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Study on Sustainable Regeneration in Suburbs

Conducted on behalf of: European Commission Directorate General

Commenced: December 2011

Project context

European cities are centres of economic activity, innovation, employment and growth--areas in which the European Union has ambitious objectives. However, cities face a number of structural and long term challenges relating to everything from climate change to an ageing population. The multiplicity of challenges calls for coordinated and sustainable solutions involving different sectors of society, balancing economic, social and environmental aspects of the burden in order to achieve “sustainable regeneration”.

Several EU documents and declarations highlight the importance of integrated development initiatives, and although there is no legal basis for urban policy in the treaties establishing the European Union, the EU has a long tradition of being active in the field of urban development and regeneration. This integrated approach is also at the centre of the urban dimension of European cohesion policy, which has a major role in supporting cities. In an urban development context and under specific circumstances in support of social cohesion, the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) also co-finances investments in housing. And whilst housing is not a direct competence of the EU, a range of EU policies, initiatives and decisions have had an impact on this sector.

Objectives of the project

The study will focus on the contribution of EU cohesion policy to sustainable urban regeneration through ERDF support for housing in the period 2007-2013.

This study will address questions such as: To what extent is there evidence of ERDF housing investments contributing to integrated sustainable urban regeneration of highly populated, deprived neighbourhoods? What are the main challenges encountered in the preparation and implementation of these regeneration projects? What lessons could be learned from the current regulation framework regarding housing interventions and its practical implementation?

The study will show the diversity of responses to these issues across Europe, and will discuss and draw lessons from a number of important case studies.

The study will ultimately be used by the European Commission as a reference document for future cohesion policy and will be disseminated and used as supporting material for communication purposes across the EU. It may also be used as guidance to Member States, regions, cities and other stakeholders for future urban regeneration projects.

Research team

Dr Anne Power is Professor of Social Policy and Head of the Housing and Communities research group at LSE.

Dr Simona Milio is Associate Director of the Social and Cohesion Policy Unit at LSE Enterprise.