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Sustainable Urban and Rural Development

From farmers to city dwellers, everyone deserves a good life!

OUR GOAL: Create a region of sustainable cities and towns in symbiosis with vibrant rural areas. The majority of the people in the Baltic Sea Region live in small and medium sized cities or rural areas, but there is a strong urbanization trend. This makes sustainability an important challenge for us. We look at urban–rural interaction from a quality of life perspective. By integrating not only aspects of wealth and employment, but also environment and social belonging we can raise the overall living standard for both city-dwellers and inhabitants of the countryside, at the same time as enhancing sustainable development. We work on improved urban-rural linkages in pilot initiatives that give us the tools to meet the challenges of increased urbanization and improve the quality of life. We work for sustainable resource management, developing better practices in agriculture and forest management. Strategies for truly sustainable tourism will foster smarter use of natural, cultural heritage and landscapes, allowing for profitable business and preserving our treasures for the future generations. OUR ACTIONS:

  • Promoting better management of urban-rural interactions;
  • Facilitating sustainable agriculture and forestry;
  • Developing sustainable tourism

agoralogoHeritage Tourism for Increased Baltic Sea Region Identity

From the golden amber to wide sandy beaches, famous birch woods, marvelous seascapes and the well-known red-brick gothic, the Baltic Sea Region offers a great variety of cultural and natural heritage sites, but is there something we have in common in the whole Baltic Sea Region? What are the characteristics the neighboring countries share? The project AGORA 2.0 aims at exposing the most attractive natural and cultural treasures of the whole area that will support the development of a common regional identity. The Baltic Sea Region identity will increase the visibility of the region as a whole and it will serve as an important precondition to market the region as one tourism destination. Your opinion is very important to us, no matter if you are an expert or a tourist, if you know the region like the back of your hand or not. What is typical of the Baltic Sea Region for you? 25 partners from 9 countries are involved in the project. The Lead Partner is the University of Greifswald. The project is a follow-up of AGORA which focused on sustainable rural tourism and provided a toolbox for tourism projects as well as database of best practices. AGORA 2.0 aims at close cooperation between tourism stakeholders of the Baltic Sea Region. Partners are public authorities on national and regional level, as well as international NGOs and business and heritage organizations, which are all dealing with tourism development and influence the national tourism policies. The project aim is to increase the BSR identity by means of heritage tourism (where heritage includes natural heritage), based on principles of sustainability. The project is mentioned as a flagship project in the Action plan accompanying the EU BSR Strategy. Some of the currently ongoing activities include research for the Baltic Sea Heritage Tourism Information Service (BASTIS) and first testings and exercises on identification of common identity potentials. An advisory board for BASTIS has been set up. Agora 2.0 website Contact: Ms Betina Meliss University  of Greifswald Institute of Geography Makarenkostrasse 22 D-17487 Greifswald GERMANY Phone: +49 3834 864541 Fax: +49 3834 864542 meliss@uni-greifswald.de

New Bridges-Strenghtening of Quality of Life through Improved Management of Urban Rural Interaction

About the project

NEW BRIDGES was approved in the 1st call of the Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007-2013 under the priority “Attractive and competitive cities and regions”. The project aims to improve the management of the urban-rural interactions and to strengthen the quality of life within these interactions. The starting point of the project is that there are certain main elements within urban rural interactions that influence the quality of life, and thus also the attractiveness of particular region as a place to live and work in. These three elements are:

Together with the residents and different stakeholders in the participating city-regions, the aim has been to tackle the current challenges within these elements. The concept of quality of life and the three central elements help to bridge the gap between the individual level and the political goals to make city-region more attractive. The project applies the concept of quality of life in urban-rural planning and management, where the main objective is to improve the management of quality of life in urban-rural planning. The project will evaluate potentials for more sustainable urban-rural interactions within the Baltic Sea Region (BSR). Based on this the project partners produce and implement new working methods and pilot actions to promote better management of quality of life that correspond to the needs of people living in the BSR. Further, the project contributes to build up new urban-rural partnerships that will strengthen the city-regions organizing capacities to become more sustainable and attractive places to live in, invest and work in.

Final report: Managing Quality of Life in the Context of Urban-Rural Interaction – Approaches from the Baltic Sea Region

The final report combines, analyzes and evaluates the results and successes of all the Pilot Actions implemented during the project and the achievement of entire project.

Planning Together for Better Quality of Life – Guide for Integrated Management of Urban Rural Interaction

This guide functions as an inspiration to anyone interested in striving for a more open, inclusive and interactive planning culture. It is one of the final outputs of the project promoting a more integrated approach to regional planning. It can be used in different ways, either as a guide to establishing city-regional co-operation and applying the quality of life approach to regional planning from scratch or it can be used to help improve existing practices by rendering co-operation structures more effective. It will introduce a model of how to facilitate the integration of the decision making and planning processes across administrative borders and sectors. The guide is based on the experiences and work done in the partner city-regions throughout the project. Planning Together for Better Quality of Life The guide is also available in several Baltic Sea Region languages. The guide, plus additional information and material, are available at the project website.   Contacts: Ms Lauri Hooli Project coordinator Mob. +358 40 764 0683 E-mail: firstname.lastname(at)ubc.net

Ecovillages

Ecovillages

The project “Ecovillages for sustainable rural development” aimed at helping our society to get closer to nature again and to develop new ways of living together on the land in a genuinely more sustainable way. This is especially important given the climate crisis and resource shortages that we face. The eco-village concept is an innovation offering solutions to many resource, climate and social life problems societies of the BSR face. Eco-villages are an alternative to the individualistic, consumerist and commodified systems many cities represent. The overall objective of this project was to develop more sustainable ways of living in the rural areas of the BSR by offering a toolkit for initiators and developers of eco-villages. We will also develop an effective model for planning and implementation of eco-villages. The project has launched 3 manuals on:

  • eco-settlement practices and environmentally friendly technologies applied in ecovillages;
  • cultural aspects of ecovillage establishment and governance; and
  • green business and entrepreneurship.

