Handbook on Cohesion Policy in the EU
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Handbook on Cohesion Policy in the EU

Edited by Simona Piattoni and Laura Polverari

This Handbook covers all major aspects of EU Cohesion policy, one of the most significant areas of intervention of the European Union. Over five parts, It discusses this policy’s history and governing principles; the theoretical approaches from which it can be assessed; the inter-institutional and multi-level dynamics that it tends to elicit; its practical implementation and impact on EU member states; its interactions with other EU policies and strategies; and the cognitive maps and narratives with which it can be associated. An absolute must for all students of the EU.
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Chapter 26: Cohesion policy and cities: an ambivalent relationship

Rob Atkinson and Karsten Zimmermann


Since the early 1990s the European Commission has launched several urban initiatives that were considered to be part of Cohesion policy. Initiatives such as URBAN I and URBAN II are widely accepted as successful urban programmes that helped cities to cope with challenges such as social exclusion and regeneration of deprived areas. The authors e argue that although the notion of Integrated Sustainable Urban Development is prominent in the current Cohesion policy programmes and a predefined share of each member state’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding must be invested in urban areas, the urban dimension has become somewhat blurred. It remains to be seen whether the new instruments that are thought to provide for better coordination of sectorial policy and more ‘focused urban spending’ are implemented by the member states.

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