Special Sessions - Dublin 2017

the Great Regional Awakening: New Directions

SS1. Participatory Research & Planning

Session organiser(s)

Janez Nared: janez.nared@zrc-sazu.si
David Bole: david.bole@zrc-sazu.si

Department for Human Geography, Anton Melik Geographical Institute, Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Slovenia

Participatory research and planning help to overcome the shortage of the top-down research and planning, namely, traditional  top-down research and planning may alienate local community members and fail to capture locally important factors. Consequently, top-down initiatives achieve lower results on the accomplishment of local communities’ goals and end-user satisfaction. Participatory approach - from participatory to transdisciplinary research, in which it is important that researchers from various academic groups begin working with participants from the very beginning, helps to shape (or ‘co-design’) the study in line with their – the participants' – needs. The aim of participatory research and planning is to foster partnerships and joint management instead of serving the partial interests of individual regional actors. Successful management of the participation process enables to achieve many goals: ironing out differences between different perspectives, preventing unproductive competition, shaping solutions acceptable to all social groups, ensuring the participation and motivation of local actors, participants’ identification with decisions that concern their environment, and strengthening their creativity and recognition. Incorporating the views of the public into planning decisions gives the decisions greater legitimacy and it increases empowerment, enhances vision-making and advocacy capabilities. It can be used to inform and involve a more diverse public audience, deepen mutual understandings, cross interest relationships, explore and integrate new ideas and solutions that may not have been considered otherwise, and ensure that planning and decision-making are informed by the needs and interests of the communities affected. The participation process strengthens regional identity, initiates a process of social learning, enhances local knowledge and promotes comparative advantages based on local knowledge. Participatory processes require sensitive attention in order to not increase the socioeconomic differences between groups in the population, but instead reducing and eliminating such differences.

Participation also has its disadvantages, especially because of its duration and financial demands. Often individual groups are excluded if they do not have the knowledge, skills and/or resources to participate in such a demanding and lengthy process. Additional weaknesses become manifest if the participation process is informal, i.e. participation scenes that lack legal backing are unable to take measures, their proposals are nonbinding, and their opportunities to carry out the decisions they adopt are also limited.

The role of participatory planning is exceptionally important because local cultures, geographical conditions, urban economic composition, local management styles, and local governance conditions are site-specific and have a significant influence on planning decisions. Planning is thereby accorded higher quality, legitimacy, affiliation, and support from the population, which is a precondition for successfully implementing planning activities.

It is, however, not enough to simply invite regional actors to participate. It is necessary to take their opinions into account and to put them into practice to the greatest extent possible, thereby creating a communicative and non-adversarial environment for everyone.

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

- theory on participatory research & planning;

- methods in participatory research & planning;

- e-participation: methods & tools;

- experiences from the field;

- evaluating results & benefits of participatory research;

- transdisciplinary research & co-designing new knowledge;

- local (community) development by participation;

- comparison of results gained by classic & participatory processes;

- generalization of results, based on participation.

The aim of the session is to connect individuals and organisations, interested in participatory research and planning into a network that opens new perspectives for the future cooperation.

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance. 
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS2. New Regional Growth Paths & Entrepreneurial Discovery

Session organiser(s)

Arne Isaksen: arne.isaksen@uia.no,
Nina Kyllingstad: nina.kyllingstad@agderforskning.no
Ann Amilla Schulze-Krogh: anncs@uia.no
Jan Ole Rypestøl: jan.o.rypestol@uia.no

University of Agder, Norway

In recent years, we have seen a growing interest in and the need for modernization of existing and, in particular, the development of new industrial paths at the regional level. New growth paths demand entrepreneurial discovery; a broad set of actors that discover and utilize opportunities for future industrial activity in a region. The actors include entrepreneurs and firms that initiate new commercial activity in a region. However, growing new paths also require actors contributing to the restructuring and development of existing regional innovation systems (RIS), that otherwise tend to strengthening established paths. RIS restructuring can include new policy instruments, new policy agencies, new and changed education and training programs and new research activity. Regions hold different potentials for developing new growth paths, depending amongst others on the ‘thickness’ of existing RIS, the extent and diversity of local and non-local knowledge links, and the industry and firm structure.

This session welcomes theoretical and empirical papers that discuss and analyse:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS3. Poverty & Inequality in a Regional Perspective

Session organiser(s)

Daniel Rauhut, Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland: daniel.rauhut@uef.fi
Prof em Neelambar Hatti, Lund University, Sweden: neelambar.hatti@ekh.lu.se
Lovisa Broström, New York University, USA & University of Gothenburg, Sweden: lovisa.brostrom@econhist.gu.se

The 2008-2009 financial crisis and following budget restrains limit the possibilities for governments to stimulate the provision of services and infrastructures in sparsely populated, rural and peripheral areas. The reallocation of population from rural/peripheral to urban areas is followed by a retreat of services and infrastructures, leading to a loss of perceived attractiveness in peripheral and rural areas, less investments and outmigration. The result is an increasing regional divergence in terms of poverty and inequality.

Peripheral areas are disadvantaged in the distance to the market. Although production costs may be significantly lower in a peripheral area, the transport costs usually price the product out of the market. The demand for products is much higher in central areas with a higher population density. Low transport costs and economies of scale make it cheaper to produce products close to the market. Hence, as capital is redrawn from stagnant areas showing low or no profitability, e.g. areas experiencing a de-industrialisation process, and instead clusters in dynamic and expanding areas, the gap between economically stagnant and expanding areas will increase.

This process did however not start with the 2008-2009 financial crisis, but has been an ongoing process for decades and is to some also related to de-industrialisation and emergence of the service economy.

The aim of the session is to discuss the intersection, on the one hand side, social, political and economic geography, and, on the other hand side, social policy and welfare economics. The latter aspects are to large extent a-spatial, while the first, in many cases, tends to be descriptive.

Possible topics of interest for this special session are the following:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS4. Imagine Europe

Session organiser(s)

Kai Böhme: kai.boehme@spatialforesight.eu
Amparo Montan Montesinos: amparo.montan@spatialforesight.eu
Sabine Zillmer: sabine.zillmer@spatialforesight.eu

Spatial Foresight GmbH, Luxembourg
 

Currently, many debates centre on the need for more national solutions to major challenges in Europe. Given the increasing talks about stronger nation states and a weaker Europe, we would like to stimulate some discussion about what Europe would look like if it were the other way around. Let’s just for a few seconds change perspective and take the other route:

Imagine the EU with one government (instead of 28) appointed through elections and accountable to one European parliament. Imagine further, that this parliament, together with this government, takes the big decisions needed to further a European model of society in the face of globalisation and to lay the basis for a sustainable development, … What would such a Europe look like?

The aim of the session is to jointly explore a hopefully diverse set of ideas and reflections about what such a Europe would look like?

For such a discussion, we encourage analytical papers, visions and scenarios, conceptual thoughts as well as explorative reflections. We would like to see academic papers as well as policy oriented papers and discussion papers putting forward innovative thoughts. 

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS5. Environmental Regionalism & Emerging Spaces of Environmental Governance

Session organiser(s)

Dr. Cormac Walsh, Hamburg University, Germany: cormac.walsh@uni-hamburg.de

Regional approaches to environmental governance are coming to fore as limits to global, sectoral perspectives become increasingly evident. Such spaces of environmental governance are emerging at multiple scales from the local to the transnational and vary substantially with regard to their degree of institutionalisation. They, nevertheless, have in common, the objective of producing governance spatialities beyond the territorial boundaries of the nation-state. In practice transboundary environmental regions constitute complex multiscalar institutional arenas involving the negotiation of territorial and functional, soft and hard constructions of space. Their boundaries may be understood as the product of political negotiation and the socio-spatial construction of environmental problems at particular scales. Their analysis requires perspectives that go beyond existing simplistic and reductionist perspectives concerning the degree of spatial fit or scalar match between institutional and socio-ecological systems or the rescaling of governance to environmental boundaries. This session seeks to explore the politics of environmental regionalism from diverse critical and interdisciplinary perspectives.

