The central focus of PURR project is to develop innovative approaches to identify and exploit rural potential. The project seeks to connect research already undertaken or being undertaken within ESPON to the specific features of the regions that are partners in the proposal. This is a project that aims to provide “Knowledge support to experimental and innovative actions”. In this respect it is like a laboratory for developing ways of meeting crucial territorial challenges, namely how to make the concept of territorial potential operational, and demonstrate its use in practical terms in ways that meet the demands of users.  

Thus the project aims to produce:

  • A benchmarking of each of the five partner regions in their European context in relation to their current development;
  • Innovative methods that are applied to explore the territorial potential of these five regions, and that can be used by these partner regions, and by similar regions across Europe, as part of their territorial development work;
  • A review of the territorial development policy options for each of the regions, based on the application of the innovative methods to explore territorial potential;
  • Insights from practitioners and policy-makers that can add value to existing ESPON knowledge and to innovative results of the PURR targeted analysis, especially in relation to rural regions and small and medium-sized towns;
  • A suggestion on how research and applications of the idea of territorial potential in rural regions can be taken forward after the project is ended.

Thinking towards the future is an essential precondition for investigating where policies are necessary and how they should be shaped. Development has its own momentum, but policies can make a difference. The future can create different conditions for citizens in different parts of Europe, for economical development and competitiveness and for cohesion within the European territory, its regions and cities. In order to support a debate at European level and the involvement of regions, cities, and larger territories the ESPON Program under Structural Funds has carried trough an applied research project with the aim of presenting contrasting spatial scenarios for the European territory.

ESPON (European Spatial Planning Observation Network) is set up to support policy development and to build a European scientific community in the field of territorial development. The main aim is to increase the general body of knowledge about territorial structures, trends and policy impacts in an enlarged European Union

The second round of calls for proposals will be presented in Bruxelles on 9 September 2008. Potential beneficiaries who want to learn more about the current opportunities for taking part in ESPON project activities are invited to the event. The ESPON Info Day will focus on the presentation of the three calls for proposals opened on 20 August 2008 and the conditions for taking part.