Introduction: Reconsidering European Urban Welfare in Times of Crisis

  • Ombretta CaldariceEmail author
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Geography book series (BRIEFSGEOGRAPHY)


This chapter points out the key concepts related to the contents and the proposal of the book. Today, more than two thirds of the European population live in urban areas and this share continues to grow. European cities are facing key global challenges related to economic, social and urban changes, with a high negative impact worldwide. This dynamic is particularly evident in urban welfare and its difficulty in creating urban spaces able to meet more and more complex needs in times of scarcer resources. In contemporary European cities, urban facilities play a critical role in creating more prosperous, fair and inclusive societies. Today more than ever, urban facilities are called on to protect the welfare of cities while creating the conditions for social and economic development. However, these present times, characterised by growing fiscal austerity and new social demands, have forced us to rethink the traditional approaches to urban facility planning in order to come up with better responses to the reduction of consolidated welfare policies. This situation requires immediate cross-scale actions to mitigate the negative externalities of the absence of urban welfare in cities while, at the same time, reducing and preventing slow and rapidly occurring changes. Although European spatial planning systems are quite different, they share the same need to be reorganised extensively in order to plan efficiently, effectively and sustainably. The traditional role of spatial planning in urban facilities issues has come under question, and a new approach more inclined to openness and flexibility needs to be promoted. To this end, this book proposes to deal with the principal issues related to urban facility planning, investigating current problems and future perspectives for European cities and identifying some potential sources of innovation that can be found in the new developments spread throughout Europe.


European cities Urban crisis Economic and social crisis Fiscal austerity Urban welfare Urban facility planning Urban facility taxonomy Co-production 


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© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and PlanningPolitecnico and Università di TorinoTurinItaly

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