Integrated Urban Development

At the Operating Level of the City

A sustainable urban development, the city in a climate change, innovative mobility, management of urban services to provide municipal service and the design of humane and social cities are important areas of sectorial and cross-departmental integrated urban development, which involves a wide range of actors in network structures.

As political and administrative actors especially big cities are in the position to solve the current social, economic, environmental and cultural challenges through integrated strategies and by involvement of their citizens in policy-making. At European level, the importance of integrated urban development was emphasized as early as 2007 in the "Leipzig Charter on Sustainable European Cities".

An integrated urban development replaces technocratic planning approaches, focuses on “learning systems”, including numerous feedback loops between "top-down" requirements and "bottom-up" responses. A sectoral and inter-departmental approach within administrations involves a broad spectrum of actors from government, civil society and the private sector in the development and implementation of strategies. This urban development concept is designed along the goals, strategies and measures of actual local problems.

Cities need favourable conditions and governmental financial support, accompanied by the according applicable regulations of task distribution and financing models in a multi-level governmental system. This expands the respective scope of action and/or decision-making powers as well as the financial and human resources to initiate, moderate and implement the necessary processes in organizational networks and decision-making structures.

sustainable urban development and integrated urban planning has to acknowledge current challenges. Many cities and municipalities in developed countries must face diminishing populations and the resulting consequences for urban development caused by demographic change. It may be necessary to reinvent urban areas and adapt existing infrastructure to the changed needs. This can be achieved if urban land-use planning by informal instruments and cooperation is complemented by involving citizens to generate lead concepts and visions, serving as a model to individual suburbs and whole cities.

Cities in developing and emerging countries are confronted with a continuing flow of migration.  The available residential space for informal settlements, the urban housing market and the local infrastructure cannot absorb the resulting increasing pressure. A participatory approach to an integrated development strategy helps to enhance the quality of living in such neighbourhoods and gives young people a perspective.

Particularly urban areas are often vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to their geographic location and their structural density. The use of renewable energies and energy efficient construction methods reduces emissions and prevents serious consequences of climate change. Then again, the city is required to take protective measures and adapt in many areas of urban development to cope with climate change.

The topic of mobility plays an important role. Mobility does not only mean to overcome distances, but to make education and culture, work and leisure activities accessible in a safe, inexpensive, environmentally friendly and quick fashion. Especially in cities and metropolitan areas mobility is equivalent to the opportunity to participate in social life. With advanced integrated mobility concepts, the use of new technologies, but also through modern management, this sector has great potential for innovation. This holds for developing, emerging and developed countries alike.

A working housing, water, electricity supply and waste processing infrastructure as well as education and culture not only ensure the basic needs of the inhabitants, but can also contribute to social cohesion of neighbourhoods. A well-organized management of urban facilities for public service provision by the city administration is necessary. Worldwide a variety of models of partly public and partly private operators in the provision of urban services have resulted in very diverse experiences during the implementation phase.

A significant requirement of integrated urban development is to shape a city, socially and inclusively. This means to counteract segregation of neighbourhoods and enable people - regardless of social background, age, gender, religion, skin colour - to participation in civic life.

Good Practices

Lörrach plans Germany’s first timber-built commercial area


There is more than enough wood available in the town of Lörrach and its proximity to the Black Forest. The idea was born…



Deep Dive: Heat in the city

04/03/2024 to 07/03/2024

As a second milestone of the Deep Dive process, a workshop was held in Nairobi from 4 to 7 March 2024. The workshop…