The aim of SURF was to review existing policies on urban fringes and build up a common approach towards these areas. This approach has led to a set of guidelines to influence local, regional, national and EU policies to achieve sustainable economic development and competitiveness of urban fringes.
Through the partner projects and the themes used to analyse these projects, several guidelines have been determined for a successful approach to sustaining the urban fringe. These guidelines are formulated by recommendations for the different government levels within Europe.
The local level is the point in which most contacts between government, citizens and stakeholders, including the private sector, take place. The recommendations for this level are more concrete than for more strategic levels. However, the impact of the local level recommendations will be multiplied when they are applied on the regional level. They are:
Recognise and promote the opportunities for multifunctionality presented by urban fringes:
Recognise that an attractive urban fringe gives cities a positive and stronger identity:
Build up a recreational infrastructure in and around the urban fringe:
Engage citizens and other stakeholders to recognise and relate to the urban fringe environment and make use of collaborative thinking and actions in the acceptance of multifunctionality:
Build up an informal network next to the formal structures:
Recognise the value of urban fringe-specific enterprises, rooted in identifiable urban fringe space, communities and opportunities:
Recommend the use of the SURF toolkit for project development activities in the urban fringe:
For urban fringes the regional (or city region) level is of great importance. Certainly the zones of urban fringes of cities overlap each other. Coordination between cities is necessary and for this to be achieved, a city region level of governance, decision making and spatial planning should be recommended.
Recommend to develop a regional strategy on urban fringes with attention to green infrastructure, competitiveness and spatial planning:
Recognise that spatial planning for urban fringes is an iterative planning process instead of an imposed procedure:
Although in most countries the national level is not really involved in the development of urban fringes, they must be aware of the importance of these areas for city economies. The role of national governments is growing to be more supportive of the development of urban fringes by cities. They also have an important position on a European level to ensure that Europe pays more attention to urban fringes.
Urban fringes tend to be under pressure and lacking cohesion in Europe. The balance between urban and rural areas and between economic, social need and nature must be restored by developing in a sustainable way. If this development is implemented informally and sympathetically it can add value to quality of life and sustainable development in urban and rural areas, even in situations of demographic changes. However, in Europe there is little discourse and less policy attention paid in respect of these opportunities. Because so many Europeans live in these relatively inchoate areas SURF pleads for more European awareness of the opportunities to coherently and sustainably develop urban fringes.
To reinforce this, activity is needed to:
Formally identify the urban fringe and document the uses of urban fringe areas within each European city region so that accessible knowledge of the opportunities presented by the these areas are available:
Formulate long term visions for urban fringes within Europe:
Develop and maintain dedicated soft governance architecture to complement and, where necessary, replace existing hard government structures which often fail to serve the interests of the urban fringe:
Create policy that recognises the identity and explicit needs of the urban fringe:
The SURF position paper "Competitive advantage for city regions - the need to create new urban fringe policy" has been endorsed by the North Sea Commission, Sustainable Development Thematic Group