Europe less urbanised than Africa and Asia: see the State of European Cities 2016 report

On 12 October 2016, the State of European Cities 2016 report was launched. EUKN was one of the members of the advisory board providing advice for the report.

The report analyses the performance of European cities with regard to the priority themes of the Urban Agenda for the EU (jobs and skills, poverty, climate change mitigation and adaption, energy transition, air quality, mobility etc.) as well as the 2030 Urban Sustainable Development Goal of the United Nations to make cities safe, inclusive, resilient and sustainable.

The main objective of the report is to stimulate more evidence-based urban policy making in Europe. On the one hand the report presents economic, social and environmental trends in cities, while it also showcases a wide range of urban development projects across the EU. The report aims to facilitate exchanges between cities by sharing good pracitices and promoting city collaborations.

One of the main topics in this report is the new degree of urbanisation. This new degree of urbanisation classifies population distribution in three groups: cities, towns and suburbs, and rural areas. Urban areas include both cities and towns and suburbs. Eurostat has published indicators for each area. This degree can be used to overcome differences in national definitions of cities and makes it possible to compare the urbanisation of countries with a universal measure. In the most cited source of global urbanisation levels, the UN World Urbanization Prospects (WUP), multiple definitions are still used for what can be considered as an urban area. Using the new degree of urbanisation changes the global picture on urbanised areas and shows that Europe is less urbanised than other parts of the world. 

Besides this, some of the main conclusions in The State of European Cities 2016 report are:

  • Cities are no longer seen as only a source of problems
  • Cities attract working-age and foreign-born residents
  • Cities generate growth and jobs but some risk falling into the middle-income trap
  • Cities are centres of innovation and education
  • Cities contribute to achieving the targets of the Europe 2020 strategy
  • Housing in cities is expensive, small and crowded
  • European cities are relatively safe but city dwellers tend to feel less secure
  • Cities offer accessibility but must improve green mobility
  • Cities are more resource efficient
  • Many cities still struggle to reduce air pollution below EU thresholds
  • Cities are committed to reducing GHG emissions and adapting to climate change
  • City governments are increasing their autonomy and their scale

To get a more in-depth analysis of the state of European cities, please click here to view the full report.

Besides this report, Eurostat newly released a publication Urban Europe - statistics on cities, towns and suburbs. This report presents statistical information of urban developments and urban life in the EU Member States, as well as EFTA and candidate countries. This report can be read in conjunction with the State of EU cities 2016 report and will also provide extra information on the new degree of urbanisation.