Tue 22 Jan

Live Case 1: Improving Territorial Cohension from Within

Lisbon Metropolitan Area (LMA) is a dynamic region of stark contrasts.  It is home to an international capital city that serves as the political and economic heart of Portugal, but it is also home to dozens of local communities that have their own special character. It has green and blue infrastructures, urban development next to and sometimes in agricultural and natural areas, and conflicting institutional and policy issues and challenges. In short, the Lisbon Metropolitan Area is the perfect laboratory to explore how rural-urban linkages can help to transform both economies and communities, increase the attractiveness of rural areas, and improve the quality of life in urban areas.

The governance models of the LMA are no longer adequate, as they haven’t changed much since 1991. Various municipalities each have their own strategies and interests and do not share a common, integrated vision for regional metropolitan development. Therefore, creating innovative institutional frameworks for improved decision-making and governance systems (i.e., governance structures through new forms of relations) is one of the research objectives defined by the Lisbon Metropolitan Area Living Lab. In this context, the Lisbon Living Lab established their mission statement: “Territorial cohesion from within: bridging metropolitan communities and economies for improved urban-rural synergies”.

Rural-urban linkages in the Lisbon Metropolitan Area are already present and visible in many aspects. For example, ecosystem services are expressed through local food production, water availability, and climate regulation; and through business opportunities, sectorial links and networks of people in a multi-level governance context. This sense of identity can be reinforced to restore relational community scales and experimental forms of governance: proximity scale, sharing, building trust networks, sense of belonging, living agenda. In the end, this reinforcement of identity could lead to potential growth of the agro-economy with high-functioning rural-urban relationships, which will in turn lead to higher growth rates of both rural and urban areas.

Although concrete actions have not yet been developed within the Living Lab framework, synergies with some of the potential stakeholders have already been developed in previous phases of the ROBUST project. The Living Lab team facilitated a focus group with key local, regional and national stakeholders to identify different perceptions of the rural-urban LMA system. This focus group gave us some important insights about concerns the stakeholders that should (or should not) be involved in the LL development and implementation.

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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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