Facilitator and Moderators


Mr Jörg Knieling, Professor in urban planning and regional development at HafenCity University Hamburg, Germany

Mr Jörg Knieling is working for several organisations, among these the HafenCity University in Hamburg, the Academy for Spatial Research and Planning (ARL), and the Scientific Board of the German Federal State Ministry for Transportation, Building and Urban Development.

Mr Knieling has studied Urban and regional planning as well as Political sciences and Sociology at the University of Hanover. After a number of scientific employments and professorships he is currently professor of Urban planning and Regional development at HafenCity University Ham-burg. Since 2006 he is also Vice-President for Research Affairs of the HCU.

In parallel with the New Bridges project, Knieling is concerned with several research projects, such as: Soft Spaces, Spatial Planning and Territorial Management in Europe; KLIMZUG-NORD: Adaptation Strategies to Climate Change in the Metropolitan Region of Hamburg; BaltCICA: Impacts, Costs and Adaptation in the Baltic Sea Region.

Quality of Life in spatial terms is mainly congruent with sustainable urban and regional development. It implies an integrated view on economic, social and ecological aspects and includes respecting the potential requirements of future generations.
More practically spoken, Quality of Life stands for a regional economy using regional goods and products to meet regional needs. I mean, it can be described as a healthy city and region with increased standards for air and water quality or allowed noise exposure, and stands for traffic-reduction by replacing motorized personal transport by public transport, biking and walking, etc.
In the future, against the background of an increasing international locational competition of cities and regions Quality of Life will become one of the main distinguishing factors. Qualified workforce will make their decision on where to live depending on a region’s reputation concerning Quality of Life.


Mr Lukas Smas, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio, Sweden

Mr Lukas Smas has recently joined Nordregio but has an academic back-ground in urban and regional planning and in human geography. As a university researcher and lecturer he has worked with planning and policy is-sues, as well as within the fields of urban and economic geography.

Ms Marie Cugny-Seguin Ms Marie Cugny-Seguin, Project Coordinator, European Environment Agency, Denmark
Ms Lisa Hörnström

Ms Ms Lisa Hörnström, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio, Sweden

Ms Lisa Hörnström has a Ph D in Political Science from Umeå University. In her thesis Hörnström analysed regional policy and regional reforms in the Nordic countries. Her fields of competence are in particular regional development policy, regional and local governance and cross-border cooperation. She has a certain interest in development in peripheral and rural areas and is currently working for several Nordic and national (Swedish) projects on regional policy, cross-border cooperation and regional attractiveness and also within a European project on territorial governance.

Quality of Life means to have a good balance between work and leisure time and to be able to develop my skills both work-wise and when it comes to hobbies. Even though my family and many of my friends live far away Quality of Life is to be able to see them on regular basis.

Speakers in the Plenary


Mr Björn Grönholm, Head of Secretariat at the Union of the Baltic Cities Commission on Environment, Finland

Mr Björn Grönholm has studied Political Science and Public Administration at Åbo Akademi University. In the last years he has been involved with licentiate and doctoral thesis research in political science, with the topic “A Comparative political study on diffusion of innovations in and between countries and local authorities in the Baltic Sea Region”.

Mr Grönholm has a long experience in designing, co-ordination and leading several international co-operation projects. He has been leading the Union of the Baltic Cities Commission on Environment since 2006. Mr Björn Grönholm is acquainted with fitting together research, capacity building and dissemination activities.

For me Quality of Life is a situation where I, as a private person, can enjoy a society in balance with good services and alternatives. Living in a region, where my family and colleagues can feel comfortable and secure.


Mr Wilfried Görmar, Deputy Head of Division at Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning, Germany

Mr Wilfred Görmar was born in 1950, he works currently as Project Coordinator and Deputy Head of Division at the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning in Bonn. Mr Görmar is Diplomgeograph (Dr.rer.nat.), specialised in economic geography and spatial planning. In 1969 – 1972 Mr Wilfred Görmar studied Geography in Halle and Berlin, he attained a Diploma in Geography in 1974 and a Doctorate in 1979. From 1972 – 1977 he has been involved at the Humboldt University in Berlin. From 1977 – 1990 at the Scientific Centre for Territorial Development and Planning in Berlin.
Since 1990 Mr Görmar has been working for the Federal Office for Building and Regional Planning in Bonn, but in between he has worked at European Commission and Federal Ministries. His recent field of work covers: European spatial development, and transnational territorial cooperation.
In the Baltic Sea Region Mr Görmar has been acting as Member and currently Chairman of the Committee on Spatial Development (VASAB) and as Member and Chairman of Programme Committees of the Transnational Cooperation Programme.

