Urban-Rural Synergies: An Explorative Study at the NUTS3 Level

Eveline van Leeuwen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Regions are continually developing. Innovations in agricultural and industrial production affect urban and rural areas in different ways, and climate change and developments in transport and (tele)communication have strong effects on the interaction between them. Although urban and rural areas are often studied separately, systemic effects are clearly important when studying their interactions. This article aims to get a better understanding of the importance of urban-rural interaction between European regions. Therefore, a regional analysis using factor analysis and spatial correlation is used to show the presence and direction of urban-rural interactions. The results indicate that rural areas benefit from having more urban neighbors in terms of employment and employment growth as well as a stronger tourism sector. At the same time, urban areas with more rural neighbors experience a higher level of (relative) GDP growth. In addition, they are also related to higher levels of employment and population growth. Overall, the analysis shows that having more ‘opposite’ neighbors appears to be beneficial to both urban and rural regions. More research with more specific indicators, for example related to quality of life, as well as a more complete dataset, is necessary to confirm these conclusions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-289
Number of pages17
JournalApplied Spatial Analysis and Policy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2015


  • Europe
  • Factor analysis
  • NUTS3 regions
  • Urban-rural interactions


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