TURAS expert contact:
Aleksandar Slaev
leader of Work Package 5



The transition challenge

Urban growth is generally considered a positive process related to economic growth and regional development. However, urban growth is usually associated with urban expansion and unregulated expansion often takes the form of suburban sprawl, resulting in the loss of natural and agricultural landscapes and the associated loss of forests, loss of biodiversity, loss of opportunities for local food production and the contamination of air, soils and waters. The lack of balanced urban development and the overconsumption of natural resources are thus fundamental threats to the social and ecological future of cities. Currently, members of communities and different social groups are often aware of those trends, but price mechanisms are missing to "translate" growth to the interests of those same or other members of society.

The TURAS integrated approach

In order to avoid the unsustainable consumption of natural resources in sub-urban areas, the establishment of relevant properties and use rights regimes is essential. Zoning regulations, fiscal instruments, such as local fees and taxes and the development of infrastructure networks are the key factors and instruments of planning that have critical impact on suburban development patterns.
Stimulating and reinforcing balanced development includes the reassessment of property rights as well as the introduction of new regulatory and fiscal tools that take the real ecological and social losses into account and induce sustainable urban development. Via fiscal instruments, individuals and families that choose to settle in peri-urban areas pay the proper price for the resources they use or consume – namely, infrastructure and natural amenities.


sustainable urban structures ecologically effective urban ...

Developing shared visions

The aim of the project is to establish a fair and efficient system of rules and regulations that should help local communities to develop appropriate visions of suburban development and to translate this vision to all individuals and groups of the community. Thus, the vision of this IP is to correct this situation by establishing a system of local taxes and fees that properly reflects the value of suburban natural amenities and infrastructure.

  • …promoting a fair, socially and environmentally sustainable system of development fees and property taxes developed to guarantee that ecosystem services are paid for and, therefore, financial compensation and funds for their recreation are provided

  • ...promoting awareness of mobility behaviour pattern of citizens, especially concerning environmentally and socially sustainable mobility with inclusion of external costs
    ...promoting awareness of the full costs of respective mobility choice, including environmental impacts
    ...providig a WebGIS platform as a basis for linking suggestions and/or ranking previous public initiatives while setting priorities

  • …identifying specific threats expansion presents to the sustainable development of suburban environment and the socio-economic development of the city as a whole
    …applying the results of monitoring to evaluate the achievement of the goals of existing master plans and visions

  • …promoting well balanced and optimally developed infrastructure networks
    ...promoting development of infrastructure that guarantees all needs of local communities are being served while simultaneously protecting suburban environment

  • ...understanding and communicating the multifunctional values that urban green infrastructure can provide to urban areas and communities in an early stage of the projects
    ...providing a tool to support community groups to build their understanding of, and the wider business case for, the value that UGI interventions can have on quality of life
    …developing a proper vision of the general balance between the different types of green assets –conserved, restored and artificially created

  • …assessing community perception of environmental problems and UGI solutions in order to develop better targeted green infrastructure policies
    …developing a vision of sustainable and resilient development of the green system, based on the assessed community perception of UGI values and on the agreement among local social groups and stake-holders on a fair system of local UGI-related fees and taxes

Developing integrated strategies

Local authorities have the main role in developing a system of fees and taxes based on the values of consumed suburban resources - by the help of experts in this field. After the preparation of a system of regulations and fees relevant to the forecasted costs of sprawl, the estimates of the costs and the proposed system of regulations and fees should be made available to interested groups and the general public.

  • ...identifying all main types of costs and the necessary financial resources which are needed for the development of road networks and all types of technical and social infrastructure in suburban areas
    ...defining principles so that the cost is born by local consumers/users
    ...developing a system of regulations and fees & taxes that promotes the principle "consumer pays" - i.e., financing the development of suburban infrastructure by its users

  • ...discussing with local interested groups the assessed values of UGI solutions and the costs of preservation of natural green areas and implementation of UGI solutions
    ...providing a mapped evidence-base to support UGI-related fees and taxes
    ...after the public discussions –adopting a relevant system of local fees and taxes accounting for the values of ecosystem services of UGI solutions

  • ...identifying what processes should be monitored and how
    ...defining the main fields of continuous analysis: consumption of land, intra-city migration, environmental trends, pollution, socio-economic and market trends
    ...determining the organizational principles and the general features of the methodology of monitoring

