Urban life in the sprawling metropolis can be difficult. The social phenomenon of large distressed urban areas can be witnessed in most European cities. It is this environmental, social and economic distress apparent in cities which leads to a poor quality of life for many of its citizens. Good urban governance and an integrated civil society can alleviate some of these problems, but in order for decision makers to make the right choices they must first have the right information. The LUDA research project addressed the issue of urban distress by carrying out three years' worth of research on the subject. The project facilitated exchange of experience between European cities and between stakeholders. Overall the project provided tools for a strategic approach to planning and developing an urban rehabilitation process. Researchers based in Germany, at the Leibniz Institute of Ecological and Regional Development, prepared and disseminated policy papers which had been developed at different stages of the project. Specifically, each of the five policy papers produced contained policy recommendations. These in turn contributed to the European Commission's White Paper on European Governance. The papers reported on urban regeneration activities which were founded on the belief that urban development needs to be viewed holistically and be linked to quality of life issues. The papers took into account the different levels of decision takers, therefore targeting guidance to agencies, local authorities and central government. The LUDA project in this way represents a step toward a sustainable Europe.