By Paul Soto and Melody Houk with Peter Ramsden and Ivan Tosics

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The European Commission argues that cities have the potential to make a larger
contribution to policies for growth, social cohesion and environmental sustainability. In their
recent proposals they have suggested that, between 2014 and 2020, at least 5% of the
Regional Development Fund should “be allocated to integrated actions for sustainable
urban development delegated to cities for management through Integrated Territorial
Investments”. If this proposal is accepted, it would mean that a substantial sum could be
directly managed by cities for integrated packages of actions in the form of “subprogrammes”
– alongside any other investments in cities managed by regional or national
But what exactly are “integrated territorial investments” (ITI’s) meant to be? Will they simply
be a transfer of money from one level of government to another organized within a
programme structure? Or can they really help European cities make a transition to more
sustainable patterns of development using an integrated approach? In this article we will
draw on the lessons of previous urban initiatives and from the URBACT programme in
order to make some recommendations that can help ITI’s become powerful tools for
innovation and change in our cities.