CIPU: National Information Unit for Urban Policy

The establishment of the Cellule nationale d’Information pour la Politique Urbaine (CIPU) (National Information Unit for Urban Policy) is part of the efforts of the Luxembourgish ministry in charge of urban policy to foster information and communication on urban issues, and to strengthen municipalities as an important layer of territorial development and related policies. The partners for CIPU are the Department of Spatial Planning at the Ministry of Sustainable Development and Infrastructures, the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade, the University of Luxembourg, the City of Luxembourg, and the cities of Esch-sur-Alzette and Nordstad (including the municipalities of Bettendorf, Colmar-Berg, Diekirch, Ettelbrück, Erpeldange and Schieren).

Issue: Knowledge transfer and capacity-building in the field of urban policy and urban development

CIPU is a platform for the exchange of experiences and knowledge in the field of urban policy for all urban stakeholders in Luxembourg. The establishment of CIPU resulted from the fact that (i) an explicit national urban policy does not exist in Luxembourg, (ii) urban policy issues had until the establishment of CIPU been dealt with merely in the general framework of spatial planning policies, and (iii) there are no networks of local stakeholders regarding current urban issues at European level. At the same time, the importance of urban issues and stakeholders at EU level increased. At the same time, the importance of urban issues and stakeholders at EU level increased. Urban areas are seen as driving forces for growth, employment, innovation, and education. Urban stakeholders are seen as important governance partners for the implementation of EU policies.
CIPU aims at:

  • Improving knowledge on and fostering a better understanding of urban policy issues;
  • Increasing stakeholders’ interest in urban policy issues at all levels;
  • Identifying the specific needs of cities in Luxembourg;
  • Initiating sustainable and integrated urban policies and practices;
  • Improving the cooperation between stakeholders at local and national levels;
  • Developing a database with Luxembourgish good practices on urban policies and planning.
Approach: an interface between urban development policies at European, national and local levels

The CIPU’s tasks include the setting up and managing of a network of urban stakeholders in Luxembourg, the facilitation of the exchange of experiences and knowledge within this network, the collection and dissemination of good practices in the field of urban policy and urban development and assisting stakeholders wanting to initiate or participate in European projects.
Due to its scope, the CIPU has established itself as an interface between urban development policies at European, national and local levels. It is also a tool which allows stakeholders to play a bigger part in discussions on urban policy and urban development and to influence urban policies at the European level.

Results: development of a platform for the exchange of knowledge and experiences

Together with its partners, the CIPU has initiated and supported the development and implementation of the “Europe 2020 Going Local Project”. This project is aimed at more  effective implementation of the EU2020 strategy at the local and regional levels. In particular, this means building on the stock of successful experiences at local level of the old strategies and improving delivery with regard to the new strategy, particularly with regard to the “Energy and Sustainable Transport” sub-theme. The project therefore capitalises on good practices that have proven to be very successful in one of the partner regions, in order to transfer them to other partners’ programmes, for instance the Objective 1 or 2 Programmes. Examples of such good practices include a web-based portal providing information and online-tools on energy efficiency in the administrations of towns and municipalities or the process oriented broad consultation and inclusion of municipalities in a “national climate and sustainable development pact” aiming, amongst others, at more efficient energy use. These will enable the different partners further to improve and modernise their local and regional policies.
More results of the CIPU are:

  • The development of a platform for the exchange of knowledge and experiences and a network of urban stakeholders in Luxembourg (which previously did not exist as such);
  • The initiation of new European action projects or research projects;
  • An increase in the number of stakeholders that can benefit from the knowledge and the exchange of experiences due to the creation of the CIPU;
  • Attention to urban issues at European, national and local levels;
  • More active participation of Luxembourgish stakeholders in European urban policy discussions;
  • Better communication of urban policy and urban development activities at national and European levels.
Influence of Cohesion Policy: strengthening and developing innovative approaches

The funding from the ERDF contributes to strengthening and developing innovative approaches in terms of organisation and the implementation of urban development policies in Luxembourg. The funding has also improved the communication and sharing of ERDF project results in the field of urban policy and urban development to Luxembourgish stakeholders, and thus improves the quality of projects. For the CIPU it was important to make the link between the intergovernmental urban policy initiatives at European level and the EU ERDF-funds and their support for sustainable and integrated urban development issues.

Integrated development: a better understanding of integrated urban development

The CIPU encourages project partners to include integrated development by disseminating knowledge about several successful projects. Therefore the CIPU is an example of integrated urban development due to the specific project partnership. Moreover, due to the choice of activities and topics the centre works (for example RFSC and Europe2020), it allows to improve knowledge of and foster a better understanding of integrated urban development, and thus to increase stakeholders’ interest in this issue at all levels. The CIPU also initiates integrated policies and practices. Because of its networking activities the CIPU actively contributes to getting stakeholders together and thus to improving cooperation between stakeholders at local and national levels.

Added value and lessons learned: positive experience

On the whole, past experiences with the CIPU have been rather positive. On a project organisation level a lesson learned was that the development and maintenance of a platform of this type and ambition is time-consuming and needs nurturing before tangible results can be achieved.
On a project content level it can be said that there is an active interest in knowledge on urban policy and urban development in Luxembourg. CIPU has improved the exchange on urban issues with local stakeholders but also within ministries. The capacity-building that takes place as a result of the CIPU’s actions will improve innovative thought and action among urban stakeholders in the short and long term. This is fully in line with ERDF objectives.
At the CIPU a lesson learned was also that there were diverging expectations from partners and stakeholders at the beginning, though this situation improved as the project partnership matured and tangible outputs could be presented.
The added value of the project consists of the following elements:

  • The initiation and facilitation of an urban policy discourse in Luxembourg (e.g. sustainable urban development, integrated approach, Europe 2020, stakeholder participation), the linking of knowledge generated at the European level with the professional discourse, a better understanding of urban policy issues thanks to a better level of knowledge and a common language;
  • The improvement of communication and information on local, national and European urban policy issues;
  • The more efficient identification and consideration of specific local needs;
  • The incorporation of local knowledge, experiences, attitudes into national and European discussions on urban policy;
  • The strengthening of networks, exchange and cooperation between urban stakeholders in Luxembourg;
  • Contributing to capacity-building for urban stakeholders;
  • The identification and development of synergies between particular projects and policies;
  • The more efficient use of Structural Funds to improve the internationalisation of urban stakeholders.

 

This text relies on helpful comments by Tom Becker from CIPU.