Content and purpose of the course
The aim of this course is to develop an advanced understanding on urban policies by setting the analysis within the broader European Union’s policies context. Introducing this dimension is crucial, when considering theincreasing directing and leading role of European Union (EU) on single Member States initiatives, also at the local and urban scale and in the field of urban and regional policies.
In particular, the course objective is twofold:
- Exploring the integration process in a historical perspective while emphasizing the underlying economic rationale, mechanisms, policies and dynamics.
This historical account will stress commonalities, differences and disparities within the EU not only among countries, but also across regions and cities in the Union. The acknowledgment of such heterogeneity and imbalances within the European space raises several questions to which the course aims at replying such as: what are the key domains and policy areas in which the Union has its primary competencies? How the decision-making process is structured at the EU level? Is the division of competencies among the different layers of government efficient or should it be revised? What are the spatial effects of EU level (sectoral) policies, if any? How does the EU address and try to mitigate its internal disparities? What are the spatial impacts of the current EU financial and economic crisis?
The course will reply to these questions in particular by focusing on the following aspects: the current European institutional structure, budget and decision-making process as well as their most important reforms, the description of some of the key sectoral policies framed and implemented at the EU level and, notably, the EU Cohesion Policy and its evolution over time.
- Reconstructing the emergence of the urban dimension in EU policies, in particular exploringpositive and negative interactions between EU-led policies in the urban sphere - rationales, objectives, approaches - and different planning cultures and institutional contexts inside Member States.
It will focus on the complex process of construction of a EU competence on spatial planning. At the same time, it will try to address an articulated set of interrelated questions: what role has been traditionally assigned to cities inside the European context in the different member states? How EU policies have been contributing to feed or reinvent this role, in particular with attention to the recent economic crisis? To what extent and how EU policies have been innovating the field of urban policies? To what extent EU urban policies can be read as a fertile hybridization process of different planning practices and styles?
The course will particularly focus on the role of the urban dimension inside the framework of the Cohesion Policy (2007-2013) and explore the innovation produced by the so-called ‘integrated approach of development’ perspective. At the same time it will provide elements to introduce the current programming period 2014-2020, where the ‘urban dimension’ will be strengthened and strategic and integrate programming will be reinforced.
This course is composed of three main building blocks.
The first part of the course (The economics of European integration) will review the main steps leading to the formation of the EU in the last 50 years by stressing the economic interpretation and rationale of the integration process. This is a necessary building block for the next steps since it provides the backbone that enables to understand the policy formation and implementation process at the European level and its increasing impact on single Member States policies. It will also deal with the design and implementation of EU sectoral policies (i.e., agricultural, competition, trade policies). Finally, this part will also examine the most recent programmatic policy documents such as the set of policies grouped under the name of Lisbon Agenda, which primarily target economic and competitiveness issues, the Sustainable Development European Strategy set in Gothenburg, the Europe 2020 strategy, addressing economic and social cohesion and their impact at the territorial level, both on regions and on urban settings.
The second part (The EU and the construction of a spatial and urban agenda) will analyse cohesion policies, which explicitly address territorial issues and envisage also urban development concerns to be object of the direct EU policy action. Being not a core and formal aim and competence of the EU, these policies are actually rather new but still expanding under the pressure of the enlargement process and the risk of divergent development path among and within Member States. In particular, it will analyse the conflictual introduction of the spatial planning dimension inside the EU agenda, from the European Spatial Development Perspective (1999) to the Territorial Agenda 2020 (2011). Then it will present a critical overview of key elements of different season of EU urban policies, discussing expectations and outcomes, reconstructing the critical debate. Finally it will introduce students to the current debate on the necessity and opportunity of a new EU promoted urban agenda.
The third part (EU urban policies vs. European urban policies) will be dedicated to illustrate, through different case studies, the outcomes of a long season of innovation and experimentation promoted by EU-led programs and policies in the urban sphere: a cycle of seminars, with international scholars, will be dedicated to the illustration of different national contexts ( France, UK, Spain and Germany), where EU urban policies have been implemented within the framework of different local tradition of urban policies.
This course’s key learning objectives are as follows:
- Acquire the basic jargon necessary to discuss, in a consistent and precise manner, European integration and enlargement processes.
- Understand the impact of the EU integration and enlargement processes at the regional and urban scale.
- Understand the main effects of the European sectoral policies at the local and urban scale.
- Understand the main effects of Cohesion Policies at the local and urban scale.
- Understand the role of cities and urban and regional policies in the EU integration process
- Explore the innovations introduced by EU in the urban policies field and the interactions with different planning cultures
- Provide students elements to interact with the new programming period and at the same time with the challenges of contemporary urban question
- Learn how to write and present research papers in English and properly discuss peers’ pieces of works.