At the conference Mr Görmar will give a presentation on Urban-rural interaction and the VASAB Long Term Perspective for Territorial Development of the Baltic Sea Region, and the urban-rural situation in that context. He will bring up the Urban-rural differentiation on European and Baltic Sea scale, as well as tasks, actions and examples on tackling urban-rural division. Mr Görmar has a proposal for policy response and cooperation to intensify urban-rural cooperation and partnership.

Quality of Life reflects to me a possibility to use appropriate infrastructure (good access and quality) in all relevant fields (transport, education, social infrastructure, culture, health, sports/recreation), variety of job opportunities/sufficient income, intact nature, good social contacts, social security, solidary society, peace, as well as possibility for self-determination

Ms Sabrina Lucatelli Sabrina Lucatelli, Policy Adviser in Urban policy and territorial cohesion, DG REGIO, Directorate for Policy conception and Coordination

Mr Lauri Hooli, Project Coordinator for NEW BRIDGES at Union of the Baltic Cities, Finland

Mr Lauri Hooli has a Master Degree in Planning Geography and currently he works as a project coordinator of the NEW BRIDGES project. Last two years he has been coordinating different EU funded project concerning spatial development and sustainable urban mobility in the Union of Baltic Cities Environment and Sustainable Development Secretariat. Earlier he worked as a researcher in the university focusing on innovation systems in less-developed countries.

In the conference Mr Hooli will give a joint presentation on the main achievements and outputs of NEW BRIDGES project. He will demon-trate the partner city-regions pilot action, reflecting them to the general regional development around the Baltic Sea Region.

Referred to the spatial orientation, Quality of Life for me means to be able to live a careless life in the small city-central flat with a wooden floor and high ceiling. Cycle to work in the morning along the beautiful riverbank, passing the old boats. Take a short walk to the old market hall during lunchtime and enjoy a locally produced meal. After work, to head my bike to the football pitch where it is easy to forget the stress of the day. During the weekends take a fluent local buss connection to the nearby countryside for picking mushrooms or relaxing at a friend’s summer cottage.


Ms Stefanie Lange, Research Fellow at Nordregio, Sweden

Ms Stefanie Lange is a geographer focusing on the Baltic Sea Region (BSR) as favorable geographic scope. At Nordregio, she mainly works with INTERREG projects within the BSR. Ms Lange’s special field of interest is climate change adaptation and governance structures involved as well as rural urban relations in regional planning, aspects of quality of life and stakeholder involvement.

In the conference Stefanie Lange will give a presentation with insight to the NEW BRIDGES project, its conceptual framework and main outcomes. It will also touch upon the concept of quality of life and how it has been operationalised and put into territorial perspectives.

A healthy body and mind are the most important elements for my very personal quality of life. Of course, those are influenced by external factors such as family, hobbies, job, colleagues, weather, political situation etc. but can also be adjusted through my individual perspective on every day.


Ms Audrone Alijosiute, Director at ECAT Lithuania

Ms Audrone Alijosiute holds a degree in Geography from Vilnius University, Lithuania and a Master’s in Public Administration from Kaunas University of Technology, Lithuania. She has been working with the implementation of sustainable development principles since 1996. Her focus has been on developing and supporting capacity in delivering sustainability strategies and implementation means within the different levels of governance. Ms Alijosiute’s has experience in a number of projects related to training and capacity building on sustainability issues with a variety of stakeholders: governmental institutions, local authorities, companies and communities.

The topic of Ms Aliosiute’s presentation at the New Bridges Final conference is The main achievements and outputs of the NEW BRIDGES project. She will present an overview off the Pilot Action implemented by partner city regions during the project, main results of the implementation process, biggest challenges during this process and thoughts and lessons learned by partners and stakeholders in city regions.

Concerning Quality of Life Ms Audrone Aliosiute quotes:
”It's not what you possess or what happens to you in life that matters, but rather what you do with it.”

Parallel session speakers

A) Urban-rural interaction


Mr Kjell Nilsson, Head of Division at Danish Centre for Forest, Landscape and Planning at University of Copenhagen, Denmark

Mr Nilsson had his degree as Landscape Architect in 1978 and holds a doctor's degree from 1989 at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences with the thesis "Meetings of industry and landscape".

Since 1995, Kjell Nilsson has lead interdisciplinary landscape research projects both nationally and internationally. Kjell Nilsson is member of the Danish Academy of Technical Sciences and of the Science Advisory Group on Environment (incl. Climate Change) of the EU 7th Framework Programme. A second focus of Kjell Nilsson's research activities is on Urban Forestry & Urban Greening.

