Medium sized cities and the territories which gravitate around them face different problems compared to big cities, different potentialities coming from their specificity of being middle-sized . In the context of TEN-T and HS channels, as well as intermodal hub, they face different challenges in order to become more and more competitive in the EU without distorting the internal balances on the cities themselves and their whole territories.
The hosting of such STATIONS represents a SPECIAL OPPORTUNITY for fostering their attractiveness and value and responding to the current crisis through, first of all, a strengthening of RELATIONS, allowing medium sized cities to be COMPETITIIVE with the bigger cities not only in terms of quality of life, of environment (as often happens) but even in terms of accessibility and visibility.
PARTNERS COMMON CHALLENGES, according to the 3 cross-cutting URBACT issues:
- TO PUT URBAN DEVELOPMENT AT THE BASIS OF THE ECONOMIC CRISIS CHALLENGE
- TO USE INTEGRATED (INTER-DISCIPLINARY AND MULTI-LEVEL) APPROACHES TO THE URBAN DEVELOPMENT
- TO CREATE NEW METHODS AND NEW TOOLS FOR THE URBAN DEVELOPMENT CONCRETISATION
- TO GUARANTEE A MULTI-LEVEL GOVERNANCE
ENTER.HUB, focuses on important railway hubs/intermodal nodes located in small medium sized realities, seeing the hub as an opportunity for the integration of the transportation networks, a improvement of the socio-economic development and of local competitiveness, fostering the territorial empowerment. The project is tackled within the context of sustainability for small and medium sized cities, because:
- Medium sized cities are typical of the European context
- These cities face great challenges to retain young talented people and substitute traditional services and manufacturing (often delocalized) by high-tech and intelligent services
- The hubs located in these cities impact wider regions, not only cities where they are located
- These cities have problems linked to the social and economic development (i.e. they don’t attract big businesses, etc.); they have different life habits, mobility and urban profiles if compared to large cities
- High Speed (HS) and European corridors are the BACKBONE of Europe not only at an infrastructural level, but as a consequence influencing the level of interactions and economic and cultural development (according to the revised TEN-T policy).
- to DEVELOP A WELL BALANCED POLYCENTRIC SYSTEM (affirmation of CITIES which are interfaces/nodes MUTUALLY FEEDING EACH OTHER accordingly to the quality of connections among them
- to make cities able to reach the difficult BALANCE among some variables like GROWTH, EQUITY, ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY, LOCAL IDENTITY, in order to face the current economical crisis
- to bring COHESION AND VALORISATION on the internal RESOURCES-identities-heritages, being them at the basis of the economical and social development
- to promote the EQUITABLE CONDITIONS OF ACCESSIBILITY in terms of infrastructures for the whole European territory (not only in terms of extension but even of density).
Ten main themes will be faced and investigated by Enter.hub:
1. SYNERGY BETWEEN HUB AND CITY
2. SYNERGY WBETWEEN HUB AND HINTERLAND (catchment area)
3. TOURISM AND CULTURE
4. URBAN AND ENVIRONMENTAL INSERTION
6. CREATION OF NETWORKS between these hubs and their polycentric regions
7. NEW PLANNING TOOLS that are based on the new non-political boundaries of the catchment area
8. RAILWAY-RAILWAY NETWORKING
9. RAILWAY-ROAD NETWORKING
and among and overall
From the first decision of installing a High Speed station in the northern peripheral area of Reggio Emilia, studies and hypothesis have been developed especially by the High Speed Project Unit (now Northern Area Project Unit) in order to guarantee an appropriate infrastructural, environmental and landscape asset to the area.
Reggio Emilia now needs a deep confrontation at a EU level in order to develop both new planning strategies and new governance tools especially for facing the problematic of having such an important railway hub but located in a peripheral area. The HS railway hub has to be integrated in the city and in its whole catchment area, for instance through effective linkages with the city centre and effective communication and dissemination strategies: the catchment area, the city and the station have to work together in order to feed and strengthen each others.
As in the European context there are many different “states of the work” about regional hubs/railway interfaces, we think that each one of our partners, but even those which are in similar conditions but do not directly participate in Enter.hub, will learn from the other ones, both in terms of more or less consolidated experiences to be considered as examples of practices, and in terms of new and renewed hubs to be taken as new opportunities of widening each city connections with its own regional territory and the whole Europe.