2020 RSA Annual Conference Special Sessions
As part of the 2020 RSA Annual Conference, 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.
Session organisers: Tomas Hanell (University of Helsinki, Finland) and Daniel Rauhut (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
There is an emerging scientific interest in the connection between well-being (WB) or quality of life (QoL) on the one hand, and place on the other. Within regional science, this interest originates from lacking evidence on spatial variations in WB or QoL and the determinants for these, combined with the implications that this knowledge gap has for practical regional or planning policy justification, formulation and evaluation. Additionally, non-geographic disciplines examining different dimensions of well-being and quality of life (such as psychology, sociology or economics) have acknowledged that adding a spatial dimension to the subject would substantially enrich the existing pool of knowledge. Furthermore, there is an embryonic body of evidence pointing in the direction that differing combinations of inequity (e.g. intra-regional, and/or intra-personal) within WB or QoL would also act as a substantial determinant for aggregated regional differences within the same. Moreover, such mechanisms appear to be sensitive to contextual differences at a multitude of spatial scales, which further justifies adding a geographic element to the topic. Finally, the emergence of new data sources for subjective content information on WB or QoL certainly also act as an impetus for further investigation.
Thematically, this Special Session covers a wide range of issues. Suitable themes may include different forms of conceptualisations of WB or QoL and how these are practically operationalised at differing spatial scales and contexts, how objective and subjective content indicators intertwine in a spatial setting, or what kinds of implications issues related to WB or QoL may have in terms of strategic planning or regional development policy.
As we are dealing with a truly interdisciplinary scientific field, we foresee contributions not restricted to traditional human geography alone, but also look forward to input from related fields like e.g. sociology, political science, economics or health sciences. We welcome quantitative and qualitative empirical analyses equally as we do theoretical contributions to the topic. Through such an interdisciplinary and multi-methodological dialogue, we hope to enhance our understanding of how local, regional and urban development or policy can be depicted or analysed through different conceptualisations of well-being or quality of life.
Session organisers: Tasos Kitsos (City-REDI, University of Birmingham, UK) and Simone Maria Grabner (GSSI, Italy)
The global financial crisis that gave rise to the concept of economic resilience is now statistical history. With most advanced economies out of the recession for several years, it would be expected for the term to become dormant. Yet, socio-political and economic uncertainty make resilience more relevant than ever.
Empirical research is still uncovering factors that can assist places to avoid or overcome a shock whilst theoretical contributions propose more holistic frameworks to understand resilience as an evolutionary process. As shocks diffuse easily through our highly interconnected economies, building resilience is a crucial development strategy for any region. However, at the policy level, there is still a lack of growth initiatives that embed resilience as a core feature.
This session aims to bring together research on the latest theoretical and empirical research in order to better understand the formulation of policy at the subnational level. It invites contributions that focus on the broad themes:
– Theoretical advancements on economic resilience
– Qualitative and quantitative Empirical evidence of resilience determinants
– The relationship of resilience to socio-economic inclusivity
– What can policy do to improve local economic resilience
Session organisers: Will Eadson (CRESR, Sheffield Hallam University, UK) and Aidan While (University of Sheffield, UK)
Amid resurgent calls for Green New Deals and mainstream political interest in ideas around the notion of just transition, now is an important time to critically interrogate the nature and geographies of work(ing) in the green economy, with particular focus on the urban and regional dimensions. As new sectors of economic activity in the broad arena of the ‘green economy’ emerge what are the implications for jobs and work? A low carbon economy implies economic restructuring that will have consequences for the forms of work undertaken, labour markets and labour relations. There is already considerable employment in the green economy and this is set to expand further as decarbonisation gathers pace. Low-carbon jobs will not be evenly distributed geographically in terms of quantity or type of work (Bridge et al, 2013; Gibbs and O’Neill, 2017). While good quality well-paid jobs are being created, there is concern about low pay, informality and poor conditions in precarious ‘dirty’ end of low carbon work (Gregson et al, 2016). Geographies of the green economy are increasingly characterized by a diverse range of experiences in the formal and informal sectors. The nature of work in the sector needs to be part of any just transitions perspective (Newell and Mulvaney, 2013). Further, the role of local and regional governance organisations will be important in determining place-specific impacts of green economic restructuring. There is already intense competition to nurture, attract and hold down the more mobile innovation and production centres of the emerging low carbon economy (While and Eadson, 2019). But there is also an important role for local and regional organisations to provide economic development, skills and training strategies that help balance the social and spatial economic and employment impacts of decarbonisation. This call for papers is intended to open up research on the emerging geographies and experiences of low-carbon work. Questions addressed by papers might include: What sorts of green jobs are being created and where? How might green jobs reinforce or challenge uneven economic development? What is the role of urban and regional governments in ensuring socially and spatially just green economic transitions? How do new forms of green resource relations and supply chains impact on urban and regional labour markets? What are the political, social and spatial implications of proposed Green New Deals across Europe and North America? Who does ‘green’ work? What does it involve for different types of worker? What happens to people and places whose livelihoods are affected by decarbonisation? Does working in the green economy involve distinctive values and attachments? What are the possibilities for using green jobs to tackle labour market disadvantage? What are the implications of the emergence of new energy and low carbon firms and sectors for labour relations? We invite papers that tackle these and related questions through theory- and empirically-focused inquiry, and across a range of geographies.
Session organisers: Stefano Usai (University of Cagliari, Italy), Carlo Corradini (University of Birmingham, UK) and Enrico Vanino (University of Sheffield, UK)
Since the introduction of New Economic Geography (NEG) theories several studies have analysed the geographic splitting and relocation of production within national borders, to understand how trade between core and peripheral regions could re-shape the allocation of economic activities across regions. The effect of inter-regional trade has been found to be mediated by agglomeration economies, the presence of supply linkages and the specialisations of regions, all contributing to the uneven distribution of economic activities across regions. However, empirical evidence on the specialisation patterns of regions and of their inter-regional trade links have been scant, mainly because of the limited availability of data about trade between regions within a country, and its effect on specialisation and economic growth. Recent theoretical contributions have shown that these forces are evolving, pushing towards an increasing specialisation of regions in functions rather than in industries, with important consequences for the vertical integration in supply chains of tasks scattered across different regions. In addition, recent developments in the urban economics and trade analysis, in particular newly available region input-output tables and granular data on the spatial location of supply, demand and regional trade, have opened interesting venues for future research, which could provide new insights on the relevance of these phenomena to explain uneven economic growth and the spatial distribution of economic activities. This session aims to bring together research on the latest theoretical and empirical research in order to better understand trade flows between regions and their specialisation patterns, and to contribute to the growing academic and policy debate. We invite contributions that focus on the following broad themes or to related topics: 1) Theoretical advancements on regional specialisation, inter-regional trade and the New Economic Geography; 2) Challenges for the measurement and estimation of inter-regional trade; 3) Empirical evidence on the relationship between inter-regional trade, regional comparative advantages and regional specialisation; 4) Applications of inter-regional input-output tables; 5) Effects of inter-regional trade and specialisation on economic growth and the spatial distribution of economic activities and innovation; 6) Insights on the relationship between inter-regional trade, agglomeration economies and supply chain.
Session organisers: Annalisa Caloffi (University of Florence, Italy), Silvia Rita Sedita (University of Padova, Italy) and Silvia Blasi (University of Padova, Italy)
Proximity analyses have become an important part of the toolbox of many regional scientists and have attracted a growing interest from private and public stakeholders (Torre and Wallet, 2014). However, despite the substantial literature on proximity processes and relations, only a few academic works have been devoted to studying the link between sustainability, regional development and proximity relations. Sustainability is a socially founded, policy- and action-oriented multidimensional concept. It is grabbing a lot of attention among scholars from various disciplines and eventually leads to the establishment of a research area known as “sustainability science” (Clark & Dickson, 2003; Swart, Raskin, & Robinson, 2004). Since the late 1980’s the sustainability concept has been at the center of not only the natural environmental sciences (e.g. physics, chemistry, and biology) but also a focus of environmental sub-disciplines such as psychology, sociology, economics, law, and philosophy. The topics related to sustainability transition have attracted a lot of attention in the academia as a growing field of research that analyses co-evolution of new technologies, changes in markets, user practices, policy and cultural discourses, and governing institutions in a systemic perspective (Elzen et al., 2004; Geels et al., 2008; Smith et al., 2010). This special track aims at exploring the relation between sustainability and regional development, placing emphasis on the interplay of proximity and network concepts as key units of analysis. The missing link between regional development and sustainability needs to be explored by combining analyses at multiple levels, integrating the micro, meso and macro perspectives. Therefore, we welcome both theoretical and empirical contributions that adopt a multi-level approach.
Session organisers: Stefan Lüthi (Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts, Switzerland) and Alain Thierstein (Technical University of Munich, Chair of Urban Development, Germany)
The concept of proximity – relational, geographical, institutional, organisational, cognitive and social – links two basic theoretical approaches: agglomeration and network economies. In recent years we observe a fruitful match between these theoretical concepts aiming to describe and explain regional development. This discussion diversified across various disciplines such as geography, economics, sociology or spatial development. Therewith, we observe a multitude of applications of the concept of proximity making it a very versatile approach. However, longitudinal analyses of proximity are rather rare. So far, we can conclude that any form of proximity serves as a resource that can be exploited to create knowledge and innovations. Thus, regions, firms and people aim to establish relations with others in order to create proximity. The ongoing transformation of the global economy and the occurrence of fundamental exogenous shocks may alternate the relations between regions, firms and people. We assume that proximity remains a key driver for creating knowledge but spatial patterns of relations change bringing new actors and new centres to the fore. This special session aims to understand and discuss the concept of proximity within the changing global economy. We therefore invite papers that deal with dynamic approaches and longitudinal analyses of proximity and revolve around the following topics:
(1) proximity and multi-scalar approaches; (2) the importance of temporary spatial proximity for business operations (3) the interrelationship between physical forms of exchange such as goods or people and non-physical forms such as telecommunication; (4) the relationship between spatial proximity and the physical location of exchange processes; (5) the interplay between geographical proximity and new technologies of information and telecommunication; (6) the effects of exogenous shocks such as the financial crisis from 2008 or changing maps of trade barriers; (7) the effects of changing perceptions of means to create proximity (e.g. the problematization of air travel in the context of climate change) and its consequences for creating proximity in economic processes; (8) methodological approaches to combine different forms of proximity; (9) new approaches of data collection, in particular relational data.
This session aims to bring together scholars from the fields of regional science, relational geography, network analysis, spatial development and spatial planning. Both conceptual and empirical papers are welcome, and we look forward to receiving proposals that make use of a variety of data sources, scales of analysis and methodological backgrounds.
