Wed 16 Jan

Live Case 1: Matching Agendas, Ideas and Expectations in Ede

In these beginning stages of the Living Lab process, Living Lab Ede is involved in what might be summarized as a matching process. That is, how do we internally match our ideas, expectations and hopes in order to develop a set of concrete activities around our three Communities of Practice: sustainable food systems, ecosystem services and rural business models?

We are particularly struggling with the interwovenness and interdependencies between our selected Communities of Practice. For instance, the necessary next step to institutionally anchor Ede’s Urban Food Policy-making will partly depend on the need to deepen and broaden its approach to monitoring and evaluation. We ideally want to find an approach that interlinks urban food policy monitoring explicitly to other regional sustainability issues, such as serious and persistent imbalances in agricultural ecosystem service delivery, regional nature- and landscape value preservation, renewable energy sourcing, sustainable water management, and the valorisation of cultural heritage. The approach should also acknowledge the significance of diversifying rural business models in relation to these sustainability concerns. Yet, the feasibility of such a comprehensive monitoring and evaluation approach heavily depends on identifying and elaborating additional indicators without additional intensive and expensive data-collection. It makes our Living Lab aspirations regarding urban food policy monitoring a topic of continuous discussion, reflection and – indeed – a matching of expectations.

A second matching issue concerns how to concretely align to ongoing municipal experiments with the National Environment and Planning Act (EPA). This Act gives Ede municipality, within certain limits, the opportunity to put conditions on development permissions for agricultural (and non-agriculture) sites with beyond minimum legal thresholds for spatial and environmental impact performance criteria. The EPA allows municipalities to grant development incentives (e.g., extra production capacity, etc.) if business development plans include certain components to preserve or strengthen specific cultural and environmental qualities. This novel spatial planning instrument provides, amongst others, the opportunity to facilitate ecosystem service delivery in a more decentralized, participatory and integrative way. Our Living Lab aspires to actively involve regional stakeholders in the further implementation and operationalisation of this novel municipal policy instrument in a way that indeed succeeds to contribute to a better integration of Ede's municipal food, environmental and planning policies.  

Through a so-called ‘menu approach’, the EPA aims to challenge rural businesses to improve their ecosystem service performances and to align rural business model-specific supply with (partly) location-specific demand for ecosystems services in more customised and stimulating ways. It is expected that this active stakeholder involvement and consultation will also mobilize interest and commitment for the cross-sectoral cooperation workshop anticipated as part of ROBUST’s future activities. Yet, also the latter assumes continuous matching efforts through necessary synchronizing with ongoing municipal policy making. With that in mind, various matching options are currently being inventoried.

Related Communities of Practice

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News about Rural-Urban Europe and the ROBUST project is published regularly in the INFORMED CITIES newsletter.

ROBUST is a European research project involving 24 partners from 11 countries. ROBUST receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727988.

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