The 2006 oThematic Strategy on the Urban Environmento is the first piece of official European Union (EU) policy solely focused on the urban environment. It follows a process of several years in which the EU has tried to promote an integrated approach to urban management. During the 2005-2007 oLiveable Citieso project, reflection was given to the oThematic Strategyo. This resulted in important critiques on the EU's approach to the urban environment. Explaining how the initial top-down approach chosen by the EU contributed to the perceived ofailureo of the oThematic Strategyo, suggestions are made for alternative approaches to the creation of liveable cities in Europe.