On 16 November, EBC President Rinaldo Incerpi spoke at the event “Urban regeneration: the role of SMEs” organized by CNA Torino, in the framework of the Italian “Restructura” construction Fair. Held in Torino, the conference focused on many challenges European cities face nowadays such as the consequences of rural area depopulation, peripheries with low-maintained buildings and scarce energy efficiency as well as abandoned industrial and logistic sites.
However, these challenges also represent a unique opportunity to develop new ideas and governance models for urban regeneration. In particular public authorities will have to play a central role for developing new concepts around cities by setting up strategic and flexible management structures, defining general objectives and ensuring their proper implementation, coordinating public funding (national, EU, etc.), and fuelling big investments (e.g. for the acquisition of land). Furthermore strategic partnerships with private investors are crucial to ensure adequate financing of a comprehensive urban regeneration. Another important point is that citizens need to be actively involved on a permanent basis (e.g. through citizens’ committees, neighbourhood associations, etc.) in order to ensure their support for the potential changes. Last but not least, construction SMEs need to be the crucial actors of urban regeneration processes through:
· Multilayer contracts that ensure the direct involvement of SMEs;
· The integration of public strategies with single renovation initiatives;
· Measures that facilitate SMEs’ aggregation; and
· Fiscal policies aimed at boosting energy renovation and improving the safety of buildings (e.g. reduced VAT rates)