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European sustainability to local sustainability: a multiscalar approach

Cornier, Thomas
Bourdin, Sébastien
Year of Publication: 
Series/Report no.: 
52nd Congress of the European Regional Science Association: "Regions in Motion - Breaking the Path", 21-25 August 2012, Bratislava, Slovakia
Sustainability is nowadays a priority of European institutions. For several years, States, Regions and Cities in Europe have integrated this topic at the heart of their policies. Otherwise, these various entities set their priorities for sectored actions, in the challenges characterizing this question. Does European strategy for sustainable development, which cohesion policy and action towards cities are strategic tools, help the EU and its states to strengthen competitiveness, innovation and sustainability in European major cities ? Do Countries more successful in terms of action towards sustainability systematically contain the most sustainable cities? On the contrary, is there a self-direction of major cities in relation to States concerning policies to improve sustainability ? To answer these questions, a first part of our work will consist in setting up a sustainability index on a national scale, within twenty-seven States composing the Union and, in the urban scale on sixty-nine cities of more than 400 000 inhabitants as well as the capitals of States. This one includes twenty-seven variables distributed within three groups: the social inclusion, the socioeconomic situation and the environmental innovation. The second part of our work will consist in the analysis of the index created. In this framework, we shall suggest a quantitative approach (multiple linear regression - Hierarchical Ascendant Classification - spatial analysis) and qualitative (analysis of the public policies of sustainable development). The results highlight a spatial differentiation concerning progress in action towards sustainability as well for member States as European major cities. If we compare States between each other, sustainable development integration seems to be more advanced in former European Union of fifteen countries, although Greece is far behind and some Central and Eastern European countries seem to take their game. For cities, we find a similar geography of sustainability with nevertheless gaps concerning the model of general distribution that we will study. In this framework, we will take the example of the city of Barcelona which ranking indicates that she has an edge in terms of sustainability while Spain is behind in terms of sustainable development.
Document Type: 
Conference Paper

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