Toledo Declaration: a European agenda for sustainable cities

What will be the city of tomorrow? This question was discussed by the European housing and urban development ministers in Toledo (Spain) on 21 and 22 June. It resulted in a political document, the Toledo Declaration that underlines a European objective: develop operational tools to regenerate urban areas.

Regeneration must be a political priority.  In the future, the urban dimension must be a more substantial part of strategic regional programming. Urban policies must do more to promote energy efficiency, social cohesion and the quality of urban projects, so it was repeated. 

The renovation of buildings and housing emerged as a key theme, along with the improvement of public transport and policies that limit the development of outlying districts. To move towards a model of sustainable cities, it is fundamental to recover the cities already built. Some participants stressed that  urban renewal creates jobs at a much greater rate than new construction”. 

France presented a prototype of a tool to measure the sustainability of cities based on a range of criteria. It got a mandate in 2008 to head a European task force on this subject, and the ministers asked the European Commission to now become involved in the process. Criteria include economic factors, social ones such as the attention given to less favoured neighbourhoods, environmental factors, the integrated nature of strategies implemented, etc. The project will result in a European reference framework to help small and medium sized cities to develop sustainable urban development strategies. The final tool is expected to be ready by the end of 2011. 

Do you want to know more about the tool to measure sustainability of cities, go to 
The Toledo Declaration is available on