VB Project Idea Smart specialisation strategies – unlocking the urban-rural potential for regional innovation via transnational cluster cooperation
The still increasing globalization compels cities and regions to join forces transnationally in order to achieve international critical mass and ensure their
competitiveness, their innovation capacity and their global visibility. This
approach contributes to the cohesion of urban and rural areas. The project
understands itself to be in line with the ESPON ET2050 document of June 30,
2014 and intends to contribute to the new Urban Agenda of the European Union.
The project aims at installing a long term transnational cooperation strategy.
In past andpresent, across four EU member states the region from southern Norway to western Sweden and southbound via urban and rural areas in Jutland and Schleswig-Holstein has been closely linked to Hamburg Metropolitan Region and areas in northern Netherlands. Business relations with Hamburg play a major role. In terms of structure there are many similarities, e.g. in logistic
(port) relations, maritime industries, wind and offshore industry and renewable
energy production. Cultural relations as well as intraregional tourism are
strong. The current cooperation over the borders has a strong focus on INTERREG A e.g. the partnership between Schleswig-Holstein, Region South Denmark and Region Sjaelland who allied in the new funding period to one big 5A-area.
Nevertheless, there is no common political approach to this “macro region”. However, evidence from a cooperation agreement between Hamburg and Groningen having linked both cities for the past six years and initiated a fruitful exchange despite the considerable distance, shows that long term cooperation can produce tangible results and contribute to the innovation capacity building of both partners. Furthermore, the STRING cooperation on the Femern Belt axis from Hamburg via Schleswig-Holstein, Sealand and Copenhagen to Skane proves that a long distance approach works, if it has a long term perspective (min. 10 years). Some aspects of STRING will therefore serve as inspiration for the project.
The new aspect of this project concerns the long distance and transnational urban-rural approach aiming at simultaneously improving international competitiveness as well as cohesion and trying to install a new geography beyond the INTERREG A zones.
To achieve a balanced development of the NSR, innovation and attraction of investments and highly skilled workers need to be possible in all areas of the NSR. If NSR clusters are to develop into genuine transnational positions of strength, the regional innovation strategies and smart specialisation strategies need to be developed to address these spatial challenges.
To obtain a sustainable and spatially balanced approach to growth and regional development urban-rural relations need to be integrated in the regional innovation (smart specialization) strategies. Furthermore, these strategies need an international outlook and perspective to put focus on the global competitiveness of the region, of the clusters and businesses in the region.
The traditional approach to cooperation (or rather competition) between regions and across borders needs to be challenged. In order for clusters to sustain and
develop, the geographical scope of clusters ought to be expanded; they need to
see themselves in the global market and enhance their global competitiveness to
ensure growth and employment in their own region. Transnational relations and
cooperation among clusters is a step on the way. It can help the clusters and
their companies to obtain critical mass for competing on the global market;
hence strengthening the innovation capacity of the regions and their companies in the long run.