2021 Regions in Recovery Special Sessions
As part of the 2021 Regions in Recovery E-Festival, we welcome proposals for Special Sessions. Special Sessions are a great way to bring together presenters to discuss and highlight a particular topic and to develop or further extend your network.
Click here to submit an abstract to one of the special sessions, please choose the session from the Gateway Theme during the submission process. Abstract submission deadline – 17th March 2021.
Session organiser(s): Karel Van den Berghe, Aksel Ersoy, Marcin Dabrowski and Ellen Van Bueren, Delft University of Technology, TheNetherlands; Frank van Oort, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands; Joanna Williams, University College London, UK
This open-paper session is part of a series of sessions focussing on the Circular Economy (CE). The CE poses an increasing challenge for spatial researchers, from analysing (what, where), monitoring (performance) to pro-actively policy-making (cf. EU Green Deal and many national policy programs). This session invites papers that focus in particular on the role of space in the transition towards the CE. It is presumed that in the CE locations and geography will play a more crucial role. Already today we see that in many research papers and policy documents the focus is shifting away from global flows to regional and local flows of materials and products, in order to extend the life-cycle of products and reduce waste generation and consumption of resources. Regions and cities play a key role in this transition towards CE, and already today we see that at those scales the majority of circular innovations emerge. It also in regions and cities that action can best be taken to explore the flows of materials and propose new policies and strategies to close material loops and connect the relevant industrial, institutional and social stakeholders. Nevertheless, the vast majority of CE innovations focusses on Recycling, and fail to have higher impact that deal with Repair, Reuse, Reduce and Rethink. An explanation that circular innovations have difficulties to achieve higher impact, is that the technical aspects dominate innovation, without connecting these to socioeconomic, spatial and institutional aspects, which are especially relevant for higher R-level innovations. In particular, it is not fully understood what constrains or enables the type and impact of innovations to develop in and beyond particular places. Therefore, this session invites contributions that use space as a lens to study CE and contribute to debates on circularity. We welcome empirical, conceptual as theoretical papers. Topics include (but are not limited to): – the mobility of labour and knowledge (cf. circular skills, circular jobs);- circular economy as driver for industrial policy; – (critical) reflections on (circularity) discourses (from green to circular washing?); – the role of circular economy for regional policy and competitiveness; – emergence of circular economy clusters; – material and/or non-material network analyses on circular economy activities in regions and cities; – spatial needs and consequences of a transition to circular economy; – the challenges of transitioning towards circular economy; – planning approaches and tools for circular transitions; – the (ontological) positioning of nature versus/and society; – the (mis)match between (economic, institutional, cultural, social) scales (e.g. local vs global processes). – The role of human behaviour in the (non)success of CE innovations
Session organiser(s): Marcin Dabrowski, Karel Van den Berghe, Aksel Ersoy, Ellen Van Bueren, Delft University of Technology, TheNetherlands and Frank van Oort, Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands
This open-paper session is part of a series of sessions focussing on the Circular Economy (CE). CE has rapidly emerged as a priority on the agendas and strategies of cities around the world and is a central tenet in the European Green Deal. However, the concept remains ill-defined and there is a gap in knowledge on how cities can facilitate a CE transition that is just and inclusive and what this entails. Current policies and research overlook three critical, but interconnected aspects of CE transitions (1) First, CE is seldom considered from a territorial perspective. This is problematic not only because we may overlook potentials for harnessing CE to improve spatial quality and design more sustainable and liveable cities, but also because the transition away from linear economy entails complex spatial challenges which cannot be ignored (see e.g. Williams, 2019). For instance, circular processes require preserving industrial spaces for recycling or remanufacturing with appropriate buffer zones, which goes against the current plans in many cities for redevelopment of industrial areas into mixed-use areas. (2) The second neglected aspect of urban CE transitions is social. Thus, we need to explore (a) who and which spaces are affected by the negative externalities of circular activities (e.g. noise, odours, decline of certain industries); and (b) how to use the new opportunities stemming from CE transition to improve the quality of life, improve life chances and social cohesion, create jobs, bring back (re)manufacturing to cities, revalorise industrial skills, and promote social reinsertion of the marginalised social groups from deprived urban areas (see Moreau et al., 2017; Croxford et al., 2020). (3) Third, to develop place-sensitive CE strategies and harness their potential to produce positive spatial social change, we need to rethink the current governance of territory and spatial planning practices towards more open, inclusive and adaptive decision-making. Given the complexity and novelty of CE, the conflicting pressures on land development and the path dependencies related to linear economy, this is a tremendous challenge (see Marin & De Meulder, 2018; Obersteg et al., 2019). We lack templates and insight into how to overcome these governance problems and how to harness the potential of co-creative approaches to achieve this. Against this background, the session will explore the spatial, social and governance tensions that urban and regional circular strategies bring. This session invites contributions that explore these tensions. We welcome empirical, conceptual as theoretical papers. Topics include (but are not limited to): Conceptual and theoretical perspectives on the nexus between CE, spatial development and governance; Spatial planning and CE; The spatial conflicts that closing material loops and shifting towards circular industries entail; Towards circular built environment; Geographies of material flows; Citizen engagement in regional and urban CE strategies; Circular jobs and circular skills; Governance of regional and urban circular economy policies; CE transition management; The potentials of CE to foster social inclusion; Synergies between CE and urban regeneration; CE in cities and regions in the Global South; Path dependencies in shifting towards CE; Citizen attitudes towards circular economy, negative externalities and NIMBYism.
Session Organiser(s): Ben Derudder, KU Leuven, Belgium; John Harrison and Michael Hoyler, Loughborough University, UK; Xingjian Liu, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China; Evert Meijers, Utrecht University, The Netherlands
Freke Caset, Ghent University, Belgium
Bindong Sun, East China Normal University, China
Mark Pendras, University of Washington, United States
The ‘polycentric urban region’ (PUR) has become a key concept in regional studies, both as an analytical framework to capture empirical realities as well as part of normative visions and goals in regional development policies. In its most basic guise, the PUR notion applies to regions characterised by the presence of multiple, more-or-less proximate urban centres without pronounced hierarchical differentiation between those centres. Given the increased conceptual, empirical and policy relevance of PURs, in 2017 the Regional Studies Association (RSA) (co)funded a research network dedicated to enhancing our understanding of the prevalence, significance, and future development of PURs. In this session, we synthesise and reflect on the major insights emerging from the different events and publications associated with the research network, and use this as a starting point to present a future research agenda on PURs and implications for policy-making. The session consists of an extended presentation by the research network coordinators, followed by a series of invited responses from established and early-career scholars working in the field, thereby leaving ample room for critical and constructive discussion with the audience. The purpose of this session is thus to develop both a timely overview of the present state of PUR knowledge in the broadest possible sense (looking back) and developing a critical agenda for further work in this area (looking forward).
Session Organiser(s): Vasilis Avdikos, Panteion University, Greece; Ilaria Mariotti, DAStu-Politecnico di Milano, Italy; Suntje Schmidt, Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space (IRS), Germany; Ignasi Capdevila, Paris School of Business, France; Thilo Lang, Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IfL), Germany; Pavel Bednar, Tomas Bata University in Zlín, Czech Republic
Collaborative workspaces (hereafter CWS), such as coworking spaces, fab labs, creative hubs etc., for freelancers, self-employed, remote workers and start-ups are increasingly gaining attention of local and regional economic development strategies and policies as they are considered important intermediaries that help deliver entrepreneurial growth and local innovation agendas (Babb et al., 2018; Capdevila, 2015; Mariotti et al., 2017; Di Marino & Lapintie, 2018). Based on Deskmag (2019) we have witnessed an upsurge of CWS (600 CWS in 2010 – 18700 in 2018) with 1.65 million CWS users worldwide. CWS promote novel working practises with a collaborative, community-based approach to independent work such as freelance or self-employment, mainly in the field of cultural, digital, and creative industries (Cappelli & Keller, 2013). Whereas the vast majority of CWS are located in urban agglomerations, we recently observed the gradual spread of CWS in less densely populated cities, towns and villages in rural and even peripheral regions across the EU (Avdikos and Merkel, 2020, Fuzi, 2015). It seems that CWS may contribute to solving very specific socio-demographic challenges in these regions, such as brain drain, low investments level, low entrepreneurship level etc. Compared to urban CWS, rural CWS thereby differ in terms of scopes, functions and impacts. However, a systematic comparison between urban and rural CWS is still lacking and there is yet no clear evidence about their functions, their impacts and the ways that policymaking may (or should) promote a rural CWS wave and assist in linking the development of CWS with processes of local socio-economic development. In fact, that policy link is much needed for those disadvantaged places (Rodriguez-Pose, 2019), as only a few EU policies (e.g. Interreg) have assisted, in a fragmented way, the development of CWS in peripheral and rural areas. We are inviting contributions that deal with the exploration of the multiple ways that CWS function in rural areas and peripheral towns and regions, e.g.: – Distribution and character of collaborative workspaces in rural and/ or peripheral regions – Contributions of CWS to regional and local learning, creative, social or economic innovation or entrepreneurial processes -Gender dynamics Functions of CWS in local and regional markets – Role of CWS in local and translocal entrepreneurial ecosystems -Potential contribution of CWS to sustainable regional development and relevant public policies. The session is supported by the Marie Sklodowska Curie-Innovative Training Network CORAL: Exploring the impacts of collaborative workspaces in rural and peripheral areas in the EU (www.coral-itn.eu) and the COST Action CA18214 “The Geography of New Working Spaces and the Impact on the Periphery” (www.nmbu.no/en/projects/new-working-spaces)
Joanna Williams and Marjan Marjanovic, University College London, UK; Joerg Knieling, Hafencity University, Germany
This closed-paper session is the plenary session for a series of sessions focussing on the Circular Economy (CE). With cities striving to meet sustainability criteria, the circular economy (CE) approach is gaining momentum at the local scale. Especially in Europe, cities have adopted measures and strategies to implement circular development in fields ranging from infrastructure to urban planning, social consumption, industry and business. National governments such as those in the Netherlands and France, as well as the European Union support these local efforts. In the Covid-19 context, many cities are turning to circular development in an effort to formulate long-term recovery strategies that are in alignment with their sustainability and climate goals. In this session we will explore how taking a circular approach to development in city regions might help to address the problems highlighted by the pandemic. The session will also highlight how taking a circular approach to development is likely to impact on land-use and the way in which we plan our city-regions in the future.
- After COVID: a circular recovery in European cities, Jo Williams, University College London – Director of the Circular Cities Hub
- The European Green Deal and Recovery Plan: A catalyst for holistic approaches to circular cities?, Hannah Abdullah, Research Fellow, Global Cities Programme, Barcelona Centre for International Affairs
- Circular Cities and Land Consumption – Can Post-Covid achieve new ways of sustainable land use in city-regions?, Prof. Joerg Knieling, Head of the Institute for Urban Planning and Regional Development of HafenCity University Hamburg
- Contributing to post-Covid circular cities through urban development agendas and projects, Prof. Ellen van Bueren, Professor of Urban Development Management at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at Delft Technological University
- Combining circularity, health and smart shrinkage – exploring new horizons in urban development, Wendy Wuyts, Nagoya University and Marjan Marjanovic, University College London
- Title TBC Prof. Luigi Fusco Girard is Associate Professor at IRISS, Emeritus Professor at the University of Naples Federico II
Sonia de Gregorio Hurtado, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
Nicola Francesco Dotti, VU Brussels, Belgium
The Treaty of Amsterdam introduced the concept of gender mainstreaming within the EU Treaty. Today, more than 20 years after, the current level of implementation of this vision in the different EU policy areas is highly heterogeneous. This Special Session focuses its attention on understanding how is the gender being mainstreamed within Cohesion Policy. The main objective is to give visibility to this pertinent policy issue. The Session aims also to i) raise awareness on the relevance of understanding how the Cohesion Policy is integrating the gender perspective; ii) put in common knowledge from academics and practitioners, and technicians on how to advance in the integration of the gender perspective in the CP urban instruments in order to increase its transformative capacity towards sustainable and cohesive societies. Organizers: Sonia De Gregorio Hurtado and Nicola Francesco Dotti. Presentations: 1) The gender dimension in Cohesion Policy 2014-2020. An overall insight and lessons learned. Manuela Samek. Research Director at IRS- Istituto per la Ricerca Sociale. 2) The gender dimension in the urban approach of Cohesion Policy Sonia De Gregorio Hurtado Professor. Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. 3) Gender mainstreaming in urban policy: Insights from the URBACT GenderedLandscape Action Planning Network. Mary Dellenbaugh-Losse. Lead expert for the URBACT GenderedLandscape Action. This Special Session is proposed as part of the activities of the RSA Research Network on EU Cohesion Policy.
