Title: Rural-urban outlooks: unlocking synergies

Funding source: EU H2020 project, Grant Agreement No. 727988

Total funding: EUR 5 999 937,50

Funding for BSC: EUR 78 518,00

Implementation period: 1.06.2017.–31.05.2021.

Coordinator: Wageningen University (the Netherlands)

Latvian partners: Baltic Studies Centre, Tukums region municipality

ROBUST is based on the premise that mutually beneficial relations along rural – peri-urban – urban trajectories can contribute substantially to Europe’s smart, sustainable and inclusive growth agenda. Success in creating synergies is largely determined by decisions made at local and regional levels. Well-designed governance arrangements can be conducive to decisions that strengthen beneficial relations between rural and urban areas. Central to ROBUST is a place-based case study approach in which the case studies focus on thematic functional linkages cutting across rural-urban areas. The content and governance of these functional linkages are analyzed in diverse case study areas that represent the main types of rural – peri-urban – urban settings across Europe. ROBUST aims to identify and strengthen policies, governance systems and practices that can contribute more effectively to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Particular attention is paid to the capacities of municipal and regional governments, the related administrations and other stakeholders to deliver and enhance mutually beneficial relations. ROBUST aims to provide practice-oriented information about successful governance models applicable to different settings as well as related communication and training material. In ROBUST, the questions and research needs of practice partners guides the research process. Researchers support the related multi-actor consultations through data collection and analysis, by providing suitable platforms and through facilitation. The insights co-generated by research and practice partners and stakeholders are translated into tools, including scenario development, as well as training materials and capacity building measures. ROBUST in this way contributes to a better understanding of rural-urban interactions, and at the same time it enhances the capacity of relevant actors and institutions to foster mutually beneficial relations along rural – peri-urban – urban trajectories.

For more information visit the project's website at

Read an interview with the BSC senior researcher Talis Tisenkopfs:

For more information on Tukums Living Lab:

Academic publications co-authored by BSC researchers: