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The 2007-2013 period saw the mainstreaming of the urban dimension in cohesion policy, as a result of which all urban areas have become potential beneficiaries of the EU structural funds. EU ministers have endorsed a political agenda for urban development in Europe which fosters the integrated approach to urban development that is needed to overcome the limitations of a sectoral and fragmented approach to urban questions.

Concomitantly, there is a risk that the Europe 2020 Strategy remains trapped in a growth paradigm that ignores the ambiguities and problems in reconciling the principles of economic competitiveness, social cohesion and environmental sustainability. It is particularly in the cities that these tensions are played out.

This final report provides learning around eight themes encompassing and systematising different types of urban interventions that have been developed during the programme period 2007-2013. Chapters 3 to 5 on smart, sustainable and inclusive growth discuss concrete examples of urban practices which directly relate to the recent Europe 2020 Strategy. Chapter 6 addresses integrated urban development operations as set out in Article 8 of the ERDF regulation. Chapter 7 looks at how the ERDF has been used to support housing improvements with a particular focus on marginalised groups, and takes account of changes in the regulatory provisions. Chapter 8 examines the role of financial engineering approaches, particularly those under Article 44 of the general regulation – the so-called JESSICA-type funds. Chapter 9 looks at local empowerment and public participation, which are key elements of the Leipzig Charter. Chapter 10 focuses on cooperation and networking and in particular the role of the INTERREG IVC and URBACT programmes in translating policy learning into concrete projects. The conclusions provide an overall view of the main messages resulting from this study.

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