Client: Metropolitan Authority of Barcelona
Duration: November 2017 – December 2017
The Metropolitan Authority of Barcelona contracted MRI to evaluate the operation of five metropolitan areas in Europe in order to gain practical suggestions on how to intensify the metropolitan cooperation around Barcelona. The metropolitan areas under analysis were Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Manchester, Stuttgart and Zürich. From these five metropolitan areas Stuttgart has the strongest governance structure with a directly elected parliament; Greater Manchester has weaker legitimacy but stronger metropolitan identity, more competences in service provision. The Zürich Metropolitan Area Association has common projects with limited influence so far, but it has an approved metropolitan spatial plan. A somewhat weaker cooperation characterizes Copenhagen, where a strong metropolitan spatial plan is created by the national government, but there is no institutional framework for further metropolitan cooperation in place. A similar level of cooperation operates in Amsterdam, where the institutional structure is evolving incrementally, but they lack the proper spatial framework, and the cooperation is mostly based on bi- and multi-lateral negotiations.
Barcelona Metropolitan Area is more developed than any of these metropolitan features still there are approaches and tools that may be interesting for them like having a directly elected president, building partnership with economic actors, acquiring more devolved competencies, improving the efficiency of spatial planning.
The study elaborated by MRI, Addressing the Metropolitan Challenge in Barcelona Metropolitan Area, was presented in a workshop on the 15 of June 2018 for the decision makers of the Metropolitan Council of Barcelona.
Eszter Somogyi and Hanna Szemző attended the Opening up to an ERA of Social Innovation Conference on November 27-28th. The Lisbon conference, organized by the EC, the Portuguese government and the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation focused on finding ways to promote social innovations, both as a way to increase inclusiveness and to overcome the difficulties caused by budgetary cuts and changing shifts in public financing. Representing HomeLab, MRI’s project focusing on innovations in the housing and employment sector, Eszter and Hanna have focused their efforts on deepening their knowledge and their network in the field.
Client: ESPON EGTC
Duration: November 2016 – December 2017
MRI, under the coordination of Alterra (Wageningen University) and in cooperation with the Norwegian Institute for Urban and Regional Research was commissioned by ESPON to implement a targeted analysis in order to evaluate the results of metropolitan governance in ten European metropolitan areas, and develop guidelines to improve the efficiency of cooperation, specifically in the field of spatial planning. In all 10 stakeholder areas 6-10 interviews were carried out and all the relevant metropolitan documents were analysed. MRI was particularly responsible for the case of Brno, Prague and Vienna.
The analysis of the cases highlighted that the benefits of metropolitan cooperation are obvious on expert level, while it is much more difficult to convince the local stakeholders. As far as win-win development projects are concerned the cooperation can be set up in a bottom-up way. In case the interests of some of the parties can be hurt at least on the short run than top-down interventions are needed: this is the case when regional or national authorities enter the process and create the legislative framework.
Spatial planning is a good tool for cooperation even in the absence of formal metropolitan organisation. This is usually one of the first steps of cooperation (just after the common transportation systems), however the strength of different spatial plans differs very much and most of them lack the tools for implementation: e.g. these plans can restrict growth where it may be harmful for nature but can hardly accelerate growth where it would be more economical. Still the SPIMA project called the attention of the stakeholders that the survey among the 10 stakeholders discovered the importance of knowledge sharing and the human factor behind the cooperation: one of the most relevant success factors turned to be leadership and putting the question into the political agenda.
Outputs of the projects are available here.
Iván Tosics was the keynote speaker of the European Metropolitan Authorities (EMA) forum, which was held in Warsaw on 20 October 2017. The theme of the conference was Metropolitan areas as drivers of development in EU policies. The opening keynote presentation had the title „The Metropolitan Challenge In Europe” and included the following parts: 1. Benefits of metropolitan cooperation and the main bottlenecks; 2. Recent policy trends in metropolitan cooperation in the EU countries; 3. Good practices of metropolitan coordination: planning and governance solutions; 4. EU policies and tools for metropolitan areas: lessons from the present and ideas for the future. Tosics’s presentation is available here (pdf).
In the presence of 100 people, representing metropolitan authorities and areas from EU countries, Ivan gave also the summary of the whole days’ meeting, emphasizing that under the unfavourable conditions of Brexit and he internal debates among EU countries Cohesion Policy is much endangered. Metropolitan areas can become important players on European level if they have good institutional framework. To achieve that both the European and the national levels have to do more, acknowledging the huge advantages of metropolitan cooperation. An important step would be the increasing the urban dimension in the post 2020 Cohesion Policy and giving to metropolitan regions enhanced role in the planning and implementation.
Iván Tosics was the moderator of the Urban Development Network workshop in Budapest on 17 October 2017. On the workshop, participants discussed the most important aspects of cohesion policy, including integrated approach, participation, and funding with the representatives of the 23 Hungarian cities with County Rights. The European Commission was represented by Judit Törökné Rózsa (European Commission, DG for Regional and Urban Policy, Inclusive Growth, Urban and Territorial Development) and her colleagues.
Client: Directorate General for Research and Innovation (European Commission)
Duration: October 2013 – September 2017
The 7th framework project is a collaborative project between 24 partners in 11 countries. It identifies, develops and tests ways of linking green spaces, biodiversity, people and the green economy in order to meet the major urban challenges related to land use conflicts, climate change adaptation, demographic changes, and human health and wellbeing. It provides a sound evidence base for urban green infrastructure planning and implementation, exploring the potential for innovation in better linking environmental, social and economic ecosystem services with local communities.