Possible topics of interest for this special session include the following:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS6. Understanding Patterns of Psychology-related Regional Inequalities & Polarization

Session organiser(s)

Daniel David, Babes-Bolyai University Cluj, Romania & Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, USA: daniel.david@ubbcluj.ro

József Benedek, Babes-Bolyai University Cluj, Romania & University of Miskolc, Hungary: jozsef@geografie.ubbcluj.ro

During the last years psychology, economic geography and regional studies became seriously engaged in investigating the role of personality characteristics in the regional differentiation process. Although the economic literature emphasizes the important role of personality traits like creativity, intelligence, and/or openness/flexibility in economic performance, there are many open questions related to the interconnectedness between personality traits and the economic performance of regions. Against this background, the main aim of the proposed session is to present the latest research results on the newly emerging field of psychological geography.

This session welcomes papers asking the following questions:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS7. Will Urban & Regional Leadership be in Crisis, Post-Brexit?

Session organiser(s)

Joyce Liddle, Aix-Marseilles University, France: 
joyce.liddle@univ-amu.fr

John Gibney, University of Birmingham, UK
Markku Sotaurata, University of Tampere, Finland
Ina Horlings, WUR, The Netherlands
Andrew Beer, UniSA Business School, Australia
John Shutt, Leeds Beckett University, UK
Oto Potluka, Universität Basel, Switzerland
John Diamond, Edge Hill University, UK

Post Referendum, the UK’s economic and social situation may be unique in many ways, but this RSA theme welcomes papers from authors, including those based in the UK, EU countries, and further afield, to reflect on some of the potential impacts that Brexit could have on urban and regional leadership. We invite papers on the lessons to be drawn for leadership in the light of the British Referendum and forthcoming Brexit. Urban and regional development must still proceed in the UK, but with an absence of European policy direction. There will be implications on policies for employment, skills, immigration, trade, economic development, and innovation, and urban and regional leaders (many who have long-established, and vital cross-national collaborations) are now rethinking strategies for change.

Despite the UK Prime Minister, Theresa May’s announcement that “Brexit means Brexit” there is still much uncertainty on how different places and leadership could be affected. Brexit comes on top of many years of de-industrialisation of urban and regional places, and an ongoing context of financial constraints and austerity. Place leaders are often pioneers who venture into unexplored territories and unfamiliar destinations (Sotaurata, 2016) and the social and economic turmoil created by Brexit will continue to heighten intra and inter place competition for resources and create uncertainty and instability.

At the same time as the UK has to find an alternative to EU funds for its regions and nations, The EU of 27 has to bring forward a new iteration of European regional policy for 2020-2027. How will the Commission and City leadership respond to the new conditions which are bringing unprecedented pressures to respond to the migration crisis, low carbon economy and the youth employment crisis across Europe? How are regional and city leaders responding?

Leadership is a significant factor in how states seek to reduce public deficits and find innovative ways of providing public services, enhancing performance and make best use of limited resources. It will also be a crucial aspect of the new post-political, post-democratic, and post-Brexit landscape but we still lack clear conceptual, empirical, theoretical or methodological knowledge on why and how leadership might be a critical to change.

A key research question is ‘what are the changing dynamics of urban and regional leadership?’ The question is rooted in a practically oriented issue of how, in different contexts, different types of leadership stimulates change (or not?), ameliorate financial and budgetary and choices, (or not?) and enhance both performance and service delivery for citizens (or not?). This theme seeks to highlight emergent thinking and discussions on the strengths/weaknesses of current understandings and knowledge, and review whether existing institutional structures and processes are ‘fit for purpose’. Leadership research has been dominated by Anglo-American business and management approaches, so we want to share understandings of leadership in other, dynamic multi-scalar settings to develop common theoretical, conceptual and methodological frameworks. We welcome papers offering fresh insights and uncovering key leadership relationships in sub-national governance. We are interested in whether leadership will become more prominent in the unchartered Brexit waters, and want to speculate on the types of leadership for driving economic and social change. 

We welcome contributions on:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS8. Understanding Land-sea Interactions Across European Regions

Session organiser(s)

Amaya Vega, SEMRU (Socio-Economic Marine Research Unit), Whitaker Institute, National University of Ireland, Ireland
amaya.vega@nuigalway.ie

With the publication of the Blue Book - Integrated Maritime Policy for the European Union in 2007, the European Commission set out to coordinate different policy areas to offer a coherent approach to marine and maritime issues. From a regional perspective, the European Union recognises the unique needs of each of Europe’s seas and oceans through sea basin strategies.

There is a growing recognition of the importance of land-sea interactions and the opportunities and risks for the marine environment in achieving the wider European goals of social, economic and territorial cohesion.  Support for growth in the marine sector that contributes to the aims of Europe 2020 is carried out through DG MARE’s  “Blue Growth” strategy, defined as "smart, sustainable and inclusive economic and employment growth from the oceans, seas and coasts".

This session aims to focus on research on the intensity of land-sea interactions across European regions. In particular, on the range of analytical tools available to identify spatial disparities in the socio-economic performance of coastal areas, with a specific focus on;

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS9. The Southwest North American Region

Redefining the Narrative of a Bifurcated System of Ecology and Economy of the U.S. Mexico Border

Session organiser(s)

Carlos G. Velez-Ibanez and Francisco Lara Valencia, Arizona State University, USA

A regional analysis of the US-Mexico Transborder Region is constituted by 90 million persons in an ecology of land and geography larger than France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, and others that is also integrated by asymmetrical economies bifurcated by the international boundary.  The session will advance new conceptual foundations to understand this regional arena in order to fundamentally shift the narrative from one based on national states to a multi-layered approach that includes the long historical presence of contending colonial empires to their national versions through the 19th century to the present.  It details the manner in which transnational economies, language, culture, social relations, and ideologies are and have been constantly cross-cut by common ecological formations, integrated modes of asymmetrical production, the creation of highly stratified social domains, linguistic practices, and cultural and ideological frame works of quotidian value.  The session interrogates the reliance on political and militaristic calculi as the means of maintaining border impositions in a region of necessary plasticity and movement of human populations.  A regional analysis of the US-Mexico Transborder Region is constituted by 90 million persons in an ecology of land and geography larger than France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain, and others that is also integrated by asymmetrical economies bifurcated by the international boundary.  The session will advance new conceptual foundations to understand this regional arena in order to fundamentally shift the narrative from one based on national states to a multi-layered approach that includes the long historical presence of contending colonial empires to their national versions through the 19th century to the present.  It details the manner in which transnational economies, language, culture, social relations, and ideologies are and have been constantly cross-cut by common ecological formations, integrated modes of asymmetrical production, the creation of highly stratified social domains, linguistic practices, and cultural and ideological frame works of quotidian value.  The session interrogates the reliance on political and militaristic calculi as the means of maintaining border impositions in a region of necessary plasticity and movement of human populations.  

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS10. From Cotton Mill to Research & Innovation Platform

The Case of University Consortium of Pori in Regional Development

Session organiser(s)

Anna Sivula, University of Turku, Finland: ansivu@utu.fi
University Consortium of Pori, Finland

This Special Session from Finland introduces many city and regional level development and research initiatives. City of Pori used to be dependent of heavy industry and thus there have been many pursuits for structural changes in the city and the whole region in order to survive in the national and global competition. We have combined a group of practitioners and researchers whose concrete workplace is an old cotton mill building, conversed to the site of University Consortium of Pori (UCPori), regional newspaper, small enterprises and the Regional Council of Satakunta.

