At the EU Cities Forum in Turin the role of small urban areas was an important focus. Taking part in a panel discussion on the role and challenges of small and medium-sized urban areas in bringing Europe closer to citizens and driving the green and just transition, Irene McMaster highlighted the importance of capacity building for small urban areas to engage in strategic planning and development on this issue. Noting the wide array of measures and support available, including the new European Urban Initiative launched at the Turin event, she highlighted the importance of helping smaller urban areas take a ‘first-step’ in developing approaches to integrated sustainable urban development, and the importance of a territorial approach. For example, the EU’s Territorial Agenda 2030 usefully connects the ‘small’ and the strategic, as a territorially based, cooperation-based approach can pull scarce resources and capacity and avoid small places being isolated actors.
Also in the session, DG Regio and the Joint Research outlined their work, including the new JRC publication: “Policy atlas of Sustainable Urban Development for small urban areas”, and speakers from Austria, Ireland, Latvia and Spain provided insights into locally-led responses to the challenges and opportunities of a Green Transition.