Structure of the Green Surge project:
The work packages of the research project covered very broad range of topics: planning of green infrastructure, participatory governance of green spaces, economic indications of green space management, biological and biocultural diversity of green spaces in urban environment. In case of all topics several scientific deliverables and guidelines were developed in order to assist the experts and decision makers on local and national level.
All the deliverables of the project can be found at:
Metropolitan Research Institute’s colleague, Anna Bajomi, advisory board member of European Energy Poverty Observatory, presented about private tenants’ energy costs at the event of “Advances in fuel poverty research and practice: a pan-European early career researcher symposium” as a bursary of EEGA Charitable Trust.
Duration: September 2016 – June 2017
Client: DG Regio of the European Commission
The expert TA activities included various forms and served various goals, and had more and less intense phases depending on the needs of the stakeholders and the flow of the respective call for proposal development, or policy development. The activities can be grouped under the following core groups:
- facilitating communication among key stakeholders
- between strategic planners and executive stakeholders within the MAs and ministries
- between MAs and
- thematic expert support in housing and education policies
- thematic expert support in the partnership process, supporting MAs
- thematic expert support to beneficiaries (among them SZGYF, and interested other beneficiaries like KLIK and various municipalities)
Assessment of implementation of the EC guidance on desegregation. In Hungary, in the course of September 2016-June 2017, the guidance’s core recommendations have been incorporated in selected call for proposals. The actual social impact of the guidance can be observed in the forthcoming years since no projects have been implemented so far.
Assessment of the implementation of local actions. In Hungary, in-field local actions that have been designed based on call for proposals that have been harmonised with the guidance have not yet been launched.
Recommendations provided to national authorities during the contract period on embedding de-segregation measures in ESIF-funded actions. The core recommendations were to align the design of available funding according to desegregation goals in both housing and education, and thematic and textual recommendations were made to selected call for proposals to make sure that the recommendations are practical and feasible.
Conclusions of synergies and coordination at national level between different ESIFs and relevant national authorities (e.g. MAs). At the technical level, some more coordination seems to be essential, especially in the area of housing desegregation measures, because two line ministries take responsibility for such actions. Also, smoother coordination between strategic planning and executive stakeholders could facilitate the implementation of ESIF.
Summary to EC and recommendation to Hungarian authorities on the mapping exercises. In the Hungarian context, so far only few desegregation measures have taken place in education and housing. Obviously, the current political leadership in the respective line ministry is rather reluctant to undertake real steps to foster desegregation in education. For housing measures, SZGYF has a dedicated task to compile best practices and disseminate them among potential beneficiaries as part of its EU funded TA project.
Coordination and compliance with national strategies. In the Hungarian context, the content and goals of the NSIS II are fully in line with the guidance. However, the actual political discourse and actions do not reflect the strategy. The forthcoming local urban housing related projects will be more advanced (they have been designed based on the previous implementation period’s lessons, actually independent from the guidance), and the rural housing integration projects are still under evaluation. Hence, their compliance with the strategy cannot be judged yet.
In the framework of the HomeLab project a short, two-day long seminar was hosted by MRI exploring the development and possible application of the SRE model in Hungary and Greece. The Greek partner present was Gabriel Amitsis, Social Security Law Professor at the Athens University of Applied Sciences. Housing Europe facilitated the organisation of the seminar, and Edit Lakatos, the policy officer in charge of facilitating the event was present.
In the framework of the seminar two short field trips were conducted – one to visit the social housing experiment of Veszprém headed by the Hungarian Charity Service of the Order of Malta, a HomeLab partner – and one to visit the innovative housing service provided by ULE (From Street to Home Association – another HomeLab partner) that focuses on providing social, housing and employment services to homeless people.
The lessons from the field trips were debated at the premises of MRI, as well as possible ways of cooperation were discussed.
Read the full report about the seminar at Housing Europe’s website.
The HomeLab project and the Social Rental Enterprise model was presented at the Social Rental Agencies work space, held by Eszter Somogyi (Metropolitan Research Institute, Budapest), at the FEANTSA Conference, 18-19th of May 2017.
Anna Bajomi, Hanna Szemző and Éva Gerőházi from Metropolitan Research Institute participated at the conference “Reducing Energy Poverty by Energy Efficiency Projects in Residential Buildings: The Case for Eastern Europe” organised by Habitat for Humanity, in Brussels in 24-25 April 2017. The conference aimed at taking a deep look at the definition and policies of energy poverty in light of the energy efficient interventions the residential building stock is needed. By the participation of European and national policy makers the actors were trying to find out how energy poverty and energy efficiency are interlinked or sometimes conflicted. (The presentation of MRI on this issue can be found attached.)
The national examples have showed that several countries of Central and Eastern Europe have already introduced national subsidy schemes for assisting owners of residential buildings to implement energy efficient interventions and the countries of the Balkan or the former Soviet Union are also on the way to launch pilot projects. However these schemes are more likely to fulfil energy targets (more energy to be saved on national level) than to consider how energy poor can be or cannot be affected by them. The separation/connection of social policy and energy policy is still a topic of lively discussion not only in Central Europe but also in the old member states of the European Union.