Detailed session information

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS11. The Impact of Low Carbon Solutions on Regional & Local Transport Policy

Session organiser(s)

Jason Begley, Coventry University, UK: jason.begley@coventry.ac.uk

Andrew Jones & David Jarvis, Coventry University, UK
Giuseppe Calabrese, CERIS - CNR, Italy

The challenge of reducing carbon emissions continues to bear a heavy influence on regional and local transport policy. The development of low carbon solutions has been necessitated by the global challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions and the de-carbonising of transport networks. However, in terms of regional low carbon transport policy the situation is complicated by a host of competing priorities of which environmental concerns are but one, if crucial, factor. Intervention by policy makers in environmental and transport sectors is frequently justified by whether it is stimulating industrial innovation, research and development (R&D), or if it is bringing about optimal levels of performance in a socially acceptable manner. However, in the case of environmental challenges and technological innovation, an added penalty is incurred. Effectively the cost of innovation for the private company exceeds the social value of the innovation itself, since private companies are not motivated by positive spill over effects. It is this gap between societal good and profitability that underpins the need for public policy engagement in the increasingly complex area of environmental policy where it intersects with transport policy. The aim for this special session then will be to consider the myriad of challenges but also opportunities that carbon reduction brings to regional transport planning. Topics that will be considered for this session that focuses on the role of low carbon transport policy in reshaping regions, localities and ‘place making’ include;

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS12. Revisiting Services in the Regional Economy

Session organiser(s)

Andrew Jones, Citym University of London, UK: Andrew.Jones.3@city.ac.uk 

In what some have termed the ‘post-globalization’ era with an era of resurgent nationalism in many advanced industrial economies, the place of service industries in regional economic development has become the subject of renewed debate. The globalization debate of the 1990s and 2000s often framed service industries as key agents, facilitators and enablers of greater global economic integration and of engines of innovation within regional economies and global city regions.  Whether as global pipelines of knowledge and innovation, or local engines of value creation, service industries’ role in regional economic growth was widely linked and associated with ongoing economic globalization. Yet in a period of apparent retreat from unfettered free trade and the free movement of goods, services, labour and firms, an ambiguity has arisen in how service sector industries are likely to develop into the mid twenty-first century within regional economies. Whilst many elements of economic globalization are likely to continue, and the key importance of service sector development remains evident, existing theory and policy appears to be becoming rapidly out-of-date and the nature of service sector development within regions in both advanced industrial and emerging economies requires reconsidering. This session seeks to fill a gap in regional science and social scientific thinking by bringing together diverse work on service sector industries in a regional context. It aims to attract contributions that will develop better understanding of current service industry trajectories within regional economies around the world. It seeks papers that in the broadest sense address the nature of what regional service futures may look like around topics that may include, but are no mean restricted to:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS13. Smart & Sustainable? New Directions for Tourism & Regional Development

Session organiser(s)

Laura James, Aalborg University, Denmark: james@cgs.aau.dk

Henrik Halkier, Aalborg University, Denmark
Marek Kozak, Centre for European Regional & Local Studies (EUROREG, University of Warsaw, Poland

A description of the session

In recent years tourism has occupied an ambiguous position in regional development discourse and practice. It has often been side-lined in favour of manufacturing or knowledge-intensive activities, but is also sometimes positioned as the great development hope for peripheral regions and as a potential driver of a new experience economy in metropolitan areas. It is unclear how tourism fits into new regional policy narratives such as smart specialisation.  Two themes are, however, apparent. Firstly, sustainability issues remain central to debates around the role of tourism in regional development. Managing the environmental, social and economic impacts of tourism will continue to be a key challenge for planners and policymakers in regional and urban development. Secondly, digital innovations related to tourism, particularly those associated with the collaborative or sharing economy, such as Airbnb and Uber, as well as the rise of ‘big data’, have created new regional development opportunities but also policy problems.  In this context, the aim of this session is to encourage theoretically informed contributions on the future of tourism and regional development. Potential topics of interest inlcude but are not limited to:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS14. Economic Networks

A Complex Systems Approach to the Study of Urban & Regional Dynamics

Session organiser(s)

Neave O'Clery, Oxford University, UK: oclery@maths.ox.ac.uk

Dario Diodato, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
 

At the boundary of economics and a host of other disciplines such as geography, computer science, mathematics and physics, lies the future of regional and urban studies. Capable of modelling non-linear network effects, and capturing social ties, combined tools uniquely well-placed to harness an unparalleled explosion in data, has transformed our ability to measure and model economic systems. 

Some examples include the Economic Complexity framework of Hidalgo, Hausmann et al. which employs international trade data to map possible diversification trajectories of nations, the regional diversification modelling of Boschma, Frenken, Neffke et al that looks at the size of employment in 'related' sectors to predict future industry growth in a region. Both of these approaches are intrinsically tied to a notion of industry or product relatedness that is modelled using networks capturing technological relatedness defined in various ways. The outputs of such models have been both successful at predicting both national and regional level growth, but have also proved to be powerful tools for policy-makers seeking a granular description of diversification processes upon which to base policy prescriptions. 

This network-based approach to modelling industrial diversification and growth seeks to capture path dependence. More specifically, the position of a country or city in a network or landscape of opportunities, determined by its current capability or industrial base, constrains its potential future paths. This idea has been extended to examine a large number of associated questions, including regional resilience, sustainable growth and labour market questions of skill availability and accessibility. It also rises a large number of questions about the nature of such networks, and in particular how to use data to describe this opportunity landscape. 

The aim of this session is to highlight exciting research at this frontier, and challenge conference participants to think broadly in terms of what might be possible in a new era of complexity science and big data.

We welcome 

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS15. The Cohesion Policy of the European Union after the Economic Crisis & Brexit

Session organiser(s)

Riccardo Crescenzi: r.crescenzi@lse.ac.uk
Vassilis Monastiriotis: v.monastiriotis@lse.ac.uk
London School of Economics, UK
Ugo Fratesi, Politecnico di Milano, Italy: ugo.fratesi@polimi.it

The decision of the United Kingdom to leave the European Union (EU) is expected to foster a 360-degree scholarly and policy debate on the Union and its future. Two fundamental points deserve special attention in this context. First, the net benefits (if any) generated by the process of European Integration and EU policies need to be carefully identified and measured. Second, the value added of a supra-national EU-wide approach to the design and implementation of public policies deserves a re-assessment. This Special Session aims to contribute to this broader debate by looking at the EU Cohesion Policy. In view of the increasingly strategic role of the EU Cohesion Policy, its impacts and effects have become the subject of intense scholarly and policy debates. However, there is no agreement on the capability of the policy to promote economic growth and employment in the European regions and to reduce the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged areas. Depending on the conceptual framework and on some key methodological choices, different studies have reached contradictory conclusions.  This Special Session invites papers that explore the features of the EU Cohesion Policy, its impacts on local and regional outcomes as well as the socio-economic, political and institutional factors conditioning these processes. In this context, special attention is devoted to the (re)emerging role of national-level conditions and policies both as factors conditioning the impacts of the policy and heterogeneous models of policy implementation. In order to address these fundamental issues this special session includes papers that adopt appropriate methods for counterfactual analysis and/or capture the factors conditioning success and failure of Cohesion policy. The discussion of this selection of papers will make it possible to single out a set of high-level policy implications and contribute to the design of an agenda for future research in this field, informing an evidence-based debate on the future of this policy following Brexit for both the remaining 27 EU member states and for the UK. 

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS16. Landscape Governance - Meeting New Challenges

Session organiser(s)

Gerd Lintz, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Germany: g.lintz@ioer.de

Landscapes play an important role in urban and regional development. They matter to people, cities and regions in many different ways. Landscapes not only shape places and identities, they also contribute to wellbeing and economic development. This is reflected in the increased use of the terms ecosystem and landscape services (Bastian et al. 2014). Yet the aims of economic policy and of landscape policy are often conflicting. Against this backdrop, the functioning of landscape governance is crucial, particularly when new challenges arise such as increased spatially-uneven growth pressure and the transition towards the use of renewable energy sources such as wind energy.

As Thompson, Howard and Waterton (2013) state, landscape is a complicated idea. Following the European Landscape Convention (COE 2000), landscape means ‘an area, as perceived by people, whose character is the result of the action and interaction of natural and/or human factors’. In this Special Session, emphasis is placed on natural components at the urban and regional scale: green spaces such as parks, green wedges and belts, now also referred to as green infrastructure. It is important to note that this urban and rural ‘green’ is an ecological combination of environmental domains such as water, air, soil, plants, animals and climate.

