Brussels, 13 Jan 2005
The Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) will need to focus on closer integration between urban research and land use research, says Eric Ponthieu, head of sector at the European Commission's Directorate 1 - Policy Aspects and Strategy for Sustainable Development.
Speaking at the final conference of the SUPER project (Sustainable Urban Planning and Economic (Re)development) which took place in Brussels on 12 January, Mr Ponthieu regretted the fact that the Commission has not paid enough attention to this synergy in either FP5 or FP6.
As Mr Ponthieu explained, while one of the key actions in FP5 was 'the city of tomorrow and cultural heritage', there was no urban research programme as such in FP6. However, FP6 saw the emergence of a strong sub-priority on sustainable land use.
'FP7 will now need to look at ways to integrate urban and land use research,' said Mr Ponthieu. Projects will have to focus on integrated management and planning, using conceptual frameworks. Strategies for implementing sustainable development policies will have to be developed and defined in a way that will enable local authorities to implement them easily.'
According to Mr Ponthieu, future research should also focus on emerging problems, such as sustainable growth; tourism; environment and health (particularly children's health); the increasing vulnerability of urban and coastal areas; population changes and globalisation.
Projects under FP7 will also need to concentrate more on economic issues, taking external costs into account, added Mr Ponthieu.
The main parameters to take into account for FP7 are political, including the new Commissioner, who is rapidly developing ideas about what FP7 should look like; the financial perspectives debate; the level of support from Member States and MEPs (Members of the European Parliament)and the preferred means of implementation, explained Mr Ponthieu.
'Wide support for further research in these areas still has to be secured at Member State level,' he concluded.