Special Sessions - Graz 2016

Building Bridges: Cities and Regions in a Transnational World

Path dependency and regional renewal

Session organiser(s)

Arne Isaksen, University of Agder and Stig-Erik Jakobsen, Bergen University College

The session welcomes papers that focus on aspects of industrial renewal and path creation in regional economies. Regions are facing challenges of how to sustain long-term industrial development in the face of demands from a more knowledge based and global economy. Papers could analyse mechanisms at firm level, regional level and network level that stimulate and hamper regional renewal. Focus could be on how existing regional advantages are strengthened or hampered, and, in particular, how regions manage or not to renew their industrial structure through innovation and branching processes in existing industries and through the creation of new firms and industries. Papers can also study the effect of (proposed or implemented) policy instruments in stimulating regional renewal.  

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The limits of post-transition: Regional development at the crossroads in post-socialist Central and Eastern Europe

Session organiser(s)

Zoltán Gál, Gábor Lux

The in-depth transformation of post-socialist countries has been discussed and studied within a number of conceptual frameworks. After the dissolution of state socialism, “transition” became the word of choice, widely adopted to understand processes of far-reaching socio-economic change. Although the brief fashion of “transitology” was tainted by adventurism, and rapidly fell out of use, the notion of progress from one system to a hopefully better one persists in popular imagination. “Integration”, a gradualist idea of becoming part of (Western) European structures and networks, is another such concept, implying growing involvement and step-by-step adaptation.

Yet as the time since EU-accession has shown, while both transition and integration have taken place, regional development remains plagued by deep gaps between the performance of western and eastern member states. Low income levels, thin socio-economic networks, demographic erosion and deficient institutions point to persisting problems. The exogenous shock of the 2008—2009 economic crisis and its aftermath have exposed systemic vulnerabilities which have influenced both crisis responses and post-crisis adaptation patterns, implying weak resilience among the EU’s eastern member states, and evoking the threat of marginalisation. Explanations questioning the notion of seamless reintegration have been revived, and are now studied with interest. The Varieties of Capitalism debate has highlighted the macro-region’s external capital dependency, and its subservient position in global production networks. Due to the legacies of state socialism, but also the long-term dilemmas of catching-up,  capital accumulation and the crisis, systemic socio-economic, political and geo-political vulnerabilities  have been revealed within transition models. The development and growth prospects of the CEE/SEE countries require additional scrutiny.

Since the outbreak of the crisis, not only have FDI inflows decreased but also the role of foreign capital in promoting economic growth has been revised. Endogenous development emerged in response to the pressures of the global economy in Western Europe, and focuses on exploiting locally rooted competitive advantages that can counteract the cost advantages of less developed economies, providing a “high road” of socio-economic development. In Central Europe, economic (industrial) restructuring has mainly followed a development path based on Foreign Direct Investment, which has reinvigorated competitiveness, but now faces the need to transcend low costs (resulting in the so-called “middle income trap”), and counteract the unfavourable effects of external capital dependency. This vulnerability of CEE is exacerbated by geo-economic problems, both by the predominant external capital & export dependence on Western Europe, and energy dependency on Russia. Core-periphery theories, already formulated before systemic change, are applied again to see if they fit.

This session seeks to further our understanding of how the post-transition period in post-socialist countries in CEE has contributed to increasing divides within Europe. It invites speakers to discuss the following topics:

Assessment  of growing territorial (national and regional) disparities and the evaluation of growth- and sustainability-oriented policies in the CEE/SEE context;
Metropolitan and non-metropolitan development patterns: Success stories of capital city regions;
Territorial scenarios and forecast models for the regions;
Tackling the dual economy: Reindustrialization, SMEs, endogenous development;
The role of FDI and EU funds in growth and catching up ;
Assessment of cohesion funds and private investments (FDI & domestic funds) on cohesion in regional economies;
The role of business culture  and entrepreneurship: regional entrepreneurial performance;
Middle income trap: how to overcome low-income based competitiveness?
The role of the service sector;
Demographic trends: aging, outmigration vs immigration.

For more information please contact: Zoltán Gál (galz@rkk.hu) or Gábor Lux (lux@rkk.hu)

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Entrepreneurial Cities and Regions for Climate Policy and Governance?

Session organiser(s)

Dr Andrew Kythreotis, Cardiff School of Planning & Geography, Cardiff University

What makes an entrepreneurial city and/or region for climate policy and governance? This is the main focus of this special session.

