Air quality in cities
Despite considerable progress in the past decades, ambient air pollution remains the number one environmental cause of death in the EU. EU environmental policy focuses on developing and implementing a clean air policy framework that reinforces national, regional and local policies. Cities play a key role in improving air quality through the design, monitoring and implementation of air quality plans at local level.
Circular economy in cities
A transition to the circular economy will contribute in the efforts to develop a sustainable, low carbon, resource efficient and competitive economy. It will allow for products, materials and resources to be maintained for as long as possible in the economy reducing the generation of waste. Cities provide the ideal context for the development of the circular economy thanks to their close proximity to their inhabitants, service providers, and businesses.
Climate adaptation in cities
Cities are major contributors to climate change, generating significant greenhouse gas emissions, e.g. energy generation, and vehicles. At the same time, cities and towns are heavily vulnerable to the impacts of climate change: heat, flooding, water scarcity and droughts can impact health, infrastructure, local economies, and quality of life of city dwellers. Effective climate action ensures not only resilience to the climate impacts but also important benefits to urban areas in terms of quality of life, improved public health, costs savings as well as job creation.
Culture in cities
It helps cities to regenerate themselves, improve their creative and innovative potential, develop new and more sustainable forms of tourism.
Digital transition in cities
Digitisation is not a choice but a necessity for European businesses and economies as a whole. It brings plenty of opportunities, but also repercussions, and above all change: some jobs will be replaced, new jobs will be created, and many jobs will be transformed. Thus it is important to accompany citizens in this transition. Cities have an opportunity to provide, in particular, better public services to citizens and create business opportunities. The EU's objective is to help cities to use digital technologies and open data.
Energy transition in cities
Urban areas are the places in which the greatest progress can be made on transition towards a system using a majority of renewable energy sources. Cities account for 60 to 80% of global energy consumption and around the same share of CO2 emissions.The EU seeks a long-term structural change in energy systems in order to improve energy efficiency, energy supply and local production of renewable energy.
Housing in cities
Housing is a key infrastructure for cities’ economic growth and well-being of their citizens. Over the past decade, worsening affordability, homelessness, social and housing polarization and new forms of housing deprivation have been an increasing concern for public policies. Several EU level policies have important impact on housing and provide support in this area, e.g. EU’s social policy agenda, energy, industry and environmental policies, regional and urban policies.
Innovative and responsible public procurement in cities
Public procurement is a powerful tool that cities could use to address social and environmental objectives and to do more with less. As part of the EU public procurement strategy, the EU's objective is to help public authorities in fostering innovation, environmental protection and a high level of social standards.
Inclusion of migrants and refugees in cities
Cities are often the main entry point for integration migrants and refugees in the EU.
Jobs and skills in the local economy
Job creation is one of the top priorities of the EU. The EU aims to promote prosperity and reduce unemployment by attracting enterprises, promoting local production, supporting new ways of working and ensuring that job-seekers' skills match employers' needs.
Sustainable use of land and nature-based solutions in cities
Changes in cities, e.g. growing, shrinking and regeneration, should be respectful of the environment, and leading to improvement in quality of life. The EU aims to safeguard the environment from demographic changes and ensure sustainable use of land, in particular through renaturing and greening of urban areas. Efficient and sustainable use of land help also creating inclusive European cities for everyone.
Cities are important nodes of the European transport system as most trips start or end in urban areas. Urban transport plays a key role in achieving economic competitiveness, social cohesion and sustainable growth. However, many of the negative effects of transport such as congestion, road accidents or pollution occur mainly in urban areas. The EU's objective is to help cities to implement a sustainable and efficient urban mobility.
Poverty has a huge impact upon cities – whether through the costs it generates in terms of lost productivity and lost contributions to the public purse, or through its side effects such as the potential for increased social tension, increased probability of poor health and an increased tendency towards social and spatial segregation.The EU aims to reduce poverty and improve the inclusion of people in poverty.