The Malaga Charter

01 The Malaga Charter

The Malaga Charter contains a number of principles which have been clearly explained throughout the CAT-MED project. It underlines the fact that the elected representatives have fully understood that the new urban projects in the Mediterranean can be vectors of transformation for the whole city. Their adherence to the CAT-MED approach confirms their wish to extend an approach which explores the transformation possibilities of existing complex urban fabrics.

By signing, the mayors are reasserting the importance they attach to transnational cooperation and their commitment to the network of cities participating in the CAT-MED project. Through their support for this project, they have confirmed that the qualitative jump made by cooperation projects is now capable of backing up local dynamics and bringing added value to the urban policies of partner cities.

Through this Charter, the elected representatives, and beyond, their respective cities, have committed to consolidating and sharing a system of urban sustainability indicators. They have also committed to providing the necessary means to regularly update them. This commitment emphasizes the concrete nature of the Charter. It is also an important recognition, on the part of the political representatives, of the quality of the basis and technical content of the project.

They have also committed to promoting the methodology used in the experimental phase. This methodology is considered as an important stage in defining the areas integrated into the existing urban fabric. The commitment clearly refers to the characteristics of sustainable Mediterranean cities: compactness, complexity of use, mixed housing etc. But it is also about recognising the diversity of urban contexts and the particular concern for the issues of memory and the history of the inhabitants and the places they live in. This joint methodology, integrating all the issues of development, multiplies and enriches innovative design proposals.

Finally, the Charter explicitly lays the basis for a permanent platform. Its vocation is to perpetuate the existing links of cooperation between partner cities. It should also help new Mediterranean cities to integrate the network and to disseminate the principles upheld by the Charter.


Representatives of partner cities in the CAT-MED project at the meeting to sign the Malaga Charter. The official act of signing the Charter took place on 7 February 2011 in the rooms of Malaga Town Hall.

02 Malaga Charter on sustainable urban models

Malaga, 7th February 2011

We, mayors/mayoresses and representatives of Malaga, Seville, Barcelona, Valencia, the Community of Pays d’Aix, Marseille, Genoa, Turin, Rome, Athens and Thessalonica, members of the CAT-MED project,

Aware of the challenges which cities face today in terms of territorial planning and fighting climate change, and of the strong interdependence between these two phenomena,

Convinced that the cities are responsible and capable enough to apply in practice public policies combining the new issues of climate and sustainability,

Convinced that these cities have in their hands undelegable instruments of action, at local, regional, and national level and within the transnational networks we represent, to enable them to become principal actors in this matter, with regards to both the mitigation aspects and adaptation to the impacts of climate change,

Aware of the numerous international agreements made to stem the effects of climate change, especially those which emphasize territorially- and socially-cohesive sustainable urban models, such as the Aalborg Charter (1994 and 2004), the Leipzig Charter (2007) and the Toledo Declaration (2010), and taking into account the opportunities open to Mediterranean cities to contribute to this cause,

Committed as we are to defining and trying out sustainable Mediterranean urban development models, especially by the work done throughout the CAT-MED project,

We hereby state our intention to develop the following actions and targets with a will to make them last over time:

1. Consider Mediterranean cities as sustainable urban models

To develop urban configurations that, going beyond particular geographical features, take into account sustainable Mediterranean cities’ main common features – such as a certain population density, adequate levels of urban compacity and high complexity in the mixing of uses and functions.

Mediterranean cities exhibit diversity from one to another, but they have a clear common denominator in terms of their urban organization dating from the Mediaeval, Renaissance, Baroque and modern periods in turn: all the cities exhibited a mixture of economic and social activities within a defined space, where the pedestrian scale was important for most trips from one place to another. These features set the cities apart from other non-European urban models, less efficient in the use of natural resources and in facilitating connectivity in human relationships.

We undertake to include the priorities that were defined by the project as common denominators of the Mediterranean’s neighbourhoods and cities, prioritizing:

- The conception of urban models with a sufficiently high level of inhabitants/hectare density, configuring compact cities with a diversity of uses and functions – limiting the formation of segregated, single-function areas dependent on the private vehicle.

- The consideration of public space as the city’s backbone; maintaining the balance between built space and open space; taking the pedestrian scale as the yardstick in an urban landscape with an abundance of attractive, safe public open areas that invite people to come together, giving special importance to an adequate presence of green areas.

- The establishment of radii of proximity to economic activities, and to basic educational services, health centres, social centres, and sports, cultural and leisure facilities conducive to solidarity and cross-generational communication.

- The development of new areas suitable for building on, based on previously-planned communication and mobility hubs, tiering road networks into main, secondary and residential levels.

- The recovery of the consolidated city and its rehabilitation, revitalization and integrated urban regeneration, with special emphasis on the old parts of the city.

- The close co-existence of social housing and homes eligible for public aid on the one hand, and the nonrent-controlled class of housing on the other.

