These special challenges have been clustered:
1. Elaboration of common land use policies and instruments to avoid urban sprawl.
2. Definition of new financial instruments to meet the multiple tasks and projects of general interest.
3. The involvement of relevant key actors by (re-)defining the criteria for integrated regional development.
The focus will be on two subthemes:
1. Planning tools and financing instruments for a sustainable city-hinterland development with the focus on:
- Tools for efficient land use and against suburbanisation
- Tools for an efficient public transport system between city and its region
- Tools for a sustainable economic development and the revitalisation of the city-centres
- Tools for efficient environmental development
- Definition of criteria for projects of common interest and possibilities of financing them
2. Regional structures as basis for a successful cooperation with the focus on:
- Necessary regional structures for a successful city-hinterland (region) cooperation and methods of financing them
- Shared functions and tasks
- Special methodologies for cooperation between big city and smaller municipalities
- Strategies on the involvement of key players and key investors
- Legal preconditions for city-hinterland (region) cooperations
Within the programme planning period 2007-13, the Managing Authority in the Province of Styria decided one of the priorities defined in the Regional Operational Programme "Competitiveness 2007-13" should deal with strengthening the attractiveness of regions and locations. The City of Graz therefore elaborated the strategy concept of „URBAN Plus", which focuses on the common development of Graz and its neighbouring municipalities in the South. Only projects that are implemented by a municipal cooperation are co-financed through this funding framework.
"URBAN Plus" on the one hand and the start of the new regional planning process "Regionext" on the other hand, where Styrian municipalities have to cooperate in smaller units, the so called micro-regions and bigger units ("regions"), motivated the City of Graz to create the thematic network CityRegion.Net that made an exchange of more or less experienced European cities in the field of city-hinterland cooperation possible.
The commonly elaborated results of this network, namely the best possible structures, necessary planning tools and financial instruments for such co-operations, will certainly have an influence on the realisation of future cooperative projects in all partner cities.