Date and time
Regions are always transitioning, however the usual technological, social, environmental and economic changes have been jolted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Throw in growing geopolitical instability, climate change and migration pressures, and we find ourselves in an increasingly volatile and uncertain global context. Shifting towards a more sustainable and resilient model of regional and urban development becomes even more urgent but ever more challenging.
These pressures are triggering policy innovation in cities and regions, from universal income experimentation, foundational economies, digital citizen participation, adaptive spatial planning or deployment of nature-based or circular economy solutions. However, these innovations seldom become mainstream and the ‘business as usual’ approach dominates. Too often, responses remain based on outdated policy recipes and ideas that failed. As with any societal, economic and technological change, sustainability transitions also tend to benefit cities and regions best equipped to capitalise on it. Other places are highly vulnerable to the negative impacts and are likely to lag further behind. In this light, regions and cities across the globe are in a desperate need of new policy ideas and experimentation in terms of new economic models, ways to empower citizens and promote a fairer distribution of the fruits of economic growth. This requires tools and indicators for regional and urban policies, and modes of regional planning and governance to overcome the limitations that the administrative, spatial or sectoral boundaries pose.
The Regional Studies Association Winter Conference 2022 offers a timely opportunity to discuss and debate important issues, to rethink the key theories, concepts and methods, and to explore futures for regions and cities. The organisers seek papers and special sessions that critically evaluate any aspect of regions in transition, particularly those that:
- Break new ground by identifying new fields of enquiry
- Propose new concepts and methods
- Examine the consequences of and challenges to sustainability transitions (especially on the linkages between the three pillars of sustainability – economic, social and environmental)
- Propose new policy solutions for local and regional policy and planning practitioners
- Collaborative, comparative or interdisciplinary papers are especially welcome
- Session proposals experimenting with new formats for the debate and engagement of the audience are encouraged
Please click here for the Call for Papers.
Plenary Sessions and Speakers
Shifting towards sustainable regional and urban futures is the defining challenge of the moment. The growing disillusionment with democracy in ‘left behind’ places, the worsening climate crisis, the series of global economic shocks and the increasingly volatile geopolitical context add to the urgency of the sustainability transitions agenda. This interdisciplinary panel – bringing together leading scholars working across the disciplines of geography, economics, and urbanism – will critically evaluate the state of those transitions and debate new ways for regions and cities to accelerate them.
Speaker: Lars Coenen, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences & University of Oslo, Norway
Lars Coenen is Professor in Innovation and Sustainability Transitions at the Mohn Centre for Innovation and Regional Development, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences and Adjunct Professor at the TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture, University of Oslo. His research interests converge around the geography of innovation. In particular he is interested in mapping and understanding innovation geographies related to urgent societal challenges and missions such as climate change. Professor Coenen is well-known internationally for his work on regional and urban innovation and, in particular, his pioneering research on the geography of environmental innovation and sustainability transitions. He is author of more than 60 scientific papers published in leading international journals such as Research Policy, Environment and Planning A and Economic Geography and co-edited the edited volume ‘Urban Sustainability Transitions’. His work has had considerable scientific impact with over 14.000 citations in Scholar Google. Previously, Lars was full professor at CIRCLE, the Centre for Innovation, Research, and Competence in the Learning Economy at Lund University, where he was heading up a research group dealing with innovation and sustainability transitions. During his time at CIRCLE in Sweden, Professor Coenen has been a frequent scientific advisor for the Swedish Innovation Agency, VINNOVA. From 2017-2020 he has been the inaugural ‘City of Melbourne Chair of Resilient Cities’, at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute of the University of Melbourne, Australia.