The formulation of climate policy has largely coalesced and been led at the international scale through collective agreements like the non-legally binding UNFCCC and the legally binding Kyoto Protocol. Member country states then use such agreements to implement their own national climate policies. For example, with the intention of a new collective international climate agreement at COP 21 in Paris in December 2015, many member states are now deciding or have decided on what their own Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) should be with respect to greenhouse gas emission levels. Many member states have already submitted their INDCs including all countries in the EU, the US, Australia and Russia, each showing varied levels of national commitments to lowering greenhouse gas emissions. The example of INDCs arguably illustrate how the international and national policy scales maintain the greatest influence in formal policy responses to climate change.

But how do these higher policy scales engage with sub-national (e.g. cities and regions) actors to achieve their intended responses at higher policy scales? Do sub-national scale governance actors actively engage with higher policy scales insomuch we can talk of entrepreneurial cities and/or regions for climate policy and governance? This session will draw together work around the theme of entrepreneurial cities and/or regions for climate policy and governance. We therefore seek papers that broadly:

1. Examine the varied conditions conducive to and constraining of an entrepreneurial city and/or region. What makes particular cities and/or regions special, if special at all, in leading on climate policy and governance?

2. Highlight how particular cities and/or regional successes or failures in climate policy and governance is resultant of national responses to international climate governance.

3. Examine how cities and/or regions have prioritised particular strategies related to climate change that give them an entrepreneurial gravitas e.g. climate mitigation through Smart Cities or climate adaptation through global initiatives like the Rockefeller 100 Resilient Cities initiative.

4. Examine more generally whether entrepreneurial cities and/or regions for climate policy and governance arise out of a politics of scale or a scale of politics.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words must be sent to Dr Andrew Kythreotis (KythreotisA@cardiff.ac.uk) by 31st January 2016.

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The Emerging City of Milan

Session organiser(s)

Antonio Calafati (Gran Sasso Science Institute, IT & Academy of Architecture, USI) (www.antoniocalafati.it)

The urban system of Milan is Italy’s major functional urban area. In terms of population, employment and wealth it has been the most important Italian urban system for decades. It has maintained this position because of its very high ‘endogenous development potential’: in terms of investment, technological progress, social innovation and urban renewal ‘Milan’ has been the leading place since the 1950s in Italy, playing a key role in the national development trajectory.

‘Milan’ is one of the very few large Italian urban systems that have increased total employment in the past decade.  And it is also the Italian urban system with the most spectacular urban transformation projects in progress (or just completed), and with the most ambitious globalisation strategy. The development performances of Milan over the next decade will profoundly influence the overall Italian development path – and to understand them is a key why-question from a policy perspective too.

As many other large and complex cities, Milan’s development potential  – and the use of it – is a function of the resources commanded and the development strategies implemented of a very high number of diverse private, collective and public actors. Besides, as a consequence of its globalisation strategy, an increasing number of actors playing a key role in shaping the city’s development trajectory are ‘global players’. Milan’s overall development trajectory over the next decade will emerge from the intersection of numerous and differentiated actions and investment patterns.

That the urban system of Milan is in a phase of profound change can be easily inferred from its large and emblematic urban transformation interventions. The EXPO has been used as a tool to signal to the international community Milan’s modernisation and globalisation strategy and achievements. Yet Milan is changing in a much more spatially diffused and molecular way: the micro and spatially spread processes of economic, social, spatial and architectural innovation are changing the cities equally – and possibly more – profoundly than the major urban transformation projects.

To understand what kind of city – economically, socially, politically, and physically ­– will emerge from this highly decentralised and molecular process of change is the overarching aim of this session. To meet this aim is necessary to go beyond the focus on the large urban transformation processes and connect their short- and long-terms effects to those generated by numerous and typologically very different micro-processes of change.

The papers presented in this special session will explore specific changes in progress in the Milan’s urban system. Focusing in particular on those that may be regard as structural ones, which will influence directly and indirectly Milan’s development trajectory in the next decade and beyond. The session welcomes trans-disciplinary papers trespassing the boundaries of disciplines, and will be open to researchers and scholars from all the disciplines of social sciences.

For more information please contact Antonio Calafati at the Gran Sasso Science Institute- Social Sciences Division:


In addition to sending your proposal directly to Antonio Calafati at the above-given email address, please submit your abstract (400-500 words, text only, no pictures, graphs or tables) through the Regional Studies Association online portal by 31st January 2016.

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The development of Peripheral Areas in Italy: A European Perspective

Session organiser(s)

Maria Giulia Pezzi, Gran Sasso Science Institute, Social Sciences Unit
Giulia Urso, Gran Sasso Science Institute, Social Sciences Unit

Within the framework of the ‘National Reform Plan’ – and against the background of the 2014-2020 Cohesion Policy – the Italian Government has launched the ‘National Strategy for Inner Areas’. According to the definition adopted, “Inner Areas” cover a vast part of the Italian territory hosting a population of more than 13.540 million. This territory possesses a “territorial capital” of exceptional value and diversity but which is largely unused as a consequence of the long-term demographic decline that began in the 1950s when Italy started its industrial take-off. The strategy – now in its experimental phase – adopted by Italy has the overall objective of promoting local development by activating unused territorial capital through carefully selected development projects. Improving the quality and quantity of the key welfare services (education, health, transport) in the inner areas is a central pillar of that strategy.

