SURE: a time-oriented model for Sustainable Urban REgeneration

Start Date End Date
11/01/2002 12/01/2005



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The Project has been supported by the European Commission under the Fifth Framework Programme within the Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development Programme, key Action 4 "The city of tomorrow and cultural heritage". The research started on the 1st November 2002 and it ended the 31st October 2005. 11 partners from Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Poland including one partner at the European level joined their forces three years ago to move forward together. The Sure Consortium has been built on complementary competence from relevant European Institutions, Development Agencies and Local Authorities; a variety of urban regeneration models connecting people and place are currently emerging, according to each culture, and to the different pressing and complex issues to be resolved locally.

SURE intends to have a sharp focus on improving the quality of urban life experimenting an innovative time-oriented approach to urban regeneration. Urban time policies are based on a close integration of spatial and time related features of urban areas that can improve the quality of regeneration policies. The project brings together Local Authorities, Universities and Local Development agencies from five European countries to develop, test and evaluate an innovative TOOL for a time-oriented description of urban areas. The TOOL aims at supporting and improving Local Authorities decision-making processes. The TOOL resulting from the project will be available to Local Authorities and Local Development agencies throughout Europe, together with a Training package.


SURE has been designed to respond to different needs of European cities and their citizens, with regard to urban crisis areas that have formed due to the economic and social transformations. Economic and social transformations have led to the emergence of new social, environmental and specifically urban problems, including:

  • loss of jobs and rise of unemployment
  • loss of public services
  • unsafe neighborhoods
  • brownfields
  • high pollution levels
  • degeneration of public spaces


Currently, urban crisis areas are facing crucial development choices in redefining their character. SURE’s aim is to define technical and organizational tools that will help local governments and local stakeholders design appropriate development choices.


SURE is a research project on urban transformation that utilizes analytical and simulation models, and cartographic testing in the creation of technological tools and products. Partners involved in the application included local authorities, academics and development agencies from Italy, France, Germany, Spain and Poland, who worked to apply innovations in the most distressed or problematic areas.

Background information

Urban time policies were initially launched in Italy at the end of the 1980s, and rapidly spread to other European countries. Initially, the goal of these policies was to promote equal opportunities for all through better matching the temporal needs of users. Today, the policies combine Time and Space, in new flexible ways, to prevent economic, environmental and social disasters in urban settings. There is empirical evidence to suggest that, when they have taken into account time and space considerations within their development strategies, cities and regions have become more attractive places to live and have achieved a higher level of prosperity.


The project analyzed a comprehensive range of innovative experiments to improve community renewal in metropolitan areas through coordinating public-private time-schedules and interests, which took place in five European countries. SURE’s innovation is to ensure the multi-functionality of neglected areas by reviewing their accessibility, services, infrastructures, economic and social sustainability and governance within the ‘global’ transformation and evolution of Cities and Regions. SURE utilized an integrated and multidisciplinary approach to design appropriate development choices for urban crisis areas. The project utilized both a time-oriented and an urban regeneration approach. Prior to this project, these two approaches had been adopted separately when designing policy options. The project integrated a variety of stakeholders from different disciplines, including; Town Planning, Social Science, Urban Economics and Political Science. Additionally, these stakeholders were integrated at different geographical scales. This research methodology is based on:

  • Desk Research – a brief literature overview and the exchange of knowledge among the partners about urban regeneration practices was used in the definition of the scientific framework used by SURE
  • Pilot Projects – that will be implemented with collaborating Local Authorities and/or Local Development Agencies with the support of Universities or Research Institutions.

EU involvement

SURE is a research project supported by the European Commission under the Fifth Framework Programme within the Energy, Environment and Sustainable Development Programme, Key Action 4: “The city of tomorrow and cultural heritage”: 4.1 Sustainable city planning and rational resource management 4.1.2 Improving the quality of urban life.


The SURE research action project developed a tentative list of recommendations based on its findings. The evidence so far suggests that time-oriented policies for sustainable regeneration are building capacity, confidence and skills through:

  • Co-ordinating policy-makers, planners, practitioners, and other stakeholders to tackle the problem of mobility, including the social and geographical nature of inequity
  • Identifying new urban issues such as the underutilization of some services, infrastructures or outlets due to different timetables, difficulties of access, and/or poor transportation facilities, on a global and/or micro scale
  • Contributing to better city and/or neighborhood governance by initiating independent problem-solving platforms under the aegis of local SURE teams

The overall experiment has produced a significant impact on:

  • The desire for an interdisciplinary approach to managing projects of public relevance
  • How communities are involved in the process of regeneration;
  • Rethinking architecture, urbanism and mobility on the basis of the shared outlooks and new technical supports

The SURE project has also provided an important new framework for networking and coordinating at local level, that has resulted in:

  • extending the scope of time-oriented policies
  • building bridges by working in the field
  • influencing the local policy agendas
  • opening new dialogues on pending issues



  • Milano Metropoli Development Agency - Sesto San Giovanni (Milano)
  • Milano Polytechnics - Department of Architecture and Urban Planning (Milano)


  • University of Technology of Belfort-Montbéliard -Systems and Transportation Laboratory (Belfort)
  • Time and Mobility Agency (Belfort)


  • University for Economics and Policy - HWP, Project-Office Times and Quality of

the City (Hamburg)

  • Senator of Building and Environment - Department of Spatial Planning and Urban

Development (Bremen)


  • University Fundación, Cooperation ant Territorial Development Centre

(Mieres-Asturias Oviedo)

  • Red Eurexcter de Espana


  • Institute of Urban Development (Krakow)
  • International Management Services Sp.zo.o (Krakow)

European Community

  • EURADA - European Association of Development Agencies

Multiagent Group Participants

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