2023 RSA Annual Conference Special Sessions
As part of the 2023 RSA Annual Conference, there will be a number of Special Sessions running throughout the academic programme. If you would like to submit an abstract to one of the sessions, submit your abstract in the normal way and you will find each session listed in the gateway themes on the abstract submission page.
Sulevi Riukulehto, International Society for Regional History, University of Helsinki Ruralia Institute, Finland
Marijn Molema, ISRH Steering Committee, University of Groningen, Netherlands
This special session focuses on the junction point of regions and time. Regions are always transforming. The process of
transformation is a temporal phenomenon. Global megatrends transform the frames of our everyday life. No political, social,
economic, cultural, or even ecological boundaries are entirely fixed. Institutions impact on these regional dynamics as well.
This makes the general view of reality very complicated. Like Fernand Braudel, we can recognize changes in different time
scales: structural transformations of longue durée, punctuating rapid events, as well as conjunctural changes, rhythms with
ups and downs.
The spatial scalarity makes the over-all picture even more complicated. Transformations can equally be identified in regions
from localities to cross-border and cross-cultural areas as well as in international macro-regions and artificial regional bodies.
All contributions that connect temporality to any kinds of regional transformation are welcome. Case studies with historical
data and various discourses of cultural heritage are also appropriate subjects in this session. The connection to historical
basic concepts (time – event – memory) is to advantage in all contributions.
This session is organized by members of the International Society for Regional History that was recently founded. In the
contributions to this session and the discussion about it, there is special attention to the cross fertilization between regional
studies and historical sciences.
Marcello Graziano, Southern Connecticut State University, USA
Silvana Secinaro, University of Turin, Italy
Davide Calandra, University of Turin, Italy
Low-carbon mobility is at the heart of a new, sustainable transition of smart cities (Kley et al., 2011; Secinaro et al., 2021).
Worldwide, many policy bodies are incentivizing manufacturers, vendors, and customers towards low-carbon forms of transportation (European Commission, 2021; OECD, 2014). Because of their varied, and often compact layout, researchers
have identified opportunities for manufacturers of electric (EV) and hydrogen (FCEV) vehicles to create a multi-modal design paired with electric and traditional bicycles (Bigerna et al., 2016; Laurischkat et al., 2016; Kazemzadeh & Bansal, 2021; Gallaher et al., 2021). However, for industrial groups’ business choices to promote sustainable mobility actions it is crucial to discover how their business model can evolve to withstand such a fast-paced change. For example, automotive and e-bike producers must make strategic choices that go beyond the vehicles, and include charging technologies, driver services, electricity management, and commercial contracts, along with new production and assembly processes (Zuev, 2019; Secinaro et al., 2020; Papacharalampopoulos et al., 2020).
In this evolving context, both public institutions and firms are rapidly rolling out new policies and business models. Regions are developing new policies for identifying the best combinations of low carbon transport modes, competing for securing
investments for new manufacturing plants, and R&D facilities. Firms are instead creating new services and new production
modes, even re-thinking the geography of their value chains.
This session aims at hosting theoretical and empirical works focusing on the changes in the mobility sector driven by the
transition towards a low carbon future. Specific topics in this special issue will include (but are not limited to):
- Sustainable production processes of low carbon vehicles;
- Regional policies for supporting low carbon transport manufacturing;
- Changes in manufacturers’ business models to meet the new demand for electric mobility;
- Government policies to support the adoption of electric vehicles;
- Drivers/barriers of adoption of low-carbon vehicles;
- Planning strategies for fostering the transition towards disruptive
- Energy management for both electric and hydrogen;
- The role of infrastructure for the future of mobility; and
- Social impact assessment and non-financial reporting of companies operating in sustainable mobility sector.
Contributions to the conference will be invited to be part of a special issue on disruptive mobilities hosted by the Journal of
Cleaner Production in 2024.
Dávid Fekete Széchenyi, István University, Count István Bethlen Research Centre, Győr, Hungary
Tamás Kelemen, 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, tourismdestination 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?
Paolo Biancone, University of Turin, Italy
Silvana Secinaro, University of Turin, Italy
Valerio Brescia, University of Turin, Italy
Davide Calandra, University of Turin, Italy
The session aims to debate Islamic finance experiences for boosting strategic regional development.
Islamic finance is an alternative to the traditional financial system and is characterized by asset-based instruments that
prioritize financial collection for tangible and developmental projects (Saiti, 2016). In recent years, new literature has arisen,
creating scientific debate concerning technological evolution. Recently, COVID-19 has demonstrated its pandemic power
(Campra et al, 2020; Biancone et al., 2022). This adverse event includes unusual economic scenarios (McKibbin and
Fernando, 2020). When many countries in the world are forced into periods of quarantine (Anderson et al., 2020), one
wonders what the role of Islamic finance could be in countering the power of the pandemic. Furthermore, what role of Islamic
finance in supporting the economies of the countries in which it operates (Uluyol et al, 2021).
Today, research in the Islamic context has initiated a profound discussion of the social instruments that the economic and
financial sectors can make available to the well-being of society (Almarri and Meewella, 2015). Sharia, which regulates all
Islamic financial instruments and investments and its screening methodology, prohibits unethical businesses and practices
that are similar to the negative screening methodology adopted by socially responsible investment, which makes both of them
connected to Social Finance; however, it has to move for taking steps towards positive screening not only negative screening
of exclusion (Biancone and Radwan, 2019). There is a need to highlight the link between Islamic Finance and its role in regional development reconstruction after the COVID-19 pandemic.
This special track aims at studying recent developments in Islamic banking and finance in regional territories and communities
both theoretically and empirically as part of the post-covid-19 reconstruction. Expected contributions will focus on the use of
Islamic finance to trigger processes of social inclusion and to foster regional development and internationalisation of local
SMEs, also including insights and updates on the evolution of the law on fiscal neutrality.
Papers may include (but are not limited to) the following topics:
- Reconstruction policies using Islamic finance
- Islamic Financial Institutions
- Islamic Bank Performance
- Theoretical foundations of Islamic banking and finance
- Sharia requirements in Islamic banking
- Profit-and-loss sharing principle of Islamic banks
- Financial innovation and Islamic banking
- Regulatory issues in Islamic banking and finance
- Basel and Islamic banking
- Risk management in Islamic finance
- Islamic Corporate Governance
- Financing SMEs through Islamic Finance
- Financing businesses through Islamic financing: opportunities and challenges
- Ethical and Socially Responsible Investment and Financing
- Islamic Finance and Economic Development
- Islamic Microfinance
- Islamic Capital Markets
- Funding Infrastructure Projects through Sukuk
- Taxation framework for Sukuk
- Islamic Mutual Funds
- Takaful and conventional insurance
- Islamic Accounting
- Islamic finance: behavioural aspects
- The Future of Islamic Financial systems
- Taxation and Zakat Accounting
- Social Inclusion
Almarri, J., & Meewella, J. (2015). Social entrepreneurship and Islamic philanthropy. International Journal of Business and Globalisation, 15(3), 405-424.