Session organisers: Huiwen Gong and Robert Hassink (Kiel University, Germany)
During the last five years, we can observe a soaring academic and policy interest in the place-based concept of smart specialization, which aims at transforming regional economic structures. Recently, also critical voices have become louder (Hassink & Gong 2019; with a reply by Foray 2019). In this session, we pause for a while and will take critically stock of what has been achieved so far, with a particular focus on the entrepreneurial discovery process. The latter is namely considered as the key contributor to transforming regional economic structures. Entrepreneurial discovery is defined as a process in which entrepreneurial actors (both firms and non-firms actors, such as researchers at universities and public research establishments) in a region explore and discover new and innovative activities, which in turn leads to innovation and transformation of the regional economy. Innovative activities are seen in a broad way, including all sorts of innovation (beyond just technological), which involves the engagement of a broad range of innovation actors in the strategy development and priority setting. While entrepreneurial discovery process is in principle a good tool to select regional sectoral priorities, vested interest groups and the related rent-seeking behavior, as well as the strong dependence on local, pre-existing economic structures and conditions, and the consequential high risk of lock-ins, has led to doubts about its potential to set in motion structural changes of a regional economy. Moreover, in measuring the impact and potential of smart specialization and related entrepreneurial discovery processes, so far, there has been a strong focus on using patent data, as well as other quantitative indicators. While such quantitative measures might be useful in indicating the outcomes of the policy, qualitative methods, such as innovation biographies, are essential, since smart specialization and particular the entrepreneurial discovery process is a qualitative concept. In particular, we welcome submissions that deal with, but are not necessarily constrained to the following topics: How do entrepreneurial discovery processes emerge? How are they orchestrated and governed? What role do different spatial scales and governance levels play in initiating entrepreneurial discovery processes? How far do local and regional actors have leeway to influence smart specialization, in general, and the entrepreneurial discovery process, in particular? What kind of actors are involved? What role do local universities play? How can smart specialization and entrepreneurial discovery processes affect grand challenges and wicked problems, such as climate change and sustainability transition, and hence contribute to mission-oriented innovation policies (Mazzucato 2013)? Are there differences between the initiation and impact of entrepreneurial discovery processes in advanced, intermediate and less-developed regions (Trippl et al. 2019)? Are there differences between different kind of less-developed regions, such as peripheral, sparsely populated regions and old industrial regions? What role do non-local resources play for entrepreneurial discovery processes? What are the opportunities offered by trans-regional cooperation, particularly for less-developed regions? Do entrepreneurial discovery processes really lead economic structural change, or are they putting a region in various lock-in risks? Which kind of institutional conflicts can emerge because of the tension between locking in and locking out? What alternative measures and indicators are available to measure the effects of smart specialization strategies, in general, and entrepreneurial discovery processes, in particular?
Session organisers: Lech Suwala (Technical University Berlin, Germany) and Rodrigo Basco (American University of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates)
Family involvement in economic activities has been a common occurrence since pre-industrial societies, and its importance has evolved across time and contexts. Today, family firms constitute the most representative form of organization around the world, not only in developing countries but also in developed countries. These facts highlight the need for a thorough examination of the nexus between family firms and economic spaces / regional development. This edited collection addresses the peculiarities of family firms and their recursive relationships with spaces (e.g., locations, places, landscapes) and scales (e.g., local, regional, national, global). To achieve these objectives, we propose a journey that considers three avenues (macro, meso, and micro channels) to address current debates on and further our understanding of the nexus of family firms and regional development / economic spaces. This anthology offers manifold ideas and insights for academics, practitioners, and policymakers whose activities are at the crossroads of family firms and spatial entities. This panel session aims constructively and critically to explore and discuss the book and its conceptual, theoretical and empirical contributions, and ramifications for politics and policy. This panel session aims constructively and critically to explore and discuss the book and its conceptual, theoretical and empirical contributions, and ramifications for politics and policy. Selected Editors, Authors and Experts will be invited to talk about the book and the discussion will be opened to the audience as well.
Session organisers: Jiří Blažek (Charles University Prague) and Sabine Dörry (Luxembourg Institute of Socio-Economic Research, Luxembourg)
Financial geography is among the most vibrant research streams in contemporary economic geography, not least due to the growing concentration of financial power during the past decade. It shapes financial networks and is a major driver of these networks‘ reconfiguration.
Finance’s organisational and spatial architectures have been carefully orchestrated and purposefully amended by powerful actors and places alike over time, thus, for example, increasing the efficiency of international transactions and the innovative practices of the legal coding of capital (Pistor 2019). It has not least resulted in smoothening global regulatory and tax arbitrage and shielding private wealth from taxation. Selected places and financial institutions have been at the centre of these activities and have maintained their dominance, as indicated in various international ranking exercises. Recent entrants like Chinese financial organisations and financial centres, however, have started to challenge the established order of what is commonly dubbed ‘financial capitalism’. Geopolitical caveats like Brexit and increasingly widespread acknowledgment of global warming and climate change are forcing both financial places and financial actors, both public and private, to amend their strategies. Adding to this turmoil, technology is another key factor contributing to the contestation of conventional organisational – and therefore territorial – logics in finance. Further, and despite international attempts to reduce the reliance on one currency, such as RMB and euro internationalisation, the USD persists as the de facto global reserve currency and continue to dominate the hierarchy of the global currency system.
Based on this synopsis of intertwined forces of disorder, we invite papers that address one or both of this session’s twofold aims in a critical manner: first, to gain insights by unravelling key actors, drivers and processes that are unsettling the entrenched landscape in a variety of global and regional financial networks; and, second, to make connections by linking these actors, drivers and processual implications with one another.
This special session is supported by FINGEO, an RSA Research Network.
Session organisers: Theresia Oedl-Wieser Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics, Rural and Mountain Research, Austria) and Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins (Department of Geography and Earth Sciences Aberystwyth University, United Kingdom)
Amidst the global climate crisis, growing resource scarcity, and demographic change, solutions that highlight the commonalities — instead of dichotomies — between rural and urban are urgently needed. Identifying synergy effects is crucial in order to achieve sustainable, inclusive regional development and improved quality of life outcomes. New concepts need to be developed, to tackle existing obstacles that limit the development of rural-urban synergies, including administrative and political barriers. A major task in this context is to find innovative and sustainable delivery solutions for public infrastructures and social services — the physical glue between rural and urban, and a tangible part of wellbeing in liveable regions. Through the Horizon 2020 ROBUST project, we are exploring the inclusive development of public infrastructures and social services between rural and urban spaces. We aim to generate rural-urban synergies that are facilitated by improved governance processes, encourage sustainable resource use, and offer better choices and access for residents. In this session, we invite papers that broadly share our goals and explicitly address rural-urban interconnections. Topics may include, for example: mobility, physical and digital infrastructure, renewable energy, recreation facilities, and health and social care.
This special session is organised by the Horizon 2020 ROBUST project.
Session organisers: Ben Derudder (Gent University, Belgium), John Harrison (Loughborough University, United Kingdom), Michael Hoyler (Loughborough University, United Kingdom), Xingjian Liu (The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR) and Evert Meijers (TU Delft, the Netherlands)
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).
Speakers to be confirmed.
Session organisers: Sonia De Gregorio Hurtado (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain) and Simonetta Armondi (Politecnico 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 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 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 2020 for Sustainable Development and New Urban Agenda of United Nations, and the Urban Agenda for the European Union) have given again 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 make evolve previous models and approaches and to adapt them to current problems in a context of increasing uncertainty. The aim of the session proposed is to create a framework for a critical reflection on innovative approaches, topics, mechanisms, governance frameworks etc. in agendas developed by different government levels and non-institutional actors focused on the selective and strategic mobilization of the urban dimension. We will look at innovation and experimentation from a wide perspective (understanding it as practice in evolution, not only as a disruptive practice), and to its limitations and drivers, welcoming proposals from different disciplines and relating innovation with other relevant policy and politics elements and interest.
REFERENCES: Armondi, S. & De Gregorio Hurtado, S. (2019): Foregrounding Urban Agendas. The new urban issue in European experiences of policy-making. Springer.
This session is part of the activities of the RSA research network on Cohesion Policy, #CPnet.
Session organisers: Petri Kahila (University of Eastern Finland, Finland) and Sabine Weck (ILS – Research Institute for Regional and Urban Research, Germany)
Place-based development, endogenous regional development, territorial capital and, recently, spatial justice, are some of the policy approaches that have been invoked to facilitate a reorientation of the European Union’s Cohesion Policy and territorial development policy. The publication of the Barca Report has been of specific influence on the European policy community, as it called for greater sensitivity to territorial specificities. We argue that the links and tensions between place-based development, territorial cohesion and spatial justice need greater attention. Spatial justice or injustice, according to Soja (2009, p. 3) “can be seen as both outcome and process, as geographies or distributional patterns that are in themselves just/unjust and as the processes that produce these outcomes.” As regards the distributional patterns, we observe persistent regional disparities and increasing social injustices with marked spatial effects in localities across the European territory. Social, economic and environmental disadvantage are socially produced and spatially expressed, and spatial processes in turn produce and reproduce these conditions of disadvantage and vulnerability. The processes underlying the production of spatially just or injust geographies need more attention in this context. A key question is in how far spatial justice can be achieved, or not, through place-based strategies and giving greater autonomy to local actors as well as giving greater opportunities for citizens to participate. This special session invites conceptual and empirical contributions that explore the links and tensions between place-based development, territorial cohesion and spatial justice in Europe – at supra-national, national, regional or local/neighbourhood scale. We also look forward to policy-oriented papers that contribute to the understanding of the role of the local level in deploying cohesion policies and that can provide a clear understanding of the functioning of Cohesion Policy and/or the need for re-designing cohesion policies – more sensitive to territorial specificities, more supportive for community-based development and facilitating greater civic participation.
The special session is organised by the RELOCAL project funded in the Horizon 2020 programme of the EU.
Session organisers: Marcello Graziano (Central Michigan University, USA), John Morrissey (Limerick University, Ireland) and Suzi Billing (Scottish Association for Marine Science – UHI, United Kingdom)
Coastal and Marine/Lacustrine regions are emerging as the loci of rapid and multi-scale regional change. As pressure increases on localized resources, from space to water rights, to fuels, policymakers and researchers are attempting to develop new models, tools, and frameworks for governing these transitions towards one or more outcomes that are perceived as ‘sustainable’. The aim of this session is to host ongoing and completed research rooted in marine social sciences on the practices and theories of these coastal/marine/water management transition processes in a global space characterized by uneven development. We welcome theoretical and empirical contributions especially related, but absolutely not limited to the following themes: 1) Policies, definitions, quantifications of Blue Growth/Economy; 2) Socio-technical transitions in the coastal zone; 3) innovations and applications of Marine and Coastal Spatial Planning; 4) Energy transitions in the coastal/marine zones; 4) Applications and issues related to ecosystem-based management tools and policies (e.g. MSP); 5) Water quality & wellbeing.
