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Experiment with potential for renewal

(This article was kindly published on 14 July, 2017, by „A Soul for Europe“.)

One year ago, on 24th June 2016, the European Union drew up an ‘Urban Agenda’ for the first time in its history in order to better adapt its policy development to the realities of life in cities. As laid down in the preamble to the ‘Pact of Amsterdam’, the fact that it has come so far is not only because 70 percent of the EU population already lives in cities today and 73 percent of all jobs are located in urban regions. Cities make a decisive contribution to the goals of the EU 2020 Strategy. This is also stated in the introduction to this political document.

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Cities are the living labs for the future of Europe

What impact for the EU Urban Agenda?

The EU Urban Agenda[1], as it has been decided at the June 2016 Council meeting and in the „Pact of Amsterdam[2]“, has a genesis with highs and lows, ups and downs throughout the past decades. This history is as long as cities have been demanding to get involved directly into EU policy development, a demand they based on two simple facts. First, evidence shows that about two thirds of the EU population live in cities, towns or urban areas. This provides a deeply democratic argument for direct involvement. Cities are the places where most EU citizens live and work. Second, cities are the hotspots of all major social, economic and political developments – they are the hubs for innovation and growth, it is there where new societal patterns first occur, they are the places with the highest density of people with all positive and negative effects. In brief, they constitute the living labs for the future of Europe. To leave them out of the process is simply ignoring their long time existing expertise in integrated policy making – a knowledge older than the EU itself by far.

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