Discussing the Italian strategy for inner areas provides an intriguing starting point for broader reflection on European inner (or peripheral) areas which addresses some crucial issues in the regional development debate: the urban/rural dichotomy and urban/rural interactions (also in light of the European Spatial Development Perspective, ESDP, and the OECD integrated approach to economic development); the development of remote mountainous areas; the polycentric urban region; the endogenous dynamics of local systems and the effects of policies on them; the development trajectories of marginal areas; and place-based policies.

In recent decades Europe’s peripheral areas have had to address the challenge of re-inventing themselves and to undertake the task of finding their place in a more globalized and interconnected world.  A number of new opportunities have been furnished by increased mobility and the greater importance acquired by information and communication technologies, which have resulted in different perceptions of how development policies are interpreted and designed.

The development strategies of peripheral areas in Europe often address social, political and cultural priorities, i.e. reversing the depopulation and marginalisation of these areas, by relying mainly on two key economic policy assets: improving essential services and triggering local development processes. These areas, in fact, have distinctive features. Firstly, they are fragile areas from a socio-demographic point of view because of population ageing. Secondly, they are unstable from an environmental (physical, eco-systemic) point of view as a consequence of insufficient maintenance of their semi-natural capital (human landscapes). Lastly, and more importantly, these are areas in which a significant part of the territorial capital is underexploited or unused. These three characteristics have a crucial social, economic and environmental importance at both a national and local level.

The session welcomes papers that focus on these topics from a policy-oriented perspective and rely on relevant case studies which can help shed light on development policies in peripheral areas.


Abstracts of about 500 words should be sent to giulia.pezzi@gssi.infn.it and giulia.urso@gssi.infn.it by 31st January 2016. 

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Cohesion Policy for European Regions and Cities: between economic and political challenges

Session organiser(s)

RSA Research Network on the Cohesion PolicyRSA Research Network on the Cohesion Policy

Contact person: Nicola Francesco DOTTI (Cosmopolis, Vrije Universiteit Brussel) Nicola.Dotti@vub.ac.be

Since 2014 a new programming period of the EU’s Cohesion Policy (CP) has started adding a major emphasis on the importance of investments to recover from the crisis that has significantly increased regional disparities. While during past decades the CP has attracted major attention animating lively debates on regional disparities, territorial cohesion, tools of regional and urban policy, multi-level governance, policy impacts and evaluation, territorial reforms and regionalisation, as well as the wider issue of European integration, new challenges are emerging. First, the urgency to provide returns from CP investments in the context of the economic crisis requires a shift in the long-term perspective of regional development. Second, the 2014-2020 programming period has started amidst a major political crisis for the EU, triggered by the Eurozone woes and deepened by a series of political crises (conflicts at Europe’s gates, the risk of ‘brexit’ or ‘grexit’, refugee crisis and the raise of populist parties across the EU member states to name a few), which risks undermining the future of the policy itself. In fact, CP remains heavily criticised and questioned, while the debate for the post-2020 reform has already started. Third, the well-known “DG-Regio” of the EU Commission has changed the official denomination in “Directorate General for Regional and Urban Policy” symbolically marking the new emphasis on the urban dimension of CP. Fourth, the Europe2020 strategy and the so-called ‘Juncker’s investment plan’ boost for integration of the CP with other policies to benefit from synergies in addressing the economic crisis, however, little or nothing is said on the relationship between the CP and other major policy options currently discussed such as the exit of some member states from the EU, the TTIP and the coordination between investments and monetary policies.

Against this background, we invite paper proposals addressing the following issues in the framework of the EU’s Cohesion Policy:

Addressing grand societal challenges of the Europe2020 strategy: CP for climate change, ageing, and poverty.
The political role of the CP in the European integration and for the future of the EU.
The (new?) European Urban Agenda.
The CP policy in the context of the EU budget and the EU economic governance.
New financial instruments, integrated territorial investments (ITI), and their governance and financing system: first experiences.
Cross-border cooperation in a period of centrifugal forces: Interreg and policy mobility.
‘Smart specialisation strategies’, ‘smart cities’, and ‘smart governance’: towards a ‘smart’ CP?
Methods for policy evaluation: the role of academics, experts and consultants in understanding and improving CP.
Capitalisation of the CP: policy learning from three decades of CP, taking stock of progress and not reinventing the wheel.