Session organisers: Ricardo Ferreira and Nathalie Verschelde (European Commission – Directorate General Regional and Urban Policy, Belgium)
Individuals and organisation in Cross-border regions see their natural catchment areas reduced by the mere existence of a border. This is partially due to the existence of cross-border legal and administrative obstacles. Literature has shown the significant consequences of border effect. Following an econometric modelling (e.g. Capello et al (2018)), the Commission’s Communication “Boosting Growth and Cohesion in EU Border Regions” (COM(2017)534) illustrates that “if only 20% of the existing obstacles were removed, border regions would still gain 2% in GDP (…) with potential for over 1 million jobs”. There is a clear link between border effect and border obstacles (of a legal or administrative nature). Literature on border effect is most frequently measuring its level and its impacts than identifying its causes. In parallel, recent initiatives have identified border obstacles as a causing factor of border effect. Several sources illustrate the importance of border obstacles, either mapping obstacles (e.g. Cross-border review, EC 2015), or mapping cross-border services implicitly showing the obstacles faced (e.g. ESPON 2018). The economic and political relevance is clear. Border obstacles must be addressed in order to facilitate overcoming border effect, thus enabling cross-border regions to reach their potential. To this aim, different mechanisms and initiatives have been set in place with different natures and promoters. Illustrative are the b-solutions initiative, the European Cross-Border Mechanism (COM(2018)373), or the work done by the Nordic Council of Ministers.
Exploring: i) how border obstacles cause border effect, and consequentially hamper cross-border regions’ development; ii) how different mechanisms can be better used or shaped in order to become more effective ; are challenges that should also be addressed by regional studies.
The session invites for contributions in this field, namely including (but not limited to):
- Identification of cross-border legal and administrative obstacles;
- Quantification of obstacles’ impact on economic and social development of cross-border regions;
- Assessment of different mechanisms to overcome cross-border obstacles
- Modelling and estimating cross-border flows and assessing how they are hampered by the border;
- Methodologies and practical applications of border effect estimations;
- Assessing the root-causes of border effects and potential policy responses;
- Impacts of Cohesion Policy on reduction of border effects.
- Measuring the quality and effectiveness of cooperation and its governance.
The geographical focus of expected contributions should be on cross-border regions.
Session organisers: Eduardo Medeiros (ISCTE, Portugal), Frederic Durand (LISER, Luxembourg), Antoine Decoville (LISER, Luxembourg), Javi Martín Uceda (University of Girona, Spain) and Bjørnar Sæther (University of Oslo, Norway)
The proposed section intends to focus on the Territorial Agenda 2030 Draft Proposal thematic component: INTEGRATION BEYOND BORDERS: Living and working across national borders. In particular, this special session intends, at first, to deal with cross-border integration and cross-border spatial planning through a systematical and empirical analyses conducted on all the internal EU borders and secondly to advance concrete solutions to increase the integration process of the European Territory. In this regard, discussions will focus on overraching issues such as the challenges of cross-border integration, the nature of cross-border and transnational planning, as well as the concrete measures to mitigate the barriers to the daily lives of European citizens posed by administrative borders. These include the need for improving cross-border accessibilities and transports, and the need to solve language, legal and administrative barriers. Regarding the latter aspect, the session will shed particular light on the results from the implementation of EU INTERREG-A programmes and the EU B-solutions project and their potential territorial impacts in improving the living and working across borders in Europe.
Session organisers: Stig-Erik Jakobsen (Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway) and Rune Dahl Fitjar (University of Stavanger, Norway)
Due to diminishing and changing markets and new global trends, several regions face economic challenges and need to develop a more diverse and competitive industry structure. Regions must also ensure that this restructuring involves a shift towards greener and more environmentally sustainable economic practices (Coenen et al. 2012; Grillitsch & Hansen 2019). Innovations that lead to new industry path development and/or the renewal and upgrading of existing industry paths are seen as essential for this restructuring to take place (Fitjar and Timmermans 2019, Hassink et al. 2019, Isaksen et al. 2018). However, the benefits of innovations and economic growth are in most cases not distributed equally across individuals, firms or regions. Hence, regional industry restructuring needs to be responsible, meaning that in addition to economic goals, it must also meet environmental and social goals (Jakobsen et al. 2019).
This special session investigates the topic of responsible regional industry restructuring. We welcome both theoretical and empirical contributions that deal with the following or other relevant questions:
- What are the main drivers and challenges for regional economic restructuring?
- How do regional industry structure, established institutions and sociocultural setting affect the potential for innovation and economic restructuring?
- Which resources are critical for companies that are in an adjustment phase?
- How are firms responding to the challenge of digitalization?
- How can firms be successful with green innovations?
- What strategies are effective for the success of cross-industry innovations?
- Which factors can trigger path creation and the emergence of new industry sectors?
- What are the role of investors and R&D institutions in new path development and greening of the economy?
- What affects the survival and growth of new firms in new sectors?
- How can we develop an effective and reliable policy for regional economic restructuring?
- What is the role of institutional entrepreneurs in changing the policy system?
- Which type of reconfiguration of the regional innovation system is needed to stimulate renewal of existing industry paths and the development of new industry paths?
- What are the distributional effects of regional economic restructuring?
- Coenen, L., Benneworth, P. & Truffer, B. 2012. Toward a spatial perspective on sustainability transitions. Research policy, 41, 968-979.
- Fitjar, R.D & Timmermans, B. (2019): Relatredness and the resource curse: Is there a libility of relatedness? Economic Geography DOI 10.1080/00130095-2018.1544460
- Grillitsch, M., & Hansen, T. 2019. Green industrial path development in different types of regions. European Planning Studies, 27 (11): 2163–83.
- Hassink, R., Isaksen, A. & Trippl, M. 2019. Towards a comprehensive understanding of new regional industrial path development. Regional Studies, 1-10.
- Isaksen, A., Jakobsen, S-E., Njøs, R., & Normann, R. 2018. Regional industrial restructuring resulting from individual and system agency. Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research, 31.
- Jakobsen, S-E., Fløysand, A. and Overton, J. (2019): Expanding the research field of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) – From responsible research to responsible innovation. European Planning Studies, 27.
Session organisers: Nicola Francesco Dotti (Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Belgium), Julie Pellegrin (CSIL – Centre for Industrial Studies, Milan, Italy) and Louis Colnot (CSIL – Centre for Industrial Studies, Milan, Italy)
The evaluation of the EU Cohesion Policy (CP) and, in general, of regional and urban policies is now a common practice that has attracted an extensive scientific debate focusing on methodologies and theoretical challenges (e.g. Dotti, 2016a). While there are extensive evaluation practices, the way their findings enter into the policy cycle is often questioned. Common critiques to this kind of policy evaluations are, among others: i) it is just an administrative procedure, ii) policy evaluation reports are unable to feed into the political debate, iii) the timing does fit the decision-making cycle. Within this context, this special session aims to move one step forward addressing the role of evaluation ‘in’ and ‘for’ the EU Cohesion Policy and, in general, for urban and regional policies in the European context. The focus shifts from evaluation practices as such to the role they play or have played for the EU regional and urban policy, how these practices have contributed to improve the decision-making phases and what the critical factors making evaluation studies ‘useful’ for policymakers are. This theme is articulated along three main blocks: 1) The ‘historical’ developments of regional and urban policy evaluation, especially referring to the CP, both theoretically and in practice; 2) The current challenges of evaluation practices, such as emerging methodologies and new data sources (big and open data); 3) The analysis of how evaluation practices influence (or not) the decision-making processes. The session organisers invite contributions focusing on the above-mentioned themes in the context of the CP. We welcome empirical and conceptual papers showing the influences of policy evaluation on decision-making, both in case of success or failure. If you are interested in presenting a paper in this session, please submit your abstract of no more than 300 words via the RSA platform. The CPNet welcomes contribution especially by participants of the Master Class of the European Week of Cities and Regions and young scholars as well as policymakers. For any further information, do not hesitate to contact Nicola F. Dotti (Nicola.Dotti@vub.be) or Julie Pellegrin (email@example.com) for more information about this session.
This session is part of the activities of the RSA research network on Cohesion Policy, #CPnet.
Session organisers: Max Munday and Dylan Henderson (Cardiff Business School, United Kingdom)
Regions, businesses and individuals are experiencing the consequences of the rapid digitalisation of the economy and society. This transition is characterised by the deployment of digital networks and rapid adoption of digital technologies such as smart phones, cloud computing, artificial intelligence etc. Yet while the contours of these trends have begun to be explored by economic geographers, the spatial implications of digitalisation remain contested. This is reflected in tension between the enabling role of digital technologies for peripheral regions to engage in the global economy, and the tendency for digital infrastructure to be ‘thickest’ in core, urban areas. National and regional policy makers have been active in facilitating the growth of digitalisation, and mitigating potential negative impacts, such as digital divides. This has seen support for the roll-out of broadband, entrepreneurship and innovation in the digital sector, and take-up and use of digital technologies by firms in the wider economy, related to digital promotion and e-commerce. In many regions these policies reflect complex multi-level dynamics, and are informed by a shared narrative of ensuring communities and regions are not left behind. This Session invites contributions to literature in digital technologies, impacts and regional policies responses, including (but not limited to):
- The spatial aspects of broadband roll-out and use in different regions
- The social and economic impacts of broadband use in less developed regions
- Differences in the diffusion of digital technologies across regions
- Regional policies for broadband and digital technology use by SMEs
- Evolutionary economic geography perspectives arising from digital technologies
- How digital technology affects firm SME populations, formation and death rates
- The role of digital technology in SME upgrade and foreign trade
Session organisers: Dávid Fekete (Széchenyi István University Doctoral School of Regional- and Economic Sciences, Count István Bethlen Research Centre, Győr, Hungary) and Kelemen Tamás Sárai-Szabó (Benedictine Priory of Győr, Hungary)
Nowadays local economic development plays more and more important role in the development of cities and city regions. Actors of the local economic milieu are often analysed by researchers of regional studies, e.g. municipalities, entrepreneurs, clusters, innovation centres etc. However, there are many small or medium-sized local communities out of the scope of the researchers despite the fact, that they can influence the local economic development. One of these “forgotten” groups is the community of orders of monks. Monasteries have also economic activities and the orders can play important role in the local economic development in the fields of tourism, traditional economic activities, production, education etc. Nevertheless, monasteries have excellent international relations to other religious communities, which may create international economic cooperation.
