Regional public services action programme – “Together for the Northern Eifel”
The Northern Eifel region is a region particularly affected by demographic change. According to a 2010 population projection conducted by IT.NRW, the total population of the Northern Eifel region will steadily decrease by 2030. In addition, the population will age at an above average rate in many districts. This is particularly due to many young people moving away for their education and not returning as rural areas offer less opportunities of employment and recreation. In many parts of the region, settlement density is low, which is why ensuring public services and particularly the accessibility of facilities will play a key role.
The Northern Eifel Region is organised by the StädteRegion Aachen and consists of parts of the StädteRegion and the districts of Düren and Euskirchen.
Aims of the project:
The action programme aimed to create regionally integrated development concepts and analysis-based adaption strategies for specific areas of public services in the Northern Eifel. The key objectives connected to the development of a regional strategy for public services were:
- Deepening the basic understanding of demographic change of everyone involved
- Avoiding or reducing the social segregation between the old and the young
- Conveying and increasing acceptance of shrinking instead of growth in the municipalities and districts of the region and addressing the challenges thereof
- Increasing the willingness to cooperate as well as actual cooperation by supporting and complementing each other’s offers (e.g. civic engagement, family centres)
- Strengthening the regional, cross-district and interdisciplinary coordination of sectoral planning and development
- Ensuring and stabilising supply infrastructures and their accessibility in the long term in a way that is functional even in the face of ageing and shrinkage
- Strengthening the inter-communal and regional cooperation from site selections to informal or even formal concepts (special-purpose associations, regional planning) and objective agreements.
Project contents and structure:
Using a comprehensive regional approach, the population and the locations and facilities of public services were analysed across all districts and municipalities. Due to the high complexity of the questions and the wide spatial context, we used a multi-step process: In the topics phase, workshops were conducted on the future of the fields of social infrastructure and its accessibility, community life and volunteer work, and infrastructure and settlement development. In these workshops, detailed analyses and population projections were conducted based on data from registration offices and the statistical office. The analyses and projections were combined with location data of public service facilities and, with the help of the existing transport model of the StädteRegion Aachen, were used to calculate accessibilities. Each topic was first addressed in those areas particularly affected (model regions) so as to easily involve the population, local politics, authorities, associations, and unions, thus achieving a high level of involvement and participation since people in these areas were already sensitive to the problems. In the transfer phase, thematic cross-section workshops and the Eifel conference were held to combine the strategies of the sub-topics into the regional public services strategy. The results of the transfer phase were reworked in the implementation phase into practical measures and action goals.
The regional strategy created in this project is available here (PDF, in German).
Demonstration Projects of Spatial Planning (MORO) is a research programme of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure (BMVI) and the Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development (BBSR) within the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning (BBR).
January 2012 – October 2013
Contacts at the ISB:
Dipl.-Geogr. Carolin Dietrich, M.Sc., Spatial Planning