Date and location

  •   July 9, 2018 - July 10, 2018
  •   City of Malmö, Sweden, Sweden

Conference details

This Call invites papers for the fourth and final conference of the Regional Studies Association (RSA) Research Network on ‘Smart City‐Regional Governance for Sustainability’. The dates of this event are just ahead of the AESOP Conference in Gothenburg, so that both events can be combined. It is an easy train ride between Malmö and Gothenburg. The conference is hosted by the RSA Network with support by the City of Malmö. This final event of the RSA Research Network, by its very nature, sets out to do two things:

  • explore the challenges of developing ‘smart’ solutions to the complex challenges of city-regional governance in its attempt to overcome borders and divisions
  • draw a resume of the four conferences/symposia in terms of outcomes – both theoreticalconceptual and practical. For instance, what does ‘smartness’ really mean in the context of governing, if understood as a reconciliation between differing, even contradictory, agendas and interests. Examples of such contrasts include: local versus regional, national versus sub‐national, global competitiveness versus local liveability, as well as national interest versus local/regional interests, etc.

This conference, therefore, combines elements of paper presentations to highlight some of the themes and questions around possible forms of ‘smartness’ in city‐regional governance, with elements of a symposium and a greater emphasis on round‐table discussions. This objective also includes bringing together academic work and practical policy work by explicitly inviting practitioners to this event.
Malmö was chosen as the location of the conference for that very reason: The city pursues the goal of ‘smartness’ in urban development, being situated in the international virtual Øresund Region (now Greater Copenhagen and Skåne) with its tensions between political‐administrative territoriality and economic spatiality as well as between administrative and ‘virtual’ regionality. In city‐regions, these contestations and thus necessities for reconciling policy goals are particularly complex – and, with their dense and intense interdependencies, pose formidable political and practical challenges to address this complexity of interests effectively;  this gives institutions a central role as connectors between state, people (electorate) and business (capital). This makes city‐regions and their governance a fascinating and rewarding arena for investigating the many meanings of ‘smartness’ – and, indeed, the wider sustainability of arrangements and modi operandi.  

Based on this, academics and practitioners are invited to submit conceptual and empirical papers that address smartness in city‐regional governance in its administrative‐institutional implications, including questions of democratic legitimacy and representation, public ‘voice’ in governance arrangements, and issues of fragmentation and divisions between ‘winners’ and ‘losers’ of network‐ based, collaborative governance practices. How important are administrative conventions, spaces of democratic legitimacy and practices, statutory powers (e.g. taxation), etc?

Topics may include

  • use of technology as a way of ‘flexibilising’ fixed territories and overcoming administrative/ governmental divisions, engaging the public by ‘reaching out’ further, or even adopting and implementing ‘new’ mechanisms of governance;
  • the role of governmental and non‐governmental actors in producing institutional/ organisational smartness as an imaginative, even creative and unorthodox, way of better responding to economic spaces and relations that transcend borders/ boundaries.

Submission of Abstracts
Abstracts should be around 300 words long and submitted by 7th June 2018 via the conference website:

07 June – Deadline for sending in the abstract via the conference website.
11 June – By this date contributors will be informed whether their paper has been accepted. Start of registration. One week later a preliminary programme will be sent to the contributors.
26 June – Deadline for notified presenters to register. This also applies to those who would like to participate without presenting a paper. One week later the final programme will be made available.
9‐10 July – Conference dates

Location and Organisation
The conference is hosted in Malmö, Sweden. There is no registration fee, but full registration via the conference website is required between 11 June and 26 June 2018 to secure a place and have the abstract included in the final conference programme. For further information and enquiries, please contact the organisers on: RSAN‐SmartGov‐ Further information on our RSA Research Network may be found under:

Travel and Accommodation Bursaries
Thanks to the support of the Regional Studies Association, we are able to offer a travel bursary of up to €300 to contribute towards travel and accommodation costs. Eligible to apply are: any student, early career or associate (retired) member of the RSA, as well as members working in a Band B, C or D country. If you are eligible and wish to apply, please add a paragraph to your abstract submission, in which you state your intent to apply, introduce yourself and briefly explain why you are eligible for such a bursary. Please note: The closing date for bursary applications is also 7 June 2018. For further enquiries about the bursary, please contact the conference e‐mail shown above.

Conference Organisers

Core Group of the RSA Research Network
Dr Gerd Lintz, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (Germany); Prof Bas van Heur, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Brussels (Belgium); Dr Igor Calzada, University of Oxford (UK); Prof Iwona Sagan, University of Gdańsk, Gdańsk (Poland) Prof Yonn Dierwechter, University of Washington, Tacoma (USA); Dr Tassilo Herrschel, University of Westminster (UK). Dr Stefano Di Vita, Politecnico di Milano, Milan (Italy); Pontus Tallberg, formerly Region Skåne (Sweden)

Related Documents

How to get there

City of Malmö, Sweden