The aim of this special session is to bring together researchers who are interested in the better understanding of the economic activity of monasteries. We invite theoretical and empirical papers related, among others, to the following issues:
- How can be monasteries part of the local economic development policy?
- What are the main economic activities of monks nowadays?
- Is it possible for orders of monks to join to local economic organizations (such as chambers, innovation centers, tourism destination management organizations etc.)?
- Are there best practices concerning economic activities of monks?
- What are the most important motivations and challenges concerning economic activity of orders of monks nowadays?
- What kind of local partnerships can be observed concerning cooperation between religious and non-religious actors?
Session organisers: Karel Van den Berghe, Aksel Ersoy, Marcin Dąbrowski, Ellen van Bueren (all Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands) and Frank van Oort (Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands)
The Circular Economy (CE) is increasingly seen as both a solution to environmental problems and a source of sustainable development. Illustrative is that the recent ‘Green Deal’ of the European Union stresses in particular the role of the CE to reach its environmental goals. The CE maturity can be labelled using the hierarchical five-step ‘R-ladder’, with from low to high: “Recycle, Repair, Reuse, Reduce, Rethink”. The higher on the ladder, the closer to a localized high-value circular economy; conversely, the lower, the more it conforms to the globalized linear business-as-usual economy. However, the majority of circular innovations to date have been on product design, technology and business models innovate recycling activities. An explanation 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.
This session invites contributions that use space as a lens to study circular economy 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;
- the (ontological) positioning of nature versus/and society;
- the (mis)match between (economic, institutional, cultural, social) scales (e.g. local vs global processes).
Session organisers: Jani Kozina (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Slovenia), Jörn Harfst (University of Graz, Austria) and David Bole (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Slovenia)
There is a growing recognition that traditional development strategies and EU policies have often failed to address the challenges faced by industrial regions, which are increasingly framed as sites of socio-economic marginalisation and political discontent (Rodríguez-Pose 2018). Traditional industrial regions are characterised as having an ‘old’ productive economy in contrast to a ‘new’ creative economy (Hamdouch et al. 2017), indicating that industrial regions are inherently vulnerable, with smaller towns lacking the knowledge base to compete with larger urban environments (Wolfe 2009). The main economic activity in many peripheral and lagging regions is the ‘foundational economy’ –the essential goods and services of everyday life (Streeck 2018). Yet current innovation policy tends to focus upon a narrow set of advanced technology sectors, which largely reside in agglomeration regions. There is plenty of scope for the next EU funding cycle to support so-called ‘social innovation’ in foundational sectors such as housing, healthcare, education, mobility, and food. This will require greater community involvement in innovation projects to enhance ‘wellbeing’ at the local and regional level (Barzzoto et al. 2019).
Papers addressing the following questions are welcome:
- What kind of social innovation are designed and needed in industrial regions?
- Which are the initiatives to promote social and institutional innovation in industrial regions?
- What is the role of industrial culture, values and traditions to shape social innovation and foundational economy in industrial regions?
- How can social innovation contribute to foundational economy?
- What is the interplay between the two concepts?
- What is the interlink between social innovation and industrial production in such regions?
- How can social innovation and foundational economy contribute to different path creations and path renewals in industrial regions?
These are just some examples of the questions that could be addressed in this session. Any other papers addressing socio-cultural notion of industrial regions outside agglomerations are also welcome. The session is organised in the scope of the YOUIND project funded by the Cooperation Programme Interreg V-A Slovenia Austria. The project deals with the issue of youth outmigration from peripheral industrial towns and regions from an industrial-cultural perspective and uses social innovation to improve institutional capacities and empowerment of young people.
Session organisers: Davide Consoli (INGENIO, CSIC-UPV, Spain), Fabrizio Fusillo, Francesco Quatraro and Francesco Quatraro (all University of Turin, Italy)
Digitalization entails the generation and the adoption of a variety of advanced technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, virtual reality, robotics, sensors, big data/analytics, Internet of Things, and is aimed at enhancing information processing and the efficacy of decision-making, while further automating routine tasks within firms and local institutions. The digital transformation of existing sectors and the growth of new digital industries demand that specific regional and extra-regional assets are identified, utilized and, most importantly, modified. Digitalization blurs the lines between traditional sectors, drives the globalization of value chains, and shapes the geography of industries and firms. This session puts the regional dimensions of the digital transformation at the core of the discussion, aiming at stimulating the debate on the local determinants of the generation and the adoption of digital technologies and on their consequences on local economies. It is devoted to papers that investigate
- the spatial features driving the generation of digital technologies,
- territorial differences explaining heterogeneity in the penetration and adoption of digital technologies,
- the digital specialization of regions,
- the impact of digitalization on local labor markets (employment creation vs layoff, skills recombination, job mobility, etc.),
- the role of digital technologies for the transformation of local traditional industries (conversion or disruption) and for the birth and the spatial location of new industries,
- spillovers from digital technologies and local traditional innovation effects,
- the modification of local institutions to adapt to and to drive the transformation.
Session organisers: Robert Knippschild, Antje Matern and Jessica Theuner (all Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Germany)
As a result of climate policies (e.g. decisions about phasing out of coal) and a growing environmental awareness, regions throughout Europe have to contest structural changes. Especially regional development actors in post-coal mining are rather challenged by the complexity of the tasks and often name the regaining of economic competitiveness, e.g. caused by de-industrialisation, as well as securing employment opportunities as major challenges. However, a transformation towards sustainability requires a broadening of the perspective to the demographic (population loss, brain-drain), and ecological challenges (climate change, biodiversity loss) as well as social questions (identity, quality of life, polarisation and populism).
Regional policymakers are often at a loss to find strategies for a transformation process that takes into account both issues of equalization of disparities and reaching sustainable development goals. Although unorthodox concepts of de-growth, circular economy and long-term oriented strategies as endogenous or neo-endogenous development are discussed, they are rarely implemented e.g. in post-coal regions. Instead, a renaissance of modernization policies brings with it strategies such as decentralization of public administration, investment in infrastructure and technologies, but often neglects the requirements of sustainable development. The question remains how a European Green Deal (EU COM 2019) can be applied and, in particular, how planning instruments can support innovation and a transformation process towards sustainability.
The focus of the session relies on the exchange of knowledge between spatial planning, regional development and sustainability research. We welcome case studies, regional and international comparative studies, conceptual approaches, quantitative and qualitative analyses and practice-oriented derivations in the fields of innovation research, regional policy and governance research as well as planning studies to reflect on development concepts, planning processes, actors involved and content-related factors and results achieved from an actor’s perspective.
- How can transformation towards sustainability be conceptualized in regions? How do spatiotemporal contexts, e.g. size and heterogeneity of regions, socio-material configurations as well as political pressure, affect the choice of instruments and strategies?
- What roles do planning instruments, e.g. master plans, competitions and visions, play in supporting transformation processes towards sustainability and what functions are stressed in order to strengthening actors’ transformative capacities and innovation in the region?
- In the area of conflict between orientation and experimentation: how are planning processes and visualisation tools used to develop and support transformation towards sustainability in regions facing structural change? Which effects are perceived? How are they applied and adapted to heterogeneous regions?
- What kinds of understanding regarding transformation and regional development are reflected in the concepts and instruments applied? How does the practices of planners and regional developers change in the process of structural change and transformation?
The session aims to create a deeper understanding of the role of different planning approaches in transformation processes. We invite both empirically and theoretically oriented contributions that help to explore concepts and planning strategies and their goals, intentions and functions in order to reveal connections and tensions between innovation, regional policy and planning goals as well as sustainability at the regional level.
Session organisers: Mark Pendras (University of Washington, Tacoma, USA), Charles Williams (University of Washington, Tacoma, USA) and Evert Meijers (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands)
This session explores the concept of secondary cities, conceptualized here as cities with distinct histories and identities that fuel, compete with, and are otherwise relationally connected to larger, more ‘successful’ neighbouring cities. In this session, we aim to highlight more relational approaches that identify and theorize connections between the different experiences and conditions found in neighbouring cities. We want to focus our attention on the complex intra-regional relations and intensifying patterns of agglomeration and path dependencies in urban development. In contrast to the decades of urban crisis, when most cities of the global north shared similar experiences (or at least concerns) of decline and abandonment, the current post-crisis urban experience is more variegated. Some cities have clearly shifted from combating decline to managing growth, while others continue to struggle for solvency and stability. It is this landscape of uneven development, with its particular guiding logics and path dependencies, that has inspired scholars to break from the focus on a handful of global winners and bring new attention to previously overlooked cities and urban spaces. Noting that the lack of knowledge about the conditions, social relations, and political processes experienced outside of the typical success stories makes it difficult to answer questions about how such overlooked urban spaces ‘fit’ into the global economic landscape, scholars have targeted ‘ordinary’ cities (Amin and Graham, 1997; Robinson, 2002), small cities (Bell and Jayne, 2006), shrinking cities (Fol, 2012; Pallagst, Weichmann, and Martinez-Fernandez, 2013; Mallach, 2017), legacy cities (Mallach, 2012; Hollingsworth and Goebel, 2017) and, most recently, “left behind places” (Brookings, 2018) for investigation.
While we welcome these efforts to bring such cities onto the map of urban scholarship, we find three limitations that motivate this special session.
First, existing scholarship tends to underemphasize relationality, resulting in an overly fragmented representation of urban development dynamics.
Second, when relationality is taken into consideration, scholars typically emphasize the national and/or international expressions of relationality, rather than the intra-regional scale, resulting in a failure to consider how the ‘failings’, struggles, and policy dilemmas faced by many cities are often intimately tied to the ‘successes’ of larger, dominant neighbours.
Third, when regional-scale analyses are conducted, they often advance urban development models that contribute to uneven urban development and thus merit more critical investigation. The regional second city concept, we argue, confronts these limitations by considering urban development dynamics in the context of intra-regional relationality. The concepts that capture the intra-regional challenges facing regional second cities, particularly with regard to uneven development, are ‘borrowed size’ and ‘agglomeration shadows.’ Borrowed size emphasizes how spatial interdependencies allow neighboring cities to utilize the capacities of their neighbors in order to “host functions that they could not have hosted in isolation” (Burger et al., 2014, 1092). This borrowing dynamic contrasts with the obverse idea of an agglomeration shadow, where large cities hinder the growth and range of functions in surrounding smaller places due to the regional concentration of development in the dominant city (Burger et al., 2014). Cities operating in their neighbor’s agglomeration shadow find it difficult to compete in key sectors or industries.
This session will seek to build on these terms to consider the benefits and constraints of secondary cities’ subordinate status within a regional context, while also challenging and complicating the typical positive/negative dichotomy in multiple respects. For example, while helping to realize development goals of elites, borrowed size might simultaneously contribute to gentrification, displacement, and more general affordability concerns. Similarly, though the ‘underdevelopment’ generated by an agglomeration shadow can limit some growth aspirations, it can also help to maintain a degree of affordability, stability, and continuity for some urban residents.
