Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana

Tuesday, 21. 2. 2017

The City of Ljubljana is presenting the Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana with the invitation to citizens and interested public to submit remarks, proposals and comments. The deadline is 7 March 2017.

From 21 February until 7 March 2017, remarks, proposals, comments and opinions can be sent to the e-address: IN-TUS@ljubljana.si. All signed proposals, comments, remarks and opinions are going to be taken under consideration and checked for alignment with synthesised strategic goals, development challenges and measures, and then the Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana is going to be amended accordingly. An overview of comments, proposals, remarks and opinions received is also going to be published on the website www.ljubljana.si.
After the aforementioned deadline a workshop with stakeholders is going to take place and then the document is going to be finalized.
The Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana is a document intended for the operationalisation of priority investments of sustainable urban development for the implementation of investments/projects the Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana, adopted at the 13th session of the City Council of the City of Ljubljana (25 January 2016), has identified as priorities. The strategy includes an implementation plan for other investments/projects contributing to the comprehensive city development approach. In the operative sense, with the indication of key projects for the whole programme period 2014-2020, the Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Urban Strategy is an account of development activities, encompassed in the Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana, for targeted management of urban development through the implementation of investments with the biggest sustainable impact on the development of the city. Priority projects and measures are the ones with a higher chance of implementation in the program period. This means their execution has already been confirmed in the budget of the City of Ljubljana and project documentation has already been prepared or the construction permits for the implementation have already been obtained.

The Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana follows the recommendation of the European Commission in the document titled Guidance for Member States on Integrated Sustainable Urban Development (Article 7 ERDF Regulation) /EGESIF_15-0010-02 20/04/2016/ and other recommendations.

Strategic development goals of the City of Ljubljana wish to preserve the already recognised quality of life in the city and strengthen necessary development activities appropriate for the times we are living in. The City of Ljubljana is also aware of its responsibility as the most important urban centre in the country, and at the same time, its competences and capacities. As an important centre of innovation and economic excellence it also wants to promote economic currents in the region, the country and beyond. Such activities are possible only in close cooperation with the University of Ljubljana. At the same time it is going to ensure social justice and respond to different development challenges by implementing measures and programmes. With that in mind it is going to provide the necessary infrastructure, including apartments in the rental sector, and carry out different development measures with regard to providing a healthy and safe living environment. The latter includes infrastructure for sports, recreational and free time activities. Namely, Ljubljana is a safe and open city which respects diverse cultures and believes in respectful and peaceful coexistence in diversity.

Components of the Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana:
1.    Introduction – including a summary of the Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana (adopted on 25 January 2016 by the City Council of the City of Ljubljana), summary of synthesized strategic goals of the City of Ljubljana, overview of the development challenges of the City of Ljubljana with provided measures, analysis of development goals: opportunities, threats, strengths and weaknesses according to synthesized strategic goals of the City of Ljubljana, indicators for monitoring progress of the implementation of the Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana and an overview of the development challenges of the City of Ljubljana with provided measures.
2.    Goal operationalization – including the overview of all envisaged projects contributing to the comprehensive development of the City of Ljubljana with all projects listed to be implemented within the framework of the Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana according to strategic goals with the indication of development challenges and goals.
3.    Priority projects for the implementation of the Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana in the period 2014-2020 with an indication of financing sources and a detailed description of these projects – 46 projects in total.
4.    Other projects for the implementation of the Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana – 85 projects in total.

The indicators for monitoring progress of the implementation of the Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana follow the recommendations of qualitative indicators for sustainable development of the OECD, qualitative indicators of the European Green Capital 2016 and qualitative indicators for sustainable development goals of the UN. In the operative sense, measurable indicators with regard to individual development challenges, measures and operative goals are derived from these indicators.
The option of co-financing through the Comprehensive Territorial Investments mechanism is specifically indicated for some projects. These are: the construction of the Sugar Factory Gallery (Galerija Cukrarna), the implementation of the cycling infrastructure, the construction of the housing development Rakova jelša III and the reconstruction, that is, energy-saving building renovation on the streets Španski borci, Knobleharjeva cesta and Hladilniška pot.

The Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana and the Implementation Plan for the Sustainable Urban Strategy of the City of Ljubljana are development documents which the City of Ljubljana also needs to absorb EU funds, primarily to absorb funds within the Comprehensive Territorial Investment mechanism. In the Republic of Slovenia the Comprehensive Territorial Investment mechanism serves as the implementation of Article 7 provisions of the Regulation (EU) No. 1301/2013 on sustainable urban development stipulating that: »At least 5% of the ERDF resources at national level within the framework of the ‘investment for growth and jobs’ goal is to be allocated to comprehensive measures for sustainable urban development.«

And so, for 11 municipalities in the Republic of Slovenia there are 112 million EUR non-refundable European funds allocated in the Comprehensive Territorial Investment mechanism and over 27 million EUR non-refundable funds from the budget of the Republic of Slovenia, that is, 139 million EUR in total. Additional 10 million EUR (half EU funds and half from the budget of the Republic of Slovenia) are expected to be made available as refundable funds (financial instruments).

The introduction of the new mechanism for drawing funds is a complex and difficult process and that is why mayors of urban municipalities agreed already in 2015 that the municipalities are going to work closely together and join their efforts in the Association of Slovene Municipalities.
The cooperation between the Association of Slovene Municipalities, the Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy and responsible ministries, that is the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning and the Ministry of Infrastructure, intensified in April 2016 at the mayors’ initiative. Since then numerous meetings and workshops have taken place at the operational level, and afterwards we expected that the first invitation to submit applications within the Comprehensive Territorial Investment mechanism would be published already in September or in October 2016 at the latest.
But due to repeated introduction of new demands and conditions for the implementation of projects and the lengthy coordination process between different ministries this never came to be. The decisive breakthrough happened on 24 January 2017 at a meeting between mayors of 11 urban municipalities and three competent ministers. And so, just last week, the urban municipalities received final amended documents necessary for the smooth operation of the Comprehensive Territorial Investment mechanism (Substantive Premises for the implementation PN 6.3.).

According to the methodology for calculating the indicative allocation of funds within the Comprehensive Territorial Investment mechanism the City of Ljubljana can expect the following priority investment project co-financing:
4.1. – energy-saving renovation of apartments in public ownership – 2.25 million EUR
4.4. – sustainable mobility development – 5.27 million EUR
6.3. – urban revitalization – 14 million EUR

In PN 6.3. we intend to apply for co-financing with the Sugar Factory Galleries project (13.46 million EUR) and the renovation of the neighbourhood on Španski borci street (1.01 million EUR), in PN 4.4. with the construction of cycling infrastructure (5.27 million EUR) and in PN 4.4. with the energy-saving building renovation on streets Hladilniška pot, Knobleharjeva cesta, Cesta dolomitskega odreda, Gerbičeva and Topniška (0,33 million EUR).
 
Neither the City of Ljubljana nor other urban municipalities will not be able to use all available funds in PN 4.1. because the country over-allocated funds to this priority investment as it did not take into consideration already implemented energy-renovation measures in apartments under the ownership of the City of Ljubljana. Therefore we propose to reallocate these funds for other purposes within the Comprehensive Territorial Investment mechanism.

The expected dynamics of the Association of Slovene Municipalities’ invitations for the urban municipalities to submit their applications is as follows: publication of the first call for PN 4.1. mid-May, for PN 6.3. in May and for PN 4.4. in autumn 2017. Another challenge, as far as PN 6.3. is concerned, is the fact that the preliminary environmental impact assessment procedure is also needed for projects which already have legal construction permits (for instance the Sugar Factory), and in PN 4.4. comprehensive traffic strategies defining measures/projects to be implemented in the field of sustainable mobility still have to be formed, and before that the guidelines for P + R and cycling infrastructure as well as technical specifications have to be finalized.