Speaker: Joanna Williams, The Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, UK
Dr Jo Williams has 21 years of research experience broadly in the area of environmental sustainability. Since 1997, her research interest has focused on reducing resource consumption and tackling green-house gas emissions, more particularly the transition pathways towards achieving this goal. She has worked on projects focussed on low carbon experiments and urban transitions; resource sharing and collaborative lifestyles; circular urban resource systems; the translation of eco-innovation to new contexts; ecological foot-printing and eco-system services; smart cities; eco-neighbourhoods and community resource provision. She is particularly interested in the dynamic process of change in complex urban systems, with particular reference to reducing greenhouse gas emissions and resource consumption. Jo is the Director of the Circular Cities Hub. Jo advises cities on Circular strategies; has been asked to advise the UK Government and European Commission on Circular Cities and has several researchers working in related areas – blue-print for circular integrated infrastructure; smart shrinkage in Korea; translating ecocyles to Asia; Circular Transitions – Barriers and Mechanisms for Scaling Circular Experiments and Strategies an Challenges for Circular Cities. Jo is also interested in the scaling-up and translation of urban eco-innovation ( low carbon, circular experiments) to new contexts; and the management of these processes leading towards sustainable urban transitions. She adopts a systems-based approach in her work. Her research has centred on European, American and Asian examples. The results from some of her research projects have captured the imagination of the world press (in particular Zero Carbon Realities and Going Solo) and influenced thinking within UNEP, European Environment Agency, Globe European Commission, and various national Governments. Key Expertise Eco-cities, smart cities, circular cities Resource management, urban metabolism and closed-loop systems, strategic resource management, resource sharing, sustainable consumption and production, community provision, eco-footprinting. Sustainable urban transitions – processes, management and governance and strategic tools for delivery.Integrated urban systems: design and implementation. Scaling-up eco-experiments, transformative / transition planning Translation of eco-experiments to new contexts, mobile transitions and geography of eco-innovation Eco-localisation Ecosystems services, blue and green infrastructure. Co-provision of the built environment – co-design, co-building, co-management, co-funding, collaborative planning International comparative research Environmental policy Urban and spatial planning.
Speaker: Eveline van Leeuwen, Wageningen University, The Netherlands
Eveline van Leeuwen (1978) graduated in Land Use Planning (MSc) at the Wageningen University in 2002 and obtained a PhD in Economics at VU Amsterdam on the thesis entitled “Towns today : Contemporary Functions of Small and Medium-sized Towns in the Rural Economy” in 2008. She is now affiliated to Wageningen University as professor and chairholder of the Urban Economics group.
Eveline has a broad interest in economic and social interactions between places at the regioal and urban level and how these interactions impact wellbeing/happiness; economic activities and participation. In her research, she focusses on the integration of micro- and macro approaches in the field of regional science. Linking agent-based modelling and microsimulation, with macro models is an important common thread. This novel approach was rewarded with two best paper awards and resulted in several invited presentations.
Currently, Eveline and her group are working on how social and physical neighbourhood characteristics contribute to individual level decisions. They focus on sustainable energy consumption and the uptake of renewable energy, local participation and social networks, and healthy lifestyles.
In addition, at the regional level, a project on the opportunities for regional food systems and the preferences of urban consumers will start early 2018.
Chair: Marcin Dabrowski, TU Delft, The Netherlands
I am an Assistant Professor at the Department of Urbanism at TU Delft (Chair of Spatial Planning and Strategy). My academic interests span across regional, urban and policy studies and include such topics as (multi-level) governance, policy transfer / mobility, Europeanisation of spatial planning, regional and urban development policies, climate change adaptation in cities, energy transition, and, most recently, circular economy. Geographically, my work tends to focus on Central and Southern European countries, but also on The Netherlands and China. I have published in top journals in my field(s), such as Regional Studies, European Urban and Regional Studies or Environment and Planning C.
I graduated from Sciences Po in Paris and completed my PhD at the University of the West of Scotland. In the past, I worked as a research assistant at the EPRC, University of Strathclyde, and assistant professor at the EIF, University of Vienna. I am actively involved in the Regional Studies Association (RSA).
This session focusses on regions with a rapidly shrinking working age population and a low and stagnant share of tertiary educated. The two key questions are: What drives these two issues? and Will these trends undermine their capacity to grow and catch up?
Speaker: Head of Economic Analysis at DG for Regional and Urban Policy, European Commission, Belgium
Lewis Dijkstra is the Head of the Economic Analysis Sector of the Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy in the European Commission. He is the editor the Cohesion Report, which analyses economic, social and environmental issues in EU regions and cities. He is also a visiting professor at the London School of Economics.