Biancone, P., & Mohamed Radwan Ahmed Salem, M. (2019). Social finance and financing social enterprises: an Islamic
finance prospective. European Journal of Islamic Finance.
Biancone, P., Secinaro, S., Calandra, D., & Chmet, F. (2022). COVID-19 and Islamic Finance: A Practitioners’ View and Financial Accounting Investigation. In Towards a Post-Covid Global Financial System. Emerald Publishing Limited.
Campra, M., Esposito, P., & Brescia, V. (2020). State of the art of COVID-19 and business, management, and accounting sector. A bibliometrix analysis. International Journal of Business and Management, 16(1).
McKibbin, W. J., & Fernando, R. (2020). Global macroeconomic scenarios of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Uluyol, B., Secinaro, S., Calandra, D., & Lanzalonga, F. (2021). Mapping waqf research: a thirty-year bibliometric analysis.
Journal of Islamic Accounting and Business Research
Saiti, B. (2016). Islamic Capitalism and Finance: Origins, Evolution and the Future. International Journal of Economics,
Management and Accounting, 24(1), 125-128.
Kamen Petrov, UNWE, Bulgaria
Nikolay Tsonkov, UNWE, Bulgaria
Tsvetelina Berberova-Valcheva, UNWE, Bulgaria
Bill Pritchard, University of Sydney, Australia
Amelie Bernzen, University of Vechta, Germany
The multifunctional rural transition is a core idea in regional studies. Particularly in structurally disadvantaged rural areas,
policy makers have been pursuing approaches for integrated rural development, which assume that increasing
multifunctionality has a positive effect on regional futures. While the concept of multifunctionality itself is thus not new, the
challenges and intensity of pressures over recent years in these spaces have initiated new rounds of restructuring: energy
transitions (gaining speed in the light of the Ukraine war), climate change adaptation, a ruralisation of business activity
through online commerce and work-from-home opportunities, the effects of pandemic restrictions on tourism, and food system
changes including shifts in diets and fluctuating food prices, among others. While acknowledging the increasing heterogeneity
of “rural spaces”, the aim of this session is to examine differences and commonalities in how multifunctional rural regions
have responded to these pressures, with a view to identifying key themes relevant to their future condition.
Thomas Sigler, The University of Queensland, Australia
Cities and regions around the world have demonstrated varying levels of openness to accept Airbnb and other short-term rental platforms, and the concomitant changes they bring to local communities. On one hand, the rapid growth of digital booking platforms has provided remote regions with new tourism possiblities, while potentially opening doors for urbanites to supplement their monthly budget. On the other, acrimonious debates have centred around questions of housing affordability and the place of visitors within a planning framework designed largely for local needs.
Presentations in this session can approach the short-term rental issue from any angle, with a view to foster a productive and open debate about the role of short-term rentals in cities and regions. We specifically focus on ‘what’s next’, as ‘mainstream’ booking platforms erode Airbnb’s monopoly, and regulation matures to balance the needs of platforms, economies, residents, and local markets.
Rudiger Ahrend, OECD
Ana Gnip Grdović, University of Primorska, Slovenia
Suzana Laporšek, University of Primorska, Slovenia
Alexander Lembcke, OECD
Alessandra Proto, OECD
Wessel Vermeulen, OECD
Following a period of economic growth and recovery since 2008-2009 Global Financial Crisis, the world has gone through a global pandemic and is currently experiencing a large energy and general price inflation period. Both events touch upon the fundamental structure of European and other advanced economies.
Within countries, regional economies are differently affected by the shocks and their adaptability to changing circumstances varies. However, the magnitude of such differences and their effects on productivity are still to be satisfactorily measured and interpreted. This is important since differences between regional economic circumstances strongly affect their growth opportunities.
The proposed special session offers a forum for a comprehensive discussion on the spatial drivers of productivity and the ways for subnational policies to facilitate regional productivity growth as well as on the implications of spatial differences in productivity for other socioeconomic dimensions such as wellbeing, inequality and resilience.
Quality contributions are invited on a broad range of topics within the outlined focus including (but not limited to):
• spatial patterns of productivity performance and their implications;
• Regional and local differences in public sector productivity;
• The role of entrepreneurship, innovation, skills and technologies;
• The role of digitalization, automation and artificial intelligence;
• The role of infrastructure, agglomerations and smart specialization;
• Spatial productivity implications of globalization, international trade and GVCs;
• The implication of the green transition and regional productivity
• Spatial productivity implications of a shift to teleworking;
• Labor market productivity effects of regional (internal) migration;
• The link between productivity and governance structure;
• The interaction of productivity and resilience, productivity and wellbeing and productivity and inequality.
Sebastian Losacker, Leibniz University Hannover, Germany
Linus Kalvelage, University of Cologne, Germany
Thomas Neise, Osnabrück University, Germany
As the climate and biodiversity crises intensify, scholars in economic geography and regional studies are becoming increasingly concerned with environmental issues, including research on climate change adaptation, sustainability transitions, commodification of nature, environmental innovations, environmental justice and energy issues. A major challenge for research in economic geography is to study the environmental and natural features of human economic activity without reproducing deterministic rationales. Against this background, and given the diverse range of environmental topics studied in economic geography, many calls have been made in the past towards establishing ‘environmental economic geography’ as a major research paradigm (e.g. Braun et al. 2003; Braun et al. 2018; Bridge 2008; Gibbs 2006; Hayter 2008).
It is evident that environmental economic geography has developed into a lively platform for a variety of research topics since its advent almost twenty years ago, but at the same time, it is still lacking a consistent understanding of the nexus between environmental issues and the economy (and the spatial dynamics therof). This raises the question as to how far environmental economic geography can succeed as a guiding paradigm and as a school of thought in the broader field of economic geography and regional studies. Do we even need to use the term environmental economic geography if we might simply be referring to a collection of research on environmentally related topics in economic geography rather than establishing a distinct research paradigm? Which lines of research could provide the foundations for shaping a paradigm of an environmental economic geography?
In this session, we welcome theoretical and empirical contributions, enabling a discussion on the extent to which the wide range of research on environmental economic geography can be integrated into a unifying paradigm or framework. We thus encourage and invite research on issues such as climate change, natural hazards, resilience, sustainability transitions, environmental innovations and other environmentally related topics. The contributions are expected to point out what a paradigm of environmental economic geography should incorporate, opening new avenues for future research.