The key question posed in the Special Session is how planning or political decisions on landscapes, or which affect landscapes, are made by actors in complex and highly differentiated local and regional governance systems, and which factors play a role (e.g. Görg 2007, James et al. 2009, Kidd 2013, Lintz 2016, Selman 2012, Southern et al. 2011, Westerink 2017). Who, in a field of many forces, actively initiates the development of landscapes, and who offers resistance to the deterioration of landscape qualities? How are policies directed at the various domains of the landscape actually coordinated? How are landscape-related aims integrated into other policies? How do municipalities work together on landscape policy? Which institutional regulations and mechanisms support or hamper the achievement of landscape-related aims? How is landscape planning and policy positioned between environmental and economic policies? Which role does spatial planning play? Can landscape protection or development be counted among the ‘wicked’ problems? Can problems and flaws of governance be identified, for example regarding the development of knowledge and values as well as the distribution of power? What role does the ‘battle of ideas’ or discourse (Schmidt 2008) play? Can suggestions for improvements be made, e.g. in the field of participation?

The key questions can be addressed in the context of several significant new substantive challenges to landscape policy and governance. Climate mitigation policies, for example, suggest compact cities, while climate adaptation demands more green space for cooling. Some urban areas are facing strong growth pressure, so that green space has to be protected; other urban areas are shrinking, providing more space for nature. In rural areas there is an increasing demand for space for the use of renewable energy sources such as wind energy. The various policy challenges reveal different governance problems which will almost certainly require different responses regarding the design of governance structures and processes.

The session aims to provide a broad forum for the discussion of advances in the described field of research for all those who see landscape policy and governance in the context of general urban and regional development. Conceptual and empirical work is welcome. The target group of the session comprises academics and practitioners, for example in the fields of landscape, urban and regional planning as well as geography, political science, administrative science, sociology and economics. 

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS17. Spatial Reorganisation Trends & the Rising Importance of Relational Proximity

Session organiser(s)

Joan Noguera, University of Valencia, Spain: joan.noguera@uv.es

Andrew Copus, Nordregio, Sweden
Franco Mantino, CREA, Italy
Marjan van Herwijnen, ESPON, Luxembourg

The old core-periphery and agglomeration patterns seem to be weakening in favour of new patterns based on organised proximity. Several authors have highlighted the idea that the regional socioeconomic landscape is “no longer well ordered by distance” and that “the territory that counts is more and more the territory of social interaction, not merely of physical proximity” (Veltz 1997 cited in Copus 2014). Economic and social activity are becoming liberated from the costs associated with Euclidean distance, and what is now important are various kinds of relational, proximity (social, administrative, knowledge-based, cultural, institutional); collectively known as “organised proximity” (Torre and Rallet 2005, Boschma 2005). Patterns of economic activity are progressively freed to shift towards new configurations in which the key relationships are no longer determined by agglomeration, but instead connect enterprises and other actors in “relational space” (Copus 2014, p.6).

This session is devoted to provide better understanding of the relational turn in regional development, the new factors for regional success and their implications for the validity of the classical understanding of territorial growth, associated to geographic distance and agglomeration. Expected contributions are theoretical developments and/or empirical works (including case studies), dealing with different dimensions of “organised proximity”, new forms of rural-urban interaction, new forms of peripheralisation (both spatial and aspatial), and the role of CLLD and other bottom-up approaches in promoting sustainable local and regional development in the current global context. Inner Peripheries will receive particular attention as an example of territories that break the logic of distance.

Results from this session will be used in the ESPON applied research activity ‘Inner Peripheries: national territories facing challenges of access to basic services of general interest’. More about this ESPON activity can be found here: https://www.espon.eu/main/Menu_Projects/Menu_AppliedResearch/05.InnerPeripheries.html

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS18. Migration Flows & Economic Development in Peripheral Regions

Session organiser(s)

Gary Bosworth: gbosworth@lincoln.ac.uk & Agnieszka Rydzik: arydzik@lincoln.ac.uk, University of Lincoln, UK
Danica Šantić, University of Belgrade, Serbia: danicam@gef.bg.ac.rs
Ruth McAreavey, Queen's University Belfast, UK: r.mcareavey@qub.ac.uk
 

At a time when both Europe and the United States are experiencing a political shift away from free trade and more open borders, the need for better understanding of economic migration trends is particularly pertinent.

In this session, we are interested to see new research that is analysing the economic impacts of migration patterns – for both the host and donor regions.  Flows from one region to another and that have an impact on economic development are of particular interest. Those flows might include people, remittances, investments and knowledge. The economic impact of those flows could bring direct and indirect benefits, such as increased levels of entrepreneurship, higher income levels for certain groups, more sustainable communities. Indirect benefits may arise for those who are not included in regional flows. In this session, we seek to better understand these complexities.

We welcome papers that consider these as well as other issues connected to migration in peripheral areas. We hope that this session will bring together a broad network of researchers interested in exploring these timely issues

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS19. Advancing Economic & Social Integration in the EU

Problems & Challenges

Session organiser(s)

Constantinos Ikonomou, PhD. University of Cambridge, UK
Eleni Karaveli, Athen University of Economics & Business, Greece

This session will focus on integration deepening efforts and the recent, post-2008 policy responses in the EU (from states in dissimilar stages of integration, and especially Eurozone member-states), aiming at tackling common problems and challenges that persistently impede economic and social integration or even bring ruptures in the unity and harmonious development of the common space. The purpose is: i) to elucidate which particular conditions, situations, imbalances and problems (macroeconomic, regional economic, social, cultural, racial etc) impede advancing economic and social integration further ii) whether their causes have some common, among EU states, threads iii) how to tackle them and where exactly priority should be given (on macroeconomic solutions, enhancing competitiveness, create an agenda for common production, boost monetary unification, resolve social problems or other) iv) to open the debate on new directions, solutions and instruments that need to be considered more carefully and mainstreamed v) to better understand the step back process already expressed in European integration and, importantly, vi) to highlight the significance, achievements and dynamic elements of the European unification process in the light of its difficulties encountered. Studies on convergence/divergence and those from non-European spaces are welcomed, as long as they can contribute in the relevant discussion.

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS20. Global Investment Flows, Multinationals & Local Economic Development

Session organiser(s)

Riccardo Crescenzi: r.crescenzi@lse.ac.uk & Simona Iammarino: s.iammarino@lse.ac.uk, London School of Economics, UK
Daniel Schiller, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität Greifswald, Germany: daniel.schiller@uni-greifswald.de

Despite considerable academic advances in reconciling firms’ cross-border organisational networks with place-specific assets and institutional structures – i.e. the ‘strategic coupling’ process which ultimately drives contemporary regional economic development – still substantial gaps exist when looking for global-local frameworks for the ‘diagnosis’ of local economic conditions and the design of public policies. This Special Session aims to foster the academic and policy debate on the link between regional openness and connectivity – here intended in terms of global investment flows – and local innovation and economic development dynamics in advanced and emerging countries. The Special Session invites papers based on both quantitative and qualitative methods in the fields of economic geography, regional and international economics, regional development and international business studies. All papers are expected to highlight possible implications for public policies and the challenges ahead in the analysis of global-local interdependence. Contributions related to the impact of recent shifts in the global economic landscape on cross-border investment flows are particularly (but not exclusively) welcome, e.g. economic and political crises, new protectionist policy measures, and emerging market multinationals.

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS21. Beyond Smart & Data-Driven City-Regions?

Rethinking Stakeholder-Helixes Strategies

Session organiser(s)

Paul Cowie, Future Cities Catapult, UK: paul.cowie@newcastle.ac.uk
Igor Calzada, University of Oxford, UK: igor.calzada@compas.ox.ac.uk

Smart City-Regions and Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3) are now driving significant policy development in city regions in Europe. However, the ‘smartness’ in these strategies is dominated by a technological hegemonic understanding of the city region. The discourse is centred on knowledge flows and data aggregation which allows the city-region to modelled and managed. 

