Cohesion policy is and remains one of the cornerstones of European integration. At the same time, the objectives for the use of cohesion funds have become more complex, because in addition to social and spatial cohesion, they are now also intended to support urgently needed transformation processes.

The European Metropolitan Regions in Germany are pioneers and strong drivers of this transformation at regional, national and European level. As urban-rural partnerships, they are tackling the cohesion policy and transformational challenges, e.g. in industry, energy supply, the food industry or green infrastructure, with innovative ideas.

On 1 March 2023, the Association of European Metropolitan Regions in Germany presented exemplary projects and discussed  future issues and the safeguarding of the metropolitan regions‘ capacity for action within the framework of cohesion policy with representatives of other European metropolitan areas and European institutions.

You can watch the recording of the event in the Representation of the Free State of Bavaria to the European Union in Brussels here:

Download the program (pdf).

“Metropolitan Regions after Covid: Shaping Opportunities”

The Corona pandemic is affecting all areas of society and the economy. The longer-term changes are not yet foreseeable, but trends are emerging that could outlast the pandemic – because in many cases the pandemic is accelerating previously existing transformation processes. This concerns, for example, the digitalisation of the world of work, the importance of city centres and stationary retail or people’s leisure behaviour.
These transformation processes should not only be considered in the classic spatial categories, but especially where they affect the reality of people’s lives – i.e. in functional spaces that transcend administrative boundaries, as they are lived and organised in the 11 German metropolitan regions.
What initial conclusions can be drawn from the developments of the pandemic months? How are metropolitan regions experiencing the transformation? And what approaches to solutions are being developed?
This is the topic of the joint digital specialist event of the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) and the Association of Metropolitan Regions in Germany (IKM).

„Metropolitan Regions after Covid: Shaping Opportunities“:  Tuesday, 14 September 2021 from 12:00 – 15:45 hrs

Mr. Ministerial Director Schwärzer from the Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Building and Home Affairs presents federal activities concerning the topic.
Dr. Markus Eltges, Head of the BBSR, will present the current state of research.

In four thematic forums we will discuss the impact of the Corona pandemic on metropolitan regions:

  • Living and working environments in upheaval! What does this mean for regional planning and development?
  • How do metropolitan regions organise innovation?
  • What are metropolitan regions doing to secure an optimal transport infrastructure as well as trade fairs and congresses?
  • Rethinking tourism and leisure in metropolitan regions

The discussion partners in the thematic forums come from business, science and administration.

Complete programme (German, PDF)

The spring conference of the IKM will take place digitally again this year due to corona.

The next meeting is expected to take place in Frankfurt in autumn.

German metropolitan regions present solutions in Berlin

At a joint conference on 4 June 2019 in Berlin, the Initiative Group of European Metropolitan Regions in Germany and the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development presented perspectives on promoting equal living conditions in Germany. Projects from the metropolitan regions were presented on topics such as social participation, opportunities in a digital world, mobility in rural areas and networking in the health sector.

In the German metropolitan regions, cooperation between urban and rural areas is a reality. They involve a wide variety of partners in rural and urban areas on an equal footing. Regionally on site and also jointly, they show responsibility for the goal of equal living conditions in rural and urban areas. They work with numerous partners to find solutions to a wide range of challenges, be it in the area of mobility, settlement or commercial space development, regional marketing or local recreation. Metropolitan regions shape the partnership between rural and urban areas in projects and thus strengthen the competitiveness of their region and of Germany as a whole.

During the day-long conference, around 130 experts from politics, planning and science presented and discussed possible solutions. In his opening speech, Dr. Markus Eltges, Director of the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR), said: “Equal living conditions concern everyone. Promoting them is a task for society as a whole. The regions in particular must recognise their potential, leverage it and, where necessary, cooperate regionally.”

State Secretary Dr. Markus Kerber, Federal Ministry of the Interior, for Building and Community, pointed out: “The aim of our homeland policy is to improve the living conditions for every individual and the cohesion of our society as a whole. This includes equalising the living conditions in our country. It is a matter of helping strongly growing conurbations and metropolitan areas to cope with their challenges and of giving structurally weak regions opportunities for development. Urban-rural cooperation is an important instrument for achieving this goal. As well-established networks, metropolitan regions are important actors and multipliers for the creation of equal living conditions in Germany’s regions.”

Jakob Richter from Hamburg, spokesman of the Initiative Group of European Metropolitan Regions in Germany (IKM) went into detail about the positioning of the German metropolitan regions on the topic and presented numerous contributions of the German metropolitan regions to the creation of equal living conditions. These include, among others:

  • Joint regional development planning
  • Digitalisation as an opportunity for social participation
  • Mobility concepts and public transport funding in urban and rural areas
  • Opportunities for electromobility for climate protection and economic development in rural and urban areas
  • Shaping structural change
  • Growth and building culture with quality and calculation of demand for settlement areas
  • Digitalisation skills of socially disadvantaged young people
  • Networking of actors in the health sector
  • Intelligent marketplaces to secure local supply in rural areas

The members of the IKM met in Essen on 1 and 2 October 2020. On the agenda were the topics innovation and activities related to European policies.

The welcome by Regional Director Karola Geiß-Netthöfel with a presentation on the 100th anniversary of the Ruhr Regional Association, was followed by the presetation of innovation projects from member regions:

  • Ruhr Academy – smart sustainable metropolitan transformation
  • Initiative “Innovation Art” in the Nuremberg Metropolitan Region and Innovation Ecosystem Medical Valley
  • P-t-MNW: Hydrogen in the Northwest Metropolitan Region

In addition, activities on the European level were decided upon.

The supporting programme was a visit to the Ruhr Museum at the Zeche Zollverein in the special exhibition “100 Years of the Ruhr Area”.

German Metropolitan regions meet in Einbeck

The autumn meeting took place in Einbeck on 24 and 25 October 2019 at the invitation of the Hannover Braunschweig Göttingen Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region. The focus was on the topic of “Europe”, here the IKM wants to actively contribute to the upcoming updates of the Leipzig Charter and the Territorial Agenda.

The metropolitan regions were welcomed by Mayor Dr. Sabine Michalek and Lothar Meyer-Mertel (Managing Director PS.Speicher), who spoke about the special challenges facing local politics in rural areas and about the operation and marketing of tourist lighthouse projects such as the PS.Speicher away from large metropolises.

The supporting programme included a test ride on the electric cargo bike from Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.