We seek contributions in this session that explore these and other questions and themes by highlighting the intra-regional urban development dynamics in dynamic urban regions in order to open debate to more complex considerations of what might constitute a positive model of regional development as well as success in secondary cities.
Session organisers: The Western Balkans Network on Territorial Governance (TG-WeB), represented by:
Marjan Nikolov (Center for Economic Analysis, North Macedonia), Peter Nientied (POLIS University, Albania and IHS, Erasmus, the Netherlands), Marko Peterlin (Institute for Spatial Policies, Slovenia) and Rudina Toto (Co-PLAN Institute for Habitat Development and POLIS University, Albania)
The aim of this special session is to reflect on Western Balkans territorial governance as the path towards regional development and resilience, considering the Western Balkans territorial and socio-economic diversities.
While uncertainties resulting from geopolitics and climate futures are ever increasing, the need for Western Balkans countries to create governance mechanism that ensure adaptation and recuperation that leads towards new socio-economic and ecological equilibriums in a fast pace becomes imperative. Regions constitute the most appropriate territorial constructs for addressing resilience and development in a combined fashion, due to their ability to connect to resources, people and institutions, to create economies of scale, to shift priorities and solutions across spatial in a flexible manner, therefore embracing territory in its broadest sense and beyond administrative limitations. Territorial governance at regional level means place-based governance achieved through collaboration at various levels, such as macro-regional, regional/provincial, metropolitan/functional urban area, cross-border areas, functional territories, a regional network of local communities, etc. We believe territorial governance is the approach to achieve regional resilience and development. Territorial governance is being discussed as a preferred practice for Western Balkans and there are good practices to learn from. There is even an effort of the TG-WeB to include the Western Balkans within the new EU Territorial Agenda 2030. However, not only territorial governance is not mainstream in the region, but socio-economic development, resilience, and inclusiveness and cooperation remain still valid challenges. Furthermore, governments need yet to be convinced of the importance of territorial governance as the way to address these challenges. Given the enhanced EU budgets for the Western Balkans, the new EU Territorial Agenda 2030, and the expected EU Cohesion Policy 4.0, WB should be well prepared to make good use of the upcoming opportunities. From a theoretical perspective, the contributions and debates during this special session intend to provide input to a comprehensive territorial, multi-level, and polycentric governance discourse, by bringing in perspectives from a macro-region that is still insufficiently studied with regards to its territorial politics and governance. On a policy-making level, the contributions of the participating scholars and professionals should feed policy recommendations and/or draw attention to how a territorial governance discourse can be framed to convince the governments of Western Balkan countries on the role of place-based governance and cooperation for: increasing regional resilience, fostering regional development and resilience, ensuring social and economic preparedness in the advent of climate change effects, strengthening institutions and cooperation, balancing regions in terms of welfare and opportunities while increasing competitiveness, and addressing peripheralities to include them in the development grid.
For this special session we invite scholars and professionals to contribute with their theoretical, applied, and policy research to topics that explore how territorial governance can contribute to regional resilience and development. Theoretical discussions on regional resilience and their connection to regional development are welcome. Western Balkans as a geographical scope is important, but we welcome also research that explores the connection between territorial governance and regional resilience and development in a broader sense and that can draw lessons for Western Balkan countries and governments to learn from.
Session organisers: Marcin Spyra (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany). Silvia Ronchi (Politecnico di Milano, Italy) and Chiara Cortinovis (Lund University, Sweden)
Peri-urbanization processes involving urban expansion through land take and soil sealing are massive, often taking place beyond any regulations, threatening the performance of ecosystems and the provision of ecosystem services, becoming one of the most unsustainable forms of urban development. Those transformations lead to emerging of peri-urban landscapes (PULs), which are transition territories connecting cities with their surrounding environment, where urban, rural and natural or semi-natural characteristics are mixed. Vertically and horizontally fragmented management and planning, increasing pressure of market forces, speed of peri-urbanization processes, and lack of awareness about the potential consequences of peri-urbanization are just a few different challenges related to the governance of PULs. The governance of PULs needs to address urban, regional and (cross-) national development goals such as air pollution reduction, integrated watershed management, infrastructure planning and management, biodiversity conservation, provision of and accessibility to ecosystem services. To foster sustainable development, PULs can be approached as interfaces that, beyond many conflicts, can also create opportunities for governance experimentation and thus for new governance mixes to emerge.
In our special session we are interested in spatial planning oriented governance mixes, which do not refer to a particular type of governance. Governance mixes in our understanding are broader than a combination of different policy instruments and indicate a thoughtful mix of different, top-down and bottom-up governance approaches, which are introduced at different administrative levels, bringing different formal and informal outcomes, discussed and implemented by the wide range of governance actors.
With this special session, we welcome innovative research concerning governance mixes oriented towards a more sustainable development of PULs. We encourage contributions that address case studies, exemplary applications, theoretical frameworks and perspectives, as well as proposals of innovative planning processes, methods, and tools.
- How future peri-urban development pattern should be governed for contributing to more sustainable development?
- What governance mixes could increase the sustainability of PULs, and how?
- What are the good practices related to the successful implementation of governance mixes in PULs?
- What are the challenges for implementing governance mixes in PULs?
Session organisers: Marcello Graziano (Central Michigan University, USA), Rosario Scandurra (U.A. Barcelona, Spain) and Kistinn Hermannsson (University of Glasgow, Scotland)
The transition towards a more integrated, ecologically sustainable, smart, and economically prosperous regions relies heavily on the availability and creation of the “right” human capital(s), through tertiary education institutions (TEIs), whether universities or continuing education. Recent research has attempted to identifiy the ‘hows’ and ‘how much’ TEIs interact to these transitions, which, as dynamic paradigms, operate as forces of change. This session offers an opportunity for researchers to present works investigating the role of TEIs, TEI-related policies, and outcomes to regional changes, transitions, and economic dynamics, both from macro and micro perspectives.
Examples of potential topics include but are not limited to:
- modelling socioeconomic impacts of TEIs;
- spatial dynamics of TE sector;
- socio-spatial dynamics of skills formation;
- socio-spatial inequality in upper-secondary education in general.
- Francesco Prota, “The societal impact of academic research”;
- Marcello Graziano “Typology of HEI in Europe”;
- Rosario Scandurra, “Higher Education and regional development: from access to institutions to access to the job market”;
- Nicola Francesco Dotti “The effect of the crisis on the mobility of Italian university students: a spatial interaction analysis”;
- André Carrascal-Incera “Universities, students and regional economies: A symbiotic relationship?”.
Session organisers: Luc Ampleman (University Jan Kochanowski in Kielce, Poland), Marco Hölzel (Technical University of Munich, Germany) and Nica Claudia Caló (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Germany)
Mobility shapes territories in many ways. Whether it concerns citizens commuting on a daily basis in large cities; campuses welcoming thousands of students at the start of academic year; workers moving in “fly-in fly-out” mode to carry out their work period at the mine far in remote areas; cruise ships pouring out tourists in in the city centre for an afternoon or even the residents deserting little by little the remote localities, people mobility obliges the decision-makers to adapt their policies. To this movement of individuals, one must also add the mobility of goods as well as the mobility of capital impacting here and there the forms of territorial occupation. On the whole, this trajectories of actors, goods and capital is obviously not without problems. While the implementation of new investments and infrastructures trying to answer these mobility needs appear to be a blessing for some people, it remains, nonetheless, a factor of conflict about the land-use for others. In short, too often the mobility of some makes the unhappiness of others. But there is more, mobility of people and goods within geographical spaces sometimes reveals the importance of inequalities between actors. If certain social actors manage to access certain attractive spaces, others fail for sometimes political, sometimes economic reasons. A situation that also risks compromising the tranquillity of the territory. But how then to manage these conflicts, these tensions, these concerns linked to the potential negative externalities of the mobility of people and goods? How can we minimise disputes between stakeholders? What are the possible strategies to ensure better governance of the mobility and immobility of actors?
The present session seeks to answer these questions by bringing together researchers and practitioners challenged by land-use diplomacy. One of the objectives of the session is to allow participants to discuss best practices and failures related to attempts to resolve or prevent conflicts related to the land-use and the mobility of people and goods. In the long term, the organisers would like to develop a network of exchanges between individuals and institutions interested in the theme of land-use conflicts and social innovations carried out to resolve these conflicts.
The session organizers encourage potential participants interested in this subject to submit paper proposals touching upon (but not limited to) the following topics:
- Land-use conflicts;
- Conflicts between commercial or residential land use and protected flora and fauna;
- Peaceful coexistence between tourists and residents;
- Strategies to retain young people in remote areas;
- Managing conflicts between heavy transport infrastructure and neighbourhood residents;
- Governance approaches and best practices in the peri-urban landscapes;
- Public consultations on the impacts of mobility;
- Social innovation analysis;
- Citizen science approach for improving all policies through a bottom-up/participatory approach;
- Mechanisms for resolving conflicts on transport and land-use initiatives between social actors;
- Integration of new residents and impact on the organisation of the territory;
- Social innovations to limit tensions about mobility and immobility of residents and commuters;
- Compromises between parties around projects having an impact on residents’ quality of life.
Session organisers: Thomas Sigler (The University of Queensland, Australia), Ben Derudder (Ghent University, Belgium) and Stefan Lüthi (Hochschule Luzern, Switzerland)
This session invites researchers focussing on the role of networks in mediating, brokering, facilitating, or connecting spatial actors at the urban and regional scale. Papers from any methodological or epistemological perspective are welcome, but we especially encourage those focussing on empirical research applying network science to participate. Papers may focus, either wholly or in part, on world city networks, social network analysis, commercial networks and flows, inter-personal networks, financial networks, tax havens and offshore financial networks, input-output networks, innovations in network theory, actors and flows in socio-spatial networks, and/or knowledge networks.
Session organisers: Thomas Dax (Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics, Rural and Mountain Research (BAB), Austria), Andrew Copus (University of Eastern Finland and Ingrid Machold (Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics, Rural and Mountain Research (BAB), Austria)
Until late in the last century demographic decline was so obviously a central issue of rural development as almost to be taken for granted. However, in the 1980s and ‘90s “counter-urbanisation” distracted attention from the depletion which continued to affect remoter and more sparsely populated areas. Since the turn of the century the attention shifted to acknowledging diversity of socio-economic trends in rural areas, arguing to “turn diversity into strength” by exploiting all forms of local territorial capital. This approach is arguably a rather “metropolitan” view, ignoring the very serious demographic challenges experienced in parts of Eastern, Southern and Northern Europe. Increasingly people felt to be “left behind” evoking the rise of a discourse on “rural shrinking”.
