Tue 22 Jan

Live Case 1: Strengthening Networks in Valencia

It is important to highlight the established dichotomy between the political (Valencian Federation of Municipalities and Provinces) and scientific community partners (University of Valencia). Both are active institutions in the same territory, geographically located in and institutionally recognised by the city, but which have developed on parallel paths. The Valencia Living Lab offers a new horizon for both. It provide opportunities for possible meetings between teams, pooling projects, and ways to work and contribute ideas. It is also an opportunity to unite two worlds - academic and institutional - which have previously been somewhat removed from one another.

Today, the University of Valencia team has access to most of the agenda of the municipalities, participatory agents and decision-makers of the Valencian territory (stakeholders). The Federation of Municipalities are dealing with a diverse array of issues in the framework of territorial dynamics and socioeconomic development support for the municipalities, especially the smaller ones. The ROBUST project has created a win-win situation for both.

It was not until recently that the first focus groups were embraced in our Living Lab. These meetings were some of the most innovative experiences the team had. All the participants were aware that our region has a rural-urban polarity around the different Communities of Practice. As a result, there are increasingly complex territorial, social, economic and landscape realities and tensions that must be managed. Likewise, creating new governance structures or being involved in existing ones is directly and fully related to governance issues.

Opportunities

We will use social networking among stakeholders at the private (business, employees, etc.), public (regional and local governments), and social (consumers) level to identify what rural-urban relations and governance models are being generated, and to explore what effects they are having on development processes. The case studies are really interesting because of the increasing public interest in urban-rural relations around local food systems, and new business models and social services, as well as improved transport infrastructure. The strong relationships will hopefully increase participation and contribute to better assimilation of the processes of economic and social diversification by the stakeholders themselves. It will also allow policy-makers to identify obstacles to effective development measures and facilitate the implementation and change processes.

Challenges

Generally speaking, our challenge as a Living Lab is to supply public services to an unequally distributed population in a very large area. We are curious to follow other Living Labs in the project to see if bringing urban benefits to the rural world generates a positive chain reaction within the private sector. Comprehensive development strategies are needed both for the region and for individual areas in order to manage the resulting challenges and take advantage of opportunities. The task is challenging because it clashes with the political-administrative structures, who are accustomed to working independently over short periods.

Related Communities of Practice

Newsletter

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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