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Content archived on 2024-05-24

Eco-efficient urban management and new models of urban governance: the evaluation of l a 21 in european local authorities through "concerted self assessment"


Problems to be solved (addressing relevant EU policies)
There has been a tendency to assume that Local Agenda 21 (LA21) is an end in itself, rather than a process which assists local communities in moving towards a more sustainable world. Virtually all the research up until now has been concerned with understanding how LA21 works, and how it relates to pre-existing policy structures and to local political systems. In contrast, the LASALA project accepts these findings and now seeks to take knowledge further by identifying and researching new models of urban governance and effective management instruments, processes and practices applied to work towards urban environmental sustainability, and in particular the thrifty use of natural resources. Thus this project contributes fully to the implementation and evolution of the third and fourth aims of the Commission Communication on 'Sustainable Urban Development in the European Union: A Framework for Action', COM 98 (605) final, namely protecting and improving the urban environment towards local and global sustainability, and contributing to good urban governance and local empowerment. The project also contributes to the wider policy of facilitating the LA21 process throughout Europe and is fully in accordance with the wider strategic policy objectives embodied in European environmental policy. Scientific objectives and approach This project aims at generating broadly-based empirical material through recruiting150-250 European local authorities in 32 countries who have signed the Aalborg Charter in 1994 and are engaged in LA21, (i.e. commited to sustainable development planning) and by undertaking in-depth case research on new governance schemes implemented by local governments and management systems/instruments/tools applied for managing the city in an eco-efficient way. The first objective is to conduct a 'tele-guided, concerted Local Agenda 21 self-assessment' by the recruited European local authorities. The second objective is to evaluate LA21 in the participating local authorities with a view to developing new models of urban governance and eco-efficient urban management; this will lead to a European LA21 report. The third objective is to identify and disseminate best practices in urban governance and eco-efficient urban management with a target number of 20 case studies from at least 15 European countries. The fourth objective is to assess the functioning of the method of 'concerted self-assessment' and provide guidelines for its application resulting in a 'Local Agenda 21 Self-Assessment Manual'. The fifth objective is finally to facilitate the exploitation of the project results by information provision and dissemination Expected impacts All conceptions of sustainable development integral to LA21 imply a reduction in the use of non-renewable energy sources, the adoption of less polluting lifestyles and transportation and the introduction of patterns of living which are within the carrying capacity of the global environment. If secured, these approaches will inevitably reduce urban pollution and environmental degradation, with consequent implications for improvements in urban health and global environmental conditions. The concept of 'eco-efficient urban management' is central to this project and will make a significant contribution to the policy processes aimed at preserving and enhancing the environment and minimising the use of natural resources.

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Participants (4)