Co-Productive Tools for Transcending the Divide: Building Urban–Rural Partnerships in the Spirit of the New Leipzig Charter

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The outdated and discredited notion of a binary urban–rural divide remains stubbornly widely used. However, it both sets up and reflects oppositional politics and processes between the two supposedly mutually exclusive categories of space and place, which hamper urban–rural partnerships. Empirical reality on the ground is far more com- plex. Just as more appropriate conceptualisations and approaches have evolved, so new research methods and tools have been developed to overcome the different institutional barriers and stakeholder priorities in the face of contemporary real-world complexities and the urgency of tackling the ‘wicked’ challenges of sustainability, which also underpin the New Leipzig Charter. The focus here is on co-production and related methods, which can be considered as representing the top-most rungs of Arnstein’s (1969) Ladder of Par- ticipation. The relevance and application of these methods are exemplified from the work of Mistra Urban Futures in relation to transcending conventional European urban–rural divisions and forming partnerships, with due attention to problems and limitations. Such methods have considerable potential, including for addressing unequal power relations, but are time-consuming and require careful adaptation to each situation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number894
Number of pages16
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 25 Aug 2021


  • urban–rural continuum
  • transdisciplinarity
  • deep participation
  • co-production
  • co-creation
  • co-design
  • sustainability
  • unequal power relations
  • New Leipzig Charter
  • URP2020 conference

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