He has been chairman of COST Action E12 "Urban Forests and Trees" and from 2005 to 2009 the COST Action, E39 "Forests, Trees and Human Health and Well-being". Mr Nilsson has contributed actively to the development of urban greening as a concept for environmental and development assistance in Eastern Europe and newly industrialised countries like China, Malaysia and South Africa.

At the conference Mr Kjell Nilsson will give a presentation on the main results of the EU Integrated Project PLUREL on peri-urban land use relationships and sustainable urban development.


Mr Rolf Oldejans, Project Manager at Municipality of Enschede, Netherlands

Mr Rolf Oldejans has a University degree in Law and Political Sciences.
Former Oldejans has been working as legal and political adviser on environmental and spatial topics in several municipalities. Currently Mr Oldejans works as policy adviser/project manager for urban development and youth protection for the city of Enschede, comprising public affairs, project development, EU projects, development of new ideas and coalitions.

Mr Rolf Oldejans’ presentation titled SURF, the zone between city and rural area focuses on the question how to make urban fringes more attractive and more competitive. He will describe the SURF project; the aims, the partners, the themes and the SURF way of working. Oldejans will present examples of urban fringe projects and the development of practical tools.

Quality of life is a way to live: a continuous drive to improve situations, to be started in your own environment. Try to let citizens and companies be aware of the place where they live and work and to develop with them more responsibility for their environment. This is called a ”sense of place”. With the right sense of place quality of life is nearby.


Mr Andreas Obersteg, Research Associate, HafenCity University, Germany

Mr Andreas Obersteg has a Diploma in Geography with Urban Planning and Business Studies at Technical University of Munich and Université Francois Rabelais at Tours (France). Obersteg has been working as research assistant at the Institute for Urban and Regional Research in Vienna. Other employments include consultancy for urban development, research associate at the Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich and the Technical University of Munich and Technical University of Hamburg. Today Mr Obersteg works as research associate at the HafenCity University.Hamburg, with the main field on urban-rural cooperation.

Together with Mr. Rolf-Barnim Foth, Mr Obersteg gives a presentation titled Urban-rural cooperation in the Metropolitan Region Hamburg and Northern Germany. Urban-rural cooperation has a long tradition in Hamburg and Northern Germany. The Metropolitan Region Hamburg already supports the cooperation between the urban core and rural areas for more than a decade now.
The Demonstration Projects of Spatial Planning MORO Nord and NEW BRIDGES have supported the cooperation between the urban core and rural areas within the Metropolitan Region and beyond its borders.
As a result and follow- up to these projects the Project Partnership North has been founded as a platform to bring together projects and partners that want to improve urban-rural cooperation. The strategic level of cooperation in Northern Germany is always linked to concrete projects in or between urban and rural regions. The pilot action “new village center” is a good example on such a local / regional project.

I enjoy living in a big city like Hamburg with the buzz of its lively quarters and I appreciate its diverse people and the variety of cultural and leisure offers. But I also enjoy parts of my spare time in the countryside with its silence and wideness.


Mr Rolf-Barnim Foth, Head of Metropolitan Affairs, Marketing and Tourism at the Ministry of Economy, Transport and Innovation, Germany

Mr Foth has served as Diplomat in Paris, Brussels (EU) and Moscow 1985-1992. He has been in the Mayor’s Office of Hamburg since 1993, serving as Head of Foreign Affairs Department and Head of Political Planning Department with responsibility for metropolitan affairs. Since 2010 Mr Foth has worked at the Hamburg Ministry for Economy, Transport and Innovation responsible for metropolitan affairs, Northern German cooperation, marketing and tourism.

At the conference Mr Rolf-Barnim Foth will present the Philosophy and Best Practice in Metropolitan-Rural Relations by Hamburg Metropolitan Region. Hamburg Metropolitan Region was one of seven German pilot regions taking part in an official model project of metropolitan-rural cooperation in 2008-2010 and has chaired a METREX working group on this topic. Work took place on the basis of mutual benefit and at eye level. Experience was encouraging and the project is being continued.

For me Quality of Life means a fair life-work balance allowing to enjoy an attractive city and region with my family.

B) Managing Quality of life


Mr Petri Kahila, Senior Research Fellow at Nordregio, Sweden

Mr Petri Kahila holds a PhD and in Human Geography and works in Nordregio as Senior Research Fellow. His specialisation is regional development, regional and local governance and urban-rural interaction. Since 2006, Kahila has worked at Nordregio in various European research and development projects.

At the conference Kahila is to give a presentation titled “Meaningful definitions and approaches of quality of life and the management thereof in urban-rural interface”. The search for meaningful definitions and approaches of quality of life in different policy agendas at various scales and with different purposes is the focus of this presentation. Life is lived individually and publicly and reflects the preferences we make in shaping our choices to quality of life. This presentation will underline that individual aspects and preferences can be addressed in an integrated manner, and that planners and policy makers can initiate new measures and processes. The central concern here is the question of how each individual may attain a higher quality of life in the city-regions.

