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Priority 4: Enhancing competitiveness and attractiveness of cities and regions

European cities and regions attract investment and employment by offering economic opportunities and a high quality of life. Cities and regions can do a lot to improve their attractiveness and competitiveness and, thus, to contribute to economic growth and more and better jobs.

Projects under this priority will aim at improving the quality of life in cities and regions and will promote sustainable urban development. They will support polycentric development to avoid disparities within urban areas that are due to social and spatial segregation, and they will address demographic and social change, as well as the protection, preservation and exploitation of cultural resources.

Summary/Overview: About competitiveness and attractiveness of CE cities and regions

Central Europe is characterized by a high degree of urbanisation, with 73 percent of the population living in cities or urban areas. It boasts strong capital regions and numerous medium sized towns, which are carriers of economic growth. The concentration of administrative, political and economic functions and the potential for innovation is high in these regions as well as their cultural heritage.

On the other hand, there is a rather decreasing economic potential in some of the rural regions, esp. in the peripheral areas or areas with disadvantaged location conditions. In the new Member States, due to the very selective influx of foreign direct investments in urban areas, a mono-centric development at national levels threatens to reinforce disparities between their capital and other regions.

A more polycentric development can contribute to avoiding such disparities.
Promoting urban and regional cooperation of relevant actors can help to overcome the core-periphery pattern and lead to higher growth and competitiveness.

The spatial development concerning urban agglomerations is determined by several distinct factors. Urban areas are confronted with increasing suburbanisation processes with negative environmental impacts due to higher traffic and increasing land use. National and international migration flows are mostly concentrated in the cities. For several urban areas, this is the most important factor for the demographic growth and the change of their demographic structure (age, regional origin).

The uneven territorial development of Central Europe is reflected in increasing economic and social disparities between urban and rural areas, as well as within urban areas due to social and spatial segregation. The territorial effects of such trends can threaten the competitiveness of the cooperation area.

Key Words

ICT e-services / public services, urban transport / traffic management, connectivity / interoperability / transport security, integrated transport & mobility planning, clean urban transport, integrated tourism, cultural heritage, cultural infrastructure, cultural services, integrated urban - rural development,
polycentricism, labour market and demographic change, labour market and migrants, governance and partnership / cooperation networks, institutional learning / policy development.

This priority includes the following areas of intervention:

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