- Conservation of landscape, ecosystems and biodiversity; preservation of the city’s stock of historic buildings, and their rehabilitation in accordance with international charters and documents on the conservation of heritage sites.

- Respect for natural resources including water and soil, together with a reduction in the generation of greenhouse effect gas emissions, by applying tools and incentives to encourage the construction and rehabilitation of buildings efficient at consuming and handling water and energy.

2. Consolidate and share a system of urban sustainability indicators

To consolidate a common system of urban sustainability indicators which will enable us to track the evolution of our urban systems in time and interpret our assessment of the public policies applied.

The indicators are designed precisely to check whether our cities are approaching the desirable ranges we have set, or conversely getting farther away from them. The set of indicators has been developed jointly by the member cities and may be expanded periodically.

We undertake to train our teams to continue the work of monitoring the sustainable urban development indicators and ensure that this work bears fruit, in order to use this objective information to work transversally and thus think up, plan and build sustainable Mediterranean cities.

This set may be completed with optional indicators that each city considers necessary to characterize its territory’s particular features.

3. Promote the «Green Apple» pilot project as a step towards building sustainable cities

To promote an experimental method based on the «Green Apple» developed by CAT-MED, which consists of carrying out in each city, a pilot project that reflects the basic features of sustainable Mediterranean cities and of ecological, efficient and energy-saving building structures, whilst meeting the requirements of compacity and complexity of uses, characteristic of the project and furthermore combining the non-rent-controlled and social housing in an «urban laboratory».

The Green Apple is configured as a prototype that sets out to be a current example of what can be done to make an area or neighbourhood sustainable, and how a building that exemplifies the project can be constructed.

The features of the Green Apple will be different in each city, but all of them will also have a common denominator that symbolically identifies them in terms of their careful design, and their ecological, environmental and social features.

The memories and history associated with places and their inhabitants have received special attention.

Besides, developing the intrinsic nature of a neighbourhood’s sustainability, we also find ways of including the neighbourhood in its surroundings, and in this sense we understand «sustainable neighbourhoods» as part of a whole. The neighbourhood’s function is viewed in terms of its multiple geographical scales and the exchanges in which it takes part.

For all these reasons, we undertake to promote experimental urban projects with a transversal approach which, through their urban sustainability targets, will constitute the Mediterranean city of tomorrow.

4. Constitute and maintain a platform of mediterranean metropolis

To set up a permanent platform of partners to give continuity to the project’s aim beyond CAT-MED’s period of duration, allowing us to keep our working relationships and partnership going. In the platform will be present the public authorities that were the drivers behind the project and the social actors and citizens’ bodies that participated in the process.

This platform is based on the CAT-MED project and is backed by a partnership that over the past ten years has matured through jointly implementing European cooperation projects.

This manifesto, in the form of a basic charter, institutionalizes the existence of this network and constitutes the beginning of the CAT-MED Platform, which is open to membership for other Mediterranean and European cities, based on a dynamic project and with a common will to tackle urban sustainability issues. The Platform will make it possible to start up specific projects, especially in the context of European trans-national co-operation (regional policy), neighbour policy, or as a part of the Union for the Mediterranean, thanks to the strong make-up of its partnership.

Hence we undertake to continue our collaboration through the platform of Mediterranean metropolis and to support projects arising as part of this co-operation network.

03 GENOA DECLARATION - The City of the 21st Century. Anex to the MALAGA CHARTER


The Genoa Declaration "The City of the XXI Century" was signed on 9th June  2014 during the II Mediterranean Mayors' Forum, in the city of Genoa, as annex to the 2011 Malaga Charter. This statement is the result of the political comitments developed under the internal "Urban Empathy" Capitalization process of the CAT-MED Platform on Sustainable Urban Models.

ENG - GENOA DECLARATION "The City of the 21st Century". Anex to the MALAGA CHARTER, 7th February 2011

ESP - DECLARACIÓN DE GÉNOVA "La Ciudad del Siglo XXI". Anexo a la CARTA DE MÁLAGA, 7 de febrero de 2011

IT - DICHIARAZIONE DI GENOVA "La città del 21esimo secolo". Allegato alla CARTA DI MALAGA, 7 febbraio 2011

FR - MANIFESTE DE GÊNES "La ville du XXIème siècle". Annexe à la CHARTE DE MALAGA, 7 février 2011

GR - Η ΔΙΑΚΥΡΗΞΗ ΤΗΣ ΓΕΝΟΒΑΣ "Η πόλη του 21ου αιώνα". Παράρτημα στον Χάρτη της Μάλαγας, 7 Φεβρουαρίου 2011

PT - DECLARAÇÃO DE GÉNOVA "A Cidade do Século XXI". Anexo à CARTA DE MÁLAGA, 7 de fevereiro de 2011