Prof. El. Thoidou,
Department of Planning & Development, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
Title: Integrated urban interventions for resilient cities and metropolitan areas
In recent years the growing importance of urban areas has led to the strengthening of urban policies and the widening of their content and scope at both the supranational and the national levels. Cities and metropolitan areas are considered to play a key role in the development of their regions and countries, and in many cases they are described as ‘engines of the economy’. The question of economic and social cohesion is raised with an effort to compromise it with the pursuit of competitiveness under the sustainable development principle. However, since the late 2000s the win-win agenda that had underpinned the competitiveness-cohesion dipole has come into question and the expectation for a continuous self-balance of this system has been under threat. Urban areas have been subject to the impact of the economic crisis, not to mention those of climate change. Therefore, a demand for enhancing their resilience to contemporary threats has emerged together with the need for a renewed understanding of sustainability.
These issues are addressed in the new UN Urban Agenda (Habitat III), as well as the EU urban agenda, both of which place emphasis on locally based development as well as on integrated interventions. At the EU level in particular, an upgrading of urban policy as well as a re-inventing of integrated urban interventions through ‘community-led local development’, has emerged.
In Greece, after years of implementation of EU co-funded URBAN-type interventions, the integrated approach to urban planning and development has become evident, for instance, in the institutionalization of ‘Plans for Integrated Urban Interventions’ in deprived urban areas (SOAP in Greek) in 1999, which began to be implemented in the early 2010s. Greek cities and metropolitan areas endeavour to prepare their new strategies for sustainable urban development in the context of the enhanced territorial dimension of cohesion policy 2014-20.
In the light of the above considerations, this special session investigates the characteristics of integrated urban interventions with an emphasis on their contribution to urban resilience and especially on issues such as:
The New Urban Agenda: options for socio-economic and environmental resilience
Integrated urban interventions in the context of cohesion policy: URBAN-type interventions and beyond
Integrated urban interventions in Greece: the case of ‘Plans for Integrated Urban Interventions’ (SOAP) and future prospects
Climate adaptation planning for urban areas: from project-based to integrated approaches
Metropolitan resilience: indicators and strategies for a holistic approach