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Sustainable urban development fostering social inclusion

Three quarters of the European population live in urban areas. This puts pressure on the available space, jobs and housing, leads to risks of upheaval and puts a burden on the environment. At the same time, such population concentration offers opportunities for resource-efficient responses to climate change and migration.

To make use of these opportunities, strategic planning is required, the Parliamentary Assembly, meeting in Paris at Standing Committee level, said today. Following the proposals of the rapporteur, Sybille Benning (Germany, EPP/CD), the parliamentarians underlined that the public sector must take an active role in setting the goals and exercise its role as planning authority. In certain circumstances, it must also assume the role of investor and landowner to counteract excessive deregulation.

Urban development requires robust public service, effective co-operation between public and private sectors and citizen participation, the parliamentarians added. Governments have many tools to influence such development, from national strategies to tax incentives.
Finally, in support of Goal 11 of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Assembly called on the Council of Europe member States to ensure that public authorities have influence over urban development.