Laura Norris, Cardiff University UK
Will Eadson, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Camilla Chlebna, University of Oldenburg, Germany
Decarbonisation goals have spurred innovation and an evolution in the way societal functions are delivered. Whilst it is generally acknowledged that these systems of production and consumption should be transformed rapidly, there are many social and spatial implications of energy transitions, which are still only partly understood. Alongside this, changes in the global economy as a result of recession, globalisation and the ongoing pandemic mean that ‘green recovery’ potentially opens opportunities for new path creation. These are prompting scholars from different backgrounds and fields to consider the different pathways and varied impacts of sustainability transitions across territories.
Amongst others this special session seeks to consider the following themes:
- New path creation
- State mediation, policy interventions and governance
- Innovation geographies including
- The influence of finance geographies and practices
- The impact of the region on technological innovation
- The geography of the diffusion of ‘sustainable’ practices and approaches
- Opportunities and threats to carbon-intensive regions
- Unintended and unexpected consequences of transitions
The session organisers invite empirical and conceptual contributions, and welcome submissions from a range of methodological approaches.
Recognising the different opportunities that an online event brings, we will also be hosting an (optional!) series of informal sessions alongside any presentation-led sessions, to create an opportunity for presenters to get to know one another, discuss ideas and have ‘coffee-break’ style conversations.
Julie Marin, KU Leuven, Belgium
Griet, Juwet, VUB Brussels, Belgium
With this interactive workshop, we aim to map and critically discuss best practices of urban materials and energy transition through the lens of spatial design. The session ties in with the increasing policy support at European, national and local levels for innovative practices of circular economy and energy transition, as part of carbon neutrality ambitions. However, the agendas behind these intentions often remain unclear or implicit, and diverse spatial, political, financial, social and governance strategies are developed.
This session aims to create clarity in how concrete spatial circular economy and energy transition projects incorporate diverse visions of circular economy and energy transition (Friant, Vermeulen, and Salomone, n.d.), how different spatial and political agendas are at play (Thombs 2019; Vandenbroeck 2017), and how transition drivers can lead to radically different futures (Marin and De Meulder 2018). Spatial planning and design practitioners can take up (a) key role(s) in the conceptualization, development and implementation of these circular economy and energy transition projects (Juwet 2020).
The goal of this session is three-fold: First, it aims to collaboratively construct a critical database of best practices in circular economy and energy transition, second, it unravels the agendas and strategies at play in these projects, and thirdly it evaluates the roles spatial practitioners can take up in these complex transition assignments.
We invite design researchers, designers and policymakers to submit one or more case studies of circular economy and/or energy transition they have in-depth knowledge about: how was the project conceptualized, developed and implemented, what is the governance structure and how was it financed, who were the initiators, developers, owners? What was/were the role(s) of design(ers)?
A conceptual framework and interactive methodology for the workshop will be prepared by the session organizers. Session participants will receive a template with questions to pitch their best practice. These presentations will form the basis for a collective discussion aimed at mapping the projects according to different transition dimensions.
Dimitri Corpakis, PhD, FeRSA, former EU official, Belgium
Richard Tuffs, Senior Expert, Belgium
Jan Larosse, Senior Expert, Belgium
The key issue this session will address is the role of smart specialisation (S3) in the current period and how far smart specialisation can and will be able to play a role in developing and delivering regional sustainable growth through the present recovery and transformation plans.
The Covid19 pandemic has resulted in a multi-faceted crisis, affecting society and the economy in unprecedented ways that are set to be long-lasting and profoundly structural. The health crisis has dictated structural changes on the ways people interact, work, socialise, produce and consume, thereby disrupting production, and supply and distribution chains. Entire economic sectors have been shut down or modified their productive behaviour, entailing severe impacts on people and places and a disruption of global value chains.
While waiting for mass vaccination, people become both the victims and the agents of the virus. This double role makes any physical interaction with fellow humans a challenge, transforming any physical encounter to a potential threat hence the emptying out of city centres – places of work and consumption.
Places are inevitably the theatre of this disruption. By shutting down the economy, places are heavily impacted, as trade, retail, services and socio-cultural life are disrupted or altered. Because of the pandemic and the risk of infection, many interactions have moved to cyberspace: telework, electronic meetings, electronic commerce and electronic transactions have soared, accelerating an identifiable trend before the pandemic. At the same time, already announced trends in digital manufacturing (industry 4.0), robotics, big data and artificial intelligence have picked up in importance providing a credible alternative to missing or failing humans in the production chain. Industry 4.0 was already gaining pace before the pandemic and is set to continue in the ‘next’ or ‘new’ normal. This ‘new normal’ presents places with a new configuration of reality for which few were (and still are) prepared. This new normal, however, will go hand-in-hand with what we call now the Recovery. And it is more than certain that the Recovery will not return the world to December 2019.
For one thing, the trends accelerated by the pandemic have been increasing for some time sending signals to those that opted to listen. Retail worldwide was already under heavy pressure from e-commerce with shopping malls being transformed in other uses already in many advanced economies. Telework was already a routine for many big corporates and smaller independent firms that opted for a different work style based on accelerated collaboration, interaction and creativity among several co-workers or collaborating firms around continents and countries. Several small companies that were successful in embracing the digital transformation have seen the benefits of a profound transformation in their structure and operations. Still the vast majority of SMEs in the OECD area trail in digital transformation and the crisis caught them completely unaware or unwilling to transform themselves. Thus, the crisis, has functioned largely as a huge accelerator for disruption, introducing innovative practices in all areas, our societies have to increase their resilience towards these shocks that seem to become endemic. In addition, geo-political tensions that were exacerbated in the Trump era are articulated through the search for strategic autonomy in essential products and resources, to protect the health of populations and societies.
The pandemic has placed all our economic and social structures under a severe stress-test. The resilience of our welfare state is being challenged as health and welfare systems are stretched to the limit. The degree to which these legacy structures will resist to the Covid crisis will determine what actually will be left as credible component for the future. The question then that promptly arises is what kind of answers we are able to advance to prepare for a more resilient and responsible future, in economic, social and environmental terms. This brings in two central issues: what are our future priorities and how do we make the most of the available financial resources that have been made available as a response to the crisis.
In May 2020, faced with the economic fall-out of the COVID-19 crisis, the European Union approved NextGenerationEU, the EU’s plan for emerging stronger from the current crisis. It will make available €750 billion in loans and grants to support reforms and investments undertaken by EU Member States. The Recovery and Resilience Facility (RFF) with a budget of €672.5 billion is at the heart of this investment plan and will play a crucial role in mitigating the economic and social impact of the coronavirus pandemic and making European economies and societies more sustainable, resilient and better prepared for the green and digital transitions.
The RRF is structured around six pillars: green transition; digital transformation; smart, sustainable and inclusive growth and jobs; social and territorial cohesion; health and resilience; and policies for the next generation, children and youth, including education and skills. The European Commission has called on all Member States to develop a national recovery plan for approval by April 2021 to receive a proportion of the allocated budget by the summer of 2021. All these funds will be spent ultimately in regions, in places each with a unique potential.
The key questions are who decides on how these funds are spent and on what basis are the decisions taken? Are the recovery plans based on existing strategies such as smart specialisation strategies or are we witnessing ad-hoc planning often ignoring both an evidence-based and a place-based regional dimension?
We are on the cusp of a changing paradigm that recognises the need to shift to climate neutrality, highlighted by the European Green Deal, while also embroiled in a global health pandemic. This twin track transformation raises questions of democracy and citizen involvement, social inequality and territorial differences which will influence our quest for a new growth model. Therefore, the role of cities and regions as first line policy levels to incorporate this systemic shift cannot be underestimated. But how far will regions and cities be engaged in designing this shift that they will be the prime movers in its implementation on the ground? Will or should we return to an old-style top-down industrial policy providing directionality while ignoring multi-level governance and bottom-up entrepreneurial discovery?
As we look ahead though, it is critical that we consider fundamental questions about the significance of these changes. What changes will ultimately endure? Which changes will be short-lived and quickly disappear and what are the implications for cities and regions? What does it tell us about the capacity for regional research to influence policy and effect meaningful change? To what extent can existing growth methodologies be still used or should they be modified, tempered, recalibrated and enriched to provide the desired results at national and regional levels? How can nations and regions plan ahead, mobilising their full potential and reaching their growth and jobs objectives? How can Europe recover and become more resilient, avoiding the mistakes of the past and carving a new path for the future?
The question of priorities for investment is an old and challenging one for planning authorities. The question is even more difficult to respond in times of crisis. As the time frames get short for official responses, governments tend to put in place well-known schemes, avoid experimentation and repeat recipes of the past (even if these recipes have not worked as they should in their time). Budgetary pressures, regulatory deadlines and decision-making cycles may lead to sub-optimal plans or even worst, lead policy makers to ‘fly-blind’ during the emergency. The need for speed does not always lead to the best decisions.
There is however a tested methodological solution that has proven its value in the previous multi-annual financial framework (2014-20) and this is the methodology of Smart Specialisation (S3). Setting out a comprehensive planning process to make the most of the money available to the EU Member States under the Resilience and Recovery Fund, requires the tools and the wisdom of Smart Specialisation, that has to be seen here as a wider methodological planning tool for investing in the priorities of the future. But at the same time these strategies will be updated for the challenge of green and digital transformation and building resilience, and up-scaled by interregional S3 partnerships.
The Regions in Recovery conference presents a timely opportunity to discuss and debate these important issues and address the concerns and challenges confronting practitioners and policymakers. The key issue our session is the role of smart specialisation in the current period and how far smart specialisation can and will be able to play a role in developing and delivering regional sustainable growth. With the development of the EU’s Green Deal, smart specialisation policy makers are already turning towards an S4 (Smart Specialisation Strategies for Sustainability) to indicate the need to embrace sustainable priorities. However, in responding to the current situation other changes may be necessary such as increased focus on resilience and societal challenges. Alternatively, just as the pandemic has stimulated rapid changes, has the pandemic hastened the end of smart specialisation as a methodology or do we need a new narrative? Or on the contrary, should the European Semester be a lever for mainstreaming smart specialisation in the Recovery Plans?
Smart specialisation has been acknowledged as the largest innovation policy experiment in the world to modernise regional innovation policies and ecosystems. However, being often only seen as an administrative condition giving access to European cohesion funding has tended to limit its role. While S3 has the strategic role of transforming regional economies by prioritising public investments in future growth domains with competitive advantage (making choices based on an entrepreneurial discovery process), it is not incorporated by the major transformation policies (research and industrial policies) that retain a dominantly top-down and place-neutral approach to mobilising innovation actors. This will hamper the green and digital transitions and the impact of the Recovery Plans.
The session will be introduced and chaired by Friends of Smart Specialisation an initiative started in 2018 by an independent group of experts and practitioners based in Brussels concerned for the future directions of smart specialisation. While the group’s goal is to support the mainstreaming of Smart Specialisation as an instrument for strengthening the multi-level European innovation system, we welcome discussion on the strengths and weaknesses and future challenges of smart specialisation as well as on how it can adapt for times of deep transformation.
 Committee of the Regions, Commission for Economic Policy Hearing 22nd January 2021
 ‘Everything must change so everything can stay the same’…The Leopard by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa
 See: A New Industrial Strategy for Europe COM (2020) 102 final that focuses on 14 industrial ecosystems and industrial allices such as batteries and hydrogen.
Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins, Countryside and Community Research Institute, University of Gloucestershire, UK
Despite frequent claims that cities are the engines of economic growth, regions are innovative and enterprising beyond the metropole. England’s rural economies, for example, contribute over £250 billion to GDP and match the value of output from the country’s ten leading cities outside London. Unlocking the real potential here remains poorly understood in regional policy, and is often overlooked by urban and high growth centric industrial strategies. These same blind spots risk recurring as governments and regions seek post-pandemic recovery strategies that deliver economic ‘quick wins’. This special session calls attention to untapped innovation and regional growth potential in rural and peripheral regions, small towns and municipalities, and rural-urban interconnections. We explore how enterprising practices, people, policies and places can promote resilience and aid future adaptation and regional recovery. We invite empirically informed papers that share our non-metropolitan interest and envision policy responses and/or novel mechanisms for inclusive change. Topics of particular interest include: entrepreneurial ecosystems outside cities; innovation policies and ‘levelling up’; innovation and the Foundational Economy; and, enterprising approaches to natural capital. Papers offering relevant methodological approaches are also welcomed. This session is hosted by NICRE – the National Innovation Centre for Rural Enterprise ncl.ac.uk/nicre
Alain Thierstein, Fabian Wenner and Johannes Moser Technical University of Munich, Germany
Angelika Münter and Manuel Weiß, ILS – Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Dortmund, Germany
The advent of High-Speed Rail (HSR) contributed to a marked change of the spatial distribution of accessibility and subsequently enabled alterations of the daily life of private and economic stakeholders in a variety of countries during the last decades. Often, the implementation of HSR lines raises hopes for regional economic development in the areas connected, while research has mostly been more sceptical towards such effects. Potential impacts can be studied at multiple levels, be it within the immediate environment of HSR stations, the city-level or the wider region, or in a relational view. A range of socio-economic variables come into question for evaluation, such as population, employment, or tourism development, as well as urban morphological and real estate price changes. From a wider network-oriented perspective, HSR might lead to the dislocation of ‘central’ points or routes of flows, while others argue that space can become increasingly centralised and hierarchical. Likewise, HSR can be associated with a loss of accessibility, e.g., when parallel conventional services and intermodal changeovers are neglected. It is of high relevance to better comprehend the spatial consequences of HSR development and develop policy recommendations.
Public transportation suffers from the Covid-19 pandemic as many passengers currently avoid mass transport. Commutes, as well as business trips, are reduced due to working from home and video-conferencing. Currently, it remains unclear to what extent the pandemic will have long-lasting consequences on travel behaviour. However, other global challenges, particularly climate change mitigation, will remain important in the future. Hence, it can be assumed that HSR, as means of transport with low CO2 emission and comparatively low land consumption per passenger, will continue to play a crucial and increasing role for inter-city transport and for a successful energy transition in the transport system, and can potentially be a component of a post-pandemic recovery.
Many HSR lines have only been opened in the recent past. Long-run analyses of consequences are therefore scarce and difficult. However, it is exactly these consequences that are of particular importance for involved regions and stakeholders. Creative conceptual research is necessary for better understanding the long-run impacts of HSR on surrounding regions.
For this special session, we particularly encourage:
• Empirical papers dealing with economic, social, urban and geographic consequences connected to the
development of HSR,
• both ex-ante and ex-post approaches as well as
• both qualitative and quantitative methodologies, or a combination thereof,
• micro perspectives with in-depth case studies of stations, multi-case comparative studies as well as studies
with a view on aggregate effects on a regional or national level,
• theoretical and conceptual papers dealing with the development of HSR.
Emmanouil Tranos, Levi Wolf and Giulia Occhini, University of Bristol and The Alan Turing Institute, UK
Raquel Ortega-Argiles and Tasos Kitsos, University of Birmingham, UK
We know from extensive past research at various scales — from micro/firm to meso/regional and macro/national economy — that digital technologies may lead to economic growth and, of course, to new and potentially disruptive innovations. These processes tend to have strong spatial reflections, generate new opportunities and challenges for cities and regions and, importantly, shape and are being shaped by long-standing socio-economic and geographical divides. The COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent lockdowns only increased our dependency on digital technologies and drastically accelerated digitisation processes in various domains: from selling products online to working from home and from creatively creating services and products that can be consumed online to building robust lockdown-proof business models and digital infrastructure. This drastic digitisation has been a form of economic resilience during a period of extreme uncertainty. This is a call for both empirical and theoretical papers which expose how cities and regions have been using digital technologies to overcome crises. We are very much interested in discussing the long-term effects of drastic digitisation and how cities and regions might be affected by a higher dependency on digital technologies. We would like to see papers discussing the intersection between digital divides and current digitisation processes. And we are also interested in understanding how urban and regional policies can support these processes and address the underpinning challenges. Example questions to be addressed:
- How do crises (including but not limited to the current pandemic) affect digitisation processes at various geographical levels?
- What is the impact of broadband supply characteristics in mitigating negative shocks?
- How can policy effectively use digitisation as a resilience and recovery tool?
- What are the socio-economic consequences of digital connectivity divides?
- What is the relationship between digital connectivity and wellbeing?
This call for papers is part of our ongoing research project on the Impact of the Digital Economy on Regional Inequalities funded by Facebook.
Jakub Zasina and Aleksandra Nowakowska, University of Lodz, Poland
This open-paper session focuses on the impacts, challenges and future of university towns and cities through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent decades were marked by the unquestionable growth of universities and other types of higher education institutions (HEIs), as well as their host towns and cities. The knowledge and creative economy agendas, neoliberal policies, and globalisation have led to higher education massification and internationalisation. Consequently, numerous cities across the world strategically oriented themselves to the needs of the higher education sector and became economically dependent on the presence of students and researchers. However, the COVID-19 pandemic seems to question this model of urban development due to the establishment of social distancing policies, the temporary closure of higher education facilities, and the rapid spread of online teaching. Therefore, the COVID-19 pandemic raises questions about the impacts, challenges and future of university towns and cities worldwide. To address these issues, this Special Session invites the contributors to discuss through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic the following topics (but not limited to them): 1) HEIs as ‘anchor institutions’ in university towns and cities; 2) The cooperation of HEIs with the local milieu; 3) The Higher education sector’s contribution to local economies; 4) HEIs and urban revitalisation/regeneration efforts; 5) Spatio-temporal rhythms of university towns and cities; 6) Students as users of university towns and cities; 7) On- and off-campus student accommodation; 8) The architectural and urban design of higher education facilities and campuses.
Mina Akhavan, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Mina di Marino, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway
Grzegorz Micek, Jagiellonian University, Poland
Within the European COST Action framework, this special session is concerned about the project “The Geography of New Working Spaces and the Impact on the Periphery” (CA18214, 2019-2023). So far, this COST Action has created an impressive network of 140 research partners from 33 Countries (see http://www.new-working-spaces.eu/). This project follows three main aims, structured as follows: Sharing the scientific and multidisciplinary outcomes on New Working Spaces (NWS), classified by the CA18214, which provides for the first time such a comprehensive classification: a) collaborative working spaces (coworking spaces and smart work centres); (b) makerspaces and other technical spaces (fablabs, open workshops); (c) other new working spaces (hackerspaces, Living Lab and corporate labs); (d) informal new working spaces (coffee shops and libraries) (see Micek et al, 2020Deliverable 1.1. CA2814). Comparing the best practices and direct and indirect impacts with a particular focus on the periphery. The limited studies on this matter have mainly explored core urban centres. Collection of the policy tools across the countries, developed to foster the development of NWS. The CA18214 is conducting several comparative studies among the COST members (33 countries). The growing, and yet immature, literature on NWS is mainly based on singular contexts (Di Marino et al., 2018; Mariotti et al, 2021). More comparative studies in different regions, countries and cities are therefore essential as it would help to comprehend the socio-spatial, economic and cultural factors in creating different typologies of such innovative-flexible working environments offered to varied profiles of coworkers and remote workers, including impacts in our societies (Di Marino, Akhavan, Mariotti, Chavoshi, 2020). Through the outcomes from the first two years of CA18214, the closed session aims to provide inputs for future visions, planning and design of new workplaces, as well as to inspire approaches for the local stakeholders, managers and urban developers have developed (or are going to develop) NWS in different socio-economic and planning contexts. The aim is also to recognize the flexibility of NWS that can really help us in facing extreme situations, responding and adapting to the exogenous crises, similar to COVID-19 or other pandemics (Hu, 2020). This special session is therefore composed of five main contributions from the key figures of this Cost Action (Chair, vice-chair, working group leaders). They will present the topic of this project, and discuss the findings and scientific advancements, and also the challenges faced by the researchers and professionals considering the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic: Introduction to the COST Action CA18214, what is the knowledge gap in NWS? Presented by Ilaria Mariotti and Pavel Bednar Types and location factors of NWS: how do they differ between countries and cities and related peripheries?’ Presented by Grzegorz Micek Atlas of the Best Practices and (direct and indirect) Effects of New Working Spaces: How the Covid-pandemic has changed the NWS and their effects on individuals and the local environment?’ Presented by Mina Akhavan What is the role of public policies in the proliferation of NWS in peripheral areas? Presented by Carolina Pacchi Societal and scientific impacts of NWS studies: ‘How do we network, exchange knowledge and share ideas with experts, non-experts and stakeholders on NWS’? Presented by Mina Di Marino
Başak Demireş Özkul, Ebru Keri̇moğlu, Seda Kundak and Aliye Ahu Akgün, Istanbul Technical University, Turkey
Creative destruction, a term developed by Schumpeter (Schumpeter, 1942) and widely discussed and interpreted as a critical mechanism for capitalist growth in the 1950’s, has been taken up recently within economic literature. The theory, paradoxical in its nature, associates the necessity of employment loss and business closures as a means to ensure growth within the capitalist system (Jackson, 2020b). The recent papers argue that changes in the use and dispersion of technology have affected the process of innovation with impacts on economic development and trade. (Carayannis et al., 2020). These processes have accelerated due to the compounding effect of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies have shown that the pandemic has spurred a rethinking of business practices in varied industries from healthcare (Keesara et al., 2020; Short & Mammen, 2020) to education (Narodowski & Campetella, 2020). The disruption in the production process and face to face business has visibly changed the usual functions of cities and led to a reconsideration of the norms of city building to enable long term sustainability. In this session, we invite papers on innovation, city building and sustainability with a particular focus on observations and findings that interpret the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic as a trigger for the restructuring of cities and regions.
Helka Kalliomäki and Johanna Kalliokoski, University of Vaasa, Finland
Inclusive societal development and social sustainability have gained prominence as cross-sectoral policy objectives due to increasing inequalities witnessed at different scales and contexts of societal development (George et al. 2019; OECD 2015a). Due to growing disparities at urban and regional scales, the importance of place-sensitive and participatory policies has been emphasised for preserving the foundations of democratic societies and human wellbeing (Rodríguez-Pose 2018; UN Habitat 2015a). Further, the ongoing pandemic not only sheds light on these increasing inequalities (Klugman & Moore 2020) but it is also changing the landscapes of inequality in ways we are just starting to understand (Bailey et al. 2020).
Under the right conditions, innovation can benefit the whole society by e.g. addressing poverty and improving income growth, but innovation can also strengthen exclusion for particular groups, for example, people with low-income levels, who have fewer opportunities to benefit from innovation and new technology (OECD 2015b). Moreover, as the UN-Habitat (2020 p. 198) states, “The geography of current technological innovation… is riven with inequalities, with many profound implications for society”. Widening socioeconomic gaps and increasing inequality in cities might result in negative consequences, such as political and social tensions, conflict, crime, and declining economic growth (Hu & Wang 2019; UN Habitat 2015b).
In this special session we wish to encourage scholarly debate on the complementary and conflicting relationship between urban and innovation policies in promoting inclusive societal development. We believe that policy mixes combining urban and innovation policy objectives will be in an important position in re-building inclusive cities and regions after the pandemic. The OECD (2015c) has recently raised inclusive innovation policy into discussion, yet its links to urban policies deserve further scholarly attention. As discussed in the literature on urban innovation, cities are increasingly developing and exploiting strategies and policies to enhance innovation (e.g., smart city approaches, innovation districts, and innovative clusters) (e.g. Yigitcanlar & Inkinen 2019). However, some of these strategies have been criticized for being non-participatory and elusive, widening the gaps between e.g. neighbourhoods and diverse resident groups (Esmaeilpoorarabi et al. 2020; Engelbert et al. 2019).