Anyone interested in participating in the session should register for the conference before 7th December 2015 (online registration) and chose it when submitting the abstract. Please note that while we will assess all the proposals submitted to this special session, we will select only a limited number of proposals, bearing in mind their fit with the topics outlined above, complementarities between them and the overall coherence of the session.

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Challenges of Regional Development and EU Integration in South East Europe

Session organiser(s)

Marijana Sumpor (msumpor@eizg.hr), Department for Regional Economics, Sustainable Development and Governance, The Institute of Economics, Zagreb (EIZ), Croatia

Janez Nared (janez.nared@zrc-sazu.si), Department for Human Geography, Anton Melik Geographical Institute, Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Slovenia

Danica Šantić (danicam@gef.bg.ac.rs), Faculty of Geography, University of Belgrade, Serbia 

We invite all colleagues interested in regional development and EU integration in South East Europe to submit a paper to this special session. South East Europe, once a well connected economic, political and cultural area, is struggling to re-establish its ties and become more connected after the period of conflicts. The accession to the EU seems to be decisive in this process. Scientific discourse and cooperation can contribute to this process, by continuing in a constructive and fruitful manner the scientists have cooperated before the democratic transition. Also, new generations and early career researchers are more than welcome to join this session. Possible topics of interest for this special session, but not exclusively, are the following:

National regional development policy in the context of EU accession and EU 2020
IPA – Integrated Pre-accession Programme
Cross-border development, CBC programmes
Danube Strategy and Programme, ADRION Adriatic-Ionian Transnational Cooperation Programme
Historic spatial development aspects and future prospects of EU Territorial Cohesion in the SEE context
Pan-European Transport Corridor X
Post-socialist transition
Post-war reconstruction
Regional economic cooperation
Natural and cultural heritage
Migration crisis
Demographic challenges

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New Operational Programmes and Governance – Reducing or Deepening Peripheralization in Central and Eastern Europe

Session organiser(s)

Garri Raagmaa (University of Tartu, Estonia), József Benedek (Babes-Bolyai Unievrsity Cluj, Romania)

The sessions is linked to the Marie Curie Initial Training Network (ITN) Socio-economic and Political Responses to Regional Polarisation in Central and Eastern Europe (RegPol²)

One of the main objectives of the Structural Funds (SF) targeta the reducing regional differences. The aim of this session is to analyse whether the new Operational Programmes (2014–2020) of the EU Central and Eastern European (CEE) member states are better equipped to reduce regional disparities and involve local and regional authorities in policy making: whether they learned from the previous (2007–2013) period and initiated changes in the policy framework. There should be serious concerns among regional policy makers of CEE countries, where national spatial polarization has sharpened over the last decade. This situation is somewhat paradoxical because CEE benefited several times more from the EU extensive cohesion and common agricultural policy transfers; SF form the lion’s share of their public investments since 2004. CEE countries jumped on the globalization and Europeanization train in the early 1990s. As a result, new declining regions have emerged and already existing patterns of spatial differentiation have intensified. GDP per capita and migration data show strong and gradually growing polarization between main metropolitan areas and the rest of the countries. Most affected are remote rural regions and some industrial agglomerations.

Since peripheralization has amplified, we can also ask whether governance – which has been reformed in all CEE countries at least to some degree – and its institutional set up may have had an impact on this. The Europeanization of local and regional governments in the CEE countries has been ambivalent. Recent studies conclude that CEE administrative systems have been effective with regard to the procedural regulatory and financial obligations but have had difficulties with programming which requires public administration organized at different spatial levels and, specifically, a concern with the content and effects of (regional economic development) policies which requires the wider involvement of enterprises, NGOs and other stakeholders.

Thus, administrative practices in Europe do not converge or harmonize but are translated into various processes and formats. The CEE local and regional authorities lack true knowledge necessary to understand the EU policy rationale and future oriented leadership capable of carrying out necessary institutional and structural changes. So far. the previous EU cohesion policy if not ignited then at least supported centralization – and peripheralization – in the CEE, and the Commission now plays the Chinese whispers with the CEE lower tier governance, where generally reasonable policy concepts may obtain quite different meanings.

