ESPON has identified demographic and economic change in peripheral rural regions as an issue of European concern. The ESPON “Scenarios” project 3.2 showed that a range of external influences will have an impact on these regions, and that innovative actions would be needed. The innovative approaches towards territorial development of such regions are key issues for achieving territorial cohesion.
The aim of the PURR project is to create and test new ways to explore the territorial potentials of some rural areas and small and medium-sized towns in peripheral parts of Europe around the North Sea, the Irish Sea and the Baltic Sea. These places face problems such as ageing, migration, poor accessibility, restructuring of traditional industries and are further threatened by rising energy costs. However, they also possess some territorial assets related to their natural and cultural heritage and in the sense of identity that many have.
The analysis will use ESPON results to benchmark the stakeholder regions in their European context and will develop and apply methodologies for identifying and realising territorial potentials in these places.