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Identifying new ways to address the challenges in local development

May 11, 2023 | News

AEIDL in addition to disseminating the good work carried out by our team through our projects, service contracts and indeed our own European Local Innovation Forum (ELIF) , we also value very highly to promote the best practices and good knowledge produced by other organisations and institutions also advocating for a more sustainable, integrated , innovative and inclusive territorial development. Here’s a summary of the key publications we have reading over the last month.

The EU Joint Research Centre, together with DG REGIO has published the Future of Cities report identifies challenges influencing the future of cities in Europe and beyond. By taking stock of current knowledge and understanding of city systems, the report highlights potential pitfalls cities should avoid, and defines broad principles they should lean towards. It aims to foster discussion and help policy makers; individual cities and their citizens choose the best way forward. The main urban challenges identified in the report concern: affordable housing, mobility, the provision of services, social segregation, ageing, climate action, the environmental footprint, and urban health. It is of interest to note the specific policy briefs emanating from it such as on urban-rural interactionscities fit for the digital age, and shrinking cities and to join the sessions put together by the Regional Studies Association. On a related matter the RUSTIK Project, which is the sister one of GRANULAR, which AEIDL is partner, has just unveiled “Exploring the rural-urban continuum”. Methodological framework to define Functional Rural Areas and rural transitions. The report aims to define the concept of Functional Rural Area (FRA) and the differences/similarities with the current definitions of rural areas at the European level (including EU and non-EU countries) starting with what exists at the moment. Moving beyond the status quo is what once again the European Committee of the Regions is keen to do with its new Beyond GDP study. This is a hot topic at the start of every EU policy cycle, and it makes sense to come back to it again. The European Parliament is hosting a 3-day conference in May on this very topic. Another key issue is capacity particularly at local level, one issue where AEIDL is increasingly active on both on urban and rural areas. We participated at the 2nd Capacity Building Forum organised by the Commission precisely to take stock on how innovative the new EU territorial development programmes can be to tackle the new challenges facing local communities. You can find the main findings here.  

Looking ahead we have read with interest  the results of the public consultation on the future of EU Research and Innovation (HORIZON) programmes of which AEIDL is a key partner in many of them, ten of which on Rural and Territorial Development alone. It is interesting the critical note that is made of the EU Mission so far and the renewed interest they highlight in urban, regional development and Cohesion matters. This is something where work is in earnest, with the High-Level Group hosting its 3rd meeting, this time inviting our colleagues of ELARD to give evidence on the LEADER model. Other territorial thinkers are putting forward their views for post 2026 Cohesion.  In addition to our ELIF discussions, AEIDL will also contribute in several ways, no less with our hosting of the Rural Pact Support Office which is preparing the policy conference on Taking action to tackle rural depopulation  on 30 June.