This session welcomes papers asking the following questions:

Lessons, experiences, results of the previous programming period in addressing the problems of peripheries
Are there signs of more active public discussion addressing peripheralization among national policy makers and politicians?
How clearly do the new OPs respond to the Commission’s main guidelines (e.g., focussing on key growth sectors, better coordination between the SF, simplification, SME support) and, more specifically, to spatial policy recommendations (place based policy, smart specialization, leader principle)?
Are there new measures and institutions in the OPs targeted at reducing spatial differences?
Are there initiatives that presumably improve the development capacity of local and regional authorities and involve them in policy making?
Multipolicy approach on peripheries: relations between regional policy, rural development policy and spatial planning

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Knowledge dynamics and regional development policy in the transition to sustainable development, circular economy and bio economy

Session organiser(s)

Margareta Dahlström and Ida Grundel (margareta.dahstrom@kau.se and ida.grundel@kau.se) Karlstad University. Jukka Teräs and Gunnar Lindberg (jukka.teras@nordregio.se and gunnar.lindberg@nordregio.se) Nordregio

: In the end of 2015 the European Union aims to present a new strategy for the development of a European circular economy compatible with Europe 2020 strategy ´Smart, sustainable and inclusive growth’. Thereby a wide range of new and old concepts such as circular economy, bioeconomy, green economy and sustainable development are being used in policy making. The concepts used are all related, partly overlapping and not always well defined and the exact definitions vary between national and international actors. However, the definitions made, mainly aim to develop an economy based on sustainable use of renewable resources to develop new processes and products. In a policy perspective all concepts in one way or another also link to the innovation of goods, services and processes, e.g. in relation to clean energy and production processes, the reduction of waste, but also to organisational systems and behavioural changes that contribute to sustainable development. The role of policies at all levels from the local to the global therefore has a strong bearing on the concepts, where for example bioeconomy and circular economy have become significant for both the EU and the OECD.

To understand the underlying processes in the transition towards sustainability an important concept is knowledge dynamics stressing knowledge and learning as important drivers for innovation. Knowledge dynamics are increasingly cross-sectoral, multi-actor and multi-scalar. Here a wide definition of innovation is used to recognize innovations in as well goods, services as processes and not only in technological development or natural scientific knowledge. Cross sectoral knowledge interactions draw on different disciplines, industries and expertise, whereas multi-actor knowledge interactions involve different actors such as researchers, producers, consumers, the civil society and public policy makers. This latter perspective can also be related to the development of quadruple helix innovation systems, possibly seen as facilitators for the inclusion of more actors towards sustainable development. Some scholars also use the concept of quintuple helix and the inclusion of five helices, where the fifth helix is not an actual stakeholder but refers to the inclusion of environmental protection and natural settings in the innovation system. Multi-scalar interactions highlight the fact that local and regional networks of interactions are not enough. Innovation involves knowledge relations between regions, countries and continents. All together cross-sectoral, multi-actor and multi-scalar knowledge interactions play an important role for radical innovation rather than for incremental changes in goods and services. Radical innovations are also necessary to be able to achieve sustainability goals such as in relation to climate change or the transition to sustainable bioeconomy or circular economy. To address the complexity of societal challenges, and contribute towards solutions and transition to sustainability, different types of cross disciplinary research and development projects need to be developed, including transdisciplinary work involving non-academic partners.

To this session we welcome papers addressing issues related to a transition of the economy into for example bioeconomy or circular economy through and by knowledge dynamics and regional development policy. Such issues could include topics related to the restructuring of the economy focusing on knowledge dynamics, regional development, smart specialisation and regional innovation systems. To a large extent it also relates to new innovations, radical innovations, eco-innovations and a deepening of the knowledge about for example ecosystem services in both industry, society and as a tool for policy making. It can also include topics related to the enlargement of earlier innovation systems from a triple to a quadruple or a quintuple helix system where civil society is included in the innovation system. How can civil society be included in innovation processes in the transition to bioeconomy or a circular economy? How can regional development policies be designed to contribute to smart, sustainable and inclusive growth? Are new kinds of bioeconomy innovation systems being developed through knowledge interaction across sectors, scales and actors – and across regions or countries? Can climate challenges work as drivers for new innovations and ecosystem services contributing to sustainable development?

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Critical Studies of Urban and Regional Development

Session organiser(s)

Line Säll, Karlstad university (line.sall@kau.se) & Andreas Öjehag-Pettersson, Karlstad university (andreas.ojehag@kau.se) 

The theme of this year’s conference highlight the interconnectedness of variegated spaces, such as cities and regions, in contemporary governance and calls for the creation of more flexible and non-hierarchical alliances as ways to initiate dialogues and foster regional cooperation across nations and continents. This special session focus on, and stresses, the need to critically engage with the politics and power of such attempts of ‘building bridges’ in a transnational world. Specifically, through the papers presented, we wish to open up for a critical discussion concerning some of the central concepts of this year’s theme such as cooperation, competitiveness, the global-local nexus as well as the limits and pitfalls of the theoretical model of multi-level governance for understanding contemporary governance regimes.

