INTERREG — The InterMETREX Project

In 1999 the EU published the European Spatial Development Perspective (ESDP) to work towards Spatial Visions for seven transnational areas across Europe at the point when Europe was on the threshold of enlargement from 15 to 25 member states.  The Spatial Visions were intended to provide a bridge between the ESDP and national and regional plans to consider the territorial impact of sectoral and spatial development cooperation between member states and regions.  Metropolitan regions and areas were expected to make a key contribution to their realisation.

METREX logoIn these evolving circumstances, the Members of METREX — The Network of European Metropolitan Regions and Areas recognised the need for a Benchmark of Metropolitan Planning Practice to establish indicators of effective practice, covering the full range of metropolitan spatial planning and development issues.

The European Commission’s INTERREG Programme helps European regions to share their knowledge and experience.  The InterMETREX Project was led by METREX Member, the Glasgow and the Clyde Valley Structure Plan Joint Committee (GCVSPJC), and was piloted under INTERREG II (2000-03) in six metropolitan cities: Glasgow, Bradford, Dublin, Lille, Brussels and Rotterdam.

The Benchmark was revised and updated and applied in 31 metropolitan regions or areas in 18 European countries, working within a budget of €1.16m under INTERREG III (2003-06): Glasgow, London, Liverpool, the South Coast Metropole (Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth and Poole), Stuttgart, Bologna, Naples, Turin, Venice, Oporto, Barcelona, Cadiz, Seville, Granada, Bilbao, San Sebastian, Copenhagen-Malmö, Stockholm, Helsinki, Athens, Thessalonica, Valletta, Zurich, Budapest, Krakow, Szczecin, Riga, Vilnius, Minsk, Sofia and Nicosia.

The Benchmark is designed to enable planners to self-assess their current practice against a range of indicators, and to work towards improvement, as individual cities’ circumstances allow, and greater sustainability and competitiveness within the territory of the EU.  Full information on the METREX Metropolitan Planning Practice Benchmark is available from the METREX website

InterMETREXplus (2007-08) extended the project to enable four partners to pilot the application of a diagnostic, conceived and developed by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, to assess levels of greenhouse gas emissions at the metropolitan level.  The outcome was a further addition to the Benchmark to address the issue of climate change in metropolitan planning practice.

I was the Project Coordinator of the InterMETREX Project, responsible for all aspects of the project’s administrative direction and management, including the logistics of project meetings, simultaneous interpretation, translation, graphics and publication of documentation, financial accounting, the claiming of EU co-finance and reporting on the project to the EU.

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