The latest news from the PURPLE network
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Small Urban Areas and the peri-urban

Jul 13, 2022

PURPLE has continued its involvement in the development of a CoR Opinion "Small urban areas as key actors to manage a just transition",  and in particular in its ongoing liaison with the relevant CoR Rapporteur - Kieran McCarthy.

The text of the Opinion itself has now reached the stage of having being approved by the CoR COTER Commission at its meeting held in mid July and will next be submitted to the October CoR plenary for full and formal adoption.

Prior to the July submission date, PURPLE prepared an updated version of its previous position paper on small urban areas (SUAs) emphasising that although SUAs and peri-urban territory is in no way synonymous, in many cases we will be referring to the same geographies, especially in the instance of complex polycentric settlement patterns common in many parts of Europe.

The PURPLE paper suggests that: "Locations such as those focused upon within the Opinion play a unique role, and have a unique potential as places where the urban and rural actors and interests are  interdependent, where they overlap and indeed combine to form a distinct type of geography and sense of place. This role is valuable, often overlooked, ignored, or misunderstood, and has the potential to make a particular type of contribution that extends across both urban and rural policy agendas".

The July 2022 version also includes a number of relevant textual extracts drawn from the Policy Recommendations and Policy Manifesto documents which PURPLE had authored as part of the Horizon 2020 project ROBUST.

The latest PURPLE paper can be obtained on request:



PURPLE and Interreg Europe

Jul 5, 2022

Further to previous news stories, the PURPLE Working Group has been closely following developments up to and beyond the first deadline for applications for the Interreg Europe 2021-27 programme - 31 May 2022.

By the point at which the first call closed, the group had made substantial progress in developing three project ideas, each with a clear peri-urban focus. The first and second both overtly address spatial planning and development issues - looking at the improved use of "green belts" and other similar demarcation regimes in the first case, and at the broader benefit and key role of peri-urban areas as part of larger functional areas in the second. The third piece of work (and potential IE project) looks at the critical role played by peri-urban settings in joined-up mobility systems and services. The three developing work strands will each be returned to as attention shifts to the second call deadline next year.

In the meanwhile, details of applications submitted to the first call have now been released by the programme secretariat - a short analysis paper has been prepared and circulated to PURPLE Working Group members for their consideration pending a return to the subject at the next group meeting scheduled to take place in September.

Contact if you are interested to learn more.




PURPLE Annual Activity Report 2021 - available for download

Jul 2, 2022

The PURPLE Annual Activity Report for 2021 has now been formally adopted and is available here for download,

The four-page paper summarises highlights of the network's activiities over the preceding twelve months and includes detail of what has been done by both the PURPLE Working Group and the PURPLE Lobby Group.

The introductory message, by PURPLE President Mrs Helyn Clack, includes a reflection on the ways in which the network's work continued despite the multiple and prolonged impacts of COVID. Mrs Clack goes on the highlight the importance of work undertaken as part of the Horizon 2020 project ROBUST on rural-urban linkages and synergies, and also refers to the numerous public consultation responses which were submitted over the course of the year.



PURPLE Board election results 2022-24

Jun 28, 2022

In normal circumstances, the PURPLE General Assembly (GA) elects a President and Executive Board every two years. In light of the COVID pandemic, the elections due to be held in 2021 were deferred for a year, with nominations invited in advance of the summer 2022 GA.

On the occasion of the 35th General Assembly held on June 15th in Brussels, elections for the period 2022-24 took place with the following results:


  • Mrs Helyn Clack had indicated her desire to continue as network President in advance of the meeting. There were no other applications. Approved unanimously, Helyn Clack (Surrey, South East England) confirmed as President.


  • Herr Rouven Koetter had indicated his willingness to serve as a network Vice-President in advance of the meeting. Approved unanimously, Rouven Koetter (FrankfurtRheinMain) confirmed as Vice-President.


  • Mr Petr Springinsfeld indicated his wish to serve as an Executive Board member. Approved unanimously, Petr Springinsfeld (South Moravia) confirmed as Executive Board member.


  • Mr Paul Van der Sluys expressed his willingness to continue as network Treasurer and ex-officio Executive Board member. There were no other candidates.  Approved unanimously, Paul Van der Sluys (Flanders) confirmed as Treasurer.

Annual Activity Plan 2022 adopted

Jun 18, 2022

PURPLE produces an Annual Activity Plan (AAP) in order to shape delivery of its three-year Work Plan. The 2022 AAP was adopted in June 2022 and follows the same format as the 2020 and 2021 versions with detail updated to reflect policy and practice developments over the intervening period and to address arising issues.

The 2022 AAP includes a number of issues directly carried forward from the previous versions  where restrictions on holding physical events and meetings have caused the network to defer prevously agreed actions. For example, the 2022 version includes aspirations to kickstart a number of "thematic working groups" as well as to intensify work in disseminating and building upon the work and findings of the ROBUST project.

It also restates PURPLE's commitment to explore further opportunities to participate directly  in the EU Horizon Europe and Interreg Europe programmes alongside ongoing knowledge exchange and influencing work via the network's Working Group and Lobby Group respectively.



ROBUST reports endorsed

Apr 6, 2022







PURPLE is delighted to announced that the reports which it authored as a key element of the Horizon Europe project ROBUST have now been approved by the assessors appointed to oversee the project's delivery.

PURPLE has published four key deliverable reports as outputs within Work Package 6 of the project:

  • A series of five complementary "Topic Papers" gathered together into a single document
  • A guidance document on governance arrangements relating to rural-urban linkages and synergies
  • A series of Policy Recommendations which make specific reference to 20+ EU level policy instruments
  • A project Manifesto - calling for 30+ specific actions to be taken forward to build upon ROBUST's work and findings

The assessors' report concludes that the Topic Papers report: "is very convincing and of great use for policy makers at EU, national and sub-national levels or anyone else with an interest in how policy might be contextualised in the context of rural-urban linkages and synergies between rural and urban actors, interests and places".

The Policy Recommendations are described as "well prepared", constituting "a rich set of policy recommendations arising from the work and findings of the ROBUST project and arrived at over a period of four and half years between June 2017 and November 2021".

The Manifesto meanwhile is judged to be "an important and extremely practical study that can serve not only as a set of rules and guidelines for policymakers, but also as a map of directions for further research useful for the scientific community".