The Brno Metropolitan Area was the only one in the Czech Republic to be selected as an example of good practice in the Eurocities network brochure on relations between the city and its hinterland. The brochure shows through concrete examples that the urban-rural connections can be improved through metropolitan cooperation. The Brno Metropolitan Area is presented in the brochure together with inspiring examples from the metropolitan areas of Milan, Barcelona, Oslo and Bordeaux. The brochure also serves as a supporting document to argue for strengthening the metropolitan level in EU policies aimed at rural development, e.g. Rural vision 2040. Metropolitan cooperation appears to be the key to achieving the EU’s cohesion and Green Deal objectives.
The case studies can be summarised in three main categories, namely:
- strategic planning strengthening the inclusion of rural areas in development planning and decisions concerning resources, infrastructure and services (Brno Metropolitan Area as an example),
- production and distribution of resources within the metropolitan areas – food, energy, tourist attractions and green infrastructure,
- services at the metropolitan scale that include both rural and urban areas – transport, business innovation, general public services.
The examples of Brno and Bratislava focus on strategic planning. Brno (BMA) uses ITI instruments and the Integrated Development Strategy of BMA to strengthen the relationship between the core city and its hinterland. The case study focuses on the description of the integrated approach, integrated solutions and mentions the individual projects supported.
The brochure in the production and distribution of resources section presents the approach of the metropolitan areas of Bordeaux, Barcelona and Grenoble-Alpes which promote sustainable and self-sufficient agriculture, with food production and distribution taking place in the metropolitan area. Oslo and its hinterland then focus on sustainable production and distribution of electricity, while Florence focuses on sustainable tourism, promoting attractions throughout the metropolitan area. In the brochure, the Metropolitan City of Milan presents a project to identify green corridors in the metropolitan area.
The services section identifies examples of good practice from Turin, Katowice, Bergen and Helsinki. Turin aims to create an innovation ecosystem focused on eHealth. Sustainable mobility is the theme of the Katowice Metropolitan Area. Bergen seeks to use socio-economic data to increase accessibility and improve public services. Innovations aimed at improving the quality of life in urban and rural areas are implemented in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.
- gaining the trust of rural communities and establishing connections with them,
- financial tools to support urban-rural cooperation,
- the involvement of all stakeholders in the territory in the cooperation,
- balancing different views, seeking a common vision and goals for the area as a whole.
These inspiring case studies show that the strengthening of urban-rural relations is possible primarily through metropolitan cooperation. This should make the metropolitan dimension more visible in policies at different levels, such as the European one. A more detailed presentation of each case study can be downloaded here.