At the same time, territorial innovation models such as the triple/quadruple/penta-helix models also seek to understand the city-region as a system of knowledge flows between stakeholders. In this case,  stakeholders’ interdependencies and their social and culturally rooted practices are just as important as the data and technical knowledge itself. Indeed, the role of institutions seems to be strategically substantial in order to foster ecosystems of experimentation engaging not only the public sector, private sector and academia but also civic society, social entrepreneurs and activists.

There is a growing critique of the more technocratic smart city strategies. The early pioneers in the field have not always delivered on their promise. There is also a growing challenge to the discourse that sees cities as machines, corporations or biological systems that can be broken down into their component parts and understood.

Hence, there is a gap therefore between the objective city to be found in many of the technocratic data driven solutions to the problems faced by city regions and the subjective city to be found in the everyday experience of the citizens of city-regions.

This special session is therefore seeking papers from academics and practitioners working at the frontier between the subjective and objective city-regional configurations in Europe. We would like to stimulate critical governance debate that challenges some of the assumptions and norms embedded in smart city-region strategies and suggest ways in which the divide between subjective and objective city-region can be bridged by different models capturing stakeholders interactions such as those so-called stakeholder-helixes strategies. 

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS22. Devolution & the Transformation of Regional Economies

Problems, Possibilities, Measurement & Evaluation

Session organiser(s)

John Bryson: J.R.Bryson@bham.ac.uk
Catherine Harris: C.E.Harris@bham.ac.uk
Raquel Ortega Argiles: R.OrtegaArgiles@bham.ac.uk

City-REDI, University of Birmingham, UK

Devolution has the potential to transform or to reshape regional economies as new powers, responsibilities, but also liabilities, are devolved from national governments. This is very much an on-going process that is challenging the established status quo, producing new policy and research challenges and opportunities. It is in this sense that there is a ‘great regional awakening’. This raises a number of important issues regarding the development of new, more localized, approaches to understanding regional economies. Of particular importance, is understanding how devolution settlements are negotiated, shaped, implemented, evaluated and the tools that are being developed to assist local policy-makers. Regional devolution requires the development of more integrated approaches to understanding city-region economies as well as new approaches to finance and funding.  For some regions, it has involved the creation of place-based econometric models as a tool to assess potential impacts and to support the decision-making process.  

This session seeks to fill a gap in regional science and social sciences by bringing together diverse work on regional economies that will explore the shift towards regional devolution, the negotiation and implementation of devolution deals, the analysis of regional economies that supports this on-going process, as well as measurement and impact. An important issue is to consider different national and regional solutions to the management of regional economies. In Germany, for example, Hamburg, unlike most of the country’s cities, is a ‘city state’ giving it more autonomy, including tax raising powers, compared to cities like Frankfurt and Munich. This autonomy permits responsive local decision-making, but it also comes with liabilities and responsibilities.  

We invite papers which examine devolution with a focus on city-region economies. Possible themes include, but are not limited to:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS23. MAKERS of Value

New Manufacturing Regions

Session organiser(s)

David Bailey, Aston University, UK:
Lisa De Propris, University of Birmingham, UK
Jennifer Clark, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Laura Wolf-Powers, CUNY, USA

The manufacturing sector is changing and a new manufacturing model is emerging. Recent scholarly debate has unpacked this ‘production organisation revolution’. It is therefore timely to understand what form this new manufacturing model will take in both Europe and the United States and how it can contribute to regional economic development.  This session is organised by the RSA’s ‘New Manufacturing Regions’ network and asks whether – and under what conditions - new manufacturing models might offer the potential to develop and anchor manufacturing activities in relatively high-cost regional economies.

Topics that will be considered for this session include (but are not limited to):

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS24. Governing the Smart City

A Socio-environmental Inquiry

Session organiser(s)

Federico Cugurullo, Department of Geography, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland: cugurulf@tcd.ie
Chiara Garau, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Architecture (DICAAR), University of Cagliari, Italy: cgarau@unica.it

Ginevra Balletto, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Architecture (DICAAR), University of Cagliari, Italy
Paola Zamperlin, Applied Geography Lab, Department of History, Archaeology, Geography, Art & Performance Arts (SAGAS), University of Firenze, Italy

Smart-city initiatives are rapidly shaping the way urban and regional development is being understood and practiced across the world. Smart-city projects promote the implementation of a number of urban technologies as part of a broader urban trend towards big data, the Internet of Things and sensor networks. However, to date, it is unclear how such urban strategies impact on local environments and societies.

Focusing on urban governance, this session aims to expand the knowledge of the political machinery that is behind the conceptualisation, implementation and development of so-called smart cities. The objective of the session is twofold. We seek papers which critique the governance of current smart-city initiatives, but also studies that can help us reflect on how smart technologies can be used to better govern and develop cities.

More specifically, the session explores how different modes and tools of smart-city governance influence the following (and hitherto overlooked) socio-environmental aspects of smart-city initiatives as they impact on urban development and living:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS25. Spatial Justice & Territorial Cohesion

Session organiser(s)

Marie Mahon, National University of Ireland Galway, Ireland: marie.mahon@nuigalway.ie

Mike Woods, Aberystwyth University, UK
Patrick Collins, Maura Farrell & John McDonagh, National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland
 

This session seeks to explore the concept and dynamic of spatial justice as it pertains to the level of the region in development terms.  In the EU context, this regional perspective on spatial justice has conventionally been understood as a drive towards territorial cohesion, identified as the achievement of economic convergence based on measures such as GDP that popularly underpin EU cohesion policies.  However, with the evidence for widening disparities between the regions the contention is that the concept of spatial justice has tended to be applied as a limited form of analysis of regional inequalities at national and EU level.  The use of GDP as a main measure of uneven economic development, the evident contraction of public resource and service distribution, the failure to recognise and react to the spatial politics of the recent economic crisis and subsequent austerity policies reveals an approach to territorial cohesion that falls well short of what spatial justice as a concept is seen to denote.

This session invites papers that deal with this question of spatial justice, territorial cohesion and sustainable development in the EU context.  Potential themes may include (but not limited to):

This session is organized in the frame of the project ‘Integrative Mechanisms for Addressing Spatial Justice and Territorial Inequalities in Europe – IMAJINE (H2020-REV-INEQUAL-07-2016).

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS26. Place-Based Deal-Making

Session organiser(s)

Lee Pugalis, Institute for Public Policy & Governance, University of Technology Sydney, Australia: lee.pugalis@uts.edu.au

Against a backdrop of variegated techniques of fiscal consolidation, reworkings of patterns of governance, and state rescaling, a unique style of territorial development policy is arising which reflects the market discipline and commercial practice of striking profitable deals. Regional Growth Agreements, Growth Deals, Territorial Pacts, City Deals, Territorial Development Contracts, Devolution Deals and Rural Contracts are some of the policy terms coined in different countries to describe initiatives that are intended to accelerate the growth and development of particular urban, rural and regional places via a deal-making approach.

Guided by the place matters principle of devising and tailoring policies in accordance with spatial particularities and specificities, the notion of place-based deals refers to a wide range of relational and transactional contractual mechanisms, repertoires and practices utilised in the negotiation and agreement of bespoke ‘settlements’. These coevolving processes typically involve different tiers of government (e.g. central, state, local) and/or different organisations and sectors (e.g. public, private, voluntary). Concoctions of customised and generic incentives and conditionalities are deployed to encourage the realisation of policy objectives, such as, vertical and horizontal coordination, multi-actor cooperation, co-investment, and collaborative governance.

The content of deals or agreements is open to immense variation, although most tend to include funding packages and access to finance. Moreover, some new forms of deals, such as Devolution Deals in England, put more emphasis on the decentralisation of responsibilities, enhanced policy flexibilities and personalised fiscal tools subject to an acceptance of central government conditions, such as democratically elected leadership arrangements. The geography of deals also varies significantly. Some are based on a single municipal boundary (e.g. Liverpool Mayoral City Deal), whereas others are sub-regional (e.g. Western Sydney City Deal) and regional (e.g. the Canada-Manitoba Economic Partnership Agreement).

