Metropolitan Landscapes: balancing urban and rural

METREX Expert Group ‘Metropolitan Landscapes’ to explore and address issues between urban and rural areas.

In both the recently adopted Committee of the Regions Opinion Paper on The challenges of metropolitan regions and their position in the future Cohesion Policy past post 2020, and the emerging updates to the Leipzig Charter and the EU Territorial Agenda, further initiatives are being called to install better balance between urban and rural areas.

At the METREX 2019 conference in Birmingham, it was clear that many METREX members have (sometimes vast) rural areas within their boundaries. But also that there is no clear line between, or definition of, the ‘urban and rural’.

In the Paris Region, which consists of 60% agricultural landscape, most people see the area as the ‘urban economy’ of Greater Paris. While Milano in the Lombardia Region is one of the most densely populated regions in Europe, but also includes small communities high up in the mountains.

These so-called rural areas surrounding a metropole’s urban cores are important for the metropolitan region’s economy as well. The region’s identity, image and quality of urban life can even be defined by its surrounding ‘metropolitan landscape’. In this METREX Expert Group we want to explore the characteristics of rural areas and ways to value them as an important part of the metropolitan region. We also want to explore ways to cooperate better in terms of Metropolitan Governance.

The Expert Group will also collaborate with the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, and Stadt Land Plus in preparing the URP20 international conference in Leipzig on Sustainable and Resilient Urban-Rural Partnerships. This conference will be in November 2020, and will contribute to the German EU Presidency 2020. The outcomes of the Expert Group meetings will feed into this conference and experts will be able to join the URP conference to learn from other examples.

Key contact

Group Leader

Dr.-Ing Uwe Ferber


Stephen Gallagher
Head of Secretariat, METREX

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