Strengthening of Quality of Life through Improved Management of Urban Rural Interaction

NEW BRIDGES

NEW BRIDGES sought to develop new approaches to the integrated management of urban rural interaction with a view to improving the quality of life across the Baltic Sea region (BSR). The project focused on three key elements impacting residents’ quality of life in an urban-rural setting:

  • residential preferences
  • mobility and accessibility
  • the provision of services

The implementation was based on the creation of new management models and methods for regional planning corresponding to the needs, values lifestyles of the people living in the BSR. These models and methods were tested during the project by the eight NEW BRIDGES partners in seven city-regions around the BSR through concrete Pilot Actions focusing on different aspects of quality of life.

Funding

Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007-2013

Activities

  • Seven Pilot Actions were successfully implemented by the eight project partners in seven city-regions. The actions varied but all had certain aspects in common: improving quality of life by taking into account better the individual perspectives of local residents and other stakeholder groups and increasing the cooperation between urban and rural municipalities across administrative and sectoral borders aiming for more integrated regional planning.
  • New methods and tools were tested in relation to encouraging the participation of local residents, politicians and other interest groups in regional planning including local stakeholder meeting, surveys and interviews. The NEW BRIDGES Online toolkit provides a series of practical advice on how to apply a more integrated approach to planning.
  • The final publication “Planning Together for Better Quality of Life – Guide for Integrated Management of Urban Rural Interaction” promotes a more integrated and participatory approach to regional planning. The guide introduces a model of how to facilitate the integration of the decision making and planning processes across administrative borders and sectors: How to get started with the common planning processes; how to involve necessary actors and finally how to implement the plan successfully.

Results

  • Involving local actors in the planning process helped the NEW BRIDGES partners to better understand the different perspectives on quality of life and the value of planning together with the goal of creating better living environments.
  • The concept of quality of life should be included in spatial planning and political decision making at all levels of government – EU, national, regional and local.
  • In order to build attractive city-regions, cooperation across municipal borders but also across sectorial borders is necessary including both urban and rural areas.
  • Integrated Management System – IMS can be beneficially applied to regional planning in the wider city-regional context. It helps to go through common planning and development processes in a more structured way.
  • Multilevel cooperation between national, regional and local levels is required in order to build attractive and competitive regions in the BSR.