In June 1999, the Commission conducted a data collection of comparable indicators in European cities. This “Urban Audit Pilot Project” was designed to test the feasibility of the approach and to learn for the future from possible errors in the design. Around 450 variables were collected for the 58 largest cities. However London and Paris were omitted since they were considered too difficult.
After the completion of the Urban Audit Pilot Project in 2001, the Commission decided that there was a clear need to continue and improve the collection of comparable information on urban areas. The results of the pilot project were evaluated thoroughly, involving statistical experts from city organisations and experts for a number of specific fields from Eurostat. This evaluation led to a more focussed list of variables and a significant expansion of participating cities, covering over 250 cities in the EU27.
The first full-scale European Urban Audit took place in 2003 for the EU15 and in 2004 for the ten new Member States plus Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey. The collection of quantitative information on the quality of life in European cities will take place every three years.
The second full-scale Urban Audit took place between 2006 and 2007, and involved 321 European cities in the 27 countries of the European Union, and more cities in Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.