Smart Governance, the backbone of Smart Planning. A new Strategic Plan for the Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area

Elisei, Pietro and Dimitriu, Sabina-Maria and Cocheci, Radu-Matei (2016) Smart Governance, the backbone of Smart Planning. A new Strategic Plan for the Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area. REAL CORP 2016 – SMART ME UP! How to become and how to stay a Smart City, and does this improve quality of life? Proceedings of 21st International Conference on Urban Planning, Regional Development and Information Society. pp. 625-632.

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Smart Governance is one of the six smart city pillars, as governance is widely considered to be key in ensuring the sustainable development of cities and regions. In the last decades, spatial planning has evolved from a regulatory approach, focused on the delivery of land use plans, to a holistic activity, a meta-governance centred on the coordination of different sectoral policies. According to UN-Habitat, spatial planning is now more than a technical instrument – it is an integrative and participatory decision-making process, a central element in the new paradigm of urban governance. Governance of metropolitan areas is currently one of major concerns for planners all over Europe, major cities (e.g. Berlin, Paris, Rome) are defining schemes for governing this key-scale of action and definition of urban policies. In the case of the European Union, the changes from traditional planning to strategic planning have also been triggered by the fact that strategic plans have often become a prerequisite for accessing structural funds at local level. This was also the case for the Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area, comprising Cluj-Napoca, the second largest city in Romania, and 18 rural communes, with a total population of around 400,000 inhabitants. The metropolitan area, although created through the voluntary association of communes, was an artificial structure, lacking any governance and collaboration mechanisms. In June 2015, we were appointed to design the metropolitan area’s new integrated development strategy for 2016-2020 – a prerequisite for accessing funds from Romania’s Regional Operational Programme. The design of the strategic plan was based on a participative planning approach, already tested as a methodology within the STATUS Project (SEE 2007-2013) . As a result, a series of thematic workshops were held with local stakeholders, ranging from local and county public authorities to decentralised institutions, utility suppliers, NGOs, cluster associations, universities and private companies. The aims of these workshops were twofold: to gather information from the local stakeholders regarding the issues in the metropolitan area and potential solutions, as well as to encourage the collaboration between stakeholders facing similar issues. The ideas expressed in the workshops were distilled by the project team into nine development axes for the strategic plan. We considered governance to be the plan’s central axis, with the success of the other eight sectoral axes (housing, mobility, energy, environment, etc.) greatly dependent on its progress. Our main proposal was the creation of a Metropolitan Task Force, composed of the main stakeholders participating at the workshops, that would be in charge with monitoring the implementation of the plan and ensuring the coordination between the projects in the metropolitan area. The Metropolitan Task Force would function in a Metropolitan Center – a venue encouraging the debate on the future development of the metropolitan area and inviting all interested stakeholders in expressing their ideas on this matter. In the end, we realized a self-assessment of the final strategic plan, rating the innovation and smartness of our proposals (flagship projects, soft projects and complementary projects) for each of the nine development axes. The conclusion was that the governance, housing and social axes were characterized by a great degree of innovation – with proposals such as the realization of a metropolitan housing plan or the creation of CLLD initiatives to combat urban poverty –, while the mobility and leisure/tourism axes were considered to be the least innovative. The strategic plan of the Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area is more than a vision accompanied by a list of projects. It is just the start of a process aimed at fostering collaboration and dialogue between different stakeholders, that need to make the transition now from the co-design of the plan to the co-implementation of its projects. Smart Governance is the backbone of Smart Planning, as our recent initiatives in the Cluj-Napoca metropolitan area – mainly mobility and energy projects – highlight the fact that a wide stakeholder involvement can bridge the gap between industry and public administration and lead to integrated project ideas aimed at fostering territorial development.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Smart Governance, Strategic Planning, Participatory Planning Processes, Eu Urban Policies and Programmes, Planning for Metropolitan Areas
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
J Political Science > JS Local government Municipal government
Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Depositing User: REAL CORP Administrator
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2016 06:39
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2016 06:39

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