to the success of a project.