Therefore, we wish to invite scholars to discuss, analyse and interpret current trends within urban and regional development using a critical perspective where power and the political are common denominators. We welcome empirical case studies as well as methodological and/or theoretical papers that critically engage with the concepts specified above as central to this year’s theme. Moreover, we also recognize that critical studies of urban and regional development is a broad endeavour, and therefore accept papers that fit within the critical category in general. Our understanding of critical perspectives includes, but is not limited to, foucauldian themes such as questions of power/knowledge and governmentality analysis, post-structuralist discourse theory (PDT), critical discourse analysis (CDA), (post-) Marxist perspectives, feminist perspectives and post-colonial modes of analysis. 

Last, but not least, Critical Studies of Urban and Regional Development has successfully been organized at the RSA conferences in Izmir and Piacenza so this marks the third time that the special session will be held, facilitating an opportunity for those interested in critical approaches to discuss, form networks and plan future research. 

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Urban Tourism Development

Session organiser(s)

Regional Studies Association (RSA) Research Network on Tourism and Regional Development

The Research Network established initially in 2005 became a recognized meeting point for everyone with an interest in issues relating to tourism from a development perspective. The research network is kindly supported  by the Regional Studies Association and organized by:

Prof. Henrik Halkier, University of Aalborg, Denmark – halkier@cgs.aau.dk

Associate prof. Marek W. Kozak, University of Warsaw, Poland – m.kozak@uw.edu.pl

Aims of the Research Network “Tourism and Regional Development:

It is  mostly to examine tourism diversity from the perspective of regional development in order to identify current challenges and opportunities in a systematic matter, and hence provide the basis for a more well-informed integration of tourism in regional development strategies and more beyond political short-termism and buzzword fascination. In the frame of the network a series of workshops have been organized from various topics from destination management to rural tourism and other aspects. In line with the main topic of the Annual Conference in Graz (“Building Bridges: Cities and Regions in a Transnational World”) the research network accepts papers relating to networks and global issues.

Background and aims of the Research Network  meeting in Graz:

In the times of fast urbanization, increasing migration, changes in tourism and work style,  fast development of information, communication  and transportation technologies,  urban development policy (including tourism development) becomes increasingly important. Functional cooperation  networks between more and less urbanized areas are making this form of tourism even more interesting as it covers not only urban areas. The cities, also due to fast cultural tourism in its rich variety, become the focal points of development (including tourism). It is important as the expectations of tourists are changing and are more and more sensitive to factors helping to spend interesting time (experience tourism) regardless of the weather. The role of urban areas increases also because they became already main source of tourists and in the same time – due to changes in development (and tourism) factors – they became a main tourist destinations.

The Graz workshop aims to discuss and exchange ideas, experience, research results about urbanized areas (and their partners)  tourism development and management are relevant for the workshop, organized with support from Regional Studies Association. Therefore there is a wide variety of papers welcome on the following topics:

Destination management and development of various types of urban areas (from metropolitan areas, its districts, to cities, towns and other forms of urban areas)
Experience tourism in urban areas (development, experience etc);
Co-operation of tourism development between the core and the periphery of urban zones;
The role of tourism and marketing issues of the urbanized areas in regional (or national) development strategies and processes;
Tourist-hosts relationship in destinations;
(Mega)-events in urban areas and their role in tourism, local and regional development;
The role of creative and innovative factors in tourism, local and regional  development;
Competition and cooperation in tourism, local and regional development: the role, examples, experience;
Criteria of tourism development;
Urban  brands as development factors in tourism;
Sustainable urban tourism development challenges and factors;
Tourism infrastructure in urban areas: its utilization and experience with its development and role;
The co-operation (or conflicts) in the times of global competition;
Other forms of tourism relating to urban areas and cooperation (or conflict) with them (active, gastronomy, shopping, events etc.)

Papers addressing other aspects of tourism and regional development will also be welcome. Only the quality of abstracts addressing aforementioned topics will be used as a approval criterion.

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Beyond growth – regional development and planning in non-core regions

Session organiser(s)

Thilo Lang, Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (Leipzig), Anke Matuschewski (University of Bayreuth), Birgit Leick (University of Bayreuth), Vasilis Avdikos (Panteion University, Athens)

