Wed 16 Jan

Live Case 1: Fostering a Rural-Urban "Meta Network" in Helsinki

In Finland rural, urban and regional policies are fairly well developed, and the actors are already well organized with access to sophisticated policy tools, particularly in rural policy. However, the linkages between these policy fields are scarce, and rural-urban interaction has hardly any priority, especially in urban policy. With the help of the Helsinki Living Lab, we will study and facilitate locally the creation of new joint practices within the Helsinki region and Uusimaa region. The new practices and governance spaces will focus on the three objectives we have chosen:

  • Objective 1 is to obtain a new understanding of the knowledge networks and locational choices for enterprises and work in the case study area.
  • Objective 2 aims to make visible, measure and show the significance of multiple residence in the spatial interaction between urban and rural areas.  
  • Objective 3 is to explore how the sustainable utilization of ecosystem services should be taken into account with land use and building planning in the Helsinki-Uusimaa region.

The innovative aspect of the Helsinki Living Lab will thus be an experimental form of governance. In this case, a kind of a “meta-network platform” to pave the way for a new, more integrated rural-urban governance policy. This would mean that multi-local living, for instance, could be a part of planning, strategic management and decision-making processes in the future.  In the case of multiple residences, we shall also aim to co-create new policy measures. We also want to discover new model(s) to enhance research based decision-making. This objective is embedded in the other innovation activities, as an immoveable part of those activities.

Many of the rural networks we will be working with are already operating not only in rural areas, but also in the rural-urban interface. Our Living Lab themes include many practical issues connected to functional relations between urban and rural areas, like the need for social and healthcare services for multiple residence people and families, and the contradictions and consolidation in land use planning between rural and urban areas. Our assumption is that if these themes would be included more explicitly in the agendas of these networks, the joint understanding of functional rural-urban relations would increase and improve.

Our innovations are genuinely about governance arrangements. The idea is to co-create a new experimental rural-urban governance platform, which will provide the already existing actors and networks with improved capacity and tools to improve the things they are already doing. The rural networks in question already involve stakeholders from the public, private and third sector. They are also participatory and regionally representative. We aim to exploit these existing governance models and relations and try to find out if and how the participatory approach could be strengthened at the “meta-network” level.

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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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