A Peri-Urban dimension to an EU Urban Agenda

Feb 26, 2015

The response of PURPLE members to the European Commission's recent consultation' The urban dimension of EU policies – key features of an EU Urban Agenda' argues for recognition that peri-urban regions are a growing and dynamic feature of EU territorial development and must be taken into account in any future urban policy agenda.

An urban policy agenda mainly directed towards cities risks ignoring the functional interdependence across wider peri-urban territories that is essential for cities to prosper. This is a particular risk in complex polycentric territories and those with a longstanding peri-urban territorial development where there is a strong urban dimension across much wider areas around and between cities.

An urban policy agenda with a broader and more inclusive focus will also allow a realistic appraisal of lifestyle choices and working patterns now available to citizens. For a growing number of people, new technologies, greater mobility opportunities and more flexible working patterns mean that the city may be only one element of an ‘urban’ existence.

Large peri-urban areas of the EU provide the means for cities to function and for city dwellers to enjoy a better quality of life.  As a result, they are often under great pressure to deliver multiple and often conflicting or competing services. Because these peri-urban areas are the location for resources and infrastructure essential for the functioning of cities and towns, there has to be joined up thinking over wider functional territories in a number of policy areas, including transport infrastructure and mobility management, housing, water, energy, waste and food.

In addition, the spatial and environmental resources of peri-urban areas are important for quality of life and the well-being of inhabitants of cities and towns providing essential elements which make up regional identity – landscapes, biodiversity, regional products, cultural heritage – and allowing access to open space for recreation and health.

All this means there are pressures (particularly environmental) which have to be acknowledged and managed to ensure balanced and sustainable development of peri-urban areas.

Why not join PURPLE in the development of ideas for a more territorially appropriate urban policy agenda?