SEA for Sustainable Cities: How the Strategic Environmental Assessment Has Driven the ESI Programme Towards Urban Sustainability
Under Cohesion Policy, sustainable development is implemented at the territorial level through the five European Structural and Investment funds (ESIF). Among the uses for these funds, during the 2014–2020 period the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) key priority areas include issues such as energy, transport, climate change adaptation and green infrastructure, all of which relate to sustainable cities. In this framework, the Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) procedure, carried out in the programming phase, is an important tool in driving ERDF Operational Programmes (OPs) towards sustainability. In this work, we examine 20 ERDF Italian program 2014–2020 and some related SEA Environmental reports to understand how much the theme of sustainable cities has been considered and how far SEA procedures have contributed to urban sustainability planning in local development strategies. Illustrations are given of sustainable approaches adopted in the OPs and SEA reports. Moreover, the analysis identifies recommendations to improve integration of the theme into the current and following programming periods.
KeywordsStrategic environmental assessment ESIF-ERDF programmes Urban sustainable development approaches SEA environmental reports
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