Fifth Framework Programme - External Advisory Groups
First Report to the Commission of the External Advisory Group for the Key Action "City of Tomorrow and Cultural Heritage"
This report is also available as PDF-file: tomorrow1.pdf (61 Kb)
1. The EAG for the Key Action "City of Tomorrow and Cultural Heritage" met on three occasions in November and December 1998 to advise the Commission on the content and orientation of the Key Action. This First Report covers the EAG's examination of the Commission's preliminary discussion document on elements for preparing the Workprogramme for the Key Action with a view to: its consistency with the aims of the Framework Programme and the Specific Programme, credibility of targets and the priorities for 1999.
Consistency with the aims of FP5 (including the "problem solving" approach)
2. The Group concluded that in general the proposed Workprogramme for the City of Tomorrow and Cultural Heritage was consistent with the aims and RTD priorities set out in the Council's provisional orientation of 13 October 1998 concerning a specific RTD programme on "Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development". Accordingly, the overall goal of the City of Tomorrow and Cultural Heritage is to support sustainable economic development and competitiveness, improved urban management and integrated planning policy, and help safeguard and improve the quality of life and cultural identity of European citizens.
3. It was considered that the overall objectives reflected the principal challenges associated with urban quality of life, improving cultural and social cohesion, providing for security and safety, and ensuring the competitiveness of Europe's cities and city regions. However the Group noted the novelty of this Key Action with its holistic character, with people at the centre and using methodologies and technologies to help provide the means for social and material vitalisation of neighbourhoods including city centres. The city should be regarded as a very diversified system, in terms of structure, land use mix, density, construction, transport and cultural heritage. Furthermore, a city can never be seen apart from its relations to surrounding areas and national policies. The Group considered that greater emphasis should be given to integrating all the "bullets" of the Key Action.
4. Given the resources likely to be available, the set of four bullets was considered to be a pragmatic and balanced compromise of sectoral emphasis and multidisciplinary approach with multi-stakeholder involvement to deliver demand-led research.
5. The cities of tomorrow will highlight their inherent cultural heritage, the fruit of the different historical eras and regional structures that shaped their development. But they are not indifferent to alternative forms of cities emerging in other major regions of the world in different contexts and with different rates of growth. Nevertheless, Europe's cities will maintain their own identity as part of the cultural heritage, while searching among today's enlarged city structures or elsewhere in the new "clusters of cities" for the appropriate roles and forms of integration and creation of the different historical strata of this heritage. Indeed the models of European cities, which could emerge, could bring valuable experience and knowledge to other regions in the world.
6. The Group was satisfied that the Workprogramme was problem orientated and directed towards strategically useful outputs, regarding the definition and implementation of innovative urban policies and technical choices, based on better knowledge of urban trends and governance facing the environmental constraints in the context of European cities and urban regions, and enhancement of quality of life and Europe's cultural heritage.
7. The group welcomed the approach taken by the Commission setting, in each bullet of the Key Action, clear targets which, where possible, had been quantified.
8. Achieving quantified targets should not be seen as mandatory for individual proposals. It should be made clear to proposers that quantified targets should be seen as a goal for a group (or cluster) of projects. In this context, the use of targets in the area of construction, should not mitigate against the integrated approach proposed for research in this sector. Individual proposals should be required to make a substantial contribution towards targets whether they are quantitative or qualitative.
9. While it would be desirable to have a Workprogramme, which was of a common style throughout, it was recognised that each bullet had origins in very different disciplines. The Group agreed that ideally the presentation of the different bullets should be further harmonised but recognised that this was not currently possible due to their different stages of development. Accordingly the Group accepted that the quantified targets should be used where this was possible.
Priorities for 1999
10. The group noted that the delay between the commencement of contracts launched in 1999 and 2000 need only be a few months. A priori, the Group felt that all the "bullets" were important to the Key Action. Therefore, the Group favoured that for 1999 the four "bullets" should be given emphasis by having a call open to all areas. If this proved not to be possible, it was able to accept those elements of urban sustainability and the built environment which focussed on employment and quality of life, on safeguarding cultural heritage and on co-ordination with other Key actions for comparative assessment and cost-effective implementation of strategies for sustainable transport systems in an urban environment. Further refinement would only be possible once the budget for the duration of the Programme was known.
11. It was noted that this Key Action was essentially one which integrated outputs from other Key actions in the same Specific Programme and from other Specific Programmes. Accordingly it was considered inappropriate to mention one link without mentioning all the many others. As this was regarded as impractical, it was suggested that the 'call for proposals' was the appropriate instrument for making reference to such links. Co-ordination mechanisms such as joint calls, cross-Key action project clustering and thematic networks were seen as essential for links with other Key actions such as those concerned with transport, energy and construction processes, as well as generic activities.
12. The Group had some detailed comments to make on the content.
13. The definition of the "City" should not be seen as restrictive, it should include both large and small urban cities and their peripheries, and where appropriate the interdependent features and interaction of surrounding areas (e.g. commuting links and complementary activities).
14. The "bullet" on integrated approaches for sustainable cities and rational resource management should be seen as a socio-economic and organisational umbrella over the other "bullets". There are strong inter-links between all four "bullets". For example cultural heritage includes the economic impact of tourism attracted by the cultural heritage, the enhancement of local communities, the consequences for transport planning, the overall attractiveness of cities, and the need for appropriate microclimates in indoor and outdoor environments.
15. Care should be taken about the use of the word "accessibility" with its different interpretation ranging from physical access to transport, buildings and cultural heritage to a wider socio-economic interpretation with all services, information available for participation by all citizens including those with special needs. Accordingly it should be clear that social inclusion is an essential requirement when seeking to compare the quality of urban life and when reinforcing economic development, competitiveness and employment.
16. Research focussing on urban governance issues related to the growing urban networks and the more efficient integration of sectoral policies and the emergence of partnerships for services management and urban projects development should also be developed.
17. Regarding cultural heritage, where it was recognised that critical levels of pollution may be different than for human exposure, the identification of acceptable thresholds and critical loads should be included, as well as their relation to the current body of European legislation.
18. With regard to construction, bringing together the different characteristics arising elsewhere in the Key Action for inclusion, was seen as a very realistic approach to the built environment.
19. The reconciliation of contaminated sites should not be seen as merely the integration of brown field sites into new uses and surrounding areas. The term "brown field" sites is insufficiently precise - it is not clear, for example, whether it includes other undesirable sites such as obsolete harbours. Additionally, emphasis needs to be given to new economic remediation solutions.
20. The control of transport demand in urban areas was seen as an essential theme to be addressed, in conjunction with other appropriate Key actions.
21. While it was recognised that demonstration activities should be included in this Key Action, the available resources were limited. The support should generally be focussed on the innovative planning of demonstrations arising from integrating technologies, and the comparative assessment and evaluation of different approaches and processes. However it was recognised that in some cases, pilot demonstrations are to be seen as part of research, as in cultural heritage, and may need some support.