The Danube region is characterised by largely diverging levels of development in different regions. Especially small and medium-sized cities (SMCs) in lower regions are facing challenges linked closely to shrinkage processes, ageing population structures, labour shortages, loss of local identity, and a diminishing river industry. Furthermore, their spatial development is characterised by incoherent planning processes, leading to wasting natural resources and environmental problems.
DANUBIAN_SMCs project has tackled these challenges in a creative, innovative and cross-disciplinary way. Based on knowledge transfer and exchange of experiences between actors and institutions focusing on education based in Central-Western and Lower Danube regions, Danubian SMCs has strengthened the transnational dialogue between 7 important universities in the region. The project has increased the mobility of academic staff and students, shared knowledge about new and innovative methodologies in teaching, enhanced the data basis for further research projects, and involved a number of local stakeholders in tackling the common challenges in SMCs of the Danube region.
Danubian SMCs has addressed these aims through the organisation of workshops, intensive teaching blocks and excursions in the participating universities and regions, both for students and teachers. Innovative research and design tools have constituted the main content of the projects’ activities, which aimed for addressing complex planning problems, identifying common characteristics and improving connections between the different areas of the Danube region.