In theory, place-based deals exhibit the potential to fold together separate powers, responsibilities, funds, programmes and expertise into a cohesive ‘package’ tailored to the needs and capabilities of a particular place. Proponents suggest that this reconciles top-down objectives and bottom-up preferences which can engender place-based policies, although critics point to the imbalances of power in negotiating deals which can devolve risks, disguise central control and manipulation, and exacerbate spatial disparities.

The purpose of this session is to bring together an internationally diverse group of researchers and policy-makers to investigate the process and implications of place-based deal-making. Conceptual, empirical and policy perspectives that consider the following topics, amongst others, are welcomed:

A selection of papers will be considered for chapter contributions for an edited book on place-based deal-making scheduled for publication in 2018.

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS27. Geographies of FinTech

Session organiser(s)

David Bassens, Reijer Hendrikse & Michiel van Meeteren, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium

At the current moment, the North-Atlantic World is increasingly inward-focused—as evidenced by a surge of deepening nationalism, political isolation, and economic protectionism in a number of key states— potentially stalling decades of increasing economic interdependence. This situation begs key questions about the future geographies of finance, as the international stability on which it depends to switch capital between different markets seems to become fundamentally disrupted. At this crossroads moment, the organization of the financial industry in itself is also changing dramatically, first and foremost due to rapidly expanding digitization of finance, leading to lay-offs and branch closures in a search to boost profits in a competitive, low-growth, and low-interest-rate conjuncture. A key trend we wish to discuss in this session, is the growing entanglements of the financial industry with the industrial field of digital technology. One central trend is the growing inroads of technology giants such as Google, Amazon, Facebook, and Apple (the GAFA’s) into financial services. At the same time, incumbent banks are countering these trends by setting up ecosystems to enclose and internalize these disruptive technologies into their business models. These new entanglements are producing new geographies of finance, as different financial centres may be endowed with varying capabilities to tap into these markets, which raises urgent questions about the geographies of finance after the so-called FinTech “revolution”. Crucially, this revolution is occurring at a time when trade and investment wars could reinforce segmentations in markets as a means to protect regional (i.e. EU/US) financial industry interests, giving processes of financial innovation a remarkable geopolitical bent. The session intends to attract papers that map out one or more of the following geographies of FinTech:  

Expressions of interest should be send to david.bassens@vub.ac.be with title + abstract of maximum 250 words by January 15th 2017.

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS28. Africa & Globalization Today

New Great Transformations?

Session organiser(s)

Pádraig Carmody, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Rory Horner, University of Manchester, UK
Jim Murphy, Clark University, USA
Francis Owusu, Iowa State University, USA

Recent years witnessed significant growth in Africa and substantial changes/transformations to the region’s trade and investment relationships through expanded and intensified ties to China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Turkey and other “emerging powers”.  However in the wake of these changes, questions remain with regard to their sustainability, distributional impacts (e.g., in terms of poverty and inequality), and implications for urban and industrial development throughout the continent.  What do emerging market ties, new connections to global production networks (GPNs), and restructured commodity and financial flows mean for the region’s development?  Are African economies rising as a result or facing new constraints and challenges to their development?  For this session we seek papers that address these questions with a focus on contemporary economic geographies and regional development dynamics in Africa.  Topics may include:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS29. Border Reassertion

Changing Landscapes of Innovation & Policy-making

Session organiser(s)

Jennifer Johns, Benito Giordano & Adriana Nilsson, University of Liverpool Management School, UK

This is a time of major socio-economic, political and institutional upheaval in the UK and internationally. The onset of the recession in 2008 heralded a phase of political-economic austerity and has arguably ushered in set of new international challenges for the UK, European and global economies in terms of how, and in what ways, future economic development at the national and regional levels is carried out. The recent reassertion of the importance of the nation state – as exemplified but not limited to Brexit - challenges existing practices of innovation and has implications for how regions are constructed and their power enabled and enacted.

This session welcomes papers that address these questions around the spatiality and/or governance of innovation. Topics may include, but are not restricted to:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS30. Housing in the Aftermath of the Global Financial Crisis

The Furthering of the Neoliberal Model or Experimenting Alternative Futures?

Session organiser(s)

Cian O'Callaghan: ocallac8@tcd.ie
Cesare Di Feliciantonio: difelicc@tcd.ie
Trinity College Dublin, Ireland

The central role of housing in the current dynamics of capitalistic accumulation has shown its violence in the aftermath of the global financial crisis (GFC), leaving dozens of thousands of people evicted, foreclosed and homeless across the Global North. Despite the dramatic consequences of the crisis generated by the financialization of housing and the progressive dismantle of the welfare state, these processes seem to be continued through economic and urban policy responses while austerity programmes leave welfare provision in a situation of “permanent strain” (Pavolini et al, 2015). However such a process does not remain uncontested; in fact the rising inequalities manifested in the housing sector, with an increasing number of people unable to find an affordable and decent housing solution while vacant housing rates increase and speculation-driven urbanism is repeated, appear to have offered new opportunities for contentious social movements, especially in urban areas (Gonick, 2016). In Spain the Plataforma de los Afectados por la Hipoteca (PAH) has experienced large scale mobilizations while obtaining important legal results and spreading alternative housing projects based on the re-appropriation by people in need of vacant housing stock owned by banks and financial institutions. This session aims to interrogate the current dynamics and the future perspectives of the housing sector in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.  Furthermore, the session aims to interrogate the regional dimension of the housing question by emphasising the “path-dependent” (Brenner and Theodore, 2002) nature of both housing models and social movements. 

We welcome theoretical and empirical papers that discuss and analyse:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS31. Relational Perspectives on Urban & Regional Development

Challenges of Topological Thinking & Inquiry

Session organiser(s)

Arnoud Lagendijk, Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands: a.lagendijk@fm.ru.nl
John Harrison, Loughborough University, UK: J.Harrison4@lboro.ac.uk

Relational perspectives have greatly advanced our thinking on urban and regional development.  Cities and regions are now more considered as relationally constituted and positioned, and their boundaries as heterogeneous constructs and outcomes of political and identity work rather than geometrical givens. Relational thinking has also inspired new intriguing views on policy mobility and territorial responsibilities. This session focuses on two major challenges. First, the way theoretical work in the field stands to benefit from recent work on spatialities (Mol, Law …) and topology (Massey, Allen ….), amongst others. Second, the challenge to develop research practices that probe and unravel urban and regional relationality meeting the conceptual depth and versatility of relational perspectives. This session invites papers making theoretical, methodological and empirical contributions to the debate.

Potential themes of interest might include, but are not limited to:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS32. Regional Design, Spatial Planning & Programming in Governance Rescaling

Session organiser(s)

Valeria Lingua, University of Florence, Regional Design Lab, Italy: valeria.lingua@unifi.it

Verenza Blaz, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
Daniel Galland, Aalborg University, Denmark
Cristina Cavaco, Universidade of Lisboa, Portugal

The special session is dedicated to a debate concerning actual processes of territorial and governance rescaling and a strong affirmation of localism and neo-regionalism. Although there are clear differences in the intensity and formalization of these processes, there is a clear direction toward the redefinition and rescaling of planning systems, policies, tasks and responsibilities, which is typically associated with either reducing government or optimizing the coordination of sector-wide policy approaches. In rescaling, every level between the EU, the national, the regional and the local seems to be up for scrutiny and revision now. In some cases, intermediate regional levels are abolished, as happened with the English Regional Spatial Strategies in 2011. In other cases, (i.e. Denmark, Portugal, Italy, Norway etc.) competences are nominally shifted between governance levels through local government reforms aimed at merging municipalities or by increasing the development of planning practices across local boundaries. In a context of meta-governance, national governments expect local planning authorities to undertake joint work on sub-regional planning issues, while at the European Union level the scale of territorial strategies eligible for future funding is under discussion.