By identifying and documenting many inspirational examples and case studies, the manuals aim at contributing to the further development, application and spreading of the sustainable solutions and innovations tailored in ecovillages. The links to free download of all three manuals in 6 languages can be found in the newsletter. Project team has also formulated a set of policy recommendations and will deliver it to the responsible EU institutions. The policy recommendations are to trigger public deliberation at national and EU levels on the policy implications drawn from the results of the Ecovillages project in order to facilitate the development of ecovillages as a sustainable way of living in the BSR. One of the greatest contributions towards sustainable Europe that was not envisioned at the launching stage of the project is the formation of Baltic Ecovillage Network (BEN), which is a transnational umbrella of national ecovillages networks in the BSR. BEN offers a vehicle to continue the work started by the project towards the societal recognition of the values that ecovillages pursue and transition to sustainable living. Ecovillages project has also contributed to the rise of other initiatives. One of them is recently launched REALS – Resilient and Ecological Approaches for Living Sustainably – project, the partnership behind which originates from Ecovillages project and extends the framework from focusing on ecovillages in particular to “sustainable life” in general in the BSR. More indepth information on the final results and outcomes of the project can be obtained from the project’s latest newsletter wherein you can also find reflections from the final transnational project conference that took place in October, 2013. Video recordings of presentations, pictures and agenda from the final project conference, which took place on 17th of October in Druskininkai, Lithuania can be found here.

3rd newsletter

Ecovillages project is pleased to inform that the last edition of project’s newsletter is available to download. In this 3rd issue at project’s end, we would like to outline the greatest contributions to the fostering of ecovillages development as a sustainable way of living in the Baltic Sea Region that project has achieved during 30 months of its implementation. We hope that this newsletter will give you a comprehensive overview of the core results achieved by the project that take the Ecovillages project mission forward!

  • This last issue contains the presentation and reflections on the final core project results. The project has launched 3 manuals on: eco-settlement practices and environmentally friendly technologies applied in ecovillages; socio-cultural aspects of ecovillage establishment and governance; and green business and entrepreneurship. By identifying and documenting many inspirational examples and case studies, the manuals aim at contributing to the further development, application and spreading of the sustainable solutions and innovations tailored in ecovillages. The links to free download of all three manuals in 6 languages can be found in the newsletter.
  • Project team has also formulated a set of policy recommendations and will deliver it to the responsible EU institutions. The policy recommendations are to trigger public deliberation at national and EU levels on the policy implications drawn from the results of the Ecovillages project in order to facilitate the development of ecovillages as a sustainable way of living in the BSR.
  • One of the greatest contributions towards sustainable Europe that was not envisioned at the launching stage of the project is the formation of Baltic Ecovillage Network (BEN), which is a transnational umbrella of national ecovillages networks in the BSR. BEN offers a vehicle to continue the work started by the project towards the societal recognition of the values that ecovillages pursue and transition to sustainable living.
  • Ecovillages project has also contributed to the rise of other initiatives. One of them is recently launched REALS – Resilient and Ecological Approaches for Living Sustainably – project, the partnership behind which originates from Ecovillages project and extends the framework from focusing on ecovillages in particular to “sustainable life” in general in the BSR.
  • In the newsletter you could also find reflections from the final transnational project conference that took place in October, 2013.  In order to spread the Ecovillages project results and ideas on sustainable living models, the whole conference was recorded – links to the videos are included in the newsletter.

Please download the 3rd newsletter of the project and for additional material visit the website.

Additional material 

Final policy recommendation   Contact: Ms Živilė Gedminaitė-Raudonė Lithuanian Institute of Agrarian Economics V. Kudirkos g. 18, LT-03105 Vilnius Tel. +370 5 2617978 E-mail: zivile@laei.lt

Baltic landscapes

 

Baltic Landscape

Project proposal was submitted under the 3rd call of the Baltic Sea Region Programme 2007-2013.

12 partners from 4 countries are involved in the project. Baltic Landscapes is expected to run during 3 years. The project Lead Partner is the Swedish Forest Agency.

Baltic Landscapes is a follow-up of Baltic Forest. The project’s focus of is on sustainable use and management of natural resources, emphasizing empowerment of societies to meet sustainable development challenges on the local level. To achieve progress along this line there is an evident need for neutral platforms to develop cooperation and common understanding between different local land use stakeholders and actors with different interests and visions. This also includes aspects of gender, minorities (i.e. Sámi people) and disabled groups (i.e. accessibility in the landscape).

The project will develop landscape-scale areas where sustainability problems are identified and solutions explored in close cooperation between the research community, local knowledge and experiences bearers, land users and other land base stakeholders, decision makers and policy developers.

 

Contact:

Ms. Gun Lidestav
Forest Research Management
SLU, Skogsmarksgränd
90183 Umeå, Sweden
Phone: +46 (0) 90 786  83 91
E-mail: gun.lindestav@srh.slu.se

Web site: www.resgeom.slu.se