Despite the emerging opportunities of the changes in technology for remote places, we cannot assume that 20th century policy approaches from Western Europe can be easily “transferred” and provide a solution elsewhere. A thorough understanding of interactions between demographic and socio-economic processes of decline, within specific geographic and institutional contexts, taking account of path dependencies, is the best foundation for effective intervention logics. In some contexts, adaptation may be a more realistic option than full mitigation. Growth is not necessarily the only, or even primary objective for the communities affected. Human rights and spatial justice should perhaps be considered and might have to take a leading role to cope with the dominant neo-liberal economic efficiency goals.
Contributions addressing all aspects of this topic area, empirical, theoretical, methodological and policy orientated, are welcome.
Session organiser: Laura Norris (Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom)
Climate change is a global phenomenon to which many technical solutions are proposed, spurring an evolution in the way societal functions are delivered. The sustainable transition literature focuses on how these technologies are innovated and come to be integrated in societal practices. Whilst many scholars are engaged with sustainability transitions, the focus on geographical perspectives remains limited. Yet innovation inherently has many spatial implications.
The geography of sustainable transitions literature concerns itself with why transitions vary across locations (Köhler et al., 2019) and how they come to be embedded in territorial spaces (Coenen et al., 2012). Technology is likely to be shaped by the characteristics of the region which includes a wide range of socio-technical features (Murphy, 2015). At the same time, the place where technology is innovated is likely to be remade in the process (McCauley and Murphy, 2013). This is due to far-reaching changes that include supply chains, regional knowledge, and technological trajectories.
There are many questions that remain unanswered regarding the spatial dynamics of sustainability transitions. How do regional policies impact technology design? What actions can promote regional embedding of new technology? How do regions with natural resource endowment but low institutional capacity engage with new technology?
The session organiser invites both empirical and conceptual contributions that consider the iterative relationship between new technology and the region. If you are interested in presenting at this session, please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words via the RSA Portal by 31st January 2020.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Laura Norris (NorrisLF@cardiff.ac.uk).
Session organisers: Andrew P. Kythreotis (University of Lincoln, United Kingdom), Theresa G. Mercer (University of Lincoln, United Kingdom), Candice Howarth (London School of Economics, United Kingdom) and Andrew E.G. Jonas (University of Hull, United Kingdom)
This special session aligns the conference themes of “climate change, energy and environmental sustainability” and “governance, policies and institutional change” as a means to theoretically and empirically explore how contemporary urban and regional transformation is being played out, if at all, as a result of the rise of the ‘New Civil Politics of Climate Change’ (NCPCC) (see Kythreotis et al., 2019; Kythreotis & Mercer, forthcoming).
The NCPCC is best represented by recent civil climate protests through Extinction Rebellion (XR) organising mass disobedience marches and urban infrastructural disruption, and the Schools for Strikes movement (SfS), which has catapulted intra- and inter-generationality as key to tackling and disrupting formal state spaces of climate policymaking from the global to local scale. This session seeks contributions from papers that relate to, or specifically address, the following broad questions:
- Are we witnessing new urban and regional transformations as a result of the new civil politics of climate change and how are these manifested beyond the environmental and/or climatic (e.g. social, cultural and/or political)?
- How are socio-spatial relations between the global and urban/regional changing as a result of the ‘New Civil Politics of Climate Change’?
- Are we witnessing a reconstitution of national state climate policy and politics as a result of the ‘New Civil Politics of Climate Change’?
- Are civil urban and regional climate transformations altering the legitimacy of state climate policy spaces in any way?
- Is the global scale the most appropriate state space for climate policy implementation given that climate justice issues are materially played out sub-nationally?
- Is it possible to distinguish different urban and regional forms of civil politics of climate change in the Global North and South?
The “new climate urbanism” (Long & Rice, 2018) suggests that cities have become the key spatial focal point for climate policy and action, even though arguably the global scale – through the UNFCCC and COPs – still holds sway in creating top down climate policies that influence sub-national state climate policy spaces (Purdon, 2015). It has been argued that global scale institutions and politics coercively push upon and dictate the urban in climate politics, planning and policy (Kythreotis, 2018; Leitner et al., 2018). However, considering the burgeoning ‘New Civil Politics of Climate Change’ movement over the last few years, we could argue that civil urban and regional transformations are now usurping such state-endorsed post-political geographies of climate change that reify global liberal democracy, neoliberalism and climate injustices and inequities. Are ‘old state spaces’ of climate policy now withering because of civil actors and communities now mobilising new modalities of urban and regional climate governance, particularly in terms of sub-national climate policy leadership, trajectories and outcomes (Kythreotis, Howarth & Jonas, 2019; Wurzel et al., 2019). It is a fair assessment to say that urban and regional scales are certainly now relationally dynamic and central in influencing traditional dominant state spaces (e.g. see Cochrane, 2011) in the context of contemporary climate policy and action (Kythreotis, Jonas & Howarth, 2019).
This session will explore the above contentions and questions in empirical and theoretical form. We welcome contributions from different social science cognate disciplines including, but not limited to, human geography, anthropology, critical social environmental science, science and technology studies, sociology and environmental humanities that examine how the New Civil Politics of Climate Change is broadly transforming contemporary urban and regional geographies.
- Cochrane, A (2011) Urban Politics Beyond the Urban. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 35(4): 862-863.
- Kythreotis, AP (2018) Reimagining the urban as dystopic resilient spaces: scalar materialities in climate knowledge, planning and politics. In: Ward, K, Jonas, AEG, Miller, B and Wilson, D (eds.) The Routledge Handbook on Spaces of Urban Politics. Routledge, London.
- Kythreotis, AP, Jonas, AEG & Howarth, C (2019) Locating climate adaptation in urban and regional studies. Regional Studies. https://doi.org/10.1080/00343404.2019.1678744
- Kythreotis, AP, Mercer, TG, Howarth, C, Jonas, AEG & Castree, N (2019) The ‘New Civil Politics of Climate Change’: Can schools, colleges and universities augment government policy action? At: https://www.eauc.org.uk/the_new_civil_politics
- Kythreotis, AP & Mercer, TG (forthcoming) Education as a new urban civil politics of climate change. In Castán Broto, V, Robin, E & While, A (forthcoming) Climate urbanism: towards a critical research agenda. Palgrave Macmillan, London.
- Leitner, H, Sheppard, E, Webber, S & Colven, E (2018) Globalizing urban resilience. Urban Geography, 39(8): 1276-1284.
- Long, J & Rice, JL (2018) From Sustainable Urbanism to Climate Urbanism. Urban Studies, 56(5): 992-1008.
- Purdon, M (2015) Advancing comparative climate change politics: theory and method. Global Environmental Politics, 15(3): 1-26.
- Wurzel, RK, Moulton, JF, Osthorst, W, Mederake, L, Deutz, P, & Jonas, AEG (2019). Climate pioneership and leadership in structurally disadvantaged maritime port cities. Environmental Politics, 28(1): 146-166.
Session organisers: Jay Mitra (University of Essex, United Kingdom and Visiting Professor, Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany), Su-Hyun Berg (Business Consultant, Columade, Germany) and Mariusz E. Sokołowicz (University of Lodz, Poland)
This special session on Citizen Entrepreneurship (CE builds on research work-in progress and our presentation at the EU Regions (Universities Session) on CE in October, 2019, where, we explored the unique phenomenon of CE in three European urban regions – Hanover in Germany, Sonderborg in Denmark and Lodz in Poland. The session will draw on on-going research, supported in part by the RSA following a successful application under the Research Network Grant Scheme 2019.
We investigate the phenomenon of CE in urban regions from five linked perspectives:
- Perceiving the phenomenon of entrepreneurship and innovation as the creation, distribution and sustenance of social goods. Social goods account for both public goods and those created for private gain because their provenance is socially embedded, giving priority to the wider benefits that accrue to society;
- Engaging citizens in opportunity recognition, resource mobilisation, design and production, and organisation formation associated with social goods by helping them develop capabilities based on the notion of collective efficacy which in turn fulfil their sense of well-being;
- Fostering entrepreneurial and civic engagement in urban environments or the ‘urban commons’ where a wide range of social goods ranging from public spaces, the utilities, care services, hard and soft infrastructure development, offer opportunities of, for example, renewing living conditions (the Hanover ‘Place Project’ in Germany), the greening of an environment (the Sonederborg ‘Project Zero’ project in Denmark), improving neighbourhood social engagement (‘Socially Engaged project in Poland’);
- Expanding the scope of social science research together with developing policies for entrepreneurial social engagement that address, inter-alia, critical issues affecting the fragmentation of people’s lives, the crisis of public institutions, runaway inequalities, unsustainable economic projects, skewed technology development and the marketization of interpersonal relations;
- Building on the rise of collaborative and intermediary forms of citizen dialogues, possibly enhanced by technological developments, the emergence of new approaches to urban commons governance and management, sharing, protection and development.
Where CE involves citizens from idea creation through to implementation stages of both commercial and community-based activities, and where such projects are not restricted to individuals or groups of experts concerned with enterprise or social innovation, it reduces the tensions between private, public and social enterprise and the differentiated values they generate. Where the citizens, exercise collective efficacy as users, consumers, producers, and voters, they can engage with the formation, development and growth stages of the enterprises together with the state in acts of collective governance. This results in the avoidance of a fixation on entrepreneurship as a vehicle for growth and the cultivation of the practice of entrepreneurship as economic and social development. CE brings the citizen into the heart of local development, thereby enhancing the understanding of institutional frames, local needs, necessities and opportunities. By identifying the key factors for employing CE as a driver for urban transition, our research helps to build a community-based entrepreneurship research and development platform that could accommodate different forms of research of plural value to the community where it takes place. The study results should be able to inform research and policy development all over Europe especially to try and help counter the uncertainties of fragile institutional environments
- Mariusz E. Sokołowicz (Associate professor Faculty of Economics and Sociology, University of Lodz, Poland)
- Su-Hyun Berg (Business Consultant, Columade Flensburg, Germany)
- Jay Mitra (Professor of Business Enterprise and Innovation, Essex Business School, University of Essex)
Session organisers: Yonn Dierwechter (University of Washington, Tacoma, USA), Stefano Di Vita (Politecnico di Milano, Italy) and Iwona Saga (University of Gdańsk, Poland)
This special session compares the outcomes of the RSA temporary research network on “Smart city-regional governance for sustainability” with other international scholars interested in the multiple meanings of smartness in theory and practice. Operating from 2015-2019, this RSA network focused on the diverse interplay between city-regions, governance, sustainability, and smartness. “Smartness,” the network held, increasingly represents a new type of territorial governance for nascent city-regional regimes that are responding to problems and opportunities (see Herrschel and Dierwecher, 2018), thus pushing us (and them) beyond “the conscious inclusion of technological innovation into the systemic structure of the city” (Papa et al, 2014, p 777). Yet understanding how “smartness,” so hypothesized, shapes sustainability goals in specific settings remains challenging.
