The way decisions are made with respect to urban transformations is changing in many European cities, and even more so in the South East European area, a particular region of Europe oftentimes characterized by centralization and minimal devolution of decision making power, containerization and still incipient participatory processes aimed at integrated urban development.
This platform, a result of the SEE European STATUS Project, takes on the challenge of achieving long-term sustainability of local development processes in regions unaccustomed with citizen involvement in all stages of planning. The STATUS Project – Strategic territorial Agendas for “Small Medium Sized Towns” Urban Systems – represents a successful pilot action which has supported 10 cities and regions in jointly developing an approach to making integrated and sustainable urban agendas and place based strategies by means of participatory planning tools a reality.
The South East European area did not, to date, present a coordinated platform for assisting the development of urban strategies for small and medium sized towns. The SEE City Platform aims at filling this gap, providing cities and regions alike with the successful methodologies already tested, with the results, practices and emerging city networks (both local and inter-communal) which have surfaced from the STATUS experience, within a virtual platform through which to further develop innovative and smart solutions for the SEE cities of the future. Our aim is to support the wider dissemination of the tools which have assisted partner cities in co-creating strategies and project portfolios for the 2014-2020 Programming Period, but also at setting up the instruments for the strategies’ implementation, continuation and spin-off (Urban Task Forces, Urban Centers).
One of the most important lessons we have learned is that collaboration, both at the local level between stakeholders as well as at European level, between cities and regions confronted with the same development challenges, is key to achieving a more sustainable, smart and inclusive European society. Therefore, within this platform, not only do we share our experiences in integrated participatory planning, but we also welcome experiences from across the South East Europe which can represent best practices and success stories.