The choice of name for the Regiopole Region of Rostock is based upon the term "regiopole" as coined by Prof. Dr. Iris Reuther and Prof. Dr. Jürgen Aring from the University of Kassel in 2006. The name stands for the blending of "regio" (from "region") and "polis (from the Greek term for "city"), thus combining two concepts which, though they could be seen as contradict to some, can undoubtedly complement and enhance each other.
Regiopoles are comparatively small cities that play a significant role for their surrounding region despite being situated on the outskirts of or outside metropolitan regions with an area and population size far under that of a typical metropole.
It is for this reason that the Regiopole Region of Rostock Program is so aptly named, as the name accurately describes the mutual interplay and collaboration between the city and the surrounding region.
The urban core of the Regiopole Region is the Hanseatic City of Rostock, which thus becomes synonymous with the term regiopole.
The network of the regiopole with the surrounding region creates an integrated and interconnected space: a regiopole region, one free of political, geographical, and administrative borders and characterised by close ties and mutually beneficial cooperation.
For the challenges posed by societal and technical change, new solutions to create an attractive living and working environment are required. A solution can be found in the equal collaboration between cities and regions, with the regiopole/regiopole region concept can be seen as an exemplary and practical approach. The Regiopole Region of Rostock should be viewed as a domain in which projects can be run beyond typical and traditional administrative borders. Comparatively small cities outside of metropolitan regions can attest that a regiopole can operate with effective independence as a central location, enabling them to adopt metropolitan functions owing to their inherent spatial interconnectedness. They are thus locations for a knowledge-based society that function as motors for development with increasing importance for their nearby city regions.
The criteria which qualify a town, city or area as a potential Regiopole are that it must be or have the following qualities:
- A location outside of a metropole region or a junction between metropole regions
- A population size of over 100,000
- A high-grade infrastructure system and good accessibility
- A considerable economic, cultural, political and social significance for the region
- A location of "Global Players" and "Hidden Champions"
- A concentration of innovation potential
- A university or technical college
In their "Regiopole - between metropole regions and the peripheries" study of 2006, Reuther and Aring from the university of Kassel categorised 33 German cities as potential regiopoles, one of which being Rostock.
The parameters used were based on what was termed a gravitational hypothesis, which puts mass and distance in relation to each other. According to this theory, the more distance a place has from a metropolitan centre and the greater its demographic and economic weight, the greater the potential of a city to be a regiopole. The calculations refer to distance kilometres of the passenger car route, the "metropolitan function index" (interdependence potential and innovation and control strength) in addition to the national regional population potential (in accordance with the population accessibility approach).
As a result, the professors from Kassel compiled four groups, in which the first included Rostock. As it is a distance of approximately 180 km from the closest metropolis and has an above-average metropolitan function index, the Hanseatic city showed a particularly high potential to be a regiopole (in addition to Kassel, Freiburg and Saarbrücken).
You can find the complete study and a comparison of German cities as regiopoles under www.regiopole.de.