Altogether, there is a growing interest in understanding the links between innovation and inclusion in order to address the challenges in sustainable development and inclusive forms of growth (Heeks et al. 2018). Therefore, as inequality and innovation both seem to be on the rise (Heeks et al. 2018) and increasingly present on the agenda of scholars and international organizations such as the UN and OECD, the role of innovation and innovation policies in urban inclusion and exclusion processes should be further investigated. More detailed elaboration of this relationship enables deeper understanding of both intended and unintended consequences and interdependencies between these separate but increasingly overlapping policy spheres (Chataway, Hanlin & Kaplinsky 2014; Gans & Leigh 2019; Heeks et al. 2018).
The topics discussed in this session can include but are not limited to the following
- Complementarities and conflicts between urban and innovation policies
- Inclusion as a cross-sectoral and phenomenon-based policy objective
- Inclusive urban policy, its opportunities and challenges, and future prospects
- Inclusive innovation policy in cities, its opportunities and challenges, and future prospects
- Ways of measuring inclusion in urban and innovation policies
- Effects of innovation policies and strategies to inclusion in cities
- Social innovation and inclusive innovation in urban development
Johannes Glückler, Heidelberg University, Germany
Dariusz Wójcik, Oxford University, UK
Geography is central to understanding the antecedents and consequences of Brexit, as demonstrated in both quantitative and qualitative studies. Extant research has analyzed the factors that explain leave votes and has shown the significance of age, education, individual attitudes and local context. Quantitative studies forecasting the economic consequences of Brexit, have shown negative and geographically uneven impacts on the UK and the EU economies. Brexit is a decisive event for the political, social and economic development of the European Union. Nevertheless, it appears to be less and less an exception, but rather an outstanding example of increasing interregional decoupling. Civil society movements and political aspirations towards regional autonomy and separation in Scotland, Catalonia or South Tyrol, and more general tendencies towards national populism and international disintegration in Europe, the Americas and Asia, point to the need for a better understanding of the geographical conditions and consequences of political decoupling. Brexit has shown that withdrawal from the EU is not a one-off event but rather an unpredictable, arduous, and uncertain process that confronts those directly and indirectly involved with ever new decisions under conditions of ongoing uncertainty. Because of the re-emergence of regional decoupling across the world economy, and because of its potential effects as critical junctures for regional, national and international economies, we recognize the need to further explore the economic geographies of Brexit. In these sessions we would like to focus on the nature and uncertainty of Brexit as a process over the last four years, as well as its short- and long-term economic effects at various scales of enquiry, from individuals and households (including EU migrants in the UK and UK citizens living abroad), workplaces, firms and other organizations, industries and economic sectors, local markets, cities, regions, and countries. We welcome submissions that approach these topics from a variety of theoretical perspectives, including, but not limited to, relational and evolutionary economic geographies, financial geography, cultural economy, political-economic geography, institutional change, Global Production Networks and Value Chains, as well as economic geographies of everyday. We welcome original works based on qualitative, quantitative and mixed methodologies. While we expect most submissions to be theoretically-grounded and empirically-focused, we are open to conceptual papers that propose novel theoretical and methodological frameworks for understanding the processes and consequences of Brexit. We also welcome studies that compare developments in the UK, EU and beyond.
Luc Ampleman, Jan Lochanowski University in Kielce (UJK), Poland
Marco Hölzel, Technical University of Munich (TUM), Germany
Akira Mukaida, Remi Chandran and Pegah Hashemvand, Remote Sensing Technology Centre of Japan (RESTEC), Japan
Melisa Pesoa Marcilla, Atchitecture School at Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya in Barcelona (UPC), Spain
The current session takes place within the framework of the EIG CONCERT-Japan 7th Joint Call ICT for Resilient, Safe and Secure Society. This session brings together the four partner institutions of the project, enabling an environment to lay the foundations for the basis of the project “Assessment of Transformations in Vitality, Vulnerability and Versatility in Rural Towns (3VRUT)”. By developing a better understanding of the rural vitality, vulnerability and versatility (the 3Vs), 3VRUT intends to identify strategies that may help rural communities be more resilient in times of crises. The purpose and objectives of the 3VRUT project draw on the following assumptions and starting points: Rural regions in both Europe and Japan are under stress in emerging global crises (pandemics, refugee-related migration, economy-related rural depopulation, cyber-crime and disinformation, environment-related climate change). Such a situation involves a series of risks and threats that exist in rural settings. Communities in rural regions urgently require strategies (incorporating ICT-based support) to enhance their resilience. Strategies of resilience are, however, scattered and often based only on tangible and visible symptoms indicators and information systems, whereby many intangible yet crucial aspects are neglected. There is therefore a need for developing new methodologies and innovative approaches to better evaluate, quantify, and classify the risks and threats that exist at the junction of cyberspace and physical space in rural settings in the developed world. This new approach should better identify and gather the most useful information (from both visible and neglected sources of information) to inform better resilience strategies for rural communities more effectively. Since the project is still in its early stage, elementary concepts are yet to be defined. This step is necessary to ensure a common understanding of the implementation context and the cognitive, social, informational and technical challenges related to the research project’s realisation. From the outset, to build this shared understanding, a series of questions arise. Among them: Which variations exist in how partners define rural and rurality? What are the implications of these variations in terms of information requirements? What do and can we know from existing information collections? Which aspects can’t we know very well yet, which may affect the risks and threats related to vitality, vulnerability and versatility of rural communities? How to better evaluate these risk and threats affecting rural communities? Which new types of methods and resources would be required to gather information about those threats and resilient strategies? How could these methods generate more holistic indicators to assess the vitality, vulnerability and versatility of rural communities? How do rural actors from different landscapes in Europe and Japan do understand these three elements (3Vs)? The current session, and first official research meeting of the 3VRUT consortium, aims to simply better clarify the notions of “risks and threats” of rural communities and to develop a common understanding of the concepts of vitality, vulnerability and versatility in the context of rural resilience. In this respect, each partner and participating researcher of the consortium are contributing by: Synthesizing currently applied frameworks to measure and assess the 3Vs in rural communities Proposing a scoping review of existing risks & threats for rural communities in their specific research field; Identifying a series of indicators related to the 3Vs that may be potentially insightful for the project; Designating potential blind spots and knowledge limitation that constitute barriers for understanding resilience/vulnerability of rural communities, and Indicating likely means to collect missing data and overcome barriers previously mentioned efficiently.
The closed session includes the following speakers:
- Marco Hölzel, Technical University of Munich (TUM), Potential indicators to assess vitality, vulnerability and versatility of rural towns
- Akira Mukaida (RESTEC), Application of Remote sensing in Environment assessment
- Remi Chandran (RESTEC), Policy change during paradigm shifts – Empirical validation of the policy changes during paradigm shifts
- Pegah Hashemvand (RESTEC), Potential of Space borne remote sensing in time series analysis and change detection
- Melisa Pesoa Marcilla (UPC), Contemporary Rurality. Resilient rural morphologies in the Catalan Pyrenees and interior Girona valleys
- Luc Ampleman (UJK), Rurality, Vitality, Vulnerability and Versatility in Social Sciences. A scoping review
Danny Mackinnon, CURDS, Newcastle University, UK
Vincent Beal, University of Strasburg, France
Tim Leibert, Leibniz Institute for Regional Georgraphy, Germany
Social and spatial inequalities between and within core and peripheral regions have re-emerged as an acute political concern in developed economies. This issue has generated growing interest in places characterised as ‘left behind’ by globalisation and successive economic crises, particularly former industrial and rural regions, which have been identified as hotspots of discontent and populist support in recent years.
Such ‘left behind’ regions have been neglected by urban and regional development theory and policy. The ‘dominant narrative’ derived from urban economics and new economic geography privileges ‘superstar cities’ as the places best able to prosper in the knowledge economy. Cities are seen as the ‘engines of growth’ for their regions, based on the view that the benefits of concentrated economic growth in city centres will spread out to surrounding places.
Triggered by the recent upsurge of discontent and populist support, the plight of ‘left behind places’ is attracting growing interest in urban and regional studies. However, research is only beginning to problematise the label of ‘left behind’ and the different kinds of places and predicaments it evokes. Nor have studies fully engaged with the ‘development’ problems of such ‘left behind places’ and the aspirations and needs of their residents. Such engagement is a necessary pre-requisite for the formulation of any place-based policies for regional recovery that seek to harness their overlooked economic potential. Narrow economic approaches appear to have reached their limits, while broader strategies incorporating the social and environmental dimensions of development may offer more fruitful ways forward.
Seeking to remedy this wider neglect and contribute to emergent debates, the aim of this open session is critically to engage with prevailing diagnoses of the problems of ‘left behind places’ and to open up what is meant by their development. The ambition is to stimulate fresh thinking about alternative approaches for more socially inclusive and economically and environmentally sustainable strategies and policies. The organisers welcome theoretical, methodological, empirical and policy analyses which address the following themes:
- Definitions and conceptualisations of ‘left behind places’ in the context of broader patterns of spatial inequality and uneven development.
- The changing relationships between central cities and their rural and post-industrial hinterlands with reference to processes of agglomeration and dispersal.
- Trends in population loss and shrinkage in peripheral regions and the development implications of these.
- Patterns of residential mobility and immobility from, to and within peripheral regions and their implications.
- The livelihood strategies and practices of residents of ‘left behind places’ and the policy implications of these.
- The on-going effects of the pandemic on lagging-behind and declining regions and its regional legacies and implications.
- The role of social infrastructures, assets and facilities in supporting the development of ‘left behind places’.
- Alternative forms of economic and social development for peripheral regions, including the foundational economy, inclusive economies, community-wealth building, wellbeing, post-growth and degrowth strategies.
- Policy approaches and initiatives for the recovery of economically lagging and declining regions, covering both alternative and conventional approaches.
Marco Bellandi, Annalisa Caloffi, Amir Maghssudipour and Letizia Donati, University of Florence, Italy
Scholars investigating the relationship between language and economy have found that language, together with a broader set of cultural assets, is a driver of national development and international trade (Accetturo et al., 2019). A country whose language is widely used in other countries is more likely to be actively inserted in international trade and value chains, for example thanks to the reduction of transaction costs implied by cultural barriers (Lohmann, 2011; Solheim, 2016). Languages and related cultures can affect the way in which some goods and services are perceived by potential consumers (Reuchamps et al., 2013). On the other side, the international diffusion of a language can be supported by a colonial past, by economic and scientific dominance, by migrant communities (Gould, 1994; Petraglia and Vecchione, 2020), and by international soft power also expressed by university networks and national cultural institutes abroad that promote international cultural and education relations (Lien and Lo, 2017) and offer language courses and related initiatives (Qian and Qi, 2016).
The same relations may have regional and local expressions underneath the national level. For example, linguistic choices made on packaging or advertisement can positively influence consumers’ willingness to buy and pay when their use transfer a positive expectation of quality (Blancheton and Hlady-Rispal, 2019; Ho et al., 2019). This is particularly true for the “made in” or for those goods that have a clear place of origin (Cleave et al., 2016), or which seem to have it (Leclerc et al., 1994), possibly related to local trademarks, collective brands, geographical indications, and place branding strategies (Kasabov and Sundaram, 2013; Oliveira, 2015; Myles and Filan, 2019). The same migrant communities have regional features and tend to preserve ties with their places of origin for quite long stretches of time, as well as some place-based agencies may play as bridges of international cross-clusters relations (Olfert and Patridge, 2011; Horlings, 2015; Benneworth et al., 2017).
With this session, we want to invite presentations of concepts and empirical research useful to advance the understanding of cross-regional relations and factors by which a language (and possible dialectal variations) support international trade, value chains and innovation networks in fields of products and services that have ties with the place of origin and play as a driver of regional development. Reflections on the insertion of such international cross-regional relations within scenarios of a post-COVID recovery (new normal) are welcome as well.