Robert Hassink, Kiel University, Germany
Han Chu, Kiel University, Germany
Martin Kenney University of California, USA
In recent years, digital platforms have caused great changes in people’s daily life, in consumption and in production, which has led to the emergence of new phenomena and concepts such as “platform urbanism” (Graham, 2020), “platform economy” (Kenney & Zysman, 2016, 2020; Cole, 2022), “platform ecology” (Ibert et al., 2022) and “digipreneurs” (Repenning & Oechslen, 2021). With the power of the Internet, digital platforms are both a new space for certain new industries activities (e.g. digital content industry, mobile games, live streaming industry, online retail, online hailing etc.), as well as an important infrastructure and actor bridging a variety of economic activities in virtual and physical space. Part of the strongly emerging literature on the platform economy, however, is largely insensitive to geographical differences, and, for example, only recently started to discover China as a different model (Jia & Kenney, 2022; Chu et al., 2022; Lüthje, 2019). Moreover, despite some interesting recent studies on the spatial implications of digitization (Haefner & Sternberg, 2020), the digitalization of asset modification (Isaksen et al., 2020), and the role of digitalization for path renewal (Sedita & Ozeki, 2022), that literature does not pay much explicit attention to the digital platform economy. Finally, theoretical concepts in economic geography, often developed in the pre-digital era and hence paying much attention to agglomeration economies, spatial proximity and trust-based networks (Moulaert & Sekia, 2003), are insufficiently challenged by the characteristics of the digital platform economy, which differ from the conventional economy on which many theoretical concepts are based.
This session therefore focuses on the role that digital platforms play at the interface between virtual and physical space and how they both influence regional economies and challenge theoretical concepts in economic geography. It aims at exploring this theme from three perspectives.
The first perspective focuses on how the platform economy enters and interferes with existing local industries and industrial chains, and whether that affects the local economy in a positive or negative way. What do local governments need to leverage the platform or combine the platform and local agency and how do platforms interact with local formal and informal agencies? Research in this area may also focus on platform economy and industry value chain and industry upgrading, platform economy and path locking, platform economy and industrial clusters, etc.
The second perspective focuses on how innovation and entrepreneurial opportunities are locally discovered through the platform. Numerous innovative startups integrate and connect different resources through digital platforms, in countries like China, thus maximizing the connection between the production side and the consumer side. Research in this area may also focus on virtual buzz, knowledge flows and different kinds of proximity.
The third perspective is theoretical in nature and challenges existing theoretical concepts. Several concepts in economic geography and regional studies emerged in the pre-digital time (Moulaert & Sekia, 2003), such as clusters, entrepreneurial ecosystems, and path creation, and are partly because of that still used without much reference to the digital platform economy. The digital platform economy is characterized by several features that are in contrast to assumptions made for theoretical concepts in economic geography. Instant reputation is, for instance, more important than long-term trust relations (Stark & Pais, 2020). What does that mean? Are the conventional theoretical concepts now irrelevant? Or are they still relevant, but do we have to change their main theoretical assumptions? In some cases, the concepts have been adapted to the new digital reality, such as the cases of virtual clusters (Kang et al., 2022) and digital entrepreneurial ecosystems (Sussan & Acs, 2017), in other cases the implications for the concept have been discussed, such as with smart specialization (Mora et al., 2022). Moreover, the dichotomized view of core-periphery has been challenged by the digital platform economy, allowing new opportunities in places with previously hardly any chance of development (Glückler et al., 2022).
We welcome papers both empirical, theoretical, as well as policy-related papers, as well as comparative papers, on rural and urban areas in industrialized, emerging and developing economies. They might include the interaction between e-commerce platforms, half-e-commerce platforms (such as Instagram and Xiaohongshu), short video platforms, and live streaming platforms with local industries and local economic activities.
We will submit a proposal for a special issue to be published in Regional Studies in due course.
Diana Morales, Umeå University, Sweden
Tiago Teixeira, Northumbria University, England
Current and persistent global challenges of uneven development and climate change are traceable across various spatial scales. The COVID-19 pandemic, income and living conditions’ inequalities, the challenges of digitalization, and the rise of populism are challenges calling for system transformations and alternative ways to understand and organise economic life in local, national, and regional economies. These changes include a transition away from fossil fuel-based energy-systems, and the deployment of mineral-based renewable energy technologies. Amongst the varied alternatives and debates, attention has been put on the potential role of global production networks (GPNs) in such transformations.
The field of sustainability transitions, on the other hand, has been paying increased attention to the global connections influencing transitions, but this is an area requiring further exploration (Morales and Ramos-Mejía, forthcoming; Schmitt and Schulz, 2016; Binz and Truffer, 2017). Indeed, connecting local economic transformations to global value chains continues to be promoted as a successful approach to create better jobs and reduce poverty, while addressing concerns about the sustainable development agenda because of their supposed capacity to spread technology (Taglioni and Winkler, 2016). In relation to GPNs, for example, some argue that GPNs and global value chains have the potential to influence sustainability transitions by transferring green technology or sustainable production practices from core to peripheral regions (World Bank, 2020). However, critical research based on GPNs has demonstrated that potential positive effects are unevenly distributed amongst countries and regions and, rather, GPNs can create deeper inequalities while strengthening capitalism (Werner, 2016; Selwyn, 2018; Krauss and Krishnan, 2021; Selwyn and Leyden, 2021).
Whether it is through the diffusion of technology or the adoption of sustainable practices, GPNs can have an effect on regional economic transformations or sustainability transitions. For example, the interactions between buyers and local producers are now mediated by the adoption of sustainability standards, putting pressure on the producers and local institutions to raise production standards or downward pricing. It is expected that GPNs influence such transformations. It is also expected that changes in relationships, conflicts, and collaborations along the value chain, are more pronounced in resource rich regions in Latin America and Africa. One example is the case of lithium mining, an essential element in the electrification of transport in the Global North that is changing the geopolitical landscape of extractive industries and production networks (Bos and Forget, 2021; Bustos-Gallardo, Bridge and Prieto, 2021; Bridge and Faigen, 2022).
With this special session, we aim to gather contributions that discuss the roles, implications, critiques, and opportunities of GPNs in regional economic transformations and sustainability transitions. We are looking forward to receiving proposals that discuss, for example (but not limited to):
– GPNs and sustainability transitions
– Global perspectives on regional economic transformations
– GPNs and rare minerals
– GPNs and uneven development
– GPNs and green industries, green path renewal/creation
– GPNs, green growth and the impact on regional livelihoods in the Global South
– GPNs and the impact on peripheries
– Changes in the relationships along global value chains
Anna Butzin, Westphalian University of Applied Sciences Gelsenkirchen, Institute for Work and Technology (IAT), Germany
Luís Carvalho, University of Porto, Faculty of Economics and Management, Portugal
Hugues Jeannerat, University of Neuchâtel, Institute of Sociology, Switzerland
Jesper Manniche, Centre for Regional and Tourism Research, Denmark
The Lisbon Agenda, launched by the European Commission in the year 2000, aimed at making Europe “the most competitive and the most dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world” (European Council 2000). It had significant impact on regional development strategies, such as clusters and smart specialisation focused on the promotion of knowledge-intensive sectors, organisations and activities. However, the current social and ecological crises and new policy objectives expressed by the EU Green Deal require considering the role of knowledge in regional development, as well as its dynamics of generation and use within and across places from a critical and renewed perspective. Against this background, the special session strives to renew the understanding of knowledge as an asset in regional development in light of on-going sustainability transitions by exploring the shift from knowledge-intensive to “transformative-knowledge regions”.
