May 18, 2018
A transnational audience of 150-plus gathered in Potsdam on May 3 for an event focussing upon collaboration between urban centres and surrounding areas. (a number of presentations from the day can be found at:http://www.mil.brandenburg.de/sixcms/detail.php/851025 ). The previous day’s announcement from the European Commission as regards the EU Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-27 served as a pertinent backdrop to much of what was debated.
Brandenburg Minister for Infrastructure and Spatial Planning - and PURPLE General Assembly member - Ms. Kathrin Schneider, delivered a keynote address with considerable resonance for peri-urban interests.
Taking as her theme the absolute need for collaboration if progress in local and regional development is to be achieved, Ms Schneider stressed the importance of genuine collaboration at multiple levels and across sectors, emphasising that a sense of place and shared interest should underpin all other considerations.
Real life situations and challenges are complex, the audience was reminded, and our approach in addressing issues relevant to development in and around cities needs to reflect that. It should be embedded in our approach as well as our actions and we should be cautious about thinking in terms such as “urban development” when in reality we know that urban and non-urban is inter-related and any “urban only” approach is flawed from the outset.
That element of Ms Schneider’s speech was echoed and amplified in other contributions and panel discussions later in the day, and was returned to by Ms Schneider herself with various speakers focussing on urban-rural joint working and governance both within and beyond EU funding programmes. The Urban-Rural Competition (calls for proposals) in Brandenburg with which PURPLE Working Group members will already be familiar was cited as an obvious example of this approach in practice.