Policy making

Policy context

Baltic Urban Lab the supports the aims of the EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region horizontal actions “Spatial Planning” and “Sustainable Development”.  The horizontal action  “Spatial Planning” calls for the development and use of a common approach for cross-border cooperation on Land-based Spatial Planning around the Baltic Sea region.

In this respect, the work of VASAB “Visions and strategies around the Baltic Sea 2010” is seen crucial. The VASAB Long Term Perspective for the Territorial Development of the BSR emphasizes importance of improving networking in the field of spatial planning between local authorities and creation of common tools and methods. VASAB sees that the transnational cooperation in spatial planning provides a substantial added value to policy sectors like urban networking.

Particularly regarding the brownfield regeneration, no common legislation for the sustainable use of soil exists on the European level. However, in the EU more than 1,000 km² every year are subject to 'land take' for housing, industry, roads or recreational purposes. The Roadmap to a Resource efficient Europe (2011) has a set a goal of no net land take by 2050. In order to be achieved, this goal has to be recognized also on the local level, for which the reuse and remediation of brownfield land is one of the cornerstones.

The cross-border relevance of the Baltic Urban Lab project

The challenges Central Baltic cities face in revitalizing urban space, are similar across borders. Yet, common, structured approaches for brownfield regeneration on national, regional and even local level are missing. Although, strategies and planning system vary from country to country, cross-border cooperation supports cities to map joint challenges and solutions, draw lessons learned and better capitalize existing good practices.

In order to reach a common position on the brownfield regeneration framework in Central Baltic countries, this project will formulate a memorandum of understanding on the definition of ‘brownfield’ for each national context. To aid this process, the current state of planning systems, relevant regulations and challenges related to brownfield development in each country will be mapped.

Knowledge and lessons learned from the project are to be utilized in the drafted Policy and Practice Recommendations for local, national and macro-regional actors seeking to apply an integrated approach in the revitalization of urban space. Concrete piloting of integrated planning approaches and PPP-partnership models in real life conditions in Estonia, Finland, Latvia and Sweden and analysis of good practices will help to formulate a common approach for urban regeneration projects that will be transferable and beneficial to all Central Baltic cities.