While policies related to the Lisbon agenda sought to enhance the intensity of knowledge creation and sharing to foster innovation driven by market competition and selection, the current Green Deal and mission-oriented innovation policies define expected directions for innovation that should actually transform the economy and the society towards more sustainable ways of production, consumption and living. Making knowledge actually transformative implies the conceptualisation and support of a knowledge ecosystem that is not merely about technical solutionism, but also about changes of practices, imaginaries and rationales, subject to democratic and citizen legitimacy as well as of political power or influential denialism. Beyond scientific knowledge, more hands-on, practical and place-based knowledge is needed. This goes along with production and technology issues, but also with the introduction of a social innovation approach, an emphasis on socio-technical and institutional changes and the involvement a broader range of actors such as public bodies, civil society and NGOs.
The session welcomes conceptual and empirical contributions addressing the following research questions:
1) How, where and by whom is knowledge generated in regional sustainability transitions? What are multi-local and multi-scalar characteristics?
2) What are the distinctive regional features of transformative knowledge dynamics and which (new) knowledge conceptualisations would be useful for studying the types of knowledge, learning and communities that are involved in sustainability transitions?
3) What is the role of and contribution of specific industries and sectors such as foundational services and infrastructures (energy, water, communication, schools, welfare) for transformative knowledge creation and broader regional sustainability transitioning?
4) What are the distinctive capacities of the “knowledge ecosystem” driving sustainability transitions in different types of regions (e.g. urban and rural)?
Mikko Weckroth, Natural Resources Institute, Finland (LUKE)
Micheal Kull, Natural Resources Institute, Finland (LUKE)
Recent definitions and policies on transition to sustainability increasingly emphasize the uneven socioeconomic effects of the required changes and consequently the perceived “justness” of the transition. The focus on justice, equity and fairness in the context of sustainability transition connects sustainability science and debate to certain topical themes in different disciplines, including economic geography, regional studies and political science. For example, considering the geography or spatial nature of the just transition reveals apparent linkages to theories on spatial justice in human geography as well as recent observations on “places (and people) that don’t matter” and associated geography of discontent. In line, some concepts discussed as part of sustainability transformation, such as circular bio-economy, hold an inherent promise to balance the spatial economy through rural revitalization.
The sustainability transformation that calls for rapid and broad changes in all societal systems and policy regimes (including energy, food and transport) can either mitigate or intensify interpersonal and/or inter-regional inequalities or even establish or reveal new socio-spatial divisions. Hence, policies that successfully enable this transformation need to be cross-sectoral in nature and inclusive of diverse actor groups. Sustainability transformation also requires multilevel synchronization and sensitivity to questions on socio-spatial justice, ranging from local to global scales.
Hence, this session welcomes all presentations that address the spatial nature of just transition to sustainability from different perspectives. The presentations may address for example the spatial divisions in sustainable behaviour and action, the perceived fairness or expression of injustice stimulated by techno-economic sustainability solutions, or policy mechanisms aiming to sustainability transition in socially and spatially just manner (e.g. Just Transition Mechanism as part of EU cohesion policy). We welcome holistic approaches aiming to integrate sustainability within aspects of social and spatial justice at local and global scales but also case studies dealing with local level sustainability solutions and their social acceptability or opposition.
The presentations in this special session may address (but are not limited to) following topics
• Reviews and comparisons of EU, national or regional policies aiming on just transition
• Urban-rural differences in political and economic agency related to sustainability transformation
• Theoretical considerations on linkages between spatial justice and just transition/transformation
• Local level solutions on spatially just policies on sustainability transition
• Case studies on green energy, solution in rural context
• The capacity of just transition to tackle the “places that don’t matter” and geography of discontent
• Intersectoral management and cross-sectoral integration of just transition policies
• Policy coordination / dialogue and multilevel / territorial governance of just transition
• Place-based or place sensitive policies in the context of just transition
Robert Hassink, Kiel University, Germany
Huiwen Gong, University of Bern, Switzerland
Canfei He, Peking University, China
Annekatrin Niebuhr, Kiel University, Germany
In current times of crises, the notion of resilience is often used to analyse the recovery processes of systems from a shock. It refers to the notion describing that systems, such as sectors or regional economies, recover from shocks or can build up capabilities to deal with future shocks (Fromhold-Eisebith, 2015; Martin & Sunley, 2020; Sutton & Arku, 2022). Recently, economic geographers and regional economists, in particular, have become interested in regional resilience in tackling the question of why some regional economies manage to renew themselves or to lock themselves out, whereas others are more locked in decline (Martin & Sunley, 2020; Evenhuis, 2017; Gong & Hassink, 2017). Regional resilience is a process, consisting of four stages: risk/vulnerability before the shock, resistance during the shock, and reorientation and recoverability after the shock (Martin & Sunley, 2020).
In most recent conceptual work, Martin & Sunley (2020) point at the relation between the intensity and duration of the shock and the different kind of transformations that could take place, ranging from short duration bounce-back resilience to long duration transformative resilience (Manca et al., 2017; Trippl et al., 2022). Many scholars, policy-makers and media reports hope that the COVID-19 crisis will create a chance for a transformation towards more sustainable regional economies, creating a window of opportunity for a sustainability transition and related innovations (Oliva & Lazzeretti, 2021). Giovannini et al. (2020) speak of bouncing forward through transformation, instead of bouncing back to pre-crisis conditions. On the other hand, while the urgency of socio-technical transformation is a consensus among scholars, so far, little attention has been paid to how the current crisis may potentially contribute to regions’ resilience in such a fundamental transformative process.
Moreover, in addition to rethinking regional resilience towards more transformative forms, we see an additional reason to rethink regional resilience that is related to the position of regional economies in global value chains and global production networks. Given the increase in disruptions of these chains and networks, regional resilience has to be rethought and be combined with value chain resilience (Gereffi et al., 2022), particularly in those regional economies that are strongly embedded and hence dependent on this chains and networks (Gong et al., 2022).
To rethink regional resilience after the COVID-19 crisis as well as individual regions’ resilience in the mega-trend toward sustainability, we need more in-depth, quantitative and qualitative research into underlying mechanisms, as well as into the role of transformative agencies (Bristow & Healy, 2014; Kurikka & Grillitsch, 2021). The latter include institutional entrepreneurs, place-based leadership, regional policy intelligence, experiences and lessons from previous experiences. Therefore, this session aims at rethinking regional resilience concerning transformative and value chain resilience. We welcome both theoretical, conceptual, as well as quantitative and qualitative empirical papers. Concerning empirical papers, we particularly welcome papers with a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. The focus will be on, but not confined to, the following topics.
• The conceptualization and measurement of regional and value chain resilience
• The interrelationship between value chain resilience and regional resilience
• Transformative regional resilience, industrial restructuring and innovation
• Transformative regional resilience and sustainability transitions
• Transformative regional resilience and smart specialization
• The interrelation between sectoral resilience and regional resilience under socio-technical transformation
• Crises, behavioural changes, and transformative regional resilience
We will submit a proposal for a special issue to be published in Regional Studies immediately after the conference.
