Abstract Old industrial centers, especially those in the South-eastern Europe (SEE) which had developed in a different socio-economic system, did not respond to changes in global economic trends of the post-industrial production in a timely manner. Integration in the Common European Market and transition to market economy brought a rapid breakdown of traditional industry sectors. University of Maribor participated in the international project ReTInA – Revitalization of Traditional Industrial Areas within the SEE program. The main aim of the project was to develop a method of Revitalization of old industrial areas in SEE based on a model which results from good practice, case studies and includes engagement of local and regional stakeholders. Socio-political changes in the European area very often resulted in the open question of ownership and the conflict of interests between the public and private sectors. Social responsibility in the initiators of Revitalization is also not developed sufficiently for public funds to be allocated for the preparation of the area (planning, decontamination, spatial plan, etc.) to attract the investors. In the context of the project we came to the conclusion that the SEE countries do not pursue the implementation of the European spatial development perspective policies. We established that a majority of countries do not have adequate strategies to tackle the problem of brownfields. Problems also occur due to the lack of adequate experts. Only the holistic approach to Revitalization of old industrial areas will enable us to assure a new quality to managing urban environment of the degraded cities. The long-term aim of the project is Revitalization of old industrial areas in order to provide new jobs and assure sustainable development, as well as to create synergy between providing quality living, social security and sustainability.