This special session is dedicated to explore alternative development perspectives of non-core regions. By non-core regions, we understand contexts where conditions of rurality and peripherality, or persistent economic downturn and long-term industrial crisis dominate the prospects of regional development. Such regions can be found in Southern Europe in the aftermath of the recent global financial and economic crisis, in Eastern Europe as a result of post socialist transformations but also in demographically shrinking rural or peripheralised places across Europe. Given multiple and complex challenges attached to such conditions that adversely affect local development, it is essential to consider new and alternative conceptualizations of non-core regions. In addition, specific planning approaches are needed for these types of regions that differ from the standard approaches applied to the metropolitan or non-peripheral counterparts, where, all too often, economic growth stimulates population growth and social-cultural development. This session therefore wants to collect contributions in various fields such as planning theory and practice, heterodox concepts highlighting local and social economies, approaches of regional resilience, rurality studies, and others to enhance our knowledge in the following topical areas (and beyond):

Theoretical perspectives that help establish counter-conceptualizations to economic growth in a spatial context or with regard to specific types of non-core regions,
Empirical perspectives on alternative approaches to local and regional development,
Policy approaches to development in and planning for non-core regions, and
Critical responses to the policy practices of endogenous development and place based approaches in non-core regions.

We welcome both theoretical and empirical papers to this theme.

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Building smart bridges. Enhancing governance models and synergies between urban-rural linkages through metabolic approaches

Session organiser(s)

Chiara Garau (cgarau@unica.it), Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture (DICAAR), University of Cagliari (Italy)

Luis Inostroza (inostroza@technotope.org), Dresden University of Technology (Germany)

Urban ecosystems encompass complex processes and fluxes of matter, energy and information to keep fundamental urban functions at all scales making the relationship between cities and hinterlands irreducible. The territory beyond urban physical boundaries includes complex landscapes which are challenging traditional political, administrative and hierarchical partitions. On the one hand, smart governance can be understood as a system capable of turning cities and regions into creative and innovative complex systems, to effectively utilize space and sources in a manner that ensures resilience. However, operationalizations of urban-rural linkages are still underexplored where stronger conceptual and methodological developments are needed. For instance current smart approaches have been focusing mainly on core urban areas, leaving aside urban-rural linkages. On the other hand, metabolism understands cities deeply embedded – socially, economically, ecologically and thermodynamically – within surroundings at all scales, from hinterlands up to global spaces.

To foster innovative approaches towards enhancing synergies between urban-rural linkages, this session will explore the following 3 relevant issues:

1) Appropriate governance models to cope with increasing urbanization trends and the transformation of rural economies, which are leading to new types of urban-rural interactions;

2) Understand how current and future metabolic linkages are affecting urban-rural life, how urban planning can deal with them.

3) How the metabolic approach can help in developing new governance frameworks for enhancing synergies between rural-urban linkages.

Both theoretical and empirical contributions are welcome, addressing issues related to smart governance, metabolism, smart cities, urban-rural synergies, governance models between urban-rural linkages, and governance structures of urban rural metabolic linkages, combining efficiency and equity, tradition and innovation, centripetal and centrifugal metabolic flows of matter, energy and information.

Abstracts of no more than 400 words must be sent to Dr. Chiara Garau (cgarau@unica.it) and Dr. Luis Inostroza (inostroza@technotope.org) by 31st January 2016.

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Place Leadership In The 21st Century: Power, Influence And Economic Growth

Session organiser(s)

Andrew Beer (Andrew.Beer@unisa.edu.au), University of South Australia Business School

Markku Sotarauata  (markku.sotarauta@uta.fi) School of Management, University of Tampere

We invite all colleagues interested in place leadership and its contribution to regional outcomes to submit a paper to this special session, that builds upon the work of the RSA-funded Research Network on this topic.  There is a still small, but growing, body of work on place leadership and the contribution individual – and collective – human agency makes to shaping the future of cities and regions.  The nature of intellectual interest in place leadership has also evolved over the past five years, with an increasing interest in the development of more robust links between theory and empirical observation.   This special session will continue this on-going discourse, seeking contributions that are both case-study based and more systematic. We especially welcome contributions that begin to explore new methods and analytical perspectives.

Possible topics of interest for this special session, but not exclusively, are the following:

·         Case studies demonstrating the ways in which leadership has recast the growth trajectories of places;

·         Theory building on place leadership; 

·         Cross regional and cross national comparisons in the articulation of place leadership;

·         Issues of measurement in assessing place leadership;

·         The relationship between formal power structures and place leadership;

·         Local government and place leadership; 

·         The role of the EU in place leadership; 

·         Leadership training programs and their impacts;

·         The role of scale and the relationship with new forms of government and governance.

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Social comparisons and altruism across space and time

Session organiser(s)

Ronald Wendner, University of Graz, Austria ronald.wendner@uni-graz.at

Olof Johansson-Stenman, Gothenburg University, Sweden

This session deals with the effects of positional preferences (including status, relative consumption) and altruism on economic growth and optimal tax policy responses. A spatial perspective is implied by the fact that people may exhibit different degrees of positionality across regions and countries, implying stark effects on economic growth and optimal tax policies both in multi-country- and single country models. 

