By 2050, two thirds of the world’s population are expected to live in cities. The United Nations New Urban Agenda implies changing diets and thus the need to include sustainable food systems for the cities. So the rural areas have to transform in parallel. Secondary cities are growing enormously in the rural areas and play a crucial role in coping with waste management or wastewater treatment and other problems that are arising. Spatial regional planning approaches have to be adjusted to take rural and urban development into account in parallel. Do rural surroundings really feed urban areas? And what about other flows such as cash in form of remittances, or the dynamics of geographical closeness which can lead to health risks? Land and resource conflicts may arise when cities are growing, and the demand for goods and services is changing production in the rural areas. Do such linkages pose an advantage or a threat?