Urban II : Cities & programmes
Urban II programmes are based on the Guidelines drawn up by the
Commission. They propose innovative development models for the economic
and social regeneration of the areas concerned by financing projects
- improve living conditions, for example by renovating buildings
and creating green areas;
- create jobs, for example in environment, culture, and services
to the population;
- integrate the less-favoured social classes into the education
and training systems;
- develop environmentally friendly public transport systems;
- create effective energy management systems and make greater
use of renewable energy;
- use information technologies.
The measures set out in each programme are selected and implemented
through a broad partnership involving all the parties concerned.
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) may finance up to
75% of the total cost of a programme if the urban area is a region
whose development is lagging behind (Objective 1), and up to 50%
elsewhere. In cash terms, the European contribution ranges between
EUR 3.5 and EUR 15 million.
One of the most exciting features of URBAN II is the provision
for exchange of good practices across Europe. This is the subject
of a specific programme: the "European Network for Exchange
of Experience", or "URBACT".
During the 1994-99 programming period, URBAN I financed programmes
in a total of 118 urban areas. The total Community assistance was
almost EUR 900 million at 1999 prices, and this allowed EUR 1.8
billion total eligible investment costs to help 3.2 million people
throughout Europe. The schemes implemented considerably improved
the quality of life in the targeted areas. The promising achievements
show the importance of the approach proposed by URBAN in tackling
the high concentration of social, environmental and economic problems
increasingly present in urban conglomerations. This includes several
operations combining the rehabilitation of obsolete infrastructure
with economic and labour market actions, complemented by measures
to combat social exclusion and upgrade the quality of the environment.
Examples of Urban I projects are available in the central database
containing success stories financed by the ERDF; in "choose a topic",
tick "Urban regeneration and industrial conversion".