Sustainable Urban Development in European cities

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Sustainable urban development is a term that has circled the sustainability community for over a decade now, but it’s only building up steam. As more European cities see the benefit in sustainable innovation policies, urban development is changing in key cities, paving the way for a new forum on how sustainability can benefit cities and what, if any, are the drawbacks on widespread urban form policies.

The European Regional Development Fund

The Americans may have left the Paris Climate Accord, but Europe remains steadfast in its dedication to creating sustainable cities and urban areas within the European Union. With the development of the European Regional Development Fund, known as ERDF, nations are beginning to implement urban development strategies that will serve sustainable innovation in the future.


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ERDF is a fund that is controlled and allocated by the European Union with the express purpose of transferring money from richer nations to poorer nations in order for those underdeveloped countries to begin investing in infrastructure and other policies, such as sustainable development, to enrich their nations.

The ERDF is playing a large role in sustainable innovation, particularly in European cities, owing to the fact that the European Union has decreed that some of those funds will be allocated to sustainable urban development. The fact that the fund goes to underdeveloped nations means that those cities in the need of help for urban development will receive the chance to build sustainable networks in their cities without having to go into debt in order to achieve that goal.

European Union Takes Steps Towards Sustainable Urban Development

The Urban Development Network, which is part of the European Commission, is a huge step towards making more European cities sustainable. It is a network made up of more than 500 cities and urban areas across Europe who maintain responsibility for implementing the Sustainable Urban Development strategies that are funded by the ERDF through 2020.

The network states that each member state of the European Union must invest a minimum of five percent of its ERDF allocation to sustainable urban development, with the policies being implemented by urban authorities in the area. With a total of 371 million EUR dedicated to the project through 2020, it’s an important step in ensuring that cities continue to develop sustainable strategies in the future.

While the fund allocation is a great place to start for sustainable urban development, it still remains to be seen how the program proposals that were picked for ERDF funds will fare over the coming years. City authorities remain hopeful that with the introduction of funds specifically for urban development, cities will begin to reduce energy costs and damages to the environment.