How can partners with similar yet diverse backgrounds understand and learn from each other? 5 regions found the solution through the “PROSPERA journey”.

The overall objective of the project “PROSPERA” (PROmoting Sustainable development and regional attractiveness through PERi-urban Areas) is to improve regional policies on the protection and promotion of natural heritage in peri-urban areas threatened by urban sprawl.

“PROSPERA journey” means interregional learning that includes study visits and knowledge exchange sessions among 5 different territories. The focus was on getting a better understanding of the partners’ local situations, finding common challenges and getting inspired through the best practices they showcased.

Unfortunately, the pandemic overrode the original plans, leaving the online space as the only solution for partners. Nevertheless, the collaboration was successful: in phase 1, partners from Reggio Emilia (IT), Ghent (BE); Varberg (SE), Aristoteli (GR) and Debrecen (HU) engaged together in an intensive international knowledge exchange, while also working with their stakeholder groups on the production of local action plans to adopt some of the solutions learnt from the other partners at local level. In their local action plans, partners identified a total of 8 actions to improve the local policy instrument for their peri-urban areas. During the learning process, several reports and guidelines were created and published on the Interreg PROSPERA Website.

The final project event was organized by the City of Ghent. It was a good opportunity for the partners and their stakeholders to meet again in person. The main aim of the event was to communicate lessons learnt from PROSPERA and to show the outputs of the project. To this end, ILVO presented the methodological tool-kit which was used during the project; moreover, visual tools and the partners’ Local Action Plans were also introduced to the wider audience.

The final event also gave partners the opportunity to visit the good practices in Ghent: Green Climate axes , the green area  Gentbrugse Meersen, the Food strategy and the open call CSA (Community supported agriculture) Goedinge and cooperation with a local dairy farm.

In phase 2, partners are going to focus on the implementation of their local action plans. At the end of phase2, project partners will meet again in person for the closing event of PROSPERA.