Expert article
Edit 05 December 2023
by Daniela Patti

Prato Urban Jungle a case study for Integrated Territorial Development

PUJ workshop
The PUJ project in Prato has been selected as one of the twelve good practice cities within the study on Integrated Territorial Development (ITD) as part of the analysis of all Urban Innovative Actions projects. The research has been carried out through the analysis of the available documentation as well as through interviews with the municipality and local stakeholders in order to assess how the project has managed to be implemented through an ITD approach. 

The UIA study on integrated development can be found here, along with the PUJ case study.

What is integrated territorial development?

First of all, Integrated territorial approach is one of the EU’s main objectives. Already the New Leipzig Charter, adopted in 2020, underlines the need to better coordinate urban development at spatial, sectoral and temporal levels. This integrated territorial approach relies on the “simultaneous and fair consideration of all concerns and interests relevant to urban development”. In the same vain, the EU has put an emphasis on integrated territorial development through the regulation of the Cohesion Policy in adopting policy objective 5, “Europe closer to citizens by fostering the sustainable and integrated development of all types of territories”. Integrated territorial development (ITD) proposes a different way of shaping solutions to territorial challenges regardless of administrative boundaries. 

The concept of ITD is widely recognised and has been at the core of EU urban policies for several decades. The New Leipzig Charter has proposed 4 key principles that are commonly used as good urban working principles:

  1. Place-based approach: focusing urban strategies at a coherent scale, beyond administrative boundaries, in order to foster endogenous urban transformation and reduce socioeconomic inequalities.

  2. Integrated approach (multi-sectoral): coordinating all areas of urban policy in particular the environmental, social and economic dimensions. It aims to overcome the political silos that do not take into account co-dependencies or interdependencies with other sectors.

  3. Participation and co-creation: involving all urban actors to strengthen local democracy and letting citizens having a say in processes that affect their daily lives. It includes new forms of co-creation and co-design practices that can help cities in managing conflicts, share responsibilities, find innovative solutions.

  4. Multi-level governance: tackling challenges jointly across all levels of urban and spatial policy. It requires the cooperation of all societal actors, including the civil society and the private sector. Vertical and horizontal multi-level and multi-stakeholder cooperation, both bottom-up and top-down, are key to good urban governance.

These working principles translate into a methodological approach and lead cities and territories to adopt new ways of designing urban policies. In particular, these principles help incorporate the complexity of conflicting objectives and interlinked challenges.

Although the principles of integrated territorial development are not new, cities still face difficulties in effectively implementing ITD.