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5th FP Contract EVK4-CT-2002-00081,
Coordinator: IOeR Dresden, D

Most European cities have large urban areas, suffering environmental, economical and social distress, and consequently they are under high level of political pressure to make rapid improvements to the quality of life.

The cities are facing difficulties in finding the solution to the main problem of integrating a strategic approach of sustainable rehabilitation and redevelopment of these areas.

In order to attain succes in such urban redevelopments in shortest time possible, European Community has started in 1998 the 5th programme, with the theme of „Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development“. LUDA is a research project of key action 4 „City tomorrow and cultural heritage“.

The LUDA consortium joins together six cities as well as ten research institutions from eight different european countries in a common quest of interdisciplinary research.

Scientific objectives and approach

The goal of the project is to contribute to improvement of quality of life in large urban distressed areas by prividing a systematic strategic planning and development approach with special consideration of the take-off phase of rehabilitation process. The main question is, how an integrated strategic process of sustainable rehabilitation and development for large urban distressed areas with a complex set of problems, rather vague development perspectives and high public pressure for rapid improvements can be initiated and better managed its initial stages.

The project consists of nine workpackages which follow a logical progression and which consider both: the demands of interdisciplinary research and the practical requirements of municipalities. A comprehensive literature review and the collection of documented experiences with rehabilitation approaches, a Europe-wide analysis of tools for initiating and managing rehabilitation programmes as well as the consideration of the experience of reference cities provide a sound scientific information base for practical action. Major issues are systematically described in a respective compendium.

From a practical viewpoint, case areas in six cities are defined, and their key problems are described. Based on this, the take-off phases of urban rehabilitation in the case areas are scientifically supported and analysed. Rehabilitation strategies are developed. Respective tools and methods are further developed. Conclusions provide an input for a checklist on initiating sustainable urban rehabilitation in large urban distressed areas and policy papers dealing with key issues as well as for networking and dissemination. The project brings together six cities as well as ten research institutions and non-governmental organizations from eight different European countries in an interdisciplinary way. Furthermore it provides a platform for a broader discussion with other cities, research institutions and civic organizations. Teamwork and permanent information exchange are ensured by establishing interactive, interdisciplinary workshops, video conferences and a net of cities. Mutual exchange and networking between cities and research partners are oriented towards establishing learning processes.

Expected impacts

From scientific perspective LUDA serves to enhance the knowledge about the phenomenon of large urban distressed areas. Of particular importance are analytical tools for setting boundaries and defining priority action areas, co-operation and participation in distressed areas, and the applicability of methods to cope the challenges of such areas. From a practical perspective LUDA will provide decision-making aids and consultation about available tools, methods and success factors, facilitate a learning process, organize city-networking, formulate policy recommendations and support the implementation of key projects that will lead to an improved quality of life in large urban distressed areas.