In this context, spatial planning policies and practices, still traditionally anchored to rigid administrative boundaries, are challenged to be reinvented. To the rescaling of government space and dilution of formal competences corresponds the increasing development of strategic but nevertheless informal spatial planning approaches, relying on an in-depth understanding of problems in particular areas, strategic visions that rest on political consent and the conveyance of hard to soft planning spaces that move planning beyond administrative limits. Processes of defining and redefining sub-regional boundaries and territorial scales become a crucial item and call for the spatial visioning of non-statutory areas and thereby the inclusion of non-governmental stakeholders, specially where relationships among statutory (hard) and soft spaces of planning and governance are at stake. If indeed planning is not just rescaling but partly disappearing, the emerging practices of informal planning at regional scales are an answer to this growing ‘vacuum’ in terms of necessary planning interventions.

The shifts in institutional architectures and planning regimes calls for a proactive role of regional studies and demand for new planning skills to deal with the interchangeable variability of territorial scales and institutional geometries.

The special session aims to discuss the reorientation and conversion of spatial planning towards regionalism/localism as a result of re-scaling mechanisms, addressing the issues and challenges for regional design, spatial planning and programming, democratic decision-making, as well as processes and practices aimed at shaping the boundaries of urban regions while conceiving shared territorial approaches of their spatial development trajectories.

The session welcomes international comparative papers that focus on European cases of spatial planning systems and policies, strategic spatial planning, regional design, territorial and governance re-scaling as well as theoretical papers grounded on interdisciplinary frameworks addressing the above subjects. The session is open to all who intend to rethink the role and pertinence of regional studies and design, spatial planning and programming in times of governance and territorial restructuring.

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS33. Brexit

Implications for National & Regional Economies

Session organiser(s)

Edgar Morgenroth, Economic & Social Research Institute (ESRI), Ireland

The withdrawal of the UK from the EU is likely to fundamentally change the interaction between EU members and the UK, which is likely to have different effects across regions within the UK, regions neighbouring the UK, as well as other regions. While there is a growing body of research on the national implications of Brexit, less is known about the potential regional implications. This session invites papers that address this knowledge gap.

The changes due to Brexit are likely to encompass a number of economic dimensions including:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS34. Institutions & Regional Development

Session organiser(s)

Mattia Casula, LUISS G. Carli - Rome, Italy: mcasula@luiss.it
Paolo Rizzi, Universita Cattolica Del Sacro Cuore, Italy: paolo.rizzi@unicatt.it

The aim of the session is to discuss the relationship between institutions, policy choices and regional development. Contributions about specific development policies, single case studies and comparative regional analysis are welcome.

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS35. Scotland's Brexit

Growth, Jobs & Inclusion

Session organiser(s)

Leaza McSorley, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK

Mike Danson, Heriot Watt University, UK
Constantia Anastasiadou, Edinburgh Napier University, UK
Fiona Wishlade, Strathclyde University, UK
Geoff Whittam, Glasgow Caledonian University, UK
George Callaghan, Open University Scotland, UK

The results of the EU referendum highlighted Scotland’s preference to remain part of the EU, with 62% of the Scottish vote in favour of remaining.  All regions, towns, cities, rural and urban constituencies voted remain.  

Soft Brexit, hard Brexit, no Brexit, a second independence referendum?  Regardless of the type and nature of Brexit Scotland will need to chart a path forward.  How can growth, jobs and inclusion be delivered in such uncertain times? 

This session aims to examine to key regional, economic and policy challenges and opportunities for Scotland.  Some sectors in Scotland have benefited from a Brexit Bounce; export sectors and tourism, other key sectors such as financial services face uncertainty. With reduced economic growth forecast (OBR 2016) and wage growth set to fall further across the UK (IFS 2016) what opportunities exist for future expansion of the Scottish economy and the creation of quality employment.

Considering the Scottish Government’s economic strategy what does Brexit mean for:

The session welcomes theoretical, empirical and policy focused papers.  International and regional comparative studies are also welcome.

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS36. Ensuring Rigorous & Effective Regional Spatial & Economic Strategies

Session organiser(s)

Eastern & Midland Regional Assembly, Ireland

This session will present an implementation roadmap to support an effective formulation of Regional Spatial and Economic Strategies (RSESs) in tandem with the forthcoming National Planning Framework in Ireland. It aims to ensure the rigour of the RSESs by:

Aims & Expected Outcomes:
The session aims to gather feedback from the academic and practitioner communities for the improvement and refinement of the implementation roadmap. This feedback will enable the identification of issues and recommendations that may be incorporated into the process of formulating the forthcoming RSESs. These outcomes will enable effective RSES in its preparation, implementation and ultimately practice.

Audience:
Regional studies experts, spatial scientists, economists, business studies scholars, political scientists, local development specialists, urban geographers, spatial planners, transport experts, development studies scholars, environmentalists, sociologists, economic geographers, financial geographers, academics, researchers and practitioners alike.

Submission guidelines

This is a closed session.

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SS37. SMEs. Family Firms & the Regional Economy

Session organiser(s)

Lech Suwala, Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Germany: lech.suwala@geo.hu-berlin.de

Family businesses encompass a broad range of actors, ranging from Germany’s Mittelstand to America’s family farm; from Japanese century old money business dynasties to the new-money elites of Shanghai and Silicon Valley. At the same time, most family business are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); it is a well-known fact, that these types of firms represent the backbone of most economies. In Europe, for instance, they constitute 99% of all businesses; moreover, in the past five years or so, they were responsible for 85% of new jobs and provided two-thirds of the total private sector employment in the EU. Against this background, the session aims to open up a profound debate on this often-neglected topic in regional science and economic geography by collecting diverse work on SMEs and/or family businesses in a regional context. It seeks contributions for a better understanding of past and current SME and/or family firm peculiarities and trajectories from around the world by addressing conceptual, empirical and methodological papers on these types of businesses and their role in regional economies.

Papers might address, but are not limited to:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS38. Migration, Innovation & Development

Session organiser(s)

Stefano Breschi, Università Bocconi, Itlay: stefano.breschi@unibocconi.it  
Andrea Morrison, Utrecht University, The Netherlands: a.morrison@uu.nl 
Francesco Lissoni, GREThA, Université de Bordeaux, France: francesco.lissoni@u-bordeaux.fr
Sergio Petralia, Utrecht University, The Netherlands: s.g.petralia@uu.nl

The impact of migration on innovation has becoming a hot topic today due to the steady increase in the share of highly educated individuals on total migration flows. Special attention has been devoted to the circulation of scientists, researchers and highly skilled workers across the globe. More generally, migration has been historically a key channel through which knowledge, skills and ideas have circulated worldwide.

From the perspective of destination countries, migration has been associated with positive economic outcomes, as highly skilled migrants tend to contribute disproportionally to innovation and entrepreneurship. However, it is highly debated whether these outcomes contribute to further concentrate innovation activities in specific location and technologies. Similarly, the dependence on the immigration of foreign workers can be seen as a source of instability and threat for the technological leadership of several countries.

From the perspective of the countries of origin, migration has been associated mainly to negative economic outcomes, due to the loss of skills and human capital (“brain drain”). However, it has been suggested that migration can generate positive feedbacks in the form of knowledge spillovers, returnee entrepreneurs and mediation of capital inflows (FDI, MNCs).

This special session aims to bring together scholars working on migration, innovation or development, and with an interest in the aforementioned debates. We welcome theoretical, empirical and methodological studies focusing on destination or origin countries, recent or past (historical) migration episodes. 

Possible topics include:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS39. Cohesion Policy at a Crossroads

RSA Research Network on the Cohesion Policy

Session organiser(s)

Marcin Dabrowski, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands

In the context of a legitimacy crisis of the EU and of a continuing socio-economic crisis engulfing the EU, the EU Cohesion Policy (CP) is more than ever under pressure and at a major cross-roads. The debate on its future is already ongoing and will reach its apogee in late 2017 with the EU Commission’s proposal for the post-2020 programming period, with the possible scenarios ranging from a more or less radical reform to replacement of the policy with a completely new tool for supporting growth and innovation in the EU, with or without a geographical scope. It is thus critical to reappraise the performance of CP to date, in particular following the reforms undertaken and instruments introduced for the 2014-2020 period, and reflect on the options for improvement and reform of the post-2020 policy. There are still many open questions about the impacts and results of this policy, the practical challenges encountered in its implementation and, last but not least, the interplay and possible cross-fertilisation between CP and other policies with a territorial impact orchestrated by the EU and its Member States.