He works closely with the OECD, the UN, the World Bank, the European Environmental Agency, the Joint Research Centre and Eurostat.
His recent work covers topics such as a global definition of cities and rural areas, measuring transport performance, the geography of EU discontent, quality of government and gender equality.
He holds a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from Rutgers University, New Jersey, an MSc in Urban and Regional Planning from the London School of Economics and Political Science and a BA in Political Science from the University of Ghent, Belgium.
Speaker: Ana I. Moreno Monroy, OECD, France
Ana Isabel Moreno Monroy is Regional Inequalities and Demographic Change Programme Manager at the Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities at the OECD. Previously she worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, and as Marie Sklodowska Curie Fellow at the Rovira i Virgili University and the London School of Economics. In her research she uses geo-spatial data and economic and geography methods to contribute to the design of social inclusion policies. She has published in leading academic journals including the Journal of Development Economics and Regional Science and Urban Economics. Ana owns a Masters and a PhD in Economics from the University of Groningen.
Speaker: Jouke van Dijk, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Jouke van Dijk (1956) is Professor of Regional Labor Market Analysis and Chair of the Department of Economic Geography at the Faculty of Spatial Sciences of the University of Groningen .
Since 2018 President of the Social and Economic Council (SER) Northern Netherlands .
Chair: Franziska Sielker, TU Vienna, Austria and University of Cambridge, UK
Franziska Sielker is Professor of Urban and Regional Research at TU Vienna at the Department of Spatial Planning, and Affiliated Professor (Planning and Housing) at the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge. Before joining TU Vienna, she was Assistant Professor of Planning and Housing at the University of Cambridge (2018-2021) and Interim Professor for International Planning Studies (2018-2019) at TU Dortmund at the Faculty of Spatial Planning. She took her PhD for her work on “Macro-regional integration in the EU” at the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Institute of Geography.
In her work she focusses first on regional development and divergences in Europe as well as EU Regional, Cohesion and Sector Policies, second on international investments in infrastructure such as in the case of the Belt and Road Initiative, and third on digitalisation practices in planning, digital twins and urban development as well housing policies.
Speaker: David Bailey, University of Birmingham, UK
David Bailey is Professor of Business Economics at the Birmingham Business School, and a Senior Fellow of the ESRC’s UK in a Changing Europe programme, exploring the impacts of Brexit on UK automotive and manufacturing. He has written extensively on industrial and regional policy, especially in relation to manufacturing and the auto industry. He has been involved in a number of recent major projects including the recent Horizon2020 RISE project MAKERS where he led the Work Package on Industrial Policy. He is Editor-in-Chief of the leading journal Regional Studies and Chair of the RSA Europe Think-Tank and policy forum. His latest co-edited book ‘Keeping the Wheels on the Road. UK Auto after Brexit’ has recently been published by Bite-Sized Books. David is a regular media commenter and newspaper columnist.
Speaker: Lisa De Propris, University of Birmingham, UK
My main research interests are: small firms and clusters; competitiveness in clusters and regions; forms of clusters and governance; innovation; clusters and foreign direct investment; regional development; knowledge economy and clusters, and creative and cultural industries. In parallel, I have always been concerned with the role of the government and institutions, and have looked at policy implications arising from my work, including cluster policy, EU regional and industrial policy.
Speaker (0nline) Michaela Trippl, University of Vienna, Austria
As part of the 2022 RSA Winter conference there will be a number of Special Sessions running throughout the academic programme.
The conference will take place at the Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury in central London. The hotel is a few minutes walk from Russell Square (Piccadilly Line) tube station and a short walk from Kings Cross/London St Pancras stations. The Holiday Inn London Bloomsbury is within easy reach of Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted and London City airports. If you are planning to extend your stay into the weekend you can find more information on the Visit London website.
Currently in the UK there are no government COVID restrictions and at this time we are intending to run this conference face to face with the plenary sessions live streamed, we reserve the right to pivot to online if the UK government advice is updated.