For me Quality of Life means generally the capacities to have a good life. My personal impressions of quality of life reflect the general contradictions of how I feel about my own life and how I feel about what’s happening in the society. I am both satisfied and dissatisfied with my way of life.


Mr Mikko Laaksonen, Project Planner at Regional Council of Southwest Finland

Mr Laaksonen has worked since 2005 with projects concerning promotion of sustainable urban transport and land use planning. His educational background is in humanities research.

In the New Bridges final conference Mr Laaksonen will give a presentation about the Sustainable transport concept for peripheral areas in Turku Urban Region. He presents the proposed concepts to promote more sustainable transports in the peripheral areas of Turku Urban region. The concept applies both to the outlying parts of the main built-up area and separate villages, and aims to improve public transport and possibilities for walking and cycling.

I find Quality of Life in urban and transport planning as planning for easing sustainable choices of living, use of services and transport for a well-being of both the individual, the society and the environment.

Mr Jüri Uljas Mr Jüri Uljas, Researcher at Tallinn University and Estonian Entrepreneurship University of Applied Sciences

C) Stakeholder involvement


Mr Göran Cars, Professor at Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden

Mr Göran Cars is professor and head of the Urban Planning and Environment Department at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Cars’ professional interest focuses on urban governance, i.e. the conditions for planning, decision-making and implementation of urban and regional development projects. A special interest is directed to urban planning and infrastructure, and the development of strategies to promote a liveable urban environment and urban attractiveness.

Mr Cars claims that urban and rural areas can gain mutually and create value by collaborating. However, this potential is very often not realized. Furthermore conflicts of interest on specific issues often create an obstacle for joint action. In his presentation about Negotiations as a method for urban – rural cooperation, Mr Göran Cars will bring up issues concerning conflict resolution and methods for building consensus and coordinated strategies will be addressed.

For me Quality of Life means that basic material needs are satisfied and that one can enjoy a rich social life.


Ms Rasa Melnikiene, Director at Lithuanian Institute of Agrarian Economics

Ms Rasa Melnikiene is Doctor of Social Sciences with the main research areas in rural development, regional policy and economics of agriculture. She was member of the Lithuanian Parliament (1996-2000) and Vice minister of social affairs (2000-2002). Ms Melnikiene has worked as Associate Professor at Vilnius Pedagogical University - Department of Social Pedagogy (2003- 2007), and at Vilnius Gedimino Technical University - Department of Enterprise Management and Economics (2003-2004).

In her presentation about the Public discussion on the future of rural development policy: Lithuanian case study, Rasa Melnikiene will bring up the following topics:

  • Why did we need to organize the Green Paper discussion on future policy of rural areas in Lithuania?
  • What were the aims and content of the Green Paper?
  • What ways were taken to organize the process of discussion?
  • What results were received (activity of the society in providing proposals, formulation of strategic directions for policy makers)?

Quality of Life for me means a balance between sustainable needs and possibilities.


Ms Eva Norman, Administrator at the Örebro municipality, City planning department, Sweden

Ms Eva Norman has studied public economics, and has worked amongst other things as financial manager for the EU project Baltic Sea Cycling, and as international coordinator and administrator within Örebro City planning department.

Ms Norman describes her presentation titled “From citizen to stakeholder - How to create an interest for involvement in urban and rural planning” as follows: It takes time, tricks and patience to be successful in building new bridges between stakeholders with a common interest but living on “the other side” of the border. Invitation, theme, case, discussion, time, premises, “two ears and one mouth” – everything matters!

To me Quality of Life means nice weather and infrastructure for walking and cycling wherever I want to go in the city, and a walking distance to work. A wide range of concerts, art, theatre, amusement and shopping in a dense city centre. Parks and green areas nearby.


Ms Christin Gimberger, Örebro Municipality City Planning, Sweden

Ms Christin Gimberger has a Master degree in Urban and Regional planning from 2006. During 2007-2010 she worked with infrastructural planning in Nacka Municipality, next to Stockholm in Sweden. In 2010 Ms Gimberger was employed at Örebro municipality, where her work today concerns comprehensive planning in the municipality of Örebro.

In the conference Ms Christin Gimberger will give a presentation titled “How to include children’s interests and knowledge in the planning process”. She will explain the method used in Örebro municipality to include children in urban planning. The method is a GIS-based planning tool for children and schools.

Quality of Life for me is: good infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians, a lot of parks and green areas integrated in the city and near home. A city that offer a mixture of arts, sports, amusement, shopping, pulse…