Quality of life in the towns and cities of
Europe depends to a considerable extent on the quality of urban
governance, and policy makers at all levels of government now
understand the need for better sustainable approach to urban
development. In 1998, the European Commission's framework document
Sustainable Urban Development in the European Union, analysing the
socio-economic and environmental challenges facing European urban
areas, advocated both for improvement in urban governance with
citizens' participation and improvement in policies linked to the
As effectiveness of urban governance is of key
importance in the achievement of good urban living in Europe, city
governments must develop institutional forms and styles of
leadership that promote decisiveness, facilitate the use of local
knowledge and enhance public support.
Some European cities have already made
progress towards these objectives, achieving more sustainable urban
policies by combining strong urban leadership with expanded
involvement of citizens in local decision making. But, not all
cities are able to tackle new urban challenges, and the European
Commission's 2000 Urban Audit unveiled considerable variation in the
quality of urban life across Europe.
PLUS aims to promote effective urban
governance by identifying approaches to city leadership and
community involvement that work well.
The primary objective of PLUS is to collect
and disseminate practical knowledge about the complementarity of
political leadership and citizen involvement in cities that are
active in promoting sustainable development. This will be achieved
Analysing, comparing and contrasting
alternative approaches to urban leadership and community
involvement in local decision-making in nine countries (Germany,
Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, United
Kingdom and New Zealand).
Promoting better urban leadership and more
effective citizen involvement.
Studying urban governance in the fields of
economic competitiveness and social inclusion.
Bringing together academics and
Producing practitioner oriented outputs,
including practical guide, internet database, distance-learning
pack and interactive, cross-national seminars and conferences.
Engagement with end users and public
authorities is built in throughout the project. In the end, the
ambition of PLUS is to provide practical assistance to politicians,
officials and citizens who want to promote the sustainable
development of towns and cities of the future in an enlarged Europe,