Urban sprawl is one of the main challenges of developing towns and cities, where development spreads without proper control and management. This process resulting in extra costs for public authorities and for citizens in terms of service delivery, infrastructure for example – in most cases, these costs are hidden and not easily perceived as they are negative externalities.
Spatial planning, especially within Functional Urban Areas (FUAs) can be a tool for dealing effectively with urban sprawl and green infrastructure. Effective FUA cooperation, including spatial planning, but not only, can help to use land in a more sustainable way and avoid the hidden costs of urban sprawl.
The following challenges constraining FUA cooperation are identified by the Partnership:
- There are multiple definitions and delimitations of FUAs, which makes it sometimes difficult to gather consistent data (for monitoring and analysis - although the application of this concept should be flexible);
- There is a lack of knowledge among city/regional/national officials about the benefits of FUA cooperation, including coordinated spatial planning in functional areas, especially in the context of mitigating urban sprawl and green infrastructure, resulting in higher (hidden) costs;
- There is a lack of knowledge about the best ways to establish cooperation within an FUA (e.g. knowledge about possible regulatory frameworks to adopt, financial incentives, stakeholders’ engagement, etc.);
- There is a lack of appropriate national level frameworks facilitating FUA cooperation (e.g. enabling formalisation of cooperation, financial support etc.);
- There is a lack of willingness among municipalities to cooperate as a result of financial constraints and a variety of political and institutional reasons.
The aim of this action is to make FUA collaboration, especially coordinated spatial planning, a widely recognised and attractive tool for better land management and a tool for dealing with urban sprawl. Therefore, the Partnership recognises the need for:
- More evidence and knowledge related to urban sprawl and its costs;
- More knowledge and evidence about the benefits of collaboration within FUAs;
- Gathering case studies and good practice from Europe on successful FUAs demonstrating how coordinated spatial planning has contributed to combat urban sprawl.
- Drafting a publication (book, document) for MS, regions and cities, describing guidelines and recommendations, based on good practices and gathered knowledge (urban sprawl costs, benefits of FUA cooperation, best practice);
- Disseminating and discussing outcomes through dedicated workshops, seminars and other events, to promote FUA cooperation, to trigger discussion and to exchange experiences; (funding and organisational possibilities for such events need to be further assessed);
The desired outcomes of this action are:
- Developing discourse on FUA cooperation and coordinated spatial planning through discussions during events and knowledge exchange; and
- Raising awareness about FUA and inspiring stakeholders to take up FUA collaboration.
- Sustainable Use of Land and Nature-Based Solutions Partnership full Draft Action Plan
- Draft Action 1: INCLUDING LAND TAKE IN IMPACT ASSESSMENT PROCEDURES
- Draft Action 2: FINANCING MODELS FOR BROWNFIELD DEVELOPMENT
- Draft Action 3: IDENTIFYING AND MANAGING UNDER-USED LAND
- Draft Action 4: INDICATORS OF LAND TAKE
- Draft Action 6: BETTER REGULATION TO BOOST NBS AT EUROPEAN, NATIONAL AND LOCAL LEVELS
- Draft Action 7.1: PREPARE AN NBS FUNDING GUIDE TO ASSIST CITIES IN ACCESSING FUNDING FOR NBS PROJECTS
- Draft Action 7.2: OVERCOMING THE BIAS FOR EXISTING SOLUTIONS THROUGH NBS FINANCIAL INCENTIVES MAINSTREAMING
- Draft Action 8: AWARENESS RAISING IN THE AREAS OF NBS AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF LAND (URBAN SPRAWL)
- Draft Action 9: AGREEING ON COMMON TARGETS AND INDICATORS FOR NATURE-BASED SOLUTIONS, URBAN GREEN STRUCTURE, BIODIVERSITY AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN CITIES