Steve Millington, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Nikos Ntounis, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Gareth Roberts, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Chloe Steadman, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
The aim of this session is to share contemporary research about place management and leadership. Despite the place based turn in regional and local governance, there remains concern about how well place management and leadership is understood in policy and practice. Although the growing commitment to deliver better place based outcomes is welcomed, attempts to reinvent existing and traditional institutions of local governance as place-facing should be treated with suspicion. Too often strategies for local and regional revitalisation remain determined by centralised or regional bodies, in systems where a top-down approach has systematically failed to address spatial economies, social and environmental imbalances, and where the ecosystem to support appropriate place-based outcomes and delivery remains poorly developed and hampered by a lack of capacity and knowledge to support effective collaborative placemaking. However, good practice and new research is beginning to emerge which might help develop understanding of what makes for good and viable place-based development. Consequently, this session calls for papers which analyses all facets of place management and leadership, including but not limited to:
– the tools, data and methods of enquiry underpinning research into place-based development policy and practice
– analysis of collaborative place marketing and branding
– evidence and case studies of inclusive placemaking and activation
– evaluation of innovations in place based governance and policy instruments
– experiments and innovations to empower local communities and businesses
– thematic areas including local economic development, social and cultural placemaking, green and sustainable communities.
Jenny Kanellopoulou, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Nikos Ntounis, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK
Aggelos Panayiotopoulos, Liverpool John Moores University, UK
The proposed panel seeks to address the issues of misalignment between Intangible (ICH) and Tangible Cultural Heritage (TCH) in urban ensembles. It follows the impact of touristification /gentrification on these urban ensembles, once established as protected under the relevant UNESCO Conventions, and examines the deleterious effects the over-promotion of TCH can have on those aspects of ICH that ultimately contribute to the urban ensemble’s protected character, including the disposition of the local population and the changes in the fabric of everyday life. It seeks to shift the focus on the theoretical gap between the two terms and explore the Digital Heritage (DH) narrative as a common conceptual basis, bridging any theoretical gaps in the Cultural Heritage protection narrative by incorporating a multi-stakeholder approach that will enable the multiplicity of voices that make up the protected place to be heard. The panel seeks to attract interdisciplinary approach on the topic, under the unifying umbrella of cultural management and regional development, and it is open for a discussion on cultural heritage protection and management from a holistic, developmental perspective.
Sergio Palomeque,University of the Republic, Uruguay
Andrea Belmartino, Gran Sasso Science Institute, Italy
Pablo Galaso, University of the Republic, Uruguay
This special session aims to reflect and present evidence on challenges and development opportunities in South American regions in the face of the global knowledge flows. In spite of the heterogeneity of the continent, South American regions have common features that critically affect their development trajectories in economics and social dimension. The shared specialisations patterns and macroeconomic constraints allow comparison between the economies in the target regions. Moreover, educational challenges and demographic transformations permeate the development agenda in countries and regions in South America. In this context, building local capacities to produce and access advanced knowledge have been recognized as necessary conditions to conduct structural transformations, which allow sustainable and inclusive development. This uniqueness of the South American regions highlights the need for a common space to discuss issues inherent to their development path. However, this discussion must be open to exchange and learn of other regions in the Global South, which address similar development challenges that South American economies.
We welcome theoretical, methodological, empirical and policy analyses which address the following indicative topics:
● Knowledge flows: the role of universities and research centres.
● Local knowledge and intellectual property right regimes
● Productive and technological diversification
● Innovative capacities, firms an territories
● The role of international collaboration
● Public policies for knowledge capacities
● Population movements, local and regional capacities
● Methodological challenges
Daniel Rauhut, UEF, Finland
Marika Gruber, CUAS, Austria
Stefan Kordel, FAU, Germany
Housing is both a basic human need (Sen, 1998) and an economic asset (Tulumello & Tosic, 2021). It also serves as a ‘marker’ for successful integration, and housing also serves as an important mean in the integration processes for newcomers (Ager & Strang, 2008). Most countries resettle refugees and asylum seekers to rural areas, something which cuts them off from their diaspora networks and hampers their labour market integration (Brell et al., 2020). Contrary to common belief, the availability of housing in rural regions is often limited by the lack of usability of uninhabited houses and flats, as these are often in need of renovation (Amann & Mundt, 2018).
International migration processes have been taking place in rural areas for decades. However, immigrants and especially refugees face particular challenges in accessing rural housing. On the one hand, availability may be limited, or, on the other hand, they often experience rejection and discrimination because of a foreign name or a larger number of children and family members.
Rural areas are very diverse. Due to population decline and the out-migration of young adults, (abandoned) multi-generational houses or remote agricultural estates are left behind. Generally, these are inaccessible for immigrants, who often rely on public transport, which is often not available in those areas. The availability of housing in touristic areas is often very limited, as many housing opportunities are used as secondary residences only for the holiday season and are thus not available on the market.
In this interdisciplinary panel, we want to provide room for the discussion of theoretical contributions as well as quantitative and qualitative empirical results. The focus of this special session will be on, but not confined to, the following topics:
- What are the implications of limited housing for migrants’ integration processes and the regions involved?
- How does immigrant housing transform rural regions and which implications does it generate for spatial and rural planning?
- What possibilities do municipalities and regions as well as private actors have for providing decent housing for immigrants?
- What role does social housing play and how can neighbourhood conflicts be dealt with in the context of interculturality, multi-ethnicity and multilingualism?
- What legal differences in rights to housing do different types of immigrants’ experience in rural regions relative urban?
- What need for action arises for politics, administration and the economy?
After the conference, we will submit a special issue proposal to an adequate journal, alternatively to a publishing house for an edited volume.
Björn ‘Bjarne’ Braunschweig, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, Germany
Allan Watson, Loughborough University, United Kingdom
Creative actors in regional ecosystems are the basis of all value creation in a global music industry, with localised ecosystems
playing a significant role in fostering the creative potential and innovative capacity of musical creators and innovators (Watson
et al., 2009; Grandadam et al., 2013; Klement & Strambach, 2019).
The nature of these ecosystems has however recently been subject to significant change through technological innovation,
platformisation, and the increasing financialisation of the music industry.
On the one hand, this has offered musical creators and innovators the potential to reach ever wider de-territorialised
audiences and revenue streams. Recent developments of the so called ‘web3’ and the market mechanics of a platform
political economy (Langley & Leyshon 2021), including the emergence of an innovation ecosystem of MusicTech firms
(Watson and Leyshon, 200), offer the potential for new forms of extra-regional collaboration and open social and technological
innovation (Watson, 2020)
Yet, on the other hand, music creators and innovators are required to navigate a new economic landscape characterised by
both a growing number of competitors, a heavily saturated market for music, and emerging platforms and algorithms which
increasingly define the terms on which creatives and innovators can make a sustainable living with the music industry
(Watson et al., 2022). Furthermore, through the advancing convergence of the music industry with the tech and finance
industries (Keenan et al., 2022; Watson & Leyshon, 2022), it is becoming apparent that global components of the music
industry are also penetrating in new ways into the regional level.