We thus invite papers that address the following kinds of questions:
- What do these various terms when taken together—smartness, city-regions, sustainability, and governance—mean in specific places?
- What are the procedural and spatial effects of smartness in specific city-regional contexts?
- How do they interact in these places?
- How can city-regions be made “smart(er)” and/or how does smartness drive the sustainability of city-regional governance regimes focused on mitigating carbon, deepening participation, resisting injustices, enhancing policy collaborations, and/or widening economic opportunities?
- Finally, what new “smart” institutions (and spaces) are emerging in different societies?
- Herrschel, T., & Dierwechter, Y. (2018). Smart transitions in city regionalism. New York: Routledge.
- Papa, R et al. (2014). Urban Smartness vs. Urban Competitiveness: a Comparison of Italian Cities Rankings. Journal of Land Use, Mobility and Environment, Special Issue, 771-782.
Session organisers: József Benedek (Babes-Bolyai University, Romania), Antti Roose (Tartu Regional Energy Agency, Estonia), Garri Raagmaa (Tartu University, Estonia) and Ingmar Pastak (Tartu University, Estonia)
Urbanised areas in Europe expand every year irreversibly in the size of Berlin. Densification takes place mainly within and near metropolitan areas. Core Europe attracts from all over the world highly competitive talents and numerous immigrant population. European peripheries, on the contrary, are losing population, their rustbelts and vast rural areas have been converted to the places that don’t matter. There is a rising protest against today’s elitist agendas, periphery is increasingly voting for populist or far-wing parties.
Additional long term change in European urbanisation patterns can be anticipated due to the climate change: drought, heat waves and water scarcity in South creates serious problems for the Mediterranean. Drier conditions increase urbanisation which provides an “escape” from the deteriorating rural productivity and accelerates rural exodus. Urbanisation, in turn, has a climate effect too: heat island effect and heatwaves in South drive urban housing and infrastructure into oasis-like areas. The aging rural population is likely to result in a higher number of vulnerable people across peripheries whose ability to cope in rural areas impacts the future level of urbanisation.
Eastern Europe is affected less by the climate change, though their national policies remain weaker and the general public is hardly aware of the problem. There is little doubt that urban areas and population determine the energy transition. With urban growth occurring in a business-as-usual manner, urban councils struggle to scope with adaptation needs in case of fast urbanisation. Given the scale and scope of urbanisation in Europe, the compounded impacts of urbanisation and climate change will potentially have major consequences on future quality of life and foster regional divides. To address the vicious cycle of urbanisation and climate change, there is a pressing need to upgrade the urban planning chapter with climate change allowances in European planning agenda.
The session welcomes speakers mainly interested about the Southern and Eastern Europe. Bridging discussions from those two planning macro-communities enables to benchmark and debate the urban challenges. We welcome presentations on the following topics:
- Climate futures and land use patterns
- Consequences of urbanisation in the climate crises
- Climate change and territorial structures
- Contribution of climate change and urbanisation to the Sustainable Development Goals 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) and 13 (Climate Action)
- Planning agenda for resilient cities and the European geographic peripheries avoiding new territorial divides
Session organisers: Vladan Djokic, Jelena Ristić Trajković and Aleksandra Milovanović (all University of Belgrade – Faculty of Architecture, Serbia)
This session aims to initiate a research debate on the contemporary position and transformation of the modernist rural landscape as a complex conceptual entity and one of the basic forms of the human milieu that opens up a series of relational links and gaps: rural-urban, modern – postmodern, permanent – ephemeral, tradition – transition, ideal – idyll, productivist – post-productivist.
This special session is in line with one of the general conference themes “future of metropolitan and non-metropolitan areas,” by considering future scenarios and perspectives for the transformation of landscape structure and elements, as well as questioning the environmental, social, cultural, political and economic aspects of a landscape system. Defining a modernist rural landscape is simultaneously open-ended and highly constructed research issue which requires thematization within the critical position of industrialization and modernization of rural and agricultural landscapes and orientation towards technological and economic development primarily based on the construction of a new society. This means that the central research framework focuses on understanding landscapes as a totality in a spatial and social sense. The central research question is modernist rural landscape development, transformation and position in the processes of contemporary urbanization. The session is thus open to new theoretical considerations and perspectives, review research, case studies of different spatial frameworks and contexts, and the presentation of new research methodologies and tools in order to create a unique platform for future spatial planning and design.
In that order, the purpose of this session is to challenge the process-oriented and dynamic nature of the landscape and highlight an integral approach in landscape studies that are equally based on (1) a morphogenesis perspective focused on identification of form, spatial patterns, and physical structures development, (2) an ideological perspective based on reexamining textuality, mode of communication and social order of landscape, and (3) an environmental perspective focused on consideration of symbiotic relationship between cultural and ecological processes along the landscapes.
In order to establish a multi-scale and multi-criteria approach, this session aims to bring together scholars from the fields of urban and regional planning, regional science, spatial development, urban design, architecture, geography, and other tangential disciplines.
Session organisers: Pavel Bednář (Tomas Bata University in Zlin, Czech Republic), Grzegorz Micek (Jagiellonian University, Poland), Mina Akhavan, Politecnico di Milano, Italy) and Ilaria Mariotti (Politecnico di Milano, Italy)
New working spaces, as alternative to home-office and day-to-day traditional office hours, are changing existing ways and forms of work in the traditional division of human activities and their spatio-temporal patterns, i.e. work, services and housing. They become a spatial and social tool of creative destruction in the post-informational technological revolution (Šmihula, 2009) within the dominating Post-Fordism economic production and thereby increasing flexible specialization. Their role is to unleash co-creation and collaboration applying disruptive innovations predominantly among freelancers and micro-firms in the creative industries leading to Jacobs’s knowledge spillovers exploiting agglomeration effects. This leads to the development of a knowledge-based economy, diversification of economic activities and an increase in the absorption capacity for the development of the digital and creative economy, as well as strengthening the competitiveness of metropolitan regions and cities in particular. At the same time, new working spaces are becoming a major player in the transformation of the built and social environment. Their role as a driver of urban regeneration is gradually increasing in the context of the physical, functional and social transformation of urban spatial structure. In developed countries, new working spaces spread to peripheral neighbourhoods both within and outside urban areas. Finally, yet importantly, taking into account their capacity in mitigating social exclusion, new working spaces can play an inclusive role in activating economically and socially disadvantaged people, as a new form of urban social infrastructure.
Within this context, this session invites contributions to the contemporary dynamic discussion on new working spaces (co-working spaces, makerspaces – Fab labs, Techshops, Hackerspaces; open workshops, and open creative labs), including (but not limited to):
- Conceptualization on new working spaces phenomenon;
- Taxonomies of new working spaces;
- Spatio-temporal patterns of location and collocation exploring spatial dynamic between the core and periphery at different levels (global, national, regional and local);
- Collaborative practices, collaborative capacity, gender equality and balance between work and leisure;
- Measurement of economic and innovation performance;
- Relations between the rise of new working spaces and creative sectors;
- Knowledge dynamics, creation, diffusion and spillovers within the urban or regional innovation system;
- Impact on economic diversity, communities, urban and regional economies, and creative class retention;
- “Coworking-led” urban regeneration and urban planning agenda;
- Supportive national, regional and local public policies and subsidies;
- New working spaces as a tool for collaborative communities and social inclusion
Session organisers: Center of Energy Efficient solutions – CER (Slovenia), Faculty of Architecture, University of Ljubljana (Slovenia), Museum of Architecture and Design Ljubljana (Slovenia), Siemens and Petrol
Climate change has a tremendous impact on urban life. Only with a coordinated approach and action at the global, regional, national and local levels, can success be achieved. It is essential, therefore, to make cities an integral part of the solution in fighting climate change. Many cities are already doing a lot by using renewable energy sources, cleaner production techniques and regulations or incentives to limit industrial emissions. Cutting emissions will also reduce local pollution from industries and transport, thus improving urban air quality and the health of city dwellers.
Session organisers: Marcin Dąbrowski (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands), Nicola Francesco Dotti (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium) and Riccardo Crescenzi (London School of Economics, United Kingdom)
In the context of rise of populism across Europe, re-emerging nationalism, Brexit and disillusionment with democracy, a growing attention has been dedicated to the role of Cohesion Policy in shaping political behaviours of European citizens.
The underpinning question is whether and how does Cohesion Policy implemented across heterogeneous European territories affect the attitudes and voting patterns of the citizens. In other words, how and to what extent can Cohesion policy help to build support for European integration? A new stream of research has emerged on this topic starting from the geography of discontent (Guiso et al. 2018; Rodrick 2018; Dijkstra et al. 2019), the so called ‘places that don’t matter’ (Rodriguez-Pose, 2018) and Brexit (Crescenzi et al.2018; Los et al. 2018). Research to date provides a mixed picture on the nexus between Cohesion Policy and its implementation, the political dynamics and the (positive or negative) perception of the EU(Dotti, 2013, 2016). Cohesion Policy, in fact, appears to have only a limited impact on the support for the EU among the citizens (Aiello et al. 2019; Lopez-Bazo & Royuela, 2019), or even have a negative effect on perceptions of the EU if the Cohesion Policy interventions are not perceived to be addressing local needs (Pegan et al., 2018; Capello & Perucca, 2019). At the same time, other studies suggested that Cohesion Policy funding does help to mitigate Euroscepticism, but only when coupled with tangible improvements in the local labour market conditions (Crescenzi et al., 2019 looking at Brexit). Other studies showed that there was a positive relation between the size of the regional European Structural and Investment Funds’ allocation but only with less negative EU image (Dąbrowski et al., 2019), while underscoring the greater role of other regional characteristics and trends on the predominant attitudes vis-à-vis the EU, such as economic situation, level of education or migration. Finally, some researchers pointed out that what is critical for Cohesion Policy to help with electoral support for the European Union is not only the amount of funding allocated, but also the ways in which Cohesion Policy results are communicated to the citizens (e.g. Smętkowski & Dąbrowski, 2019; H2020 COHESIFY). The literature is far from unanimous on the capacity of Cohesion policy to create consensus for the process of EU integration and many questions remain unanswered.
We propose this session as a forum for debating these issues, presenting new conceptual approaches and new evidence on the role of Cohesion Policy for political behaviour and attitudes of EU citizens.
