A World of Flows: Labour Mobility, Capital and Knowledge in an Age of Global Reversal and Regional Revival

RSA Annual Conference 2018, Lugano, Switzerland

Date and location

Click here to register

Conference details



** To register for the Training Session ESPON Quick Scan web tool, please CLICK HERE**



To join the discussion, please use #RSALUGANO

In January 2017, the editorial of the 50th anniversary issue of Regional Studies launched – under the title “Global reversal, regional revival?” – a timely debate about regions and their development in a changing world where global trade and capital flows have been challenged. At the same time, The Economist presented evidence of capital flows shifting from foreign direct investments by multinational companies to new and more decentralised strategies such as an increasing focus on the establishment of national franchises, as well as the growing success of SMEs by means of utilizing e-commerce. New models of international business are emerging, and these have evolved in response to changing technologies, political shifts, the territorial awakening of some regions, and changing consumer demands – including calls for a more overt attempt to address sustainability and social justice at the national scale.

In this context, we need to better understand the nature and fabric of a footloose world. We know that transport and communication technologies continue to progress, information is ubiquitous and the data deluge is growing over time, while at the same time economically valuable knowledge continues to be sticky. On the one hand production factors remain highly mobile and this mobility is expressed in ways that are often unexpected, while on the other hand a rise of local culture and awareness, and tendencies towards increasing protectionism and nationalism is clearly observable. Nonetheless, migration pressures remain evident both within firms seeking new labour and amongst individuals seeking out a better life, capital investments continue to be borderless and the world of tourism booms.

The 2018 RSA Annual Conference aims to address processes of global reversal and regional revival, in a world dominated by flows of capital, labor, and knowledge. Further it seeks to understand the political, economic and social factors that initiate change and how these changes are finding new expressions as the world’s political and economic system continues to struggle with low rates of global economic growth, the rise of China as an economic super power, the on-going impacts of recession and austerity, and increasing levels of inequality. The conference recognises the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

To study and debate these and many other questions, we warmly invite the regional studies/science and connected communities to join us at the 2018 RSA Annual Conference in Lugano, Switzerland.

Editors of the RSA journals Regional Studies, Territory Politics Governance, Spatial Economic Analysis and Regional Studies, Regional Science will be present at the Conference. 

Conference themes

Innovation and knowledge economies Spatial planning and infrastructure
Labour markets, migration and borders Location and relocation of economic activities
Mobility, urban and rural development Tourism, events and culture
Sustainability, climate change and environment Regional development policy
Agglomeration, clusters and externalities Smart specialisation and the evolution of regional economies
Regional well-being, ageing and demography Urban and regional theory, methodology and data
Regional and international trade Networks and regional development
Entrepreneurship, start-ups and business climate Financial crisis, austerity and resilience
 Regional challenges in health and education Territorial governance and institutions
Housing, inequality and social justice Developing area studies
Leading Change in Cities, Regions and Contested Spaces Industry policy and the transition to carbon-constrained development
The emergence of the BRIC economies

Governments, Governance and Metagovernance: The Politics and Policy of Regions


We welcome papers from all – academics, researchers, students, and those working in policy and practice. The event is inclusive and offers networking opportunities for all in our field.

The organisers welcome proposals for special sessions, themed workshops and innovative forms of networking and collaboration. If you would like to organise or offer a session to the conference, please contact Wanda Miczorek at wanda.miczorek@regionalstudies.org

You can then upload your paper and we add it to the website in due course and enter it into the Best Student Paper AwardBest Early Career Paper Award or Best Paper Award competitions. All papers for this must be uploaded by 14th May 2018. 


Conference fees:


Click here to register

Conference organisers

Local Organising Committee :

Prof. Rico Maggi, Instituto Ricerche Economiche IRE, Università della Svizzera italiana
Prof. Antonio Calafati, Academy of Architecture,  Università della Svizzera italiana
Prof. Lorenzo Cantoni, Faculty of Communication sciences, Università della Svizzera italiana

RSA Organiser: Wanda Miczorek: wanda.miczorek@regionalstudies.org  +44 (0)1273 698 017

Related Documents

More information

How to get there

Università della Svizzera Italiana, Lugano, Switzerland

Google Map

All content copyright © Regional Studies Association 2017. Registered charity number 1084165.