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Call for urban pilot project proposals under Article 10 of the ERDF Regulation

The European Commission, DG XVI, has published a call for proposals for urban pilot projects to be financed under Article 10 of the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

On 20 June 1995, the Commission established new guidelines for structural fund innovatory measures (1995-1999) to be financed under the second series of actions under Article 10 of the ERDF Regulation. Among the priorities established is support for Urban Pilot Projects (UPPs).

In the period 1989-1993, the Commission launched an initial series of 32 UPPs. In 1994, following this positive experience, the Community developed and launched the Community Initiative URBAN which aims at "tackling the problems of high-risk neighbourhoods through an innovative and integrated approach, resulting in actions which can be used as examples, to be diffused in cities across the EU and to promote networks of exchange of experience and cooperation".

For the period 1995-1999, the next series of UPPs is now being launched. In the framework of a strategy for the development of urban areas, the general objective of the programme is to explore and implement innovatory avenues and thinking in urban policy and planning in order to contribute towards sustainable economic and social cohesion.

Any urban, local or regional authority in the Community may participate in this programme, provided it represents cities or urban conurbations with a population of over 100,000 inhabitants. Smaller towns could also be accepted, provided they have a marked urban economy and social structure, play a central role within a region, or are adjacent peri-urban conurbations of large cities. Proposals concerning actions involving more than one local authority are acceptable when such cooperation provides added value.

Proposals may relate to any activity which is the responsibility of the participating local authorities, provided the actions proposed are necessary components of an integrated innovative socio-economic strategy agreed by the local partnership, and are aimed at tackling specific identified urban problems, or anticipate future ones, in a sustainable way. Thus, ad-hoc proposals, not in harmony with the plans of their greater urban surroundings, involving simply a list of investments in missing urban infrastructure or basic social services (normally provided by local authorities as part of their standard responsibilities and procedures) will not be considered. Local authorities are encouraged to expand the scope of their intervention in order to solve urban problems by taking advantage of existing unused sources/opportunities, and/or by investigating new ways to solve them.

The following is an indicative list of themes, or combination of themes, coming within the scope of the new UPP programme:

- Improvement of urban planning of peripheral neighbourhoods in medium to large cities which have developed in an unplanned way;
- Exploitation of cultural, geographical, historical or other advantages of medium-sized cities;
- Regeneration of historic centres or deprived areas and launching of new economic activities, or strengthening existing ones (in particular SMEs, such as neighbourhood shops and craft enterprises, etc.), in combination with vocational training, rehabilitation, environmental actions or safety improvements;
- Tackling functional obsolescence in urban zones by introducing new uses which will provide needed urban/civic infrastructures, services or new economic activities;
- Improvement of facilities in downgraded urban districts around mass-transit stations;
- Promotion of social/economic integration of minority groups and equal opportunity measures in particular through the establishment of partnerships and citizens' participation;
- Improvement of the environment through:
. The creation of new open/green spaces and/or recreational activities together with sustainable facilities in built-up districts;
. Integrated waste-treatment and recycling activities;
. Reduction of energy consumption through renewable or clean alternative energy uses;
- Good practice for preserving buildings of architectural and social interest in regions with geographical disadvantages (e.g. earthquakes, floods);
- Integrated management of public transit/parking network and development of strategies enhancing accessibility of isolated economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods to labour markets;
- Use of information technology for improved functioning and economic development in cities;
- Tackling institutional/legal issues necessary for the realization of innovatory schemes.

In general, projects should be implemented over a period of two to three years. The UPPs are jointly financed by the EC and the authorities concerned. In general, the Community contribution to projects will be in the range of ECU 2 million to ECU 3 million. Community funding of projects will be subject to a maximum of 75% of total costs incurred by authorities in Objective 1 regions and up to 50% of those incurred by authorities in all other regions.
DE

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