But what exactly is the relationship between the local, regional, and global scales in a music industry 4.0? What are the
pressing issues that need to be addressed in the context of economic, cultural, and technological development? What are the
roles of regional ecosystems and their actors in a music industry that ever more shifts towards web3, streaming and
platforms? This session aims to meet these questions with a diverse selection of contributions. Young researchers and those
working in geographical contexts beyond the global West are in particular encouraged to submit papers, and we also
welcome papers with predominantly empirical content. We invite paper presentations which focus on, but are not limited to,
the following topics:
• Changing practices of work, labour and innovation in the context of music industry 4.0
o Spatial differentiation of musical production and innovation practices
o The (future) role of co-presence for collaboration, including empirical studies of transnational collaborations
o The emergence of localised open innovation systems
o MusicTech, start-ups and entrepreneurship
o Convergence of music industry 4.0, BigTech and the financial industries
o The sustainability of music careers in regional music economies
o Possible integrations of web3 and regional value creation
• Changing modes and spatialities of creativity, performance and consumption in the context of the music industry 4.0
o Possible (future) sources of revenue and the spatial differences in access to these
o Access to platforms for distribution and consumption, especially beyond the global West
o Fragmentation of the industry through regionally divergent platforms
o Regional differentiations in consumption and differences in regional/national listening habits
o Integration of digital and analog live performances (regional/national/global)
o The (future) role of live-venues, practice spaces and recording studios in a music industry 4.0
o The (future) role of co-presence in the context of live performances
Johannes Suitner, TU Wien, Austria
Camilla Chlebna, Kiel University, Germany
Astrid Krisch, University of Oxford, UK & TU Wien, Austria
In many countries sustainability transitions are considered to be at an ‘advanced’ stage (Markard 2018), where the underlying technologies are relatively mature and associated socio-technical systems have shifted accordingly. Examples abound of cases of ‘successful’ sustainability transitions. Alongside, the field of transition studies has flourished – knowledge has been gathered on the varied trajectories (Dewald et al 2015; Miörner and Binz 2021), place-specific contexts (Hansen and Coenen 2015) as well as non-technological drivers of transformative regional development (Suitner et al 2022).
A key process in transformative regional development is learning (Chlebna et al 2022). Interregional learning has already been treated in regional studies (Hassink and Hülz 2010). However, there is still quite little exploration of how learning from regional sustainability transitions is abstracted, amplified, shared, or institutionalized beyond the individual transition process (cf. Forrest and Wiek 2014, van Mierlo et al. 2020, for some of the few exceptions).
In this special session we therefore ask: What role does learning play for regions as they undergo transition processes?
– Fundamentally, what are typical types of ‘transition knowledge’ on the regional level?
– Do regional actors actively seek ‘transitions knowledge-exchange’ with actors from other regions? What policy mechanisms exist to encourage such knowledge-exchange?
– What types of interregional (learning) dynamics can be identified in the context of sustainability transitions?
– Where regions are relatively advanced in one area such as e.g. energy transitions, how do regional actors preserve and/or transfer the knowledge they have gained to other fields such as e.g. the digital or mobility transition?
– Do regional actors seek to maintain and institutionalise knowledge and networks? What policy mechanisms exist to support this?
We argue that there is a research gap concerning mechanisms and dynamics of learning between regions that undergo transitions and the associated actors. Understanding how transition knowledge (in governance, business, civil society) is gained, gathered and shared beyond the immediate local challenge can be a fruitful research perspective. It broadens the view on regional sustainability transitions by asking what happens to ‘transition knowledge’ beyond the initial stage of socio-technical system implementation. It also facilitates further reflection and critical discussion of whether there is, can, or even should be such a thing as ‘transition by the book’.
Potential topics to be addressed in the session:
– Conceptualizations of transition learning (elucidating its variables, dimensions, processes, and relations), and methods to study learning in/from transitions empirically
– Empirical examples of transition learning, such as learning from trans-local networks, learning from experimentation (e.g.,transition experiments, experimental governance, etc.), or learning from failed transitions
– Studies on circumstances impeding transition learning or transition knowledge exchange, such as institutional silos, hidden agendas, or transferability of solutions
– Contributions that discuss the governance of transitions, such as (just) transition policies, regional development policy picking up on transition process learnings, or inter-regional cooperation in/for transition vs. “competing” transitions
– Cases of institutionalization of transition knowledge, such as (inter- and cross-sectorial) capacity building, intermediaries, or embedding learnings in (novel) platforms, policies, and practices
– Approaches to post-transition evaluation of success or failure, long-term impacts, negative side-effects, or similar – both quantitative and qualitative.
Christian Lamker, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Yvonne Rydin, UCL London, United Kingdom
Recently, urban & regional and planning studies have witnessed a renewal of debates questioning the compatibility of the
pursuit of economic growth with meaningful action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and unsustainable resource
consumption. Such debates have variously been labelled ‘degrowth’ or ‘post-growth’; they have also begun to support early
conceptualisations of ‘post-growth planning’. In this session we invite contributors to explore the implications of these debates
for the practices of urban and regional planning. We welcome contributions from two angles:
1. Research on cutting edge attempts to foster the transformation of regions in a sustainable way. We are particularly
interested in discussion of approaches that minimize the use of natural resources and/or consider material flows and life
cycles, in both cases in ways that do not require growth in economic activity and are thus reliant on delinking.
2. Critical thoughts on how the instruments and tools within planning systems may be adapted in radical ways for a postgrowth future. We search for emerging approaches on how planners could address the urgent need to think and act beyond a
The session will engage in critical discussion along the boundary between sustainability and post-growth, considering if and
how much economic growth is necessary for a sustainable regional transformation. We invite a critical debate about the
transformation of land uses and the limits of using land for new developments in core domains of spatial planning such as
infrastructure and housing. The session will provide an open forum on the need for economic growth as a core concern within
spatial policy and planning and explore the versatility of related instruments and tools in dealing with growth and sustainability.
Carlo Bottai, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy
Arash Hajikhani, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, Finland
Milad Abbasiharofteh, University of Groningen, the Netherlands
Regional studies using large-scale data mostly rely on secondary data such as patents, scientific publications, R&D projects,
and administrative data (Bettencourt, Lobo, and Strumsky 2007; Lobo and Strumsky 2008; Strumsky and Lobo 2015; Breschi
and Lenzi 2016; Abbasiharofteh and Broekel 2020; Balland et al. 2020; Janssen and Abbasiharofteh 2022; Simensen and
Abbasiharofteh 2022). Scholars have discussed the limitations of this type of data as these datasets primarily represent the
activities of large and publicly funded organizations. Thus, scholars have called for alternative micro-level data to tackle
unresolved problems in regional studies (Duranton and Kerr 2018; Fritsch, Titze, and Piontek 2020).