Topics might include (but are not limited to) the following ones:
- The role of languages and local cultures in international trade and value chains, protecting, enhancing, and diffusing the image of places, regions; the relation with innovation and internationalization in regional and local productive systems
- The role of language and cultures of transnational migrant communities on the economy of their places of origin and of places where they are currently living and working
- The current geography of languages, related cultures, and different “made ins” across places around the world
- The role of multilevel public and private agencies and universities in strategies and policies to support “made ins” from different places and regions on the international market
- Dysfunctional consequences of language or cultural driven place-based strategies
- Language as a driver of regional development in post-COVID recovery
Dave Valler, Oxford Brookes University, UK
Andy Jonas, University of Hull, UK
Yi Li, Hohai University, China
Across the world, city-regional futures are in question in the wake of Covid-19 and the ensuing economic crisis. Unprecedented economic slowdown is prompting radical reappraisal of political-economic strategies, a variegated reformulation of the role of the state, and uncertainty over the future of globalisation. This seminal moment has also exposed strategic geopolitical concerns including the cementing of the Asian century, the rise of varied forms of nationalism, and the urgency of responses to climate change. In this complex and turbulent conjuncture, the assumptions underpinning global city-regional development have come under extreme pressure; economic growth has collapsed, infrastructure development has been halted, and strategic commitments to competitiveness and connectivity are disrupted. Yet global city-regions will be vital in adapting to a new context, as loci for economic recovery, revised forms of governance, and new forms of spatial and infrastructure development. Indeed, numerous commentaries have already been offered on the ‘post-pandemic city’, highlighting, on the one hand, a possible resurgence of sprawl, suburbanisation and private transport (e.g. Appleyard, 2020; Batty, 2020), and on the other the continued vitality of thriving, dense cities whose viability depends on their responsiveness, effective leadership, and enhanced public transportation (e.g. Florida et al, 2020; Keesmaat, 2020). However, while there is significant speculation on the implications of the crisis, there is as yet little evaluation of how major strategic and infrastructure plans are being renegotiated, how governance forms are changing, how collective social provision is being reordered, and how diverse global city-regions are being inserted in a wider geopolitical reframing. This session invites initial thoughts, reflections and early-stage research on the real-world adaptation of global city-regions in the post-pandemic era. The aim is to lay foundations for the examination, theorization and evaluation of changing forms of global city-regional planning and infrastructure development in the light of contemporary geopolitical uncertainty and to inform adaptive city-regional governance and planning programmes.
Markku Sotarauta, Tampere University, Finland
Andrew Beer, University of South Australia, Australia
Whatever we think about individual leaders and their capacity to lead, we know all too well that leadership is a real phenomenon and worth exploring in more depth. It is somewhat surprising that no theory of place of leadership in city and regional development has yet surfaced given the fact that there is a long tradition of studying all sorts of sub-national development processes as well as the leadership of nations and organisations. This special session is embedded in a conviction that leadership is central to city and regional development, but its definition and enactment call for more work. There clearly is an increasing need to better understand how proactive, but also reactive, and symbolic forms of influence come together in the fields of city and regional development. Moreover, we do not yet know well enough what kind of institutional arrangements push leadership to be more collective than individualistic, more sub-national than national, more networked than siloed or more productive than toxic. Conversely, there is space for future improvements in our understanding of what forms of leadership best shape institutional arrangements for future instead of past needs.
The special session, drawing on a new handbook on city and regional leadership, discusses the future challenges of scholarship on place leadership.
Markku Sotarauta, Tampere University, Finland
Alessandro Sancino, Open Univesity, UK
Markus Grillitsch, Lund University, Sweden
Monica Plechero, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice, Italy
Chair: Andrew Beer, University of South Australia, Australia
Marie Huxtable and Jack Whitehead, University of Cumbria, UK
Living Education Theory research is a form of educational practitioner research in which a practitioner produces and shares a valid explanation of their educational influence in their own learning, the learning of others and in the learning of social formations that influence practice and understandings, with values of human flourishing. The session will include a web-based archive of Living Educational Theory doctorates that have been legitimated by universities around the world and the archive of 28 issues of the Educational Journal of Living Theories accessible from https://ejotls.net.
Stephen Parkes and Ed Ferrari, Sheffield Hallam University, UK
Throughout the world, technological advances and regulatory changes enabling the development of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (C/AVs) are presenting new challenges and opportunities for national, regional and local policy makers seeking to accommodate C/AVs within the built environment. Overcoming concerns about safety, urban design, and supporting infrastructure, amongst other matters, will form part of a long transitional period as C/AVs compete for a place in already complex urban environments, including their transit systems.
Concurrent efforts to pursue policies aimed at decarbonising cities, promoting public health and liveability, balancing economic growth and social inclusion, and increasing levels of walking and cycling whilst reducing private car use will further problematise this transitional period, introducing new tensions in the policy and infrastructure landscape of cities. The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated these challenges as policy makers seek to accommodate social distancing requirements within transit systems and the built environment.
This session encourages submission of papers either empirically or theoretically based, or policy-focused, that offer new insights to this topic. We welcome submissions that speak broadly to the topic of the accommodation and role of C/AVs in cities. However, we also welcome submissions that address more directly a number of emergent questions around this challenge, including, but by no means limited to:
– Who stands to win or lose from the advent of C/AVs in urban and built environments?
– How different policy agendas promoting the broader livability of cities might align or conflict as C/AVs become more widely adopted?
– How are policymakers seeking to accommodate C/AVs within their built environment?
Giulio Buciuni, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Riccardo Crescenzi, London School of Economics, UK
Oliver Harman, University of Oxford & London School of Economics, UK
Roberta Rabellotti, Universita’ di Pavia, Italy
This special session looks at global value chains (GVCs), global investment flows (GIFs) and their impacts on regional economies for recovery and development. This session aims to bring together scholars from Regional Studies, Economics, Management, International Business Studies and Global Value Chains in order to discuss new concepts, methods and evidence on the link between Global Value Chains and regional economies. The session aims to discuss papers focused on: a) How regions can build, embed and reshape GVCs to their local benefit; b) The regional drivers and impacts of global connectivity, bridging macro-international and micro-firm level approaches. c) Policies that leverage Global Value Chains and Global Investment Flows with special reference to less developed regions. We invite both conceptual and empirical contributions adopting sound quantitative methods to analyse these issues.
Nadir Kinossian and Franziska Görmar, Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography (IFL), Germany
Ani Saunders and Kevin Morgan, Cardiff University School of Geography and Planning, UK
Markus Grillitsch, CIRCLE, Lund University, Sweden
Social and spatial inequalities continue to attract attention to Europe’s ‘lagging’ regions. So-called left-behind places have attracted growing attention in academic and policy debates not least because of their role in the rise of anti-system voting (Rodríguez-Pose 2020). The dominant regional development discourses have attracted criticism indicating the need for new policy approaches and more dynamic interactions across government levels in policy design and implementation. Considering the great variety of structural conditions, development paths, institutional and governance settings in Europe’s lagging regions there is an urgent need for more granulated and place-sensitive policies (Lang and Görmar 2019). In contrast to the existing approaches in evolutionary economic geography, we seek to understand the role of human agency in conceiving, initiating, implementing, and facilitating changes in regional development path. We conceptualise change not only as economic diversification, but also institutional and policy innovation, and change in quality of life (Grillitsch and Sotarauta 2020). We would like to establish how agents of change, while acting against structural forces and legacies, ‘break away’ from existing development paths. The idea of the special session is to discuss theoretical, methodological, and empirical aspects of agency and development path change within the geographical context of Europe’s old industrial regions. By bringing cases from various (regulative, regional, sectoral) contexts, we can understand how/why agencies and social relations behind those are spatially variegated (that could be identified as a driver of uneven development). Possible topics include the following: New development paths in old industrial regions in the context of non-metropolitan centres in old-industrial regions of Europe; New development paths and economic and social rebounding; Possible conflicts and new dependencies and vulnerabilities generated by path change; Agents of change responsible for the creation of a new development path. How actors form agency of change and what sort of agency? Spatial narratives, policies, institutional settings, organisational cultures, and decision-making structures affecting path change. Motivations, sources (human, social, financial capital) actors possess and enable them to make a change. How agents interact with broader political and institutional environments of multi-level governance and production chains/capital flows? What concepts could be mobilised to grasp multiple spatialities of change in old industrial centres? Should we rethink the meanings of space, place and region through this lens?
Benedict Arko; Esther Danso-Wiredu; Yaw Asamoah and Victor Owusu, University of Education, Ghana
John Amoah-Nuama; Eva Quansah and Dorothy Takyiakwaa, University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Robert Krueger, Insitute of Science and Technology for Development, WPI, USA
The United Nations (2019) projects that between now and 2050 sub-Saharan Africa’s population will rise to one billion people, from its current population of roughly 670 million (World Bank 2019). To put this in a global context, of the population growth expected worldwide, nearly 2/3 will come in Kigali, DRC, Cairo, Egypt, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Lagos, Nigeria, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Yaounde, Cameroon, and, growing fastest of all, Luanda, Angola (UN 2019). It’s easy to make comparisons between African urbanization and that in the Global North. European cities, for example, were settled over centuries, while African cities are being rapidly populated in decades. European and American cities were populated by the economic opportunity of various industrial revolutions, where Africa’s urban population is growing as a result of civil unrest in rural areas, diminishing land production. Finally, in contrast to European cities, which resulted in population declines over time, African cities are being populated because of high fertility rates from a relatively young population (Glaeser 2018). Similarly, one can examine the resource needs and flows into a city in Africa using indicators and concepts from the Global North to determine levels of resource intensity (Currie and Musango 2016). However, these examples do not capture the nuance of African urbanizations, nor do they project the problems that urban Africans do and will face as cities rapidly increase their populations in the coming decades. There is an ever-growing body of work on the role of indigenous knowledges and how they produce different and unexpected outcomes. Mavhunga (2018), for example, describes how indigenous people weakened and killed foreign invaders by leading them through tsetse fly infested regions. The science to accomplish this did not come from bench research conducted by members of the Royal Society. Indeed, these strategies emerged from an indigenous experiential understanding of cause and effect. Eglash (1997) describes how African villages in Senegal were designed in fractals to provide protection and support social structures. Fractal math in the Global North would not be “discovered” for hundreds of years after these distinctively African urban spaces were produced. Similarly, Midheme and Moulaert (2013) shows how local Kenyan NGOs imported community land trust policy regimes to Voi, Kenya. Their study shows that “institutional grafting” that is required to bring in foreign institutions into Africa and how they are co-produced there. Given these nuances and the fact that sustainability transitions in Africa will be distinctly African and rely on African ontologies and epistemologies this Open Session will hear from voices from the continent of Africa about the future of African urbanism and sustainability. We seek contributions from African scholars, visionaries, designers, and doers. The contributions we seek will reveal the processes of African Sustainable Urbanism in ways that do not try to fit them into Western frames and narratives, but have their own voice, objects of analysis, and methods for creating their own worlds. We invite papers that address the following themes, but are open to other ideas: The role of the informal economy in sustainable urbanization, the role of social networks on migration, the role of livelihood changes, the role of access to natural resources and traditional forms of employment, the role of policies that stymie local forms of innovation, the politics of affordable housing, the role of climate change in rural-urban migration and alternative economic systems. We seek a well-rounded selection of contributions and contributors. This is an invitation to collaborate on the general theme of African Sustainable Urbanism.
Maciej Smetkowski, and Dorota Celinska-Janowicz, University of Warsaw, Poland
Grzegorz Masik, University of Gadansk, Poland
The current pandemic has disrupted the functioning of societies and economies all over the world. Apart from the new pandemic reality, companies and sectors have to struggle with consumers’ fears and panic behaviours as well as governmental restrictions, including complete lockdowns of regional and national economies. Pandemic reality has hit various sectors in different ways and to a different extent. Some sectors flourished or had to struggle with an excessive demand (e.g. e-commerce). Institutions such as regional and local governments had to adapt to new circumstances by switching to e-work, providing e-services and accelerating the development of hybrid work. At the same time, local authorities faced challenges related with increased demand for health-care services, logistic problems with providing basic public services as well as reorganization of public spaces in accordance with the new sanitary regime. Also, private companies had to face challenges related to remote work and sanitary restrictions, considering both their employees and clients. The main focus of the session is the question of how economies and societies, public and private actors in regions and cities have faced the pandemic challenges and to what extent they were able to demonstrate resilience. We would like to invite papers presenting empirical research on economic, social, and/or institutional resilience at regional or urban level, referring to the whole economy or specific sectors. The session is also open for theoretical and methodological papers describing pandemic-related challenges for the resilience concept as well as similar approaches such as panarchy or adaptability.
