Regional economic development is facing a range of challenges around Europe due to budget restrictions and austerity measures. The current economic crisis and the lack of investment in regional infrastructure appear to reinvigorate the North-South divide instead of promoting convergence. However, this environment presents opportunities for new initiatives and regional planning and policy. Although austerity may have halted various planned projects and investments particularly in southern European countries, it has also accelerated the quest for smart growth based on ICT infrastructure. The latter has been reinstated recently by the Green Economy initiative at the Rio +20 summit. Business and social networks have been empowered through the rapid technological advances which are taking place in the 21st century allowing practitioners and policy makers to retain certain levels of optimism.
This Research Network aims at exploring city and regional smart growth strategies and arising new paradigms for the Green Economy within the current climate of austerity and recession. Contributions are anticipated to include:
• theoretical contributions
• case studies highlighting best practice or lessons to be learnt
• developing economic urban policy recommendations by identifying preconditions for successful evolutionary policy settings under the specific circumstances of the regions in focus
• social networks and activity theory developments
• new business models for urban and regional development
• developing new impact evaluation methodologies utilising ICT data
• development and exploration of the theoretical underpinnings to analyse these topics within, northern and southern Europe (including peripheral regions)
• identification of gaps, initiation of studies and promotion of collaboration in empirical research and other investigations about smart and regional growth
• policy implications and recommendations
• dissemination of results, good practice and networking activities across the RSA and beyond.