The exponential growth in the availability of unconventional data sources offers novel opportunities to scholars in the field.
Coupling such unconventional data sources with administrative data and high-performance machine learning techniques
makes it possible to create novel regional datasets and answer old and new questions in regional studies. To name a few,
researchers scrape and analyze company website content (Hajikhani et al. 2022, Ashouri et al. 2022, Bottai et al. 2022),
Twitter data and news items (Ozgun and Broekel 2021), online job vacancies (Bäck et al. 2022), but also digitized historical
newspaper archives (Peris, Meijers, and van Ham 2021). Specific attention must be dedicated to corporate websites that, as
stated by several scholars, provide useful information to the study of the behavior of the firms (Domenech et al. 2012).
Concerning regional studies, the digital footprint of interfirm linkages has been successfully analyzed (Kinne and Axenbeck 2020; Abbasiharofteh, Kinne, and Krüger 2021), but further data applications scraped from corporate websites would be beneficial for the field.
Using newly developed machine learning techniques, researchers can turn raw data into useful information and infer regional
economic development, geographies of knowledge production, and knowledge relations. Although a wide range of scientific
fields has started to benefit from machine learning techniques, regional studies still did not fully leverage the power of such
techniques to mine and analyze much-needed regional data (Duranton and Kerr 2018; Fritsch, Titze, and Piontek 2020).
Therefore, this special session aims to create one of the first interdisciplinary venues for discussing the integration of machine
learning techniques into data mining and analysis methods in regional studies. For this session, we, therefore, invite
conceptual and empirical contributions on recent advances in mining regional data and analytical techniques, including but
not limited to the following topics:
• mining and analyzing the content of corporate websites as a source of unconventional data,
• investigating unconventional data sources and using machine learning techniques to map the geography of economic
• investigating unconventional data sources and methods for mapping the geographies of knowledge production and
knowledge relations using large-scale textual data (e.g., news items and twitter data),
• developing new regional data using unstructured geo-text data and machine learning techniques (e.g., semantic analysis of
patents and trademarks using natural language processing techniques),
• using historical textual data to map and analyze the rise and decline of innovative places using (e.g., historical newspaper
• mapping and exploring regional occupation space using job posting datasets,
• investigating the potential for machine learning techniques to support decision-making and planning for sustainable
transitions at the regional scale, and
• mapping and analyzing the diffusion of clean technologies and sustainable practices with novel data across different sectors
Enrico Vanino, University of Sheffield, UK
Thomas Siddall, University of Sheffield, UK
Renewable energy sources (including solar, wind, hydro, tidal, geothermal, biomass, and hydrogen) are becoming
increasingly important in the energy mix of advanced economies, making up to 35% of the electricity production in the EU in
2019. There is a need to better understand how the rapidly growing renewable energy sector could promote local economic
development in peripheral and lagging-behind regions, where abundant natural resources useful for the generation of green
renewable energy are located. The green energy revolution could allow these peripheral regions to regenerate their local
economies, sustainably transitioning towards new and higher added-value greener industries. This is even more relevant for
developed countries, where renewable energy could positively contribute to rebalancing spatially unequal economies,
allowing many peripheral regions, once dependent on mature agriculture and manufacturing industries, to promote economic
growth and levelling-up.
This special session welcomes academic contributions related to these topics from the fields of urban and regional
economics, environmental economics, regional studies, energy studies, environmental studies, business and management,
economic geography, and energy and environmental engineering. Specific topics in this special issue will include, but are not
1) The impact of renewable energy projects on local economies
2) Local labour market effects of green energy transition
3) The heterogeneous impact of net zero transition on regions
4) Local and regional effects of energy saving policies and initiatives
5) Climate change, renewable energy, and regions transformation
6) Local economies and industries transitioning towards net zero
7) Regions and eco-innovations
Ricardo Ferreira, European Commission – DG REGIO – Border Focal Point
Individuals and organisation in cross-border regions (territories located next to a border) 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 impacting the life of citizens leaving close to a border. 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”. The Euroean Commission’s report “EU Border Regions: Living Labs of European Integration” (COM(2021)393) demonstrates the potential for regional development from overcoming such obstacles.
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, mainly but not limited to internal borders of the European Union.
Markus Grillitsch, Department of Human Geography and CIRCLE, Lund, Sweden
Moritz Breu,l University of Cologne, Germany
Miguel Atienza, Universidad Católica del Norte, Chile
Rhiannon Pugh, CIRCLE, Lund, Sweden
The study of how new regional industrial paths develop is a key topic in economic geography. In the last years, a number of important conceptual advancements and constantly growing empirical insights from distinct cases have contributed to refine our understanding of new industrial path development. One major reason for this interest is that new paths are perceived to generate positive regional development outcomes. However, up to now we know surprisingly little about the short- and long-term economic and social effects for regions. Existing studies on new path development tend not to make a link to such regional development outcomes. Although a new regional industrial path has the potential to generate substantial economic gains – both directly (e.g. employment generation, firm entries, etc.) as well as indirectly (e.g. knowledge spillover, production linkages, etc.) – recent research also points to possible ‘dark sides’ of new industrial path development (MacKinnon et al. 2019; Breul et al. 2021; Morales & Atienza 2022). In other words, the development of a new industrial path cannot automatically be interpreted as a positive regional economic or social outcome. The emergence of new industrial paths can lead to displacements, such as in the form of resource movement effects or through processes of creative destruction, that can have mixed socio-economic implications for regional economies. This points to the important role for policy, also beyond supporting the creation of new industrial paths, to optimize its socio-economic outcomes throughout the region, and for different groups in society.
This Special Session sets out to improve our understanding of the conditions under which new industrial path development contributes to what kind of regional economic and social development and for whom.
The Special Session thereby aims to contribute to a significant shortfall in the existing stream of research on regional diversification and regional industrial path development, which Kogler noted “should move to the top of the research priorities list” (2017, p. 366). This advancement would provide the current debate the required directionality to address critical challenges, such as the need to transform regional economies via green industrial path development or the creation of economic opportunities in so-called places that ‘don’t matter’.