Sonia De Gregorio Hurtado, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain
Simonetta Armondi, Poltecnico di Milano, Italy
The term “urban agenda” has emerged in recent years to point out the increasing relevance of the urban issue in the policy scenario worldwide and the development of strategic and planning frameworks to guide urban development in a socio-economic scene in which cities need to improve importantly their capacity to face locally the negative effects of the pandemic, global ecological, social, and economic dynamics, and internal tensions in highly complex governance frameworks. This can be considered the continuity of a trend that had its origin in the framework of crisis that characterized the 60s and the 70s (Armondi & De Gregorio Hurtado, 2019), and that from the 80s started to be formalized through the development of urban strategies at local level, and urban policy frameworks at regional and national levels in West Europe. We argue that the recent international urban agendas (Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and New Urban Agenda of United Nations, the Urban Agenda for the European Union, the New Leipzig Charter) have given new momentum and visibility to that strategic practice. In the present moment, this practice needs to integrate innovation in the policy process of definition and implementation of the urban agendas to evolve previous models and approaches and to adapt them to current problems in a context of increasing uncertainty. The aim of this session is to create an interdisciplinary framework for a critical reflection on innovative approaches, topics, priorities, mechanisms, and governance frameworks in explicit and implicit urban agendas developed by different government levels and non-institutional actors focused on the selective and strategic mobilization of the urban.
REFERENCE: Armondi, S. & De Gregorio Hurtado, S. (2019): Foregrounding Urban Agendas. The new urban issue in European experiences of policy-making. Springer.
Jean-Paul Addie, Georgia State Unversity, USA
Michael Glass, Univesity of Pittsburgh, USA
Jen Nelles, University of Sheffield, UK
The NOIR Special Workshop Sessions on Infrastructural Times seek to bring together new and original research that critically examines the role of time and temporality in how we study, produce knowledge of, and inform decision-making on urban and regional infrastructure. As an entry point into the discussion, we propose considering three core temporal modalities over which infrastructures unfold. First, urban-regional infrastructures can be approached through periodizations in which dominant approaches to material and governance technologies establish specific logics of design, construction, management, and utility – even as they blur at the edges, overlap, and vary depending upon the phenomena being analyzed. Second the notion of temporal cycles offers a lens to examine the overlayered and often contradictory timelines the urban-regional infrastructures engender and are shaped by, including political cycles, policy formation, environmental assessments, construction, and infrastructural lifespans themselves. Third, infrastructural spaces are animated through lived rhythms that capture notions of monumental and mundane continuity and change evidenced in seasonal transitions (the fluctuations of rainwater and snowmelt) to the daily pulses and flows of the 24-hour city. We intend these frames to serve as a conceptual point of inquiry into the formation of urban regional spaces and lives, and as a practical challenge for those making decisions about how infrastructures are regulated, maintained, governed, used, brought into being, and rendered obsolete. These sessions are purposefully interdisciplinary in scope, global in focus, and actively seeks contributions from established, early-career, and graduate student researchers (including papers co-authored by junior and senior scholars) interested in exploring and theorizing our diverse infrastructural times. We welcome conceptual, methodological, and empirical interventions from a variety of disciplinary, geographic, infrastructural, and theoretical perspectives.
Yehya M. Serag, Ain Shams University, Egypt and Future University in Egypt
Abeer ElShater, Ain Shams University, Egypt
Within the last three decades, several regions and countries around the globe had been through various conflicts, be that civil wars e.g. Lebanon and Yugoslavia in the 1970s and1990s, revolutions e.g. Arab Spring revolutions in the Middle East since 2011, occupations or wars e.g. wars in the Middle East and Africa.
Such conflicts would leave different types of scars on urban places and structures in the cities. In dealing with such urban places and spaces, different post-conflict spatial development strategies were applied with different outcomes.
Owing to the fact that many ongoing and ended conflicts in present times would need direct intervention in dealing with the challenges that the urban places would face.
This session investigates the following aspects:
- Impacts of conflicts on spatial configurations and public life
- Post-Conflict Reconstruction and rehabilitation strategies
- The Morphology and the Impacts on the Image of the city
- Socio-cultural effects on post-conflict spaces
Lech Suwala, Technical University, Berlin, Germany
Rodrigo Basco, American University of Sharjah, UAE
The edited collection “Family Business and Regional Development” (Routledge) is the first of its kind to connect the fields of regional and family business studies. This book explores the relationship between families, firms, and regions and the extent to which these relationships contribute to regional economic and social development.
Although family business participation in economic activities has been a common phenomenon since pre-industrial societies, and its importance has evolved throughout time and across spatial contexts, the book suggests that these factors have often been neglected in family business and regional studies. Taking this research gap into account, the book aims to deepen our understanding of the role family firms play in the regional economy. In particular, it explores two seldom studied questions. Firstly, what role do family firms play in regional development? Secondly, how do formal and informal regional contexts shape family firm operations and performance?
This book presents a model of “regional familiness” and uses themes such as productivity, networks and competitiveness to shed new light on family businesses. Moreover, it evaluates the juxtaposition and cross-fertilisation between family business and regional studies to encourage the cross-fertilisation of ideas, theories, and research methods between the two fields.
Bringing together leading experts in entrepreneurship, regional economics and economic geography, this book is a valuable reading for advanced students, researchers and policymakers interested in family firms, regional studies and economic geography.
Introduction: Rodrigo Basco, American University of Sharjah, UAE
Michaela Backman, Jönköping University, Sweden
Regina Lenz, Universität Heidelberg, Germany
Rikard Eriksson, Umea University, Sweden
Stefan Amato, IMT Lucca, Italy
Marco Cucculelli, Università Politecnica delle Marche, Ancona, Italy
Discussant: Michael Fritsch, University of Jena, Germany
Moderation: Lech Suwala, Technical University Berlin, Germany
https://www.routledge.com/Family-Business-and-Regional-Development/Basco-Stough-Suwala/p/book/9780367178611 (see for the book)
Jan-Philipp Ahrens, University of Mannheim, Germany
Rodrigo Basco, American University of Sharjah, UAE
Lech Suwala, Technical University, Berlin, Germany
Despite the importance of today’s big businesses, big data, and big transitions, there is still room to further investigate small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the geographical spaces in which they dwell. Most SMEs are either family firms -or so-called “hidden champions”- are the backbones of most local and regional economies and social development. Family firms and Hidden Champions comprise diverse types of businesses, from traditional century-old Japanese dynasties, American family farms, and German Mittelstand to novel Shanghai and Silicon Valley elites. At the same time, these businesses represent geographically uneven phenomena with regard to their distribution across, their impact on, and their interactions with the local, regional, and (inter-)national levels and beyond. While certain types of firms (e.g., startups, multi-national corporations) and processes (e.g., innovation, entrepreneurship) have attracted much attention in regional science in the last decades, family firms and hidden champions have mostly been neglected in the fields of economic geography and regional economics. Against this background, the special issue “Family Businesses, Hidden Champions and Regional Development” aims to open up a profound debate on this often-neglected topic. We invite scholars from manifold disciplines, such as regional science, regional economics, economic geography, family business, management, organization studies, and international business as well as practitioners from diverse backgrounds to share their interest and to submit their research on Family firms, hidden champions and regional development in the widest sense. We expect a huge impact from the special issue since the nexus between family business / hidden champions studies and regional studies is barely addressed but getting momentum.
Our rationale is to contribute to this debate—independent of methodological approach (quantitative or qualitative)—on family businesses and/ or in different spaces and on different scales. Conceptual, empirical, and methodological papers might address, but are not limited to, the following:
– Conceptual and theoretical debates about the nature of family firms/ hidden champions and space (i.e., regional familiness, spaces of familiness, family relatedness in cities and peripheries)
– Family firms/hidden champions and agglomeration (dis-)economies, proximities, externalities, and regional self-reinforcing mechanisms
– The contributions (e.g., regional competitiveness) and impacts (e.g., productivity) of family firms/hidden champions in agglomerations and peripheries
– Family firms/hidden champions and regional contexts (e.g., social embeddedness, local networks)
– The regional expansion and internationalization of family firms/hidden champions
– Peculiarities in the evolution and trajectories of family firms/hidden champions (e.g., family/regional path dependence, family/regional (un-)related variety, family/regional lock-in)
– Family firms/hidden champions and territorial innovation models (e.g., industrial districts, innovative milieus, business clusters, territorial innovation systems [e.g., RIS, NIS], entrepreneurial ecosystems etc.)
– Family firms/hidden champions and local/regional/national development policies and university-industry cooperation
– Issues of sustainable regional development, digitalization, green growth, and family firms/hidden champions
– Place leadership or corporate urban/regional responsibility by family firms/ hidden champions
– Family firm-specific issues (e.g., succession, governance, reputation, professionalization, etc.) from a regional science perspective or hidden-champions-specific issues (e.g. finance, market niche, urban development, planning)
– The role of family firms/hidden champions in digitalization, smart regions, Industry 4.0 technologies, and platform-based economies and the impact of spaces and scale
– The role of family firms/hidden champions in value, commodity, and production chain approaches at the local (LVC, LCC, LPN) and global levels (GVC, GCC, GPN)
– Family firms’ and hidden champions’ contributions to regional resilience, vulnerability, regional sustainability transitions and/or sovereignty
This session is linked to a special issue in an impact-factor peer-reviewed journal, submitting authors will be informed about this possibility in detail. Authors only interested in the special issue are requested to directly contact the editors.
Dariusz Wójcik, Oxford University, UK
Manuel Aalbers, KU Leuven, Belgium
David Bassens, Vrije Universiteit Brussels, Belgium
Theodor Cojoianu, Queens University Belfast, UK
Sabine Dörry, Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research, Luxembourg
Janelle Knox-Hayes, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA
Karen Lai, Durham University, UK
Martin Sokol, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
Fenghua Pan, Beijing Normal University, China
With incalculable impacts on people’s lives, the COVID-19 pandemic is also an unprecedented event from a financial perspective. Lost incomes through lockdowns and recessions are the largest known in peaceful times. At the same time, however, some corporations and individuals have amassed fortunes unseen in modern history. A financial crisis has been averted thus far, with the role of central banks in the economy growing from an already very high level, and public debts reaching historical peaks, raising issues about financial stability. The financial impacts of the pandemic are strikingly uneven within countries and across them. Any recovery nations, regions and cities embark on in 2021 and beyond requires funding. Funding recovery, in turn, calls for innovations and changes in domestic and international financial institutions and systems. These sessions, sponsored by the Global Network on Financial Geography, will consist of papers that address any of the wide range of financial geographies of regional and urban recovery, including, but not limited to the following topics:
- the build-up of public and private debt and its implications for growth, inequality, and instability
- the geography of variegated recessions, with implications for trade, and national, regional and urban competitiveness
- financing the vaccination programs around the world
- challenges facing the funding of public health care, pensions and welfare programs
- banking, insurance, and business services during and beyond the pandemic (digitisation, consolidation, and other processes)
- real estate markets, services, and housing during and beyond the pandemic
- the role of FinTech in regional and urban recovery
- the role of central banking in regional and urban recovery
- funding the post-pandemic infrastructures
- challenges and opportunities for funding climate action and other environmental programs
- finance as part of post-pandemic resilience
- international financial collaboration in the pandemic and post-pandemic world
- the changing geo-politics of finance in the post-pandemic world
- Markku Sotarauta, Tampere University, Finland
- Markus Grillitsch, Lund University, Sweden
- Josephine Rekers, Lund University, Sweden
- Silje Haus-Reve, University of Stavanger, Norway
Increasing polarisation between economically successful and less-favoured regions, as well as climate change call for novel strategies promoting structural changes in regions. However, the dominant theories and models in economic geography and regional development studies advance mainly structural explanations, and questions related to agency often remain in shadows. Studies connecting agency and structure in regional development are rare.
Simultaneously, the rapidly expanding stream of studies focusing on regional path development recognises that translating insights from studying historic development paths to the ways and conditions of conscious path development requires a more robust theoretical and conceptual link between agency and structures.
In the special session, we focus especially on non-core regions that require ways to grow against all the structural odds, i.e. regions in which agency may be essential to overcome structural disadvantages. The basic premise is that conceptually and empirically rigorous studies on agency will add analytical leverage into this field of enquiry.
The main purpose of the proposed special session is to advance understanding of the role of agency in the economic, social and environmental transformation of regions by assembling a novel collection of articles. The special session aims to stimulate refreshed and critical reflections around the relationship between agency and structure in the context of regional path development.
