More than one third of EU citizens live and work in Europe’s border regions. These borders have a direct and indirect impact on their lives. Particularly in the cross-border agglomerations, the population takes advantage of the diverse range of jobs and services, educational institutions, cultural activities and leisure facilities on both sides of the border. This also includes infrastructures and services specifically designed for border regions, such as bilingual kindergartens, training centres and study programs. Commuter movements across national borders bear witness to the intensive functional integration of these areas (BMVBS 2011, 9).
This is also evident in the border area between Nettetal and Venlo. Against this background, the government of North Rhine-Westphalia (together with the Dutch government) has been discussing more intensively for about a year now the idea of establishing a European University in the border area in order to (1) promote the development of a cross-border urban space and (2) expand scientific cooperation between the two countries (so far, Venlo has had the Fontys Venlo University of Applied Sciences, where many German students are also enrolled).
The aim of the Master’s draft is to analyse – in close cooperation with practitioners (urban planners and politicians of the city of Nettetal and the district of Viersen and, if necessary, also regional politicians) – the chances for the development of a cross-border urban space by a European University Venlo/Nettetal. The following steps are planned for the planning and establishment of a possible European University (and possibly a subsequent university district) in the border area between Nettetal and Venlo:
- Analysis of potential areas of possible locations in question
- Analysis of further needs (housing, services, trade) that are relevant in the context of a new university location that may have to be realised; here, great importance is attached to the evaluation of statistical data and also to conducting interviews with decision-makers (in Germany and the Netherlands)
- Development of urban concepts (e.g. strategic framework plan, urban development framework plan, urban design concept etc.)
- Development of an urban development framework plan and an urban development design concept etc.