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The elaboration of the Integrated Development Strategy of Cluj Napoca Growth Pole is an essential step in preparing the new EU funds programming period for 2014-2020. This also represents an important opportunity to review the activity of Cluj Metropolitan Area (ZMC), the first term of Office for Cluj Napoca Growth Pole Coordinator and the progress in implementing the project portfolio assumed in 2010.

The project, conducted during June-November 2015, will result in an updated analysis of needs and opportunities throughout ZMC and a new portfolio of projects proposed for funding from European, national and local funds.

The engagement of MKBT (Make Better) involved in the process aimed at developing diagnostic analysis of competitiveness and local economic development ZMC and support in facilitating the consultation meetings. This process poses the interesting challenges of analyzing the extended territory of Cluj Napoca and its peri-urban area comprised of 17 rural communities, which altogether sum up almost 400,000 inhabitants. Both field research and desk analysis revealed significant disparities within the area: some settlements are closely related and influenced to the central city, while others, further away from the core, have little benefits from their proximity to the core economic dynamic. Our challenge, therefore, was to design a set of proposed public interventions that could facilitate positive spillover effects into the peri-urban area, while at the same time reflecting the capacity – both institutional and financial – of the metropolitan governance structure.

The project is a collaboration with Urbasofia, the main contractor of the North West Regional Development Agency, the agency that funded this process and was responsible for bringing stakeholders around the table. The final beneficiary of the strategic planning process is the Intercommunity Development Association Cluj Metropolitan Area, which is the governance structure of the territory covered by the project.