  • ...evaluating all suggestions on a regular and professional basis
    ...identifying concrete problems
    ...identifying implementable solutions

  • ...establishing a system of local fees and taxes as a form of payment for the consumption of natural resources both as a tool to regulate this consumption and to finance their preservation and recovery

  • ...building optimal and contextually specific business and investment cases for UGI at the outset of new project initiation, based on quantitative and qualitative assessment of the environment, social and economic values of UGI initiatives Infrastructure projects
    ...effectively communicating the values of UGI for non-experts through the use of existing best practise case studied
    ...achieving agreement on the values of UGI among all interested groups and definition of reasonable reductions of relevant taxes and fees

Implementing transition activities

The main implementation activities are:
1) enforcement of the regulations and the complementing fiscal instruments,
2) periodical monitoring and
3) update of the system of regulations and fees.
Therefore, the implementation phase will need the employment of two systems of tools: a set of implementation tools and a set of monitoring tools. At the end of each cycle of implementation of the planned activities (3 to 5 year cycles) a monitoring campaign will be carried out. The results of the monitoring activities will lead to respective change in the system of regulations and to changes in the levels of the fees by types of activities and by suburban areas.

  • ...adopting and enforcing regulations and the complementing fiscal instruments

  • ...supporting the development of cost/value understanding necessary for building a business case to unlock funding for implementation
    ...reassessing of the UGI-related reduction of local fees and taxes at the end of each monitoring period
    ...providing a basis for adjustment of UGI-related fees and taxes

  • ...adopting and enforcing regulations and the complementing fiscal instruments

  • ...establishing the specific values of the indicators concerning the consumption of land, intra-city migration, environmental trends, pollution, socio-economic and market trends
    ...organizing the monitoring institution and the rules that regulate its functioning
    ...providing a basis for the reassessment of fiscal regulatory tools and systems

  • ...adopting and enforcing a system of taxes and fees relating to UGI solutions based on the ecosystem services provided
    ...periodical monitoring and assessment of the results with regard to the observed value of UGI-provided ecosystem services provided and the perceptions of local residents
    ...periodical update of the system of taxes and fees relating to UGI solutions

Creating systemic Knowledge

In this integrated project, developing relevant regulatory and fiscal tools planners should start with the assessment of the current level of (over) consumption and (over) use of resources and natural amenities. Virtually, all kind of data usually used in urban and regional analysis are needed: spatial (urbanised areas, land use, development), demographic, ecological and market data as well. It is particularly important to identify problematic locations or situations where urban, social, or ecological conditions require urgent measures. This analysis should be carried out by the employment of a set of indicators that will be used later in the course of monitoring during the implementation phase – at the end of each cycle of monitoring.

  • ..assessing the natural resources and amenities used or consumed in the process of suburbanisation
    ...estimating the value of the consumed resources which is done by employing evaluation of respective ecosystem services

  • …quantifying and assessing the multifunctional benefits of a wide typology of Urban Green Infrastructure assets
    ...presenting an evidence base of current understanding of the added value of UGI interventions
    …defining and classifying the most popular types of new “artificially” created green assets (amenities) and assessing their values
    …comparing the values of existing natural green systems and new “artificially” created green assets

  • …analysing the cost of the development of suburban infrastructure
    ...assessing the values of local infrastructure used exclusively to serve suburban areas
    …identifying the needs of local communities

  • …mapping, quantifying and assessing the value of location-specific ecosystem services of the existing natural woodlands, forests, wetlands and natural greenery adjacent ot water bodies
    …mapping, quantifying and assessing the value of location-specific ecosystem services of local parks and other artificially created green areas and water bodies

  • ...collecting data to assess whether sprawl is intensive
    ...analysing the current level of sprawl and investigating indicators to measure the excessive consumption of land and other natural resources in suburban areas
    …periodically assessing the results of sub-urban fiscal zoning policies and initiatives

  • ...providing crowdsourcing and evidence-based webGIS tool for public initiatives that support the development of transport infrastructure and mobility services
    ...providing a tool to crowd-source and evaluate different measures in the field of mobility, energy, environment and waste management -this method of crowdsourcing is also applicable for other purposes in traffic engineering, for example traffic management plans and real-time traffic and travel information, including information on incidents related to transport (e.g. road works, accidents, blocked road, floods)-


Please get in touch with our expert contact for additional material.