The special session has three key objectives: (1) to advance a theory of agency and structure in regional development, (2) to introduce novel methodological approaches that shed new light on causal relationships between agency and structure over time, and (3) to provide solid empirical evidence on the interplay between agency and structure within and across different territorial contexts.
- Laura James, Aalborg University, Denmark
- Cinta Sanz Ibañez, University Rovira i Virgili, Spain
- Henrik Halkier, Aalborg University, Denmark
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on tourism regions around the world. It constitutes a huge external shock and has prompted policy makers and businesses, as well as academic commentators, to question old development paths and envision new tourism futures. It is, however, still unclear whether the pandemic will end with a return to ‘business as usual’ or whether more radical changes to tourism business models and destination development will emerge.
The aim of this session is to explore the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on tourism regions and how regional development agencies, destination management organisations, businesses and other stakeholders have responded to the crisis.
We welcome all contributions which explore how public and private stakeholders have reacted to the immediate crisis, are developing post-pandemic recovery plans, and are engaging with/adapting regional institutions to support new future development paths – or return to pre-pandemic trajectories. We especially welcome contributions that are situated within an evolutionary framework and address the resilience of tourism regions, place leadership or institutional entrepreneurship during the pandemic.
The NOIR Workshop on Infrastructural Times seeks to bring together new and original research that critically examines the role of time and temporality in how we study, produce knowledge of, and inform decision-making on urban and regional infrastructure. The past two decades have witnessed the emergence and maturation of an ‘infrastructure turn’ across a range of disciplines that belies the notion that urban infrastructure is a staid or neutral set of physical artefacts. Infrastructural systems are vital elements that make urban life possible in its myriad forms, yet they are produced and governed over variegated spatial frames and are experienced differently by diverse social groups, often in partial and fragmented ways. The uneven and contested nature of infrastructural spaces means they are always in a state of becoming, and as such, are built upon, and establish new, temporalities.
The NOIR Workshop on Infrastructural Times aims to unpack notions of infrastructural time and temporality. As an entry point into the discussion, we propose considering three core temporal modalities over which infrastructures unfold. First, urban-regional infrastructures can be approached through periodizations in which dominant approaches to material and governance technologies establish specific logics of design, construction, management, and utility – even as they blur at the edges, overlap, and vary depending upon the phenomena being analyzed. Second the notion of temporal cycles offers a lens to examine the overlayered and often contradictory timelines the urban-regional infrastructures engender and are shaped by, including political cycles, policy formation, environmental assessments, construction, and infrastructural lifespans themselves. Third, infrastructural spaces are animated through lived rhythms that capture notions of monumental and mundane continuity and change evidenced in seasonal transitions (the fluctuations of rainwater and snowmelt) to the daily pulses and flows of the 24-hour city. We intend these frames to serve as a conceptual point of inquiry into the formation of urban regional spaces and lives, and as a practical challenge for those making decisions about how infrastructures are regulated, maintained, governed, used, brought into being, and rendered obsolete.
The workshop is purposefully interdisciplinary in scope, global in focus, and actively seeks contributions from established, early-career, and graduate student researchers (including papers co-authored by junior and senior scholars) interested in exploring and theorizing our diverse infrastructural times. We welcome conceptual, methodological, and empirical interventions from a variety of disciplinary, geographic, infrastructural, and theoretical perspectives. Relevant themes include, but are not limited to:
- Temporal analytical approaches to urban infrastructure
- Infrastructure path dependency, lock-in, and crisis – how do urban infrastructures codify and facilitate paradigmatic modalities of governance, planning, spatial practice, resource allocation and service delivery?
- Urban infrastructure and the Anthropocene – the role of urban infrastructure in its production and how might they be reimagined for a world undergoing climate change
- The temporal frames of urban visions: whether utopian imaginaries of smartness, efficiency, and resilience or dystopian fantasies of failure and collapse
- Strategies for comparative temporal analysis of urban infrastructure
- Infrastructural disruptions (e.g. e-scooters) and their implications for urban governance
- The impact (and overlapping) of varied cycles (policy, political, environmental, ecological) on the planning, construction, and maintenance of urban infrastructure systems
- Infrastructures for the city at night
- Time and the financing of infrastructure (fictitious capital, bonds, assumption of debt)
- The role of spatial and temporal imaginaries in (re)shaping our concept of access within urban regions at different times of day and for people of different means
- Infrastructure’s material space-times and the production of urban space and lives (e.g. electric flows, hydrological systems, lifecycles of construction materials, bodily rhythms, gestation periods of infectious diseases)
Objectives and Outcomes
The two-day workshop will three keynote presentations, plenary sessions to workshop papers, and opportunities for extended networking and debate. The NOIR Workshop on Infrastructural Times will generate three primary outcomes:
1. An accessible and outward-facing workshop report to be distributed in collaboration with the Regional Studies Association.
2. An edited volume to be published with a leading university press on the topic of infrastructure time.
3. A research agenda that will form the foundation of future external research grants on the topic of infrastructural governance and regional lives.
Presenters are invited to submit a paper proposal consisting of a title, list of authors, and abstract of up to 300 words to Jean-Paul Addie (firstname.lastname@example.org) by March 1, 2021. We aim to reply to potential presenters within two weeks of this date with accepted abstracts to be submitted to the RSA’s e-Festival by March 27, 2021. Please indicate on your submission if you wish your contribution to be considered for inclusion in a collective publication from the workshop.
The NOIR Workshop on Infrastructural Times will be held as a series of special sessions organized in conjunction with the Regions in Recovery: Building Sustainable Futures Global e-Festival. Details on the e-Festival can be found here: www.regionalstudies.org/events/rinr2021/. Thanks to generous support from the RSA we are able to cover the registration fee for presenters. We intend to structure the workshop around a series of special sessions organized into two sections; (1) an open paper session where presenters can discuss their research with time dedicated to Q&As for the panel; followed by (2) a private workshopping session restricted to contributors to the NOIR sessions. The goal of the private sessions is for authors to develop their papers for collective publication in a less formal setting. As such the workshop conveners will moderate an open and rigorous debate on the methodological, disciplinary, and thematic approaches. To facilitate discussion, we would like authors to circulate draft papers among their fellow panelists by 21 May 2021. Please direct any questions or informal expressions of interest to Jean-Paul Addie at the below email address.
Jean-Paul Addie, Georgia State University: email@example.com
Michael Glass, University of Pittsburgh
Jen Nelles, University of Sheffield
The RSA Research Network on Infrastructural Regionalism (NOIR) brings together researchers working at the intersection of infrastructure and urban and regional studies. The Network reflects both the increased conceptual, geographic, and political importance of infrastructure and the endemic crises of access (social space), expertise (technology), and resources (governance) that varied provision of infrastructures within regions can cause. NOIR offers multiple forums to debate the terrains of regional infrastructure, develop collaborative research projects, and facilitate meaningful dialogue between academics and practitioners. Network activities are generously supported by the Regional Studies Association (RSA) Research Networks funding scheme. To find out more about NOIR, check out the Network’s web page, https://www.noir-rsa.com/ and follow us on Twitter @NOIR_RSA.
Amma Buckley, Curtin University, Australia
Melissa Nursey-Bray, University of Adelaide, Australia
Paul Dalziel, Lincoln University, New Zealand
The Covid-19 crisis and public health response in Australia and New Zealand has had large regional impacts. The collapse of the international tourism industry due to border closures is a good example. At the same time, the food industry has been an essential service throughout the various lockdowns, which has sustained economic activity in some regions. In this session, four researchers from Australia draw on their research to present on strategies for regional recovery following the crisis.
Melissa Nursey-Bray, University of Adelaide, Australia
Tiffany McIntyre, Lincon University, New Zealand
Paul Dalziel, Lincoln University, New Zealand
Skye Akbar, University of South Australia, Australia
Chair: Amma Buckley, Curtin University, Australia
Organiser(s): The session is organised by the UNESCO Chair on Education, Growth and Equality (University of Ferrara, Italy)
Patrizio Bianchi, Valentina Mini, Sandrine Labory and Cristina Grieco, University of Ferrara, Italy
The Covid-19 pandemic has affected economies and societies at a time of already deep structural transformations, driven by a number of challenges, including climate change and the need to define a new economic model more respectful of the environment, rising inequalities both across and within countries, and the manufacturing revolution, or Industry 4.0, which is creating new industries but also disrupting many existing sectors.
In this context, new skills and knowledge are needed, to perform new jobs or old jobs which nature has changed. In addition, the structural transformations affecting industries are also impacting society and culture, and everyday life.
There is a close link between education, development and growth. A socially and economically sustainable development is based on the ability to organise people’s skills, manual skills and critical judgement, and to transform them into value-added, which is the true wealth of a community. Freedom and equality are the foundations of a growth based on the full deployment of those skills, abilities and capabilities, with which all citizens participate in the “wealth of the nation”, especially in the current context of multiple and complex challenges.
Many studies have shown the importance of human capital as a factor of growth, at national and regional levels. This factor explains growth differences across regions. Education is important to a region’s economy because school quality favours labour market productivity and earnings, which may have a positive impact on economic growth by favouring the multiplier effect, and by improving firm creation within the region. Higher education institutions have an extensive role in the development of new industries, as highlighted by many studies on technological transfer and spinoffs. The importance of education has been highlighted particularly for the development of less developed regions. For instance, returns to education are higher in less-developed regions, both in terms of employment and wage increases.
In addition, there is increasing evidence that education systems should be tailored to regional conditions and development level, in other words, should be place-based. The studies of the OECD Directorate for Education and Skills show that countries with a more decentralised education system where education is place-based have better results in terms of effective skill development.
This is particularly important in times of deep structural changes and multiple crises. Sustainable growth and development, from both an environmental and social points of view, require new technologies, new products and production processes. The transition to sustainable growth path requires new skills and knowledge, and the education system has to be adapted or transformed for this to happen. For instance, Norwegian vocational education institutions and regional innovation systems have been shown to co-evolve with emerging technologies in terms of changed knowledge demand in industry, and this has prompted new education programmes.
Is there new evidence on place-based education systems, namely education systems adapted to territorial specificities? Can such place-based education system favour the transition to sustainable growth paths and how? This session aims at reflecting on these issues, and more generally on how the school system and education are important for industrial growth and sustainable economic development, in a multi-scalar framework.
The session is hosted by the UNESCO Chair on Education, Growth and Equality.
Organiser(s): This session is organised by the AESOP Thematic Group, Ethics, Value and Planning
Stefano Cozzolino, ILS – Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Germany
Arend Jonkman, TU Delft, The Netherlands
“What attracts people most, it would appear, is other people”. Cities are places where human-life is expressed at its highest level. The spread of the pandemic and the consequent governmental restrictions have radically changed this. Individuals are now confined within their apartments and social interaction has drastically turned online. Due to the overall long-term uncertainty of the whole sanitary situation, an ethical question on the intrinsic value of life emerges. How much freedom are individuals still willing to sacrifice if the situation becomes the new normality? What role can planners and designers play in order to bring life back in cities?
Organiser(s): This session is organised by the AESOP Thematic Group, Urban Futures
Peter Ache, Radboud University, The Netherlands
Mark Tewdwr-Jones, University College London, UK
In these times we need more ‚utopian‘ thinking that engages with the experiences made during the pandemic crisis, especially under the big question, how will the city as ‚oeuvre‘ (Lefebvre) change? More specifically, we would like to address the following in the session: Which conflicts did we encounter that reveal the new parameters for a new form of the urban? How will the city unfold between daily urban systems and mono-local living? Which strategic experiments have been undertaken to rescue the lived spaces of our urban environment? What did we learn about the ‚utopian‘ capacity of stakeholders and citizens, alike? This session addresses what forms the urban has taken in places since 2020 (allowing case studies of greening, cycling, walking, healthy eating, exercise, gig economy, decline of high street retailing, counter urbanisation etc), who has taken the lead in test bed projects (community, voluntary groups, individuals), and what the governmental and political reaction has been. And, finally, whether all this adds up to new forms of urbanism and whether it is long-lasting.
Organiser(s): This session is organised by the AESOP Thematic Group, New Technologies and Planning
Paulo Silva, University of Aveiro, Portugal
Michele Campagna, University of Cagliari, Italy
New global and local urgent challenges are affecting with unprecedented magnitude human development and the environment. The transition towards a green economy is seen by many as an unavoidable paradigm shift to address structurally the relationships between human activities and the environment in the present and in the future. Moreover, an international commitment was clearly assumed by most states represented in the United Nations, translated into the Sustainable Development Goals. According to the New Urban Agenda, the present decade is dedicated to action and to the achievement of the SDG targets. To reach these different types of emergencies, innovative methods and tools are needed.
