Image RSA North America Conference 2019

Date and location

  •   September 25, 2019 - September 27, 2019
  •   The Centre Mont-Royal, 2200 Mansfield St, Montreal, QCH3A 3R8, Canada

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Conference details

To join the discussion, please use #RSAMONTREAL

Early Career plenary speaker application deadline 6th December 2018 Special Session proposal deadline 1st March 2019 Bursary application deadline 1st April 2019 Abstract submission deadline 16th April 2019

Innovation is seen as a way of responding to climate change, social inequalities, economic challenges, the provision of services and the building of infrastructure. Yet it can also be seen as the cause of many of the challenges that cities and regions now face: indeed, in its broadest sense innovation simply means change, and the consequences of many of the changes wrought over the last century and a half are now being understood.

Innovation has been enshrined as a pillar of economic agenda at all governmental scales. The government of Canada’s supercluster policy (2018) makes explicit that it sees innovation as linked to regional processes. The policy reflected the wider claim that cities and regions need to innovate yet these are vague claims in need of investigation.

This conference will provide the opportunity for urban and regional scholars to grapple with the complexities of innovation and change, qualifying the idea of innovation, questioning the institutions that organize and channel it, and exploring the actors, private, public and civil society, who instigate change and cope with its consequences. To what extent are innovative processes regionally embedded? Can radical innovation occur within the current institutional context? Who innovates? Who benefits? Is it possible, or useful, to think through the consequences of innovation? Is it always necessary or advisable to innovate? Can innovation lead to more inclusive forms of growth? How does innovation impact cities and regions – in terms of their governance, their economies, their infrastructure and their social cohesion? And, conversely, how do cities and regions, as polities, innovate, influence innovation, adapt to change, and channel its consequences? These are some of the questions that will be addressed in Montreal.

Key Conference Themes:

  • Infrastructure: maintenance, financing mechanisms
  • Culture and economic development
  • Climate change and urban processes
  • Public sector innovation
  • The causes and consequences of rising inequality
  • Inclusive growth as the new growth model?
  • Artificial intelligence, the platform economy and regional labour markets
  • Identity politics and territorial embeddedness
  • The smart city: a solution in search of a problem?
  • Private sector innovation and spatial processes
  • Medium sized metropolitan areas: what future in a world of mega-cities?
  • Rising protectionism: local, global, short and long-term effects
  • Taxing multinationals and mobile workers
  • Economic development and the environment
  • Small towns and rural regions in the age of big data and internet

We welcome papers from all – academics, researchers, students and those working in policy and practice. The event is inclusive and offers networking opportunities for all. We welcome proposals for special sessions, themed workshops and innovative forms of networking and collaboration. To contribute contact Lesa Reynolds at: lesa.reynolds@regionalstudies.org.

Conference Fees

We offer a reduced rate for RSA members. If you are not currently an RSA member, please have a look at our Membership Benefits and consider joining the RSA before registering for the Conference. To join the RSA as a member, please go to to the Members’ Lounge at https://members.regionalstudies.org/lounge

Early Bird Registration Fees register before 16th April 2019
RSA Members £250
Non-members £350
Registration Fees after 16th April 2019
RSA Members £300
Non-members £400

Abstract Submission: Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250-word abstract (text only) through the RSA conference portal. Abstract submission deadline is 16th April 2019. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Committee against the criteria of originality, interest, and subject balance.

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Conference Organisers

Academic Organisers:

Richard Shearmur and Sébastien Breau, McGill University, Canada

RSA Conference Manager:

Lesa Reynolds – lesa.reynolds@regionalstudies.org

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How to get there

The Centre Mont-Royal, 2200 Mansfield St, Montreal, QCH3A 3R8, Canada