My first project in 1987 was the accompanying research of 21 villages and small towns. They developed and tested strategies for urban renewal and exchanged their experiences with each other. After that, model projects never let me go. Model projects are testing grounds for innovations and places for collaborative learning. In co-production, new insights and solutions emerge. These are quickly passed on and multiplied by moderated exchange. If things go well, permanent networks arise from the project families, such as the nationwide network Services of General Interest or the Small Town Academy. The topics have evolved over time, from village and urban renewal to cooperative regional development, from planning law to strategic development, from municipal land management to services of general interest, good life fort he elderly and engagement. The focus of my research is almost always on rural areas.