If you are interested in presenting a paper in this session, please submit your abstract of no more than 300 words via the RSA platform by 31st January 2020. The session is organised under the banner of the RSA Research Network on Cohesion Policy (#CPNet).
- Aiello, V., Reverberi, P. M., & Brasili, C. (2019). European identity and citizens’ support for the EU: Testing the utilitarian approach. Regional Science Policy & Practice, 11(4), 673-693.
- Capello, R., & Perucca, G. (2018). Understanding citizen perception of European Union Cohesion Policy: the role of the local context. Regional Studies, 52(11), 1451-1463.
- Crescenzi, R., Di Cataldo M., Faggian A.(2018) Internationalised at work and localistic at home: the ‘split’ Europeanisation behind Brexit, Papers in Regional Science, 97(1), 117-132, 2018
- Crescenzi, R., Di Cataldo, M., & Giua, M. (2019). It’s not about the money! EU funds, local opportunities, and the Brexit vote. EU Funds, Local Opportunities, and the Brexit Vote (November 9, 2019). LEQS Paper, (149).
- Dąbrowski, M., Stead, D., & Mashhoodi, B. (2019). EU Cohesion Policy can’t buy me love? Exploring the regional determinants of EU image. Regional Science Policy & Practice, 11(4), 695-711.
- Dijkstra, L., Poelman, H., & Rodríguez-Pose, A. (2019). The geography of EU discontent. Regional Studies, 1-17.
- Guiso L, Herrera H, Morelli M, Sonno T (2017), Demand and Supply of Populism, CEPR Discussion Paper no. 11871.
- Dotti NF (2013) The Unbearable Instability of Structural Funds’ Distribution. European Planning Studies 21(4): 596–614. DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2012.722956.
- Dotti NF (2016) Unwritten Factors Affecting Structural Funds: The Influence of Regional Political Behaviours on the Implementation of EU Cohesion Policy. European Planning Studies 24(3): 530–550. DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2015.1047328.
- López‐Bazo, E., & Royuela, V. (2019). Citizens’ perception of the Cohesion Policy and support for the European Union. Regional Science Policy & Practice, 11(4), 733-749.
- Los, B., McCann, P., Springford, J., and Thissen, M. (2017). The mismatch between local voting and the local economic consequences of Brexit. Regional Studies, 51(5), 786–799.
- H2020 COHESIFY (2018) Conclusions and Recommendations. Glasgow: University of Strathclyde. http://www.cohesify.eu/downloads/Final-Conference/COHESIFY_Conclusions_and_Recommendations.pdf
- Pegan, A., Mendez, C. and Triga, V. (2018) What do Citizens Think of Cohesion Policy and Does it Matter for European identity? : A Comparative Focus Group Analysis. COHESIFY Research Paper 13. Glasgow: University of Strathclyde. https://strathprints.strath.ac.uk/70280/
- Rodríguez-Pose, A. (2018). The revenge of the places that don’t matter (and what to do about it). Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 11(1), 189-209.
- Rodrik D (2017), ‘Populism and the Economics of Globalization’, NBER Working Paper no. 23559.
Session organisers: Giulio Buciuni (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), Riccardo Crescenzi (London School of Economics, United Kingdom) and Oliver Harman (University of Oxford and LSE, United Kingdom)
This special session looks at global value chains (GVCs), global investment flows (GIFs) and their impacts on regional economies. Traditionally utilized as a novel perspective whereby assessing how value is created and distributed globally, GVCs have been lately used to understand how investments, human capital and knowledge flow across countries and foster local innovation, entrepreneurship and economic development. However, little is known to date about why some regions are able to link up to GVCs, leverage their participation and accomplish upgrade over time, while others fail. Addressing this research gap will provide insights to scholars, managers and policymakers alike and advance our understanding of the interplay between global economic dynamics and their impact on local and regional 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:
- How regions can build, embed and reshape GVCs to their local benefit;
- The regional drivers and impacts of global connectivity, bridging macro-international and micro-firm level approaches;
- 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.
Session organiser: Loris Servillo (Politecnico di Torino, Italy)
The special session offers a platform to discuss the Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) instrument, one of the most interesting “territorial delivery mechanisms” of the current EU 2014-2020 programming period. Built on the former LEADER project, it attempts to overcome the sectorial (rural or maritime) approach of the previous programming period through a more integrated policy agenda for ad-hoc sub-regional and urban areas. Despite the typical rigidity of an EU institutional technology, it offers the ground for interesting governance experimentations dedicated to ‘territories that do not matter’ or that shows condition of socio-spatial fragility. In particular, the instrument foresees the tailoring of a specific area (from urban neighbourhood to cross-border regions) through an explicit bottom-up dynamic and community engagement (as mentioned in its acronym), to the purpose of setting and implementing a strategic development plan.
Pushing the traditional administrative regions beyond their jurisdictional borders, going beyond the simple dichotomy between urban and rural areas, and supporting direct engagement of local actors, this instrument provides prime material for this RSA conference core issues.
Therefore, this session is interested in discussing the capacity of this policy instrument in activating local development strategies for territories that present condition of fragility, and the innovative role in supporting strategies beyond the traditional administrative borders.
This session is interested to gather studies, cases and perspectives to the CLLD according to a broad spectrum of approaches. It aims at sharing knowledge and experiences that might include, but are not limited to the following four sub-themes:
- The specifications of addressed territories;
- The spatial strategies and the policy (from smart to social inclusion) agendas;
- The role of multilevel governance process and the various national approaches;
- The bottom-up dynamics and the experimentalism brought by the initiatives.
Session organisers: Matej Gojčič, Barbara Boh and Lilijana Madjar (all RRA LUR – Regional Development Agency Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Traffic connectivity and the mobility of people and goods play a key role in the development of cities and urban centres, municipalities, regions, countries and the whole EU; however, only sustainable mobility promotes economic development, social justice and quality of the environment. The objective of sustainable mobility planning is to establish a sustainable mobility system by ensuring the availability of jobs and services for all, the improvement of safety, reduction in pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption, increase in the efficiency of public transport, reduction in the costs of mobility, optimisation of freight transport, and a positive contribution to the health of residents and visitors of European cities and regions.
The rapid development of non-sustainable forms of mobility, which has followed the economic development, has brought rapid economic development to society, as well as its competitiveness; however, mobility that is based on non-sustainable modes of transportation does not lead to long-term sustainable development. Therefore, the future success depends on the sustainable management of scarce resources and sustainable concepts that will provide a quality space for living and working for later generations.
Since mobility does not end on borders of cities and countries, only a common, multilevel approach on local, regional, national and transnational level can bring desired mobility transformation.
Session organisers: Steve Millington (Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom), Vjeran Strahonja (University of Zagreb, Croatia), Willem van Winden, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS), The Netherlands and Sophia Skordili (Harokopio University, Greece)
In many European cities, local entrepreneurs join forces in new types of collective ventures, in order to pursue common interests: business development and a more attractive business environment. In such collectives, entrepreneurs engage in shared investments, collective branding of their urban district, improving shared public space, etc. Local government is beginning to recognize the value of such collectives in terms of adding capacity to efforts to improve places, and is developing policy measures to facilitate them. This rising phenomenon of Area Based Collaborative Enterprise (ABCE) is seen as a solution to the challenges caused by structural forces such as economic restructuring, globalization, socio-economic changes in labour market, austerity, and the challenges of everyday place development. Shared action offers benefits in terms of job creation and competitiveness. Moreover, it may foster local value capturing and regeneration since local collaborative enterprises are often strongly intertwined with their neighbourhood, and committed to social goals, such as strengthening neighbourhood liveability, or reinforcing social ties between local stakeholders. Fostering collaborative entrepreneurship thus can support inclusive growth, cooperation and cohesion. This Special Session, therefore, aims to exchange knowledge on how ABCE can more effectively be facilitated with local and regional policy instruments. In current Regional Structural Programs, the emphasis on innovation, access to funding, overshadows the importance of networked and locally anchored entrepreneurship for inclusive growth. By capturing the local learnings systematically, identifying critical success conditions and sharing these across regions in Europe, improvements in policies that foster ABCE can be made. The sessions therefore will present case study and learning from the ABCE Cities Network, an INTERREG funded project, which aims to develop recommendations for improving the policy instruments in European regions, harnessing collective entrepreneurship as an effective means to improve SME competitiveness and urban development. Five European urban regions are involved in this project: Amsterdam, Vilnius, Conurbation Varaždin – Čakovec, Athens, and Manchester. These places currently experiment with ABCE and are looking for inspiration on how to initiate, facilitate, support and monitor it. They initiated this project to share experiences, to gain deeper insights into the effectiveness and efficiency of their policies, and to develop and share policy guidelines.
Session organisers: Andrew Beer (UniSA Business School, Australia) and Terry Clower (George Mason University, USA)
This is a session in two parts, the launch of a book ‘Globalisation, Planning and Local Economic Development’ and a Panel Discussion on some of the key themes within that text. The interactive Panel Discussion will examine questions around how researchers and scholars can create a unified understanding of the many faceted approaches to economic growth in the developed and developing world; the future of economic development as a profession and a priority of government; the role of professional and scholarly associations in a changing – and potentially disrupted – policy landscape; and, the potential for regional studies and regional science to span disciplinary boundaries and advance their policy and intellectual agendas in collaboration with other fields. The goal of the session is to force us to challenge our understanding of the regional studies as a field of academic inquiry, while also questioning the practices of economic development practitioners and policy makers. This reflection is called for in order to take advantage of emerging opportunities, while simultaneously avoiding risks including those associated with a changing political landscape, shifts in community attitudes to economic development and the changing career trajectories of researchers and scholars.
Session organiser: Joan Fitzgerald, Northeastern University, USA
Collectively, cities take up a relatively tiny amount of earth’s land, yet emit 72 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Clearly, cities need to be at the center of any broad effort to reduce climate change. Yet Fitzgerald maintains that too many cities are only implementing random acts of greenness that will do little to address the climate crisis. She instead calls for “greenovation”–using the city as a test bed for adopting and perfecting green technologies for more energy–efficient buildings, transportation, and infrastructure more broadly. Further, Fitzgerald contends that while many city mayors cite income inequality as a pressing problem, few cities are connecting climate action and social justice-another aspect of greenovation. Focusing on the biggest producers of greenhouse gases in cities, buildings, energy and transportation, Fitzgerald examines how greenovating cities are reducing emissions overall and lays out an agenda for fostering and implementing urban innovations that can help reverse the path toward irrevocable climate damage.
- Jennifer Clark, Ohio State University, USA
- Andrew Beer, University of South Australia Business School, Australia
- Mark Tewdwr-Jones, Newcastle University, United Kingdom
- Marcin Dąbrowski, TU Delft, The Netherlands