German BMBF Funding Activity Urban-Rural – Stadt-Land-Plus

Regions of the 12 projects that started in 2018 in Stadt-Land-Plus
Regions of the 12 projects that started in 2018 in Stadt-Land-Plus

Urban and rural areas are dependent upon each other. The development of urban, peri-urban and rural areas is functionally intertwined – food, building material and waste cycles are some examples of critical material flows. Further, connections are established between housing markets, transport, culture, (local) recreation or tourism.

22 interdisciplinary and collaborative projects grouped in different project clusters are pursuing an integrated research-practice approach, supported through funds from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) funding activity Stadt-Land-Plus. The projects are supported by a cross-sectional scientific synthesis project with the purpose of supporting the networking, transfer and processing of project-overarching cross-sectional topics.

Practice partners and research institutions collaboratively develop innovative solutions for the shared sustainable development of urban, peri-urban and rural areas. This includes aspects such as the forming of a sustainable regional circular economy or the improving of shared information and data-foundations to support decision-making of actors involved in moving towards regionally sustainable land management.

These interdependencies are fundamental for sustainable development and thus for the future viability of our regions. In this context it is important to address the growing gap between the living environments of urban and rural areas. The demand for the resource land is intensifying in flourishing regions. Shrinking regions face a growing inequality of living conditions. Urban and rural cannot be understood as separate but instead as a holistic system.


Synthesis Project

Networking, Communication and Transfer for Sustainable Urban-Rural Partnerships


With the BMBF-funded projects in Stadt-Land-Plus, projects located all over in Germany are developing and testing innovative approaches for the strengthening of urban-rural partnerships and sustainable regional development. The funding activity is a part of the flagship initiative Zukunftsstadt (“Cities of the Future”). The scientific cross-sectional synthesis project facilitates the networking between the projects, supports the transfer of results and contributes to implementing sustainable development in the regions.

Goal and Approach

Overarching topics are actively identified for investigation. The project initiates the exchange of experiences between scientific, municipal and business representatives. Economic, ecologic and social viable approaches to sustainable urban-rural partnerships, as well as the areas of conflict, will be identified based upon the results and discussions. The results will be processed for the target audiences of researchers and practitioners.

Expected Results and Transfer

The Stadt-Land-Plus research results will be gathered in such a way as to directly contribute to the German Sustainable Development Strategy and also support the achievement of the global Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Agenda 2030. The synthesis project will secure knowledge transfer through the use of user-group adapted formats for broader expert groups, politicians and other practitioners. A deeper understanding of cooperation between urban and rural areas as well as a common appreciation between scientific, municipal and business representatives will be enforced.


Funding period: 01 Oct 2017 – 28 Feb 2023 (extension till 30 Sep 2025 requested)

Funding reference: FKZ 033L200


Dr. Stephan Bartke
German Environment Agency
Phone: +49 340 2103 2612