There is a growing demand for an assessment of the quality of life in European
cities. The Policy Context for Urban Audit stems from the
Commission Communication `Towards an urban agenda in the European Union' (1997), the
subsequent discussions, and the publication of the`Sustainable Urban Development : an EU
framework for action' (1998) which have identified the need for more information about
towns and cities in the EU. The Urban Audit is also part of the process of improving
Urban Statistics in the EU. Responsibility for the conception and management of the
Urban Audit rests with the Directorate General for Regional Policy in collaboration with
EUROSTAT. The Commission Services may be contacted
for further information. The pilot phase of the Urban Audit was undertaken by ERECO,
a team of consultants with correspondents for all
The European Commission launched the Urban Audit in June
1997 by, in particular publishing the Terms of Reference for the Pilot Phase. This
pilot phase which began in May 1998 was undertaken within the aegis of Article 10 of
the ERDF Regulation which enables the support by the European Commission of innovative
measures. Directorate General Regional for Policy and EUROSTAT are responsible for
managing the Urban Audit. Other Directorates of the European Commission have advised on
the choice of information to be included in the Urban Audit.
The overall purpose of the Urban Audit is to enable an
assessment of the state of individual EU
cities and to provide access to comparative information from other EU cities. It is
the process will facilitate the exchange of information amongst cities.
Fifty eight cities were
invited by the European Commission to participate in the Urban Audit during the pilot
phase. This includes several cities in each EU member state. Paris and London have not
been included because of their size.
The Indicators of the
Urban Audit cover 5 fields : socio-economic aspects, participation in civic
life, education and training, environment and culture and leisure. A comparison of the
indicator scores will allow cities to judge their progress and to identify any specific
During the Urban Audit pilot phase a methodology has been
developed for collecting information
to inform these indicators. All available information sources at national, regional and
have been investigated and where appropriate used. Account has been taken of the variety
of data sources and definitions used in different contexts so that useful comparisons
can be made. The method of approach is is decided in the Urban Audit Manual.
The indicator scores have been calculated at the city level
and, for 27 of the 58 cities at the Wider Territorial Unit or
Conurbation level. In these 27 cases the cities form part of a wider
agglomeration and, indicator scores have, where possible, been calculated at this level so
that, if appropriate, cross-city comparisons may use the score for the wider area
rather than for the city administrative level.
Information to inform the indicators has also been compiled
at the national level.
For a limited number of indicators, mainly those concerning
socio-economic aspects, scores have been calculated for sub-divisions of the cities. The
main purpose of the sub-city analysis is to estimate
the apparent level of disparities in conditions between parts of the Urban
The Urban Audit is only one amongst many pieces of work
that have compared aspects of the quality of life across cities or considered these in
depth within particular cities. As part of the Urban Audit pilot phase a review was
made of this parallel work.There is a growing demand for
an assessment of the quality of life in European cities.