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]


Pilot implementation

Learn more about the progress of the pilot implementations - Interim report available for download!

Get an overview of the progress of the pilot implementation in the Final Pilot Implementation Report





Pilot implementation in Hamburg

Hamburg (1.75 Mio. inhabitants) is one of the most important metropolises in Northern Europe. For almost 20 years the informal planning network of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region connects the core city with the economic hinterland of Hamburg (approx. 5 Mio. inhabitants). The Metropolitan region has been extended several times and includes – since May 2012 – parts of three German Federal States (Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-West Pomerania) and the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.

Driven by the Trans-European transport network (TEN-T) a fixed link crossing the Fehmarn-Belt between the Metropolitan Region and south-east Denmark (a tunnel is planned), the development axis interlinking Hamburg and the Baltic metropolis of Copenhagen/ Malmö (1.5 Mio. inhabitants) is going to be strengthened in the near future. The northern part of Schleswig-Holstein as well as the west of Denmark (Jutland) fear to become economically and structurally lagging regions compared to other parts of Northern Europe which are better connected and more urbanized. This is especially the concern of a number of rural areas along the E 45 and more peripheral regions at the North Sea coast. Different regions in Jutland, the harbour city of Gothenburg (0.8 Mio. inhabitants) and the second largest city of Denmark Aarhus (0.5 Mio. inhabitants) are therefore willing to strengthen the connections with Hamburg as the most relevant metropolis besides Copenhagen. Gothenburg, for example, is interested in Hamburg’s recent structural developments from a former harbour city to a hot spot of the new service- and science-economy.


The Hamburg Pilot is focusing on the following questions:

1. How to intensify the transnational cooperation on the so called Jutland route (following the E 45) between Hamburg and Gothenburg in Sweden? What are the potentials of this corridor? Where are bottlenecks for further development? Which project-oriented cooperation (e.g. funded by INTERREG A programmes in the past and current period) exist and how can they better integrated in a broader territorial perspective? What contents, aims and messages can be identified among the different political or territorial strategies along the E 45? Are there common aims and objectives which can be built on? Are there practical projects we can start with, e.g. in the fields of science, enterprises or logistics?

2. How can the more rural/ peripheral regions benefit from a more intensified cooperation between the larger urban areas on the E 45 route? As the innovative potential of the rural areas in Denmark and Schleswig-Holstein differs a lot, the question arises, what are the reasons for this and is it possible to learn from each other in order to improve the development perspectives on the Jutland route?


Pilot implementation in Lombardy Region

The EXPO 2015 with its motto “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” will be an event that aims at displaying tradition, creativity and innovation in the food industry.

The area of the EXPO 2015 comprises of municipalities of Arese, Rho, Pero, Bollate, Baranzate, Lainate and Milano and represents major trends related to transformation of “peri-urban territory”. Main characteristics of the EXPO 2015 are:

  • localisation of Milan in the metropolitan system and the proximity to other cities (and the typical phenomenon related to the urban edges, fragility phenomena);
  • traditional (and new) rural landscapes;
  • importance of agricultural production system;
  • high quality of natural landscape (presence of natural and “rural” parks) and a well-structured system of waters, both natural/artificial;
  • presence of historical value (e.g. old town centres, heritage, old farming building, villas)
  • large number of development projects, proposals, action plans (bottom-up process, institutional territorial tools) with the aim to improve land management
  • The objectives of the research and the analysis within the Pilot Implementation are:
  • to identify a definition of peri-urban areas which would be based on:
    • a. interpretation/understanding of landscape, territorial and socio-economical context (comparison and synthesis of maps, lectures, projects …)
    • b. communication and exchange with stakeholders involved in discussions on the issues, role and value of peri-urban areas;
    • c. analysis and synthesis of guidelines of plans and programmes (synthesis of the P/P? framework existing at different administrative scales).
  • to develop “Guidelines for the peri-urban areas management” which could be integrated in the planning/programs framework and support local/bottom-up initiatives.

Main aim is to activate a dialogue among many diverse stakeholders that play an important role in the peri-urban areas. For that reason, all different competences (at different territorial scales, different actors categories) will be included in a “network” and considered as resources (from institutions to citizen).

Moreover, the Pilot Implementation is aiming at understanding and bringing together the various experiences, projects and proposals existing already in the EXPO 2015 context. At the same time, identifying strengths and opportunities will be included in the focus of the Pilot projects. To reach this goal it is important to use an integrated and multidisciplinary approach and to consider all the values of the peri-urban territory: the environmental and ecosystem services, the soil protection, the economic aspect and the social and cultural values. There is a need to stimulate the feeling of co-responsibility and a dialogue culture among the citizens and the local administrations.

The definition of peri-urban areas and the guidelines will be based on an integrated approach able to recognise the multiple role and value (economic, environmental, social and cultural) of peri-urban areas.


Pilot implementation in Twente Region

In the Netherlands the agricultural business has become highly specialized for world market production so that the connection with the local and regional consumers has got lost. The last years have shown a growing need to restore these local and regional relations/linkages between producers and consumers. This need is based upon the awareness and the importance of a more sustainable society. The economical crisis has also caused a vision to aim for another way of life, which focus on the quality of life and also include the desire for high-quality food. Within URMA, Twente has taken up the restoration of the regional food chain to strengthen urban-rural relations, based upon the acknowledgement of the mutual benefits.

The Green Knowledge Portal Twente, cooperation between government, entrepreneurs, NGO’s and schools and universities in the region, coordinates the Twente pilot. The approach of the Green Knowledge Portal Twente is an example of urban-rural partnership in a predominantly rural area with a polycentric structure. In the pilot three business cases are prepared:

  • Regional food strategy Restoration of the local and regional food chains and developing cooperation initiatives between local and regional farmers, food industry and SME’s by means of a coordinated regional food strategy and the development of a common brand. The strategy will be finalised in 2013.
  • Regional food market/distribution centre The establishment of a regional food distribution centre located in the middle of the region Twente (Municipality of Borne). The distribution centre will be combined with a food store with an exhibition room and a touristic information centre. Earlier this year a new distribution system was implemented. The distribution system is growing steadily and forms the basis for the distribution centre in Borne, which hopefully will start in 2014.
  • Urban farm Enschede The establishment of a modern local food farm serves as an example of a locally orientated farm that produces food for the urban area which also functions as a location for practical experiences for students of different educational levels. It supports handicapped or disabled people and will be run by an entrepreneur. The start of one or even more urban farms is expected in 2014.

The cooperation between the urban area and the rural area will be promoted by these three projects. At first it will lead to more urban consciousness about how food is produced and about the importance of diminishing the distances of food distribution. By calling more attention to regional food production, the people living in urban areas will be more interested in this food and also in the rural area where the food is produced. This will provide a strong basis for renewed social and economic relations between urban and rural citizens as well as entrepreneurs and will support economic growth in Twente.



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