New publication "Towards Urban-Rural Partnerships in Poland" available


Read the implementation plans which specify how each ‘region’ participating in the cooperation will work to integrate the lessons learnt from the project into its local / regional or if relevant national policies. ...more ›

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Lead Partner

HafenCity University Hamburg
Urban Planning and Regional Development
Prof. Dr. Jörg Knieling
[email protected]
Andreas Obersteg
[email protected]
Marta Jacuniak-Suda
[email protected]


Project management

REM • Consult
Mareike Korb
[email protected]


Final Conference of the URMA-project successfully held as Open Days 2014 side event

After three years of intensive co-operation, the URMA-partners presented their results on 7th October 2014 at the Open Days in Brussels in a joint conference with RURBANCE, a project on Integrated Policies and Inclusive Governance in the Alpine Space. In an exciting and comprehensive way the partners of both projects showed and discussed their results.

After the welcome words of the Lead Partners of both projects, a short overview of URMA and RURBANCE was given. The URMA-project started in 2012 with the aim to promote urban-rural partnerships, as a tool to strengthen the potential for generation and transfer of innovative solutions in European metropolitan areas and their wider hinterlands. This is essential because these are important means to improve the quality of the development of metropolitan areas economically, socially an also spatially.

The RURBANCE-project also started in 2012. In Alpine Space, urban areas and the neighbouring rural regions are facing problems of landscape degradation, lack of water, soil quality, loss of biodiversity, territorial fragmentation, and abandonment of the territory as well as intense use of the resources. These all lead to the social problems, particularly to worsening quality of life. RURBANCE aims at unification of diverse territorial policies and at developing of cooperative and integrated governance models. The goal is to implement Joint Development Strategies, so that rural/mountain and urban communities become "equal players" in an inclusive decision making process. As a result, a balanced model of economic development and lifestyle can be found for these territories, combining the dynamic of the metropolitan areas with the natural attractiveness and know-how of rural and mountain territories in proximity.

In three subsequent panels the project partners have exchange the achieved project results and presented recommendations. In the first panel discussion entitled “Urban-rural cooperation: One size does not fit all” the issue of the different geographical scales of urban-rural cooperation was addressed. The examples from West Pomerania, Amsterdam, Tuscany and Hamburg showed that dependent on the scale – supra regional, within metropolitan regions, networks of small and medium sized towns with their surroundings, trans-local – there are specific needs and potentials which require different approaches and means of cooperation. The examples illustrated that urban-rural partnerships should be approached startegically at all levels of cohesion policy, as well as recognized in strategic and spatial planning and supported accordingly as functional and spatial entities that span urban and rural areas and are recognized in strategic and spatial planning at all levels.

The topic of the second panel “Improved governance, but how? Multi-level and cross-sectorial thinking!” was discussed by representatives of HafenCity University Hamburg, Twente region, Pleven region, the Anton Melik Geographical Institute in Slovenia and Grenoble-Alpes Metropole. Partners from the HafenCity University stated confidently that the multi- thematic character of urban-rural partnerships demands, holistic and locally applicable approaches and that multi-level governance and cross-sector organizational models are the appropriate solutions. Examples from Twente and Grenoble illustrated that urban-rural initiatives which involve a wide range of stakeholders benefit from the triple or quadruple helix approach. This approach should be encouraged and supported by public institutions. Experience from the Pleven region and Slovenia supported the recommendation that the existing institutions and appropriate new functional bodies at a sub- national level should play a strategic role and act as the facilitators and coordinators of urban-rural partnerships.

The third panel titled “From present to future – experience + instruments” was addressed to future urban-rural cooperation. Representatives of Veneto Region, Milano, Institute of Urban Development Krakow and the German Association for Housing, Urban and Spatial Development discussed the opportunities to continue working on strengthening urban-rural relations. The panelists agreed that the experience of urban-rural partnerships should be used as a source of knowledge and points of contact to build up urban-rural partnerships and those successful and promising initiatives should be continued. This supports the recommendation that the European Commission together with national, regional and local governments should adapt their financial instruments to take into account aspects of urban-rural cooperation. It is important to remove existing barriers, improve communication and allow for matchmaking opportunities. The EU Parliament and the European Commission should further develop policies and practical instruments, based on the achievements of the RURBAN initiative, for integration of urban-rural partnerships into the European territorial cohesion policy.

Verena Priem, INTERREG IVC-secretariat, presented the results of the programme and highlighted the viewpoint that although URMA is a somewhat atypical project compared to other projects, the URMA results and recommendations represent a valuable contribution to the outcome of the INTERREG IVC programme. The programme will be continued in the coming period as INTERREG Europe. This programme provides new opportunities to continue the work on urban-rural partnerships, especially when it comes to implementation and when it leads to quantifiable results in the participating regions in Europe.

Finally, on behalf of the partners of URMA - Jörg Knieling from the HafenCity University Hamburg and Stanislaw Dendewicz from the Regional Office for Spatial Planning of the Westpomeranian Voivodeship handed over the projects ́ recommendations to Verena Priem. After the end of the conference a networking reception took place, where first future project ideas for the new funding period were exchanged and collected.

URMA_Final_Conference_Documentation.pdf »
01_Introduction_to_the_project_URMA_Verbeek.pdf »
02_Introduction_to_the_project_RURBANCE_Pedrana.pdf »
03_Interregional_cooperation_state_of_play_and_perspectives_Priem.pdf »



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