- Tuning integrated Project Realisation in Function of a developing integrated Vision    click here to open paper content216 kb
by    Willems, Dries | dries.willems@stad.antwerpen.be   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
This paper will illustrate how the URBAN I programme’s pilot function led to a policy review with regard to the integrated approach of city development.
In 1993 the city of Antwerp decided to develop a long term vision in order to counter the declining neighbourhood of the central railway station. Its execution was strengthened by funding via the EU URBAN programme (October 1995). The existing spatial structure plan (1993) for the city was not binding and lacked support for its implementation. Moreover, concentrating major investment measures – assigned to 4 different targets- in a relatively small territory was hard to defend politically at a time when the city was heavily burdened by debt.

The innovative aspect of URBAN I was to make the sub-programmes complementary to each other, thus creating an outlined project which went much further than beautification of the urban fabric.

As the project team had to operate within a climate of distrust prevailing among the city services, its perseverance and belief in the strategic approach were taxed to the utmost.
Although the programme was successful, critical reflections were made. Research has shown that, in spite of the communication efforts, the “global” goals and impact of the programme were not fully perceived by the local inhabitants and insufficiently known on governmental levels.

From URBAN I the city policy makers and urban planning administration have learned that city development is not a “project” solely executed by policy-makers, but a permanent and evolving “process”, whereby concrete targets and visioning are vital/essential and in which all stakeholders – government, private investors and citizens- each have important roles to play and responsibilities to take up.

The author has been charged to create a “strategic cell for urban planning”. He has been its manager from 1999 to 2006 and is currently senior advisor.
Dries Willems, City of Antwerp, dries.willems@stad.antwerpen.be
An integrated approach to countering a declining city area
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