Institute of Rural Studies

Deputy Director


Anja Herkner

Bundesallee 64
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 5501
Fax: +49 531 596 5599

Institute of Rural Economics

Deputy Director

  • NN

European Development Opportunities for Rural Areas


Schematic Representation of Micro-Scale process of rural differentiation (c) ESPON & UHI Millennium Institute, 2011. ISBN number - 978-99959-684-1-0 S. 34
Schematic Representation of Micro-Scale process of rural differentiation (© ESPON & UHI Millennium Institute, 2011. ISBN number - 978-99959-684-1-0 S. 34)

How different are the rural areas in Europe and which chances do they have considering their different structures? In order to be able to better understand these aspects and to be able to better adapt the policy for rural areas, the European Spatial Planning Observation Network (ESPON) initiated the project „EDORA“ (European Development Opportunities for Rural Areas) in 2008.

Background and Objective

The aim of the project was to analyse the development chances of different types of rural areas in Europe as a basis for the development of suggestions for the future shaping of the cohesion policy as well as other EU-policies. To do this we analysed the determinants, chances and restrictions of the development of rural areas in the following nine fields: demography, employment, enterprises in rural areas, rural-urban connections, cultural heritage, access to services of general interest, institutional capacities, climate change, agricultural structural change.
The EDORA project was a joint research project with partners from 11 EU-member states. The Thünen Institute for Rural Studies was responsible for the coordination and realisation of the project database as well as for country profiles for Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg and The Netherlands.


We developed a regional data base with socioeconomic and demographic indicators for more than 30 countries that forms the basis for the typification of rural areas. Building on this we selected case study regions where we conducted in-depth analysis due to the mentioned subject areas.

Data and Methods

The country profiles are based on a literature analysis. The database is based on an analysis of national and international statistical databases.


An overview of the project results is given in following report: Andrew Copus & Lisa Hörnström  eds., 2011 : The New Rural Europe: Towards Rural Cohesion Policy, Nordregio report, Band 2011/1 (


Involved external Thünen-Partners


8.2008 - 12.2010

More Information

Projekt type:
Project status: finished

Publications to the project

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