Against this background, we invite paper proposals exploring some of the following questions and issues related to EU Cohesion Policy:

While the call is open to all, we would like to encourage the participation of Early Career Researchers and, in particular, the Alumni of the Masterclass on EU Cohesion Policy organised as part of the annual European Week of Cities and Regions in Brussels.

The session is expected to lead to a joint publication endeavour, to be discussed and specified after the conference (e.g. special issue). In order to be part of this initiative, the Authors will be asked to submit full papers before 22nd May 2017. 

Please note that the session is organised under the banner of the RSA Research Network on EU Cohesion Policy. The Network can offer 2 bursaries up to GBP 400 to cover the travel and accommodation costs to eligible RSA Members (please consult RSA Research Networks Handbook for more details). 

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS40. What Future for Area Based Regeneration Initiatives in an Era of Inclusive Growth?

Session organiser(s)

David McGuinness: david.mcguinness@northumbria.ac.uk
Paul Greenhalgh: paul.greenhalgh@northumbria.ac.uk
Department of Architecture & the Built Environment, Northumbria University, UK

The UK has a rich post-war history of area based regeneration initiatives (ABIs) aimed at improving socio- economic and environmental conditions in the most deprived communities.  Recent ideological struggles between socio-pathological and structural explanations of deprivation came to a head in 2008 with publication by Policy Exchange of a report which suggest that ABIs were simply throwing good money after bad on areas that had little prospect of improvement; more recent evaluations (Lawless et al, 2012, Beatty et el, 2010 ) indicated that ABIs are not effective at reducing entrenched deprivation by themselves. For the first time in over four decades, England had no national strategy or framework for regeneration nor any dedicated funding targeted at the country’s most deprived communities (Work Foundation 2012; Robson 2012).  Is this non-intervention approach a triumph for socio-pathological explanations of poverty and a return to a Victorian culture of poverty thesis?  More recent research by the Royal Society of the Arts (RSA) suggest a rebalancing of national policy priorities in England with a more inclusive approach to economic growth is required. 

This session will question what this more inclusive approach implies for deprived communities and whether reintroduction of spatially focussed regeneration programmes are needed to prevent further isolation of peripheral/socially excluded communities.  A wider aim of the session is to gather international experience of ABIs and explore best practice in terms of regeneration interventions aimed at reducing socio-economic deprivation. Finally, we wish to consider the wider meaning of inclusive growth for communities at the margins of metropolitan city-region growth models.

The objective of this special track is to bring together a collection of papers that address these or similar issues from an international perspective. We envision contributions covering topics such as:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS41. The Forgotten Shadow of Uneven Develpoment

Remembering the Dark Side in Regional Studies

Session organiser(s)

Miguel Atienza, Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile
Nick Phelps & Martin Arias, University College London, UK

Arguably, over the past two decades or more, economic geography and regional studies have adopted an ever more positive outlook on the potential gains and outcomes from the globalization processes taking place. Despite continued passing acknowledgement of uneven development, cities and regions have been seen to be “plugged into” global production networks, value chains and pipelines, benefitting from processes of industrial upgrading, the development of positive externalities, agglomeration economies and localised technological spillovers. In short, much of the literature has chosen to look primarily at the “bright side” of global forces, on new or successful industry clusters, cities and regions, somehow forgetting that, in the words of George R.R. Martin, “the brightest flame casts the darkest shadow”.

In contrast to the economic geography of the 1970s and 1980s, a theoretical and empirical concern with the darker side outcomes from these same globalization processes appears more marginal. This darker side of globalisation is registered in, among other things: the persistence of economic underdevelopment in extensive resource peripheries; the less visible labour and environmental exploitation that occurs along global value chains and production networks; the lack of purposive strategic coupling or bargaining between states and MNEs; failing national and regional innovation systems, and; less-than-smart patterns of economic specialization.

Our call to focus more on this dark side of the globalization process need render regional studies or economic geography ‘dismal sciences’. It is intended to generate a more balanced assessment of the outcomes of processes of globalisation. As the novelist Louisa May Alcott already noticed in 1868 “some people [seem] to get all sunshine, and some all shadow”, a lesson that seems especially relevant for today’s less developed but globally connected regions. Therefore, this session seeks to initiate more of a discussion of the negative effects of globalization processes seemingly overlooked at present within regional studies and economic geography.

We particularly invite papers that address the following issues:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS42. Who Governs European Cities? The 'New' Territorial Politics of Urban & City-regional Development

Session organiser(s)

Niamh Moore-Cherry, University College Dublin, Ireland: Niamh.Moore@ucd.ie
John Tomaney, University College London, UK

The Global Financial Crisis of 2008 marked a momentary rupturing in capitalist urbanisation but rather than marking the end of late capitalist urbanisation, it has provided a new impetus for, and context within which, capital flows through and between cities and city-regions. Much of the literature that has emerged has focused on the continued accumulation of capital through the financialisation of urban and regional property markets, and debates around the post-political city. The longer-term impacts on the practice and mechanisms of governance, and the emergence of new territorial politics, have received less attention. This paper session will focus on how European cities and city-regions are governed; how new actors intersect with existing institutions and structures of the city and state; and the new axes of inclusion and exclusion that are being produced. Papers focused on the following themes are of particular interest:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS43. Sustainability as Ideology for Europe & the Role of (Regional) Sustainability Education

Session organiser(s)

Gabriel Weber, ISM Hamburg, Germany: gabriel.weber@ism.de
Thomas Hoerber, ESSCA Angers, France
Ignazio Cabras, Newcastle Business School, UK

More and more people seek for a more harmonious and balanced interacting with their social and natural environments and sustainability has emerged as a movement, which is particularly strong in Europe. This session aims to discuss the ideological content of sustainability. While there are some contributions dealing with the ingredients of ideology in environmentalism, research on sustainability as ideology is still in a premature stage. Many people worldwide view the EU as a frontrunner of sustainability policy and the EU itself has gained a lot of credibility by its strong sustainability policy. However recent events such as the financial crisis, the refugee crisis, and the proposed Brexit have diminished the Identity and the Image of the European Union. Sustainability as an ideology has the potential to unite and (re-)strengthen the European Union. Education is the key to achieve more sustainable behaviour. The session aims to open up a profound debate about the pro and cons of sustainability as an ideology (in Europe). It also seeks to encourage a debate on sustainability education and its repercussions. 

Papers might address, but are not limited to:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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SS44. Multiple Benefits of Smart Energy Cities

Session organiser(s)

Adriano Bisello: EURAC Research, Italy 

“Smart energy city” is emerging as one key component of the smart city, aiming to optimize urban energy systems and improve the quality of life for citizens. However, a unique, shared definition of smart energy city is still under debate due to widely varying goals, priorities, strategies and assessment paradigms related to this concept. The risk is to turn it into a meaningless mantra of urban planning and urban policies: the panacea to all relevant energy, environmental and social issues affecting our settlements.

To ensure smart energy city trustable interpretation and accurate assessment, we suggest considering the broad spectrum of multiple benefits (including those exceeding the CO2 emission reduction, and the increase of energy savings) achievable by its successful implementation. Such multiple benefits can emerge in most of the smart city components (i.e. natural and built environment, services, community, governance, economy mobility and connectivity), and are often analysed by sectoral studies, without providing a comprehensive overview. Examples of such benefits are better job opportunities, improved human well-being, reduction of buildings life cycle costs, reduction of fuel poverty, increase in asset value.

Because a holistic approach requires skills and knowledge coming from many research fields, this session seeks to bring together researchers from different backgrounds, exploring in detail one smart energy city co-benefit, or a subset of multiple benefits, with the final aim to provide attendees with a broader view of the topic.

Possible topics of interest for this special session include the following:

Submission guidelines

Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250 word abstract (text only) through the Regional Studies Association conference portal by Friday 24th February 2017. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Programme Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge/Meetings/Meeting?ID=149

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