How can public infrastructure and services be delivered equitably?

Public infrastructure and services, such as health care, transportation, and education, are cornerstones for the well-being of citizens. Changes in the technology, access and demand for these services imply a re-thinking of rural-peri-urban-urban boundaries and include new models of service provision. This raises questions about equitable access, fair assessment, representation and compensation of rural and urban needs and interests.

How will ROBUST deal with public infrastructure and social services?

Theresia Oedl-Wieser (BABF), the leader of ROBUST's Community of Practice on public infrastructure and social services, shares some details on the subject in an interview.


Read the full interview »








Good Practice Examples from the Public Infrastrcture and Social Services CoP

Important outcomes of a Community of Practice are mutual engagement and to collectively develop a shared repertoire. Since the last ROBUST meeting (November 2019), the CoP has met online periodically to exchange information and discuss the CoP’s working agendas. To deepen the previous exchange of experiences, each participating Living Lab prepared several Good Practice Examples. These brief case studies provide a good foundation for mutual learning by exchanging experiences between Living Labs and offering a basis for adaptation to other regions. To date, 22 Good Practice Examples have been developed (links below); additional examples will be added over time. All of the Good Practice Examples are permanently catalogued in the Publication Library.

Metropolitan Area of Styria (Austria)

  1. Good Practice: akzente Hand : WERK – gemeinnützig.nachhaltig.fair
  2. Good Practice: Allerleierei – a modern farmer’s shop
  3. Good Practice: GUSTmobil – a regional micro‐public transport system
  4. Good Practice: REGIOtim – a multi‐modal mobility network
  5. Good Practice: WWW 4.0

Helsinki (Finland)

  1. Good Practice: Rural Policy Networks
  2. Good Practice: Cooperation in land use, housing and transport (MAL)
  3. Good Practice: Multilocality – underlines use of regions as a starting point for regional planning and development
  4. Good Practice: REKO retail and distribution model

Frankfurt/Rhein-Main (Germany)

  1. Good Practice: Regionalpark RheinMain
  2. Good Practice: Cycle Highways Network
  3. Good Practice: Commuting as a Threat to Climate

Tukums (Latvia)

  1. Good Practice: Library E‐Services ‐ E‐Library and Online Databases
  2. Good Practice: Municipal Online Document Management & Service Provision Systems
  3. Good Practice: Municipal Online Broadcast Facility

Valencia (Spain)

  1. Good Practice: Avoiding financial exclusion in rural areas: the cashier machine (ATM) network
  2. Good Practice: Rural Taxi for Medical Purposes in Castellón Province
  3. Good Practice: Cultural infrastructures and services in Valencia province

Ljubljana (Slovenia)

  1. Good Practice: Establishment of equipped community gardens in the Municipality of Medvode
  2. Good Practice: Development of a Cycle Path Network in the Ljubljana Urban Region
  3. Good Practice: Revival of Local Farmers’ Markets: Ljubljana Urban Region

Mid Wales (Wales, United Kingdom)

  1. Good Practice: Cletwr – A community‐owned rural service hub
  2. Good Practice: Village halls as digital hubs
  3. Good Practice: Demand Responsive Transport in rural areas
  4. Good Practice: Transforming Towns Initiative
  5. Good Practice: Young Farmers’ Clubs as cultural infrastructure
  6. Good Practice: ‘Papurau Bro’ – Community Newspapers as cultural infrastructure




How to Plan a Rural Service Hub - Short Report and Infographic

ROBUST’s Living Labs have identified a number of good practices for rural service hubs, drawn from real examples. This Short Report offers nine case studies from five countries, covering services from food retail to community support, transport and digital connectivity to banking and healthcare. The case studies show that there is no single model for a service hub – but plenty of opportunity for innovation. Service hubs are not a new idea, but through conscious design, combined expertise, partnership and cooperation, and community input, hubs can provide fresh solutions for rural areas. ROBUST’s report offers practical guidance and simple tools for planning or developing a hub, along with inspiration from the Living Labs.


View and download the report  »

View and download the infographic »

Short Report: Market Failures in Rural Areas | Responding through providing public infrastrcture, better accessibility and new forms of working

This Short Report from the Public Infrastructure and Social Services Community of Practice addresses rural market failure examples and potentially new governance arrangements in the Frankfurt/Rhein-Main, Helsinki, Mid Wales, Tukums and Valencia Living Labs. The report covers:

  • An introduction to the issues surrounding rural market failure
  • Key lessons from the ROBUST project
  • The relevance of public infrastructure and social services in this context for selected Living Labs
  • How rural market failures are being overcome from the local / regional government perspective
  • Alternative service delivery models


View and download the report  »


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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