Much effort has been invested into creating sustainable growth perspectives for the Ruhr region (“Ruhrgebiet”). A particular focus has been on overcoming barriers imposed by city and other administrative boundaries. Recently, the government of North-Rhine Westfalia announced an event called “Ruhr conference”: teams between cabinet members and stakeholders shall work out solutions for different domains like social life, employment, and health. It is important that during this process representatives follow three essential guidelines: First, since challenges like unemployment have been found to be heterogeneous within cities but spreading over city borders, all future analyses should focus on small scale regional observations. Second, problems should be tackled within cooperation pro-jects that have a clear goal and a defined target region (based on the small scale pattern). Third, good arguments will not suffice to initiate change. An attractive way to incentivize such cooperations and to overcome the status quo is through funding competitions. The government should grant project oriented funding for which local cooperations can apply with “bottom up”-ideas.