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The book critically reflects on some of the most important novelties and experimentations in the context of the European Union’s renewed urban and regional policy in the last programming period, 2014-2020. In particular, it examines four main innovations characterizing this period, which emerged as a result of the deep rethinking and reorganization of Cohesion Policy in the spirit of the place-based approach to local development, i.e. the development of the smart specialization strategy, the establishment of macro-regions, the focus on the urban dimension as a horizontal priority, and the role of social innovation in urban policy. Unlike other similar books, it analyzes the urban dimension of the reformed EU cohesion policy, especially focusing on its interplay with the regional dimension, and which has not been fully addressed to date.

The book is intended for social scientists engaged in research on European issues, especially from regional and urban perspectives, policy-makers, particularly at the local level, and graduate students interested in regional and urban European matters.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. Introduction

Abstract
This chapter introduces the book by explaining the novelties it aims at introducing, the scientific, research and teaching activities that supported its elaboration and, lastly, the plan of its constitutive chapters and their respective achievements. The chapter highlights how the book offers a unique critical reflection on some of the most important innovations and experimentations introduced in the framework of renewed EU urban and regional policy over the last programming period by emphasising the interplay between the urban and regional dimensions of the reformed EU cohesion policy.
Valeria Fedeli, Camilla Lenzi, Paola Briata, Luisa Pedrazzini

Chapter 2. The Reform of Cohesion Policy in the 2014–2020 Programming Period and the Regional Smart Specialization Strategy

Abstract
The chapter offers a reconstruction of the substantial changes that the logic, nature and implementation of EU cohesion policy (CP) has undergone in the last programming period. After presenting the socio-economic context in which this reform process took place, in terms of global trends as well as of the specific economic geography of the Union, it sets the conceptual debate that framed and shaped the directions pursued in the reforming process and explains the rationale, logic and main novelties introduced in the reformed CP. Next, the chapter explores one of the most relevant novelties introduced in this reform, i.e. the regional smart specialization strategy (RIS3), by highlighting its origins and its adaptation at the regional level, and draws some conclusions on the first stages of its application by pointing to the main challenges ahead in the implementation of the reformed CP and especially of RIS3, also in relation to different context conditions characterising different types of region.
Valeria Fedeli, Camilla Lenzi, Paola Briata, Luisa Pedrazzini

Chapter 3. Regions and Macro-regions in European Territorial Cooperation: Today and 2021+

Abstract
This chapter offers some critical considerations regarding regionalisation within 2014–2020 European cohesion policy. Attention will focus on the European Territorial Cooperation programmes (ETC) implemented up until the establishment of macro-regions as the transnational evolution of the aggregation of homogeneous territories. The intent of the chapter is to point out how place-based principles have been applied to ETC in the current programming period in light of the territorial diversity of the European Union in order to reach a more balanced European territory. It is assumed that “territorial diversity” has been considered a strength rather than a weakness ever since the reform of the European Regional Development Fund in 2006. This was a way of realising the potential of cities and regions by enhancing their specificity and diversity as added values in European space. Then the chapter explores the macro-regional strategies in the 2014–2020 EU ETC, with specific focus on EUSALP, the European Alpine region, the last macro region endorsed by the European Council in 2016. Conclusions explore the drivers of the forthcoming 2021+ cohesion policy programme by outlining the role of regions and macro-regions in the European spatial context.
Valeria Fedeli, Camilla Lenzi, Paola Briata, Luisa Pedrazzini

Chapter 4. The Urban Question and the EU Integration Project: A Continuous Experiment

Abstract
The chapter seeks to illustrate and comment on the role assigned to cities and urban policy in the European integration project in order critically understand the current programming period as a result of an intricate and complex history. It provides a synthetic reconstruction of the process that led to the constitution of spaces and tools for action in the urban field, first within the creation and, later, the consolidation of the European Union. To do so, it will develop the topic around two key perspectives considered essential for illustrating the specificity and importance of the EU integration project along with its limits and contradictions. The first point of view regards politics and problem setting, reconstructing first why and when the urban entered the European agenda implicitly or explicitly; then the definition of the policy issue regarding how the urban question been conceptualized follows. What ideas of the urban supported the definition of the policy problem? The second key perspective has to do with problem solving in terms of policy design and governance. What has EU been able to do for cities? With which policy tools/forms or models of governance? The aim of this paragraph is to provide an account of the experiments and to open to the innovation that the EU integration project has provided both in the urban policy field in terms of theory and practices. The chapter will also provide some final thoughts about the future of urban policy during the next economic programming period, and introduce some remarks regarding the peculiar contribution of the EU experience to the broader international debate on the New Urban Agenda.
Valeria Fedeli, Camilla Lenzi, Paola Briata, Luisa Pedrazzini

Chapter 5. Innovation in EU “Urban Policy” During the 2014–2020 Programming Period: Conceptions, Experiences and Perspectives

Abstract
Innovation has been a keyword during the 2014–2020 programming cycle. This chapter aims at examining how this concept has been developed in the context of the EU urban policy, with a particular attention to social innovation. Debates and interpretations of social innovation are outlined, considering both its potentialities in a context of economic and financial crisis, as well as some of its weaknesses. Two main EU programs—Urbact and the Urban Innovative Actions—are described, underlining how much innovation is conceived both in terms of sharing and mainstreaming of established practices, as well “disruption” and experimentation of new ones. Two examples from Milan are provided: the Urbact project “BoostInno” (2016–2018) and the Urban Innovative Action “OpenAgri” (2016–2019). The essay argues that EU urban policy in the 2014–2020 programming cycle has been able to produce innovation by taking distance from more consolidated topics, practices, governance systems and territories. Social innovation and its support may be useful to address the very diverse needs emerging in current societies, but the capacity of these practices to reach the more disadvantaged groups is not granted, and here lies the space of intervention of urban policy and more traditional welfare measures.
Valeria Fedeli, Camilla Lenzi, Paola Briata, Luisa Pedrazzini

Chapter 6. Conclusions: Present and Future of Cohesion Policy

Abstract
This chapter concludes the book by summarising the main achievements of the four chapters. The concepts of smart specialization, macro-regions, social innovation and urban dimension are identified as amongst the key ideas that have inspired the current programming period and remain crucial for our understanding of the future one. Finally, the chapter proposes some reflections on how the proposals for the new programming period are (or are not) associated with the main innovations introduced in the 2014–2020 period discussed in this book.
Valeria Fedeli, Camilla Lenzi, Paola Briata, Luisa Pedrazzini
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