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An Introduction to the Urban Pilot Programme 

The Urban Pilot Programme aims to support innovation in urban regeneration and planning within the framework of the broader Community policy for promoting economic and social cohesion. Cities are today's main focus of economic growth and development, technological innovation and public service. At the same time, they all too often offer the worst examples of congestion, pollution, industrial decay and social exclusion. Cities in less developed peripheral areas, as well as urban regions in decline, strive for economic development. On the other hand, areas of acute poverty and urban decay exist within even the more prosperous EU cities.

These concerns have led the European Commission to enter into negotiations directly with Member States, cities and regions, to identify how Structural Fund resources could best be applied within urban areas.  Article 10 of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), adopted to finance pilot actions and innovative measures, enables the Commission to use a small proportion of ERDF resources to fund projects that pilot innovative ways of tackling problems of urban disadvantage and unemployment. 

During the period 1990 to 1993, a total of 33 Urban Pilot Projects were initiated under the aegis of Article 10 of the ERDF.  These projects were implemented in 11 Member States and some are still within their funding periods.  A number of these projects have been sustained beyond the Article 10 funding period and yet others have acted as catalysts for further regeneration in the target areas concerned.  The achievements and “good practice” elements of these projects are discussed in the Urban Pilot Projects' Annual Report 1996, published on behalf of the Directorate General for Regional Policy and Cohesion of the European Commission. 

In July 1997, the European Commission approved the Second Phase of the Urban Pilot Programme.  This phase was initiated on 30 November 1995 when a Call for Proposals was published in the Official Journal of the European Communities.  By the closing date for submissions (29 April 1996), a total of 503 proposals had been received from local authorities across Member States.  A total of 26 Urban Pilot Projects from 14 Member States (no applications were received from Luxembourg) were selected for funding during the period 1 July 1997 to 31 December 1999. 

The European Commission is looking into these, as well as to the First Phase Urban Pilot Projects, to draw policy lessons for the post-1999 programming period. 


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