• This chapter provides the background information for understanding rural-urban partnerships. First, it provides a conceptual framework to understand the changing urban-rural relationships and their possible implications for economic development. Second, it gives empirical evidence on the different socio-economic conditions and dynamics of urban and rural areas, which have been traditionally seen as separate entities with different and often opposite destinies. Finally, it defines rural-urban partnership and stresses the main functions of urban and rural areas. Evidence shows that different territories face different challenges and that all types of regions have potential for growth. The different assets of urban and rural areas can potentially complement one another. Further integration and governance of urban-rural relationships should be encouraged.

  • This chapter analyses rural-urban partnership in terms of its different purposes and outcomes, on the basis of the observations from 11 case studies. First, the purposes of rural-urban partnerships are examined and discussed with respect to the type of partners, the scope of co-operation and the type of territory under consideration. Second, the chapter provides a rationale for rural-urban partnership, highlighting its potential benefits and risks.

  • This chapter provides concepts and evidence for assessing the geography of rural-urban relationships. The increasing interdependence of urban and rural areas has made some traditional administrative boundaries irrelevant, and rural-urban partnerships are best dealt with at the level of the functional region. The chapter defines functional regions and presents some criteria for identifying them in different territorial contexts. It shows that rural-urban partnership may target different geographies, depending on the policy issues under consideration and on key characteristics of the partnership itself. Flexibility in the geographical dimension of the co-operation should be encouraged.

  • This chapter examines the characteristics of rural-urban partnerships and factors that can help or hinder them. Adopting an integrated approach to policy making means that the partnership has the capacity to make proposals or decisions on an issue with the participation of the relevant stakeholders. Partnership should have a cross-sectoral dimension so that it can bridge traditional sectoral divides or break down the traditional “silo” working ethic. It should incorporate a dimension of inclusiveness, offering a forum where members of the interested and affected urban and rural constituencies can be heard, directly or indirectly.

  • National urban and rural policies rarely contemplate any interaction between urban and rural territories. Governments are now tasked with increasing efforts to identify new governance forms suitable to these varied geographical contexts and the new institutional challenges that emerge. Rural-urban partnerships have emerged as a key co-ordinating mechanism for functional rural-urban areas. This chapter examines their impact on policy co-ordination and policy coherence and sets out a rural-urban governance framework.

  • Based on the analysis of the nature and implications of urban-rural interdependencies and on the governance arrangements that can be used to manage these relationships, this chapter provides a set of recommendations on how policy can help rural-urban partnership to form and to be effective.