For three days in July 2018, Innsbruck became the center of international discussions about the role of rural-urban linkages in sustainability transitions. Scientists from 10 countries and different disciplinary backgrounds gathered in the University of Innsbruck, Austria, to exchange and learn about different types of rural-urban innovations and new approaches and concepts for improvement of regional value chains. Co-organized by the Commission on “The Dynamics of Economic Spaces” within the International Geographical Union, the event was a highly appreciated opportunity to discuss research results and current developments in the area of economic geography.

HafenCity University Hamburg, Lead Partner of the project RUMORE, participated in the event with a presentation on two examples of innovative governance processes. Namely 1) the governance process behind the cooperation agreement “Milan Rural Metropolis” and the strategy for enhancement of the agricultural entrepreneurship in the rural districts of Milan, and 2) the “Smart Region” cooperation process in the Hamburg-Southern Elbe region. In particular, the presentation aimed to illustrate the efforts of Lombardy and Hamburg-Southern Elbe regions to steer changes in their territorial context and to reinforce the peri-urban and rural economy by mobilizing local stakeholders and promoting new forms of cross-sectoral partnerships.

One of the constants throughout the event was the interest of the participants in the major complementarities and potential conflicts between rural and urban territorial agendas. What could the rural learn from the urban and vice versa and what potentials for synergies are currently underused? During the three days, the participants discussed about the importance of forming new spatial alliances, the shifting boundaries of responsibilities between public, private and civic actors and the potential of circular economy to reframe urban-rural thinking.

All information about the event and its programme could be found here.