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Executive Summary
Background
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RESULTS AND OUTCOMES
Achievements of the IIIB North Sea Programme
Projects 2000-2006
THEME 6 Developing More Competitive Cities and Towns
ToLearn
LifeSTYLE
URBAL
SEAPORT
VISP
Waterfront Communities Project
RevitHar
SmartLIFE - International
UWC
WCI-II
B-SURE
Liveable City
PURE North Sea
Town-Net

Rural and semi rural areas are a crucially important aspect of life in the North Sea Region. But urban areas are often key centres for the development of innovation and competition. A number of towns, small cities and some major conurbations including Hamburg, Copenhagen and Edinburgh are all to be found in the region. While paying due regard to the need to maintain balance between rural and urban areas, ensuring the development of more competitive cities and towns is an essential step for strengthening the region as a whole.

Linked to the requirement to strengthen towns and cities is the identified need for areas beyond the core area of the EU to co-operate at the regional, national and transnational level. The reasons for this are to ensure that these areas remain attractive places for settlement, business and job creation, and to support polycentric, balanced and sustainable European territorial development.

A further background aspect of this theme is the way that cities providing access to the EU (gateway-cities) can play an important role in the revitalisation and development of maritime and urban areas that lag behind. One of the benefits is that all areas may be provided with the opportunity to increase their competitiveness as a basis for the overall reduction of socio-economic disparities. In this context, a number of needs were identified: to improve quality of life in urban areas; to improve the economic development of urban areas while integrating new sustainable energy; to integrate water issues in spatial planning and design strategies and to increase the attractiveness of water and waterfront areas. These needs were identified as a means of developing more competitive cities and towns.


Key features Main achievements and outcomes
Innovative
actions
in rural areas
developing various spatial functions of water catchment areas in the urban-rural fringe
effective assessment tool for investment projects within water catchment areas
upgrading various functions of water in urban areas such as aesthetic and functional improvement and efficient use of available space


Safeguarding cultural and natural heritage
supporting skills and capacity in the construction sector to deliver affordable sustainable housing
incorporating sustainability into new residential development
encouraging a viable and thriving tourism industry by effective education and training schemes
offering specific and practical guidance for improvements in regional and interregional sustainable tourism destinations
22 good practice examples in sustainable tourism
strengthened town networks by effective collaboration
creating trade and other exchange links


Protecting and developing valuable landscapes
improving the negative image and reinvigorate 6 towns as a benefit of increased attractiveness of waterfronts and harbour environments
reduction in unemployment
toolkit for economic regeneration in seaport towns
Seaside Award in 2005 for high quality standards of beach management
online database for international good practice in waterfront regeneration
unique integrated approach bringing creative use of public space
tool-kit model for measuring benefits of regenerating public space
strategies to build bridges between urban and rural interests
spatial development through life long learning, networking, complementarities and increased citizen involvement


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Lamesly pasture Wetland: part of a new watersystem in the Gateshead fringe zone, contributing to an increased recreational accessibility and attractiveness (PURE North Sea project)
The North Sea
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