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Session organiser(s)

Balázs György, Forman Corvinus University of Budapest

In many regions of the World, very serious socio-territorial changes are currently happening in non-core areas. As in other parts of the world, most development in Central Europe, or in East Asia is. recently peripheral and differs from 'classical' economic development in North Atlantic countries.
One characteristic of recent economic development is the high dependency and/or interdependence on core countries and on world market.
Other characteristic of recent economic development is the high dependency and/or interdependence on natural and environmental resources and climate change.
How we can focus our attention for changes are caused by climate change if interests of the all countries are high level fragmented? If the economic growth and economic development needs for some countries to solve the different challenges of ageing population, to sustain systems of the education, the public services, the pension, the public health with changing population and growing inequalities.
The key terms are the inequalities, sustainability and welfare allocation and/or distribution between different individuals, social groups, regions, countries and generations. The peripheral and semi-peripheral countries in the vicinity of economic growth hubs are changing rapidly. However, peripheries of world economy are not only affected by the geographical expansion of their role in spatial division of labour leading to dispersed forms of economic development in the core-periphery connection.
In a general sense, it seems that semi-peripheral countries are becoming a more central arena under neoliberal capitalism in World economy, leading to spatial reconfigurations as well as social, ecological and economic disruptions. We have to face dichotomy of stability- instability and short and long term periods.
However, up to now, much existing work has focused on economic development of North America and Europe, while systematized reflections on developments in Latin America, in Central Europe and etc. have been underrepresented.
This session to discuss the natures, causes, consequences, and politics of the dynamics taking place in peripheries and semi-peripheries of World economy, in order to enhance our understanding of the role of these spaces for current processes of neoliberal development.

We search for answer the following questions:
•      What are the characteristics of current changes in the peripheral and semi-peripheral countries or regions, and (how) do they differ from processes of economic growth and development of core countries?
•      What makes these spaces special and attractive for new forms of commodification?
•      What are the social, ecological and economic effects of the new spatial division of labour and/or configurations?
•      How does development in the periphery interrelate with technical change?
•      How is it linked to the commodification of nature and a re-distribution of access to natural resources and their benefits?
•      Are peripheral spaces also new arenas of resistance to globalization?

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Early Career Researcher’s Event: Creating Impact

Session organiser(s)

David Bailey, Sally Hardy and Paul Hildreth

This special session for early career researchers will focus on how to start thinking about creating impact in your work.

David Bailey will present on ‘dealing with the media: an academic’s perspective’. Sally Hardy will present on ‘Using social media to develop impact’ and Paul Hildreth will speak about ‘Impact: Perspectives from policy and a recent research evaluation exercise’. The discussion will be accessible, open and fun and we hope that participants will both pick up and share useful tips on engaging with the media, policy makers and other users of your work and how to create impact. #RSAImpact

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Towards a Smart Rural Europe: definitions for a smart future in rural areas

Session organiser(s)

Stefano Corsi

The EU growth strategy for 2020 builds on the ambition to become “a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy”. A relevant part of theories and policies concerning smart development has been devoted to urban context, whereas is not clear how the concept of smart growth can be applied in rural areas. Moreover, in recent years emerged the idea that the rural sector approaches have not achieved the expected results, and a growing demand for policies involving territorial dimensions to better reflect the new challenges and differentiated growth potential of EU rural spaces. Therefore the most relevant effort for the smart development should be lavished in rural areas, aiming at “building bridges”:

a) between urban cores and rural surrounding for a common smart plan for the regional development (spatial dimension), specifically oriented to land use organization;

b) between rural areas in different European regions for a common smart policy for development of rural areas (policy dimension), linked and supporting Rural Development program, the 2nd Pillar of Common agricultural Policy,

c) between businesses, farmers, stakeholders, civil society for a multi-actor inter-sectoral smart strategy for local development (economic dimension).

In fact in rural areas several activities, agriculture and farming, different business, services, tourism and nature, etc., coexist and smart development should consider and coordinate them. Within an increased territorial competition, the need for a smart strategy puts a greater emphasis on the ability of local actors to renew their proximity relations and connect to external networks and at the same time on innovation, endogenous factor of smart growth, as the key element for the development of new forms of rural entrepreneurship based on related variety.
The above mentioned three dimensions (spatial, policy and economic) contribute to frame the definition of smart development and define scenarios for a Smart Rural Europe.
The participants can choose to discuss around the Smart Rural Development with regard to the spatial, policy and economic dimensions.
This session is organized under the umbrella of the TASTE project of the Ruragri Era-Net. Papers are welcomed from the members of the project and from other scholars in the field.

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