This session aims at discussing how new technologies may innovate future spatial planning research and practice, and ultimately how this may affect current and future planning education, focusing both on technology for spatial planning, decision-making, and governance support (e.g., Planning Support Systems) and technology in the design (e.g., innovation in green, blue, grey infrastructure, as well as in housing, industry, and other systems). Leading experts in the field with be invited to discuss current challenges and how they may be addresses relying on state-of-the-art technologies with a prospective look towards the short, medium and long term.
Organiser(s): This session is organised by the AESOP Thematic Group, French and British Planning Studies
Olivier Sykes, University of Liverpool, UK
Xavier Desjardins, Sorbonne University, France
Philippe Estèbe, The Higher Institute for Regional Planning Studies (Ihédate), France
The causes and impacts of new and enduring regional inequalities have been debated in many countries over the past decade. This is reflected in public and political discourse with references to and imaginaries of so-called ‘forgotten’, or ‘left behind’ regions, and peripheral territories. Informed by this, the session will comparatively explore:
1) the framing of the issue of forgotten, left behind and peripheral
regions in public debates;
2) the criteria used to define priority
regions for policy intervention; and,
3) the policy aims and tools of new or reformed regional policies which seek to address the challenges of such territories.
Organiser(s): This session is organised by the AESOP Thematic Group, Public Space and Urban Cultures, which gathers an international and interdisciplinary group of researchers and practitioners, who contribute a plurality of perspectives. The group was established in 2010 under the umbrella of the Association of European Schools of Planning Education (AESOP). Since then, it promotes a dialogue between practitioners, academics, governmental and non-governmental professionals, and further interest groups through virtual and physical meetings, workshops, conferences and
Stefania Ragozino, National Research Council of Italy, Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development, Italy
Christine Mady, Notre Dame University-Louaize, Lebanon
Tihomir Viderman, Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus, Germany
Regions and cities appear to have been shaped through responses to a series of challenges and crises, including health or climate hazards, interruptions in economic growth, political upheavals or social transformations. Urban scholars and policy-makers frequently observe and engage with public spaces as arenas which embody both the challenges and responses. The challenges have been articulated in themes such as accessibility, healthy living, democracy, justice, social movements. Against a seemingly bleak outlook, public spaces and urban cultures also nurture optimistic responses. ‘The New Urban Agenda’, adopted by the UN-Habitat Conference, Habitat III, promotes public space as a key ingredient of ‘inclusive, connected, safe and accessible’ cities (UN Habitat, 2016).
This special session on “What’s going on in public spaces and urban cultures? Updates on current research, policy and practice” asks how public spaces can inform research, policy and practice towards creating ‘inclusive, connected, safe and accessible’ cities.
Contributions are invited, but are not limited to address one of the following topics:
- Changing typologies and roles of players and actors: multiplicity of publics and public space cultures, arenas for rebuilding participation
- Public spaces and changes: climate change, social movements, circular economy;
- Changing needs and roles: homelessness, refugees, immigrants and integration, age, gender, social, cultural, ethnic and religious considerations and urban justice;
- Questioning the global north-south divide and public space dynamics;
- Changing role of public spaces in political conflict zones;
- Changing environmental awareness: public space as a buffer zone, contribution to public health (mental and physical well-being);
- Changing intangible cultural heritage: adapting the genius loci to multiple and dynamic cultural identities;
- The impact of technological innovation on public space research and practice.
Organiser(s): This session is organised by the AESOP Thematic Group, Regional Design
Valeria Lingua, University of Florence, Italy
Verena Elizabeth Balz, Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands
Agnes Förster, RWTH Aachen University, Germany
Cristina Cavaco, Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal
Attention to critical issues such as urban sprawl, climate change, and growing socioeconomic disparities – all affecting areas that comply with neither fixed administrative boundaries nor traditional government-led jurisdictions – has triggered demands for new, more transformative, soft and adaptive planning approaches. Spatial visioning and regional design-led planning practices have been gaining momentum worldwide in this context. Practices involve knowledge about spatial particularities to foster tailored place-based spatial solutions while also envisioning the position of places in wider, regional settings and mediating between views in often contested multi-actor settings. The first objective of the special session is a more sophisticated understanding of the performance of regional design, planning and development in the realm of emerging modes of regional spatial planning and programming and of the processes that support their institutionalization.
The advancement of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic renders regions as important planning arenas for the provision of basic needs, the organization of daily life, and the safeguarding of a resilient economic base. It also underlines that regional spatial development requires strategies that address social, economic, political and societal change coherently. The special session will raise questions concerning the pandemic’s assumed effects, and how these reinforced or disrupted prevailing regional spatial development, planning, and governance.
Its second objective is to learn lessons on how planning for resilience can be supported by involving spatial knowledge, foresight and imagination.
Organiser(s) This workshop is organised by the Young Scholars Initiative
This writing workshop aims to provide a platform to PhD students and early career researchers to discuss their research in detail with accomplished mentors we well as fellow young scholars. The participants will receive comprehensive feedback and comments on their working paper from an experienced professor in the field. Feedback will encompass considerations in the research question, literature and method, as well as the paper structure and writing style. Participants will also benefit from concrete suggestions for the publishing process of their working paper. Moreover, young scholars will likewise provide feedback to each other, thus, the workshop also gives the opportunity to the participants to gain reviewing experience themselves.
We invite interested PhD students and early career researchers to submit an abstract of their research on topics in Economic Geography related, but not limited to:
- regional development and sustainability;
- regional economic resilience;
- economic and knowledge complexity of regions;
- geography of innovation;
- technological and industrial change;
- regional inequality and smart specialisation policies.
Authors of accepted abstracts are then required to submit a full paper by 1st of May. The manuscript will be collected by the organisers of the workshop.
The workshop will last for 3 hours. Authors will first provide a brief presentation or their working paper (15min), followed by comments of the junior reviewer (5min) and second comments and feedback provided by the mentor, who is also invited to prepare slides to demonstrate his suggestions (10min).
Young scholars who successfully participated in the workshop will have the opportunity to apply for reimbursement of the Festival fees after the event.
Pinar Dörder, TU Darmstadt, Germany
Dr. Ledio Allkja, Polis University, Albania
We invite papers by planning scholars and practitioners to our Special Session to join our discussion on the planning and pandemic interface. The session aims to discuss the impact of the pandemic on the planning profession and understand the extent to which the planning discipline has effectively reacted and responded to the crisis. Resilience and systems thinking build on the presumption that crises have transformative power and are therefore windows of opportunity. But as the global spread of the Sars-CoV-2 virus has shown us, a crisis alone does not inherently bring about a positive change. On the contrary, we have been witnessing that the pandemic is impacting the disadvantaged, racialized, unemployed, and inadequately housed portions of the societies the most. The questions, among others, that could inspire a dynamic discussion include:
- What tools does the planning discipline provide us with to adequately respond to this wake-up-call?
- In what ways can planning become more adaptive to embrace the complex and uncertain environments it operates in?
- What are the lessons learnt on the basis of ‘good’ and ‘not-so-good’ practices?
The discussion we aim to initiate will have a broad focus on how planning is being impacted by the current crisis and how it can respond to it in return. Therefore, the above list of questions gives a general direction only and is not intended to put any limitation. All related contributions are welcome.
Richard Rijnks, Justin Doran and Frank Crowley, UCC, Ireland
Automation and digitalization have the potential to disrupt economies. Exposure to these changes varies along dimensions such as age, education, sectoral composition, and regional connectedness. The size of the expected disruption is still hotly debated, ranging from very little to as much as 70 per cent of the labour market, as is the manner in which individuals and firms will be affected or how they will adapt. While some authors suggest the demand for labour may decrease, others maintain that it is the content of occupations that will change rather than the levels. Most authors agree that these changes will be structural rather than fleeting and will be heterogeneous across regions. Preliminary results warn that regions that may have a smaller capacity to adapt to these changes are simultaneously most exposed. The purpose of this session is to bring together current empirical work on the regional aspects of automation. Special attention will be paid to labour market aspects of automation, including changes in demand for labour or skills, quality of employment, and regional differences in productivity.
Maria Abreu, University of Cambridge, UK
Tasos Kitsos, University of Birmingham, UK
Vassilis Monastiriotis, London School of Economics, UK
Justin Doran, UCC, Ireland
Karyn Morrissey, University of Exeter, UK
Rapidly changing public health, trade and governance landscapes highlight the need for research into the drivers of regional productivity, spatial disparities in economic and social outcomes, and the long-run demographic trends shaping our cities and regions.
They also highlight the increasingly important role of policy, not only for supporting economic recoveries (post-COVID) and ‘levelling-up (post-Brexit) but also for ‘directing’ economic transformation (EU Green Deal) and adaptation to the post-pandemic ‘new normal’. This session brings together researchers and practitioners working on regional and urban topics, with the aim of stimulating a debate about the direction of research in the post-pandemic era, as well as the design of new policies to catalyse change.
The following are suggested themes, although contributions from all areas of urban and regional research and policy are welcome:
- Analysis of regional productivity and labour markets
- Migration, refugees, and integration
- Higher education, graduate outcomes, and impact on local economies
- Cultural and Creative Industries
- Retail, trade, and location of services
- Transportation networks and their regional impact
- Regional disparities in health and well-being
- Marine economies and renewable energy
- Devolution, local government, and Brexit
- Public investment for economic recovery
Valeria Lingua, University of Florence, Italy
Giancarlo Cotella, Politecnico di Torino, Italy
Drawing on the interim results of the ESPON METRO project, the special session focuses on the role that metropolitan areas and cities play in the framework of the EU cohesion policy and, in turn, on the potential role that the latter may play in the planning of metropolitan areas and cities.
By presenting a number of metropolitan case studies, the session will provide robust and policy-relevant insights on the role that metropolitan areas and cities play in the governance framework of the European Union (EU) cohesion policy, in its programming and implementation. At the same time, it will also reflect upon the impacts and the added value of the EU cohesion policy on metropolitan areas and cities, and suggest how this could be further consolidated.
The speakers will explore the mutual implications linking the EU cohesion policy with metropolitan areas and cities territorial development policies in the territories, and point out a number of evidence-based policy recommendations focusing on (i) how cohesion policy can contribute to achieving socio-economic, integrated territorial development objectives and (ii) how cohesion policy should take metropolitan areas and their policies more into account, in so doing providing meaningful advice for the programming period 2021-2027.
Importantly, acknowledging that metropolitan areas are at the forefront of the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and bear a high responsibility in relation to the mitigation its territorial impacts, the contributions will dedicate particular attention to the implications of this unexpected situation as well as to how the EU cohesion policy can strengthen metropolitan areas’ response to it.
Iraklis Stamos, Amélie Cousin and Ophélie Tainguy, UIA – Urban Innovative Actions, France
Pushing travellers from individual transport means and pull them to non-motorized transport or collective means is key to deliver delivering smarter, greener, and more integrated urban transport. Reducing carbon emissions of European transports will require a shift to active transportation and low-carbon public transport, but getting people to break their habits and shift away from private vehicles remains a key challenge for policy-makers.
In times of crises, this challenge that relates to behaviour change is even stronger as crises have an immediate impact on mobility patterns. If sustainable transport options are not supported at and following moments of crises, sustainable or greener behaviour patterns, essentially collective transport, may suffer, compromising sustainability in the medium and longer terms. Covid-19 is unlike previous crises and may indeed lead to profound and lasting behavioural change.
Ensuring people do not lose faith in all forms of sustainable transport systems, in the long run, will be critical for cities if they are to achieve their long-term mobility strategies and encourage people to use soft modes such as walking or cycling and public transport.
Building on the results of the UIA knowledge activity on innovation for urban mobility, this session further explores how the Covid-19 crisis impacts people’s transport behaviour and how cities can address the related challenge of behaviour change.
An introductive part will gather the cities and experts of Ghent and Lahti that will present challenges and solutions that cities are facing when achieving behaviour change. Then, Albertslund together with its expert will join the conversation to focus on the crisis’ impacts on mobility issues and the first solutions to address them.