What factors determine the quality of life in small or middle-sized Central European towns in the 21st century? What national and municipal strategies are needed for the short, middle and long-term development of these settlements?
Does the future belong to the metropolis or gigantopolis, with the strain on resources in highly populated centres? These are burning social, economic and cultural issues. Successful research needs well-structured, and well-funded institutions that combine basic and applied research at various levels. Planning the future of small towns in the heart of Europe is not possible without looking at major global trends, e.g., demographics, migration, employment opportunities.