Urban-Rural Interactions: more important than ever

Abstract: In order to achieve sustainable goals, such as energy transition and climate adaptations, collaboration between urban and rural areas is essential. No city is an island and that is why it is good to look beyond the city to the surrounding area: How can they benefit each other? In order to realise climate objectives, achieve energy transition, and reach the new goals for circular agriculture, the city and the countryside definitely need each other. As such Urban-Rural Interactions are more important than ever. However, many policy makers and academics – such as economists, and influencers – live in cities and their image of rural areas is often biased and incomplete. It makes sense that the economic focus is on cities as they have high levels of activity, but the relationship between the environment, nutrient cycles, water cycles, etc. are lacking. For this reason, awareness of the position and relationship between the urban and rural areas needs to be raised. In a balanced relationship, rural environments and cities will benefit from each other. However, in order to ensure this, a more fundamental understanding of the nature and value of urban and rural areas, as well as their residents, is essential. In this lecture, Eveline van Leeuwen will focus on subjective and objective differences between urban and rural areas both in terms of places as well as in terms of people. She will use economic data on EU regions, as well as on EU citizens and their preferences to highlight important and sometimes unexpected differences.