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European governance and urban policy | Blog


The contradictions between urban and rural areas are a never-ending story, one might think. Since the plot remains exciting, the outcome is uncertain and any resolution will certainly require tact and tuition, it seems better suited to the thriller genre, particularly because the prospect of achieving a ‘case closed’ outcome is not completely ruled out from the start. A recently published study by the University of Cambridge1 provides evidence for just how sensitive the topic of functioning relationships between urban and rural areas is. Based on value systems in 30 European countries, British scientists have established that the divide between urban and rural areas is deepening. It is particularly pervasive in Western Europe – also in Austria. As a result, scientists underscore how vital it is to gain a better understanding of the divide between urban and rural areas for future location-related or locationsensitive political measures. This is not just about creating jobs ‘in rural areas’ and raising incomes, but rather about resolving shortcomings in health care and other public services. Because according to scientists, it is not in the poorest rural areas that political dissatisfaction is the highest.

We at KDZ have also pursued the subject of urban-rural relationships intensively in 2021. For example, we have finalised the country report for Austria together with Austrian experts and practitioners as part of our EU research project LoGov – Local Governments and the Changing Urban-Rural Interplay ( All in all, the recently published country dossier of the international and interdisciplinary LoGov research network includes five continents, 16 countries and 174 examples that focus on the municipal challenges and potential in the constantly evolving interplay between urban and rural areas, particularly based on demographic dynamics. In a second step, these examples will now be compared. At the end of the project in 2024, the aim is to establish best-fit practices for both urban and rural municipal administrations all over the world to better cope with future issues and to promote stronger cooperation.

And what about in this country? What benefits will the implementation partnerships of ÖREK 2030 bring to Austria’s city regions or what will the Soil Protection Contract between the federal government, Länder and municipalities announced for 2022 do to counteract land use and urban sprawl? And so the suspense continues.

Discuss with us!

On 7 April, the country reports on urban-rural challenges mentioned above will be the topic of discussion at "KDZ in dialogue".

Further information on participation and registration can be foundhere.

KDZ in dialogue - Local Government Worldwide - Responses to Urban-Rural Challenges.
KDZ in dialogue - Local Government Worldwide - Responses to Urban-Rural Challenges.







1 Michael Kenny, Davide Luca: “The urban-rural polarisation of political disenchantment: an investigation of social and political attitudes in 30 European countries.” In: Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, Volume 14, Issue 3, November 2021, Pages 565–582,

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