Local political leaders are the champions of liveable cities. Their ambitions provide the foundation for Sustainable Urban Management partnerships, processes, plans, policies and programmes. But managing urban areas more sustainably means remembering ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’, and remember; > Big picture / Make connections to the wider regional, national or global context, demonstrate long term thinking and dispel the myth about social, economic and environmental trade-offs. > Technically correct / Use robust evidence, real tangible facts and be transparent around claims for potential benefits and negative consequences of inaction. > Cool / Be exciting, actively engage and inspire people without being patronising, not afraid to be bold and visionary. > Belong / Emphasise that this work is part of a massive global change, encourage stakeholders to make a positive contribution. > Only stories work / Use compelling tales, anecdotes and examples of successful efforts to grab and hold people’s attention and help them relate logically and emotionally to the visions and objectives. > Optimism / Stress the fact that the vision of liveable cities is achievable, don’t burden people with too much guilt, and instead promote the ‘triumph of the possible’. > Glory button / Make people feel good, use liveability as a way to promote people’s sense of self-esteem. > Change is for all / This is not a restricted agenda, confined to, middle class professionals. It is an all encompassing, all inclusive challenge to be owned and delivered by everyone collectively. > We need more heroes / Celebrate the icons; the leading pioneers the everyday folk doing extraordinary things and show that people can aspire to be and act like them. > Personal circle / Show that liveability starts right within their own personal circle of influence and includes everything from the mundane daily tasks of normal life through to where you go on holiday and what you do all day at work.
“Creating liveable cities and towns must be the number one priority for society! That means you and me… doing something, here and now!”


Managing urban areas in a more sustainable ways is not a masterplanning exercise, but a continuous process of ‘debating, deciding, and doing’, where effective communication and coordination between partners is essential. The Eco-management and Audit Scheme, The Aalborg Commitments, Green accounts and Eco-budgeting can all help to keep the process of managing urban areas ‘on track’ and delivering ambitions. Cities use many tools to understand and manage the complex changes taking place in urban areas; Strategic, Environmental and Health ‘Impact Assessments’, and ‘Sustainability Appraisals’ all play a vital role. The continuous process of research, evaluation and monitoring helps to understand the reasons for success and failure. It also helps avoid making the same mistakes again understand and mange risk, and to choose the right plan, policy and programme.

Managing urban areas in more sustainable ways involves balancing the impacts of economic, social and environmental policies. The guidance manual includes essential – ‘not to be missed’ – policies and helps to explain how to review existing policies to understand the ‘gap’ between existing and ideal polices. (Gap analysis). The manual also uses case studies to illustrate policies (and plans and programmes) that are working in other cities. Sustainable Urban Management challenges the perspective of traditional urban policies to take a ‘future perspective’; for polices to be more concerned about the quality of life and liveability of cities and towns – now and in the future. Also to recognise that minimum environmental standards are exactly that! – they are only the starting point for adopting visionary, creative and imaginative policies that your grandchildren will thank you for!

A call to action
This pocket guide is a ‘signpost’ towards the Guidance Manual on Sustainable Urban Management, created by the Liveable Cities project (2004–2007). > http://www.livablecities.org Both are based on the knowledge, practical experience and expertise of over one hundred experts on Sustainable Urban Management from cities, ministries and research institutes all over Europe. Our guidance is framed around seven elements that are central to liveable cities and towns: 1 P R I N C I PLE S The essential aspects of sustainable development and urban management that are required for liveable cities 2 P O LI T I C S The nature of political involvement and commitment that is required to support liveable cities 3 PA RT N E R S H I P The governance models and responsibility agreements for working with stakeholders that are needed for liveable cities 4 P RO C E S S E S For agreeing visions and objectives for managing and monitoring the delivery of actions for liveable cities 5 P O LI C I E S Meeting local needs, respecting local traditions, satisfying national and European regulations 6 PL A N S The role and integration of spatial, thematic, Agenda 21 and other plans 7 P RO G R A M M E S Of action to achieve the agreed objectives for liveable cities Detailed guidance on the role of each of the P’s in Sustainable Urban Management can be found in the guidance manual.
“Let’s be clear about one thing: cities need ‘elbow room’, to strike the right balance between what European and national legislation demands and what is needed to solve local land-use problems – the liveability of our cities is at stake – let the cities decide local tailor made solutions.”

Sustainable Urban Management is based on sustainable development principles and addresses key urban area problems. It translates city wide ambitions into locally relevant and understood actions that make a difference! Sustainable Urban Management balances ‘Environmental protection’, ‘Social equity and cohesion’, and ‘Economic prosperity’ through > The promotion and protection of fundamental human rights > Solidarity within and between generations > Promotions of open and democratic society > Involving of citizens > Involving business and stakeholders > Policy coherence > Policy integration > Using best available knowledge > Making the polluters pay
“Good buildings and urban spaces must not only be beautiful, well designed and durable, they must also meet the environmental challenges we are facing today. And it is unacceptable if buildings have a poor indoor climate or if the materials are damaging to the health of those working with them.”

Klaus Bondam Mayor for Technical and Environment City of Copenhagen
“Managing our urban areas in more sustainable ways is a challenge to our traditional way of planning cities and towns – we must rise to this challenges by finding new ways of working, new partnerships and new plans.”

A culture of partnership working is needed to manage urban areas in a sustainable way; all the people who are affected are involved in taking decisions and action. Municipal departments, officers, and politicians collaborate and cooperate not only with each other but also with neighbouring and related municipalities. Where cities must make the ‘first move’ to work with and involve stakeholders; establishing the culture of partnership working, stimulating dialogue, collaborating and cooperating and most importantly setting up the vital infrastructure for communicating and joint working between partners. Successful partnerships depend on stakeholders’ sharing ambitions, priorities and resources. The Netherlands ‘City & Environment’ approach and The United Kingdoms ‘Local Area Agreements’ provide best practice examples: partnership infrastructure needed for the different levels of public administrations and urban stakeholders to agree local environmental standards and targets. Both models forge a balance between national rules and local democracy to provide liveable cities and towns.
“If everyone is prepared to compromise, both in the little and large things in life that we can reach a balance in the way we care for our city.”

Venelin Todorov Vice Mayor Bourgas Bulgaria

DCMR (Environmental Protection Agency) is the executive authority of the local and regional authorities operating in Rijnmond; the larger ‘Port of Rotterdam’ area (Netherlands). The authority monitors changes to the local environment and the successes and failures of environmental polices. It regulates the environmental impact of over 20,000 companies across the metropolitan region and helps to coordinate the process of managing one of Europe’s most environmentally challenging areas.
“There is no more time to be lost in the battle against climate change. We need new leadership in this area and we must blaze our own trail.”

Copenhagen and Lille Métropole decided that sustainable urban management will be at the heart of their ‘future orientated’ policies for the city. Both Agenda 21 plans are full of visionary policies with opportunities for stakeholders to share in taking action!
“To bolster the implementation of sustainable development in Aalborg, the City Council has set up the new municipal department for Health and Sustainable Development. The department will be responsible for coordination and the effective involvement of citizens and other stakeholders with regard to sustainable urban management.”

Massimo Cacciari Mayor of Venice

Ivo Opstelten Mayor of Rotterdam

Henning G. Jensen Mayor of Aalborg

Pieter van Geel The Netherlands State Secretary for Housing Spatial Planning and the Environment

Barbara Janke Leader of Bristol

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