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Evaluating the social returns of urban interventions

Frameworks, indicators and methodologies with an emphasis on institutional change

Research in collaboration with the European Investment Bank

Over the past years, there has been a strong demand by International and European institutions for better methods to evaluate the non-financial impact of urban policies and projects, in order to enhance accountability and performance.  This is even more important because of the increased use of alternatives to grant funding for urban development in the form of what is called Financial Instruments (FIs).

In this context, the EIB is interested in further research regarding frameworks, methodologies and indicators with which to assess the non-financial impacts of urban FIs. Especially, it seeks to explore ways to assess the additionality of the Bank’s urban lending in this field. Whereas increasingly effective methods for evaluation have already been used in the academic world and, more recently, by public and international organisations, there is still a need to adapt these to specific initiatives and financing mechanisms, to develop a knowledge base on their performance, to find ways to consider together the wide range of benefits involved and to investigate the sustainability of the interventions. Furthermore, it is believed that a specific source of EIB’s additionality lies in the institutional change brought by interventions and this should be given a specific attention in the evaluation process.

The EIB is at the forefront of promoting this agenda and has commissioned Pawel Krasny supported by Prof. Peter Tyler at the University of Cambridge to undertake research. The research is performed under a STAREBEI programme involving Brian Field as the EIB supervisor. More specifically, the research seeks to:

  • Identify the non-performance impacts that FEIs/urban policies initiatives can have
  • Consider the most appropriate logic chains and conceptual frameworks that will enable impacts to be assessed
  • Identify the methodologies that can be used to assess impact and, consequently, enable the additionality of the policy support to be quantified along a wide range of benefits in the economic, social, environmental and institutional fields
  • Propose an evaluation toolbox and test it on a selection of case-studies

News & Events

  • 15th February 2013: visit by Brian Field, EIB supervisor to Cambridge
  • 10th and 27th May: signature of the STAREBEI contract between the EIB and the University of Cambridge
  • June-July: first methodology propositions
  • September: academic trip to China (Pawel Krasny), presentation of the PhD research and EIB collaboration at HUST and Peking University
  • 1st November: Brian Field’s visit to Cambridge
  • 12-18 November: first Luxembourg visit by Pawel Krasny
  • 9-13 December: second visit
  • 22 January 2014: participation in the EIB Institute meeting