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Opportunties lie in changing metropolitan regions

Results of 12 subprojects on demographic change presented. 20 years of German metropolitan regions celebrated in Berlin

Developing joint solutions for basic public services amid demographic change was the objective of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region project. The results of 12 subprojects were presented Monday (September 26th) in Hamburg on how to maintain the quality of life as the population decreases and grows older.

Grants of EUR 1.2 million

Doctors, hospitals and carers of the elderly, supermarkets, busses and railways, schools and nursery schools all manifest public general interest care. However, the population is shrinking and ageing and reaching critical, encumbersome levels for institutions in some places. The 12 subprojects developed strategies, concrete approaches and solutions for maintaining the quality of life in a region. And since 2013, they have received EUR 1.2 million in funds from the Hamburg Metropolitan Region.

Support for commuters, children and the elderly

Various approaches have been adopted in Dithmarschen, Herzogtum Lauenburg, Pinneberg, Segeberg, Steinburg, Stormarn and in the districts of Cuxhaven, Ludwigslust-Parchim, Nordwestmecklenburg, Amelinghausen, Nordkehdingen and Buchholz. A bike-bus station has been set up for commuters in Cuxhaven. Since 2015, the “Steinburger Holiday Compass” has been informing parents and firms about care facilities for children during the holidays. An education and family centre is being built in Nordkehdingen while a barrier-free residential area is being planned in Amelinghausen.

Inspiring results

Speaking during the closing presentation in Hamburg, Rolf Christiansen, a county commissioner in the responsible Ludwigslust-Parchim district, said: “Demographic change is a complex, multi-faceted challenge and can sometimes require unpopular decisions. Finding feasible solutions requires co-operation from many players, an intense involvement of the population and a rethink among us as all. This way, we will come a step further.”

The results of the projects were presented to politicians and expert members of the public later on Monday. Practical suggestions were made on how other communities in the Hamburg Metropolitan Region can tackle basic municipal services. The results can be found on and will be published in a brochure in November.

Sources and further information:

20 years of German metropolitan regions

For 20 years, German metropolitan regions have been working on cross-border partnerships between the countryside and cities to boost the competiveness of their regions and that of Germany. Since 2001, they have been co-operating in the initiative group European Metropolitan Regions in Germany (IKM). Their successful efforts towards co-operation were praised Monday (September 26th) during a ceremony in the Ministry for Transport and Digital Infrastructure in Berlin by Minister Alexander Dobrindt, and patron of the ceremony.

Dr. Carsten Sieling, Mayor of Bremen, said: “Important trends are changing our country. They include demographic changes, the digitalisation of economy and society and the energy transition. Many new ways of shaping our metropolitan regions with the states, federation and the EU are emerging.”

In 1995, a conference of ministers for regional planning recognised the first European Metropolitan Region in Germany. More followed in 2005. Meanwhile, over eleven metropolitan regions are significant in Europe. Cities and country communities work together trans-regionally. Metropolitan regions account for 53 per cent of the area of the Federal Republic of Germany. And 66 per cent of the population live in those regions. Around 70 per cent of the German gross domestic product is earned there.

Hamburg Metropolitan Region

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