We invite submissions that elaborate how to link the study of new industrial path development with a developmental perspective, both conceptually and methodologically. Possible topics include but are not limited to:
• Conceptual contributions that link path development with a developmental perspective
• Methodological approaches that allow to grasp the regional economic, environmental, and social consequences of new industrial path development
• Analyses of inter-path relations (synergies, resource movement effects, path reformation processes)
• Exclusion in path development processes
• Value capture and distribution in new path development
• Role of policies for shifting new path development towards environmental and societal outcomes
• Discussions on the ‘desirability’ of paths for regions
• Theoretical and empirical analysis of potential negative forms of new path development
• Role of agency in a broader perspective of regional development
Maria Tsouri, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway
Nora Geirsdotter Bækkelund, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway
National and supranational mission-oriented policies have pointed to the green transition in order to deal with one of the greatest global challenges, climate change. The ongoing green shift renders certain industries obsolete, while new industries relevant to the transition emerge, and old ones are undergoing a green shift. This paradigm shift results in the reshaping of regional labour markets and their skill demands in an unprecedented pace, triggered by the rapid evolution of green technological knowledge and its applications. However, the green shift of regional economies and their labour markets does not happen independently from the increasing digitalization of jobs and skills, the existing skill capabilities and specializations of regions, and the potential of the different industries and sectors towards technological innovation. Thus, the skills, knowledge, and capabilities existing in the regional labour markets evolve too, but this is a geographically uneven process. This place- and industry-specific reshaping increases the risks of labour shortages and related skills shortages hampering the green transition, but also of negative social consequences when certain skill-bases becomes obsolete.
Hence, this session welcomes all presentations that address the changes that regional labour markets are undergoing due to the green transition, and the mismatches created, from different perspectives. We welcome both quantitative and qualitative approaches dealing with labour market issues resulting from the green transformation.
The presentations in this special session may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:
• Theoretical approaches to the effects of the green transition on regional labour markets.
• Spatial and industrial labour mobility.
• Methodological approaches to detecting the regional skill needs and skill availability mismatches.
• Single or comparative case studies describing how the labour market dynamics of the green transition play out.
• Policy research on the environmental policy impact of the consistency of regional labour markets.
• Review and comparisons of supra-national, national and/or regional policies aiming for the reskilling of labour for the green shift.
Olle Järv, University of Helsinki, Finland
Philippe Gerber, LISER, Luxembourg
Guillaume Drevon, LISER, Luxembourg
We live in a mobile world and cross country borders for various reasons – migration, tourism, work and education, and seeing family and friends. In addition to migration and tourism, cross-border practices are increasing due to the people whose daily lives are not confined to a fixed territory of one country, including cross-border commuters and people with multi-local living lifestyles between different countries (Gerber 2012; Carling et al. 2021; Järv et al., 2022a). These recurring and frequent mobilities crossing country borders for work, shopping, services, and leisure not only affect individuals’ social connectedness and integration (e.g. social networks, well-being and place attachment) across borders, but also contribute to the (re)production of functional transnational spaces – border regions from different countries forming a functioning system.
In Europe, these functional border regions are seen as a key towards balanced and sustainable spatial cohesion within the EU. However, regardless of its growing importance, little attention has been paid to cross-border practices of (local) people. How, where, when and why habitual and regular spatial mobilities and social interactions of people across country borders take place? What kind of temporal rhythms and trends over time these cross-border practices have? How these cross-border practices affect people and society in a border region, but also what external factors affect these practices?
By having more detailed information on these questions and knowing how practices of people form functional cross-border regions could help us to understand its role in the connectedness and integration of border regions and foster cross-border spatial planning and development. This can further help for example to monitor and evaluate the impact of institutional instruments (e.g. the ERDF) on the daily lives of local people, and how policies on border closures during the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the production of functional cross-border regions and spatial cohesion from the perspective of people.
In recent years, the mobility and social practices perspective of people in the cross-border region context is gaining more attention due to the introduction of the Time Geography concept (Drevon et al. 2018; Gumy et al. 2021) and the adoption of novel (big) data sources and methods (Gendronneau et al. 2019; Silm et al. 2020; Docquier et al. 2021; Järv et al. 2022a, 2022b), among other reasons.
With this special session, we aim to bring more attention to the discussion of theoretical and conceptual contributions as well as quantitative and qualitative empirical research on cross-border regions from the perspective of people, their mobilities and social interactions. We are looking forward to receiving proposals that focus on, but are not limited to, the following indicative topics:
• The conceptualization and mapping of functional cross-border regions from the perspective of mobilities and social interactions of people;
• The feasibility (opportunities, challenges) of novel data sources and methods in capturing mobilities and social interactions of people to study cross-border regions;
• The conceptualization and operationalization for the longitudinal monitoring of cross-border mobilities and social interactions of people;
• The impacts of cross-border (infrastructure) developments on the cross-border mobilities and interactions of people in border regions
• The influence of external factors (e.g. the COVID-19 pandemic) and policies on cross-border mobilities and social interactions of people;
• The processes of cross-border integration (e.g. social networks, place attachment and wellbeing) of people and its implications;
• The sustainability transitions in cross-border regions from the perspective of cross-border mobilities of people.
We plan to submit a special issue proposal to a well-established journal (will depend on the focus of presented studies) after the conference.
Gabriela Carmen Pascariu, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania
Bogdan-Constantin Ibanescu, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania
Peter Nijkamp, Open University, Heerlen, the Netherlands
The rapid digitalisation of the past decades and the financial efforts focused on smart specialisation created a series of unforeseen challenges for regions worldwide. While the positive effects of digitalisation cannot be denied, as a solid literature scrutinised its impact upon regional development (Brynjolfsson and Kahin, 2002; Carlsson, 2004; Haefner and Sternberg, 2020; Huang, 2020; Hölzel and de Vries, 2021; Roy and Khan, 2021), some negative effects emerged as well, such as deepening inequalities or institutional disruption. Therefore, a series of question arise regarding the long-term impact of digitalisation and smart specialisation strategies:
– Will accelerated digitalization deepen inequalities in the medium and long run?; and if so, how can we prevent it?;
– How can institutions guide smart governance and smart specialisation practices?;
– Do digital transformations create opportunities for cooperation and decision-making processes?;
– What would be the measures and evidence-based policies that could reduce the development discrepancies in terms of digitalization at inter and intra-regional level in European Union?;
– How to correlate smart specialisation strategies with regional resources?.
This special session aims to bring together new theoretical approaches and empirical research results that can answer the abovementioned questions. We welcome contributions on, but not limited to:
– the long-term effects of digitalization;
– the role of institutions in digitalization acceleration;
– better approaches for the smart specialization strategies;
– empirical studies on regional / local policies and measures for boosting the digitalization process;
– the drivers of digitalization;
– opportunities and challenges for innovation policies.
Accepted papers for this session could be submitted for publication in a special issue of Eastern Journal of European Studies (http://ejes.uaic.ro/), journal indexed in Clarivate Analytics, Scopus, Index Copernicus, ProQuest, DOAJ databases.
Huiwen Gong, University of Bern, Switzerland
Markus Grillitsch, Lund University, Sweden
Robert Hassink, Kiel University, Germany
Johan Miörner, Eawag, Switzerland
Regional actors are increasingly trying to balance “GDP-oriented” growth models with normative development trajectories that steer innovations in more sustainable directions. Pervasive societal challenges such as the climate crisis, demographic change, the energy crisis, and biodiversity loss, call for stronger directionality among regional actors, who often encounter difficulties in steering transformation processes. How key stakeholders in a region collectively imagine their regional futures (or not) will have strong implications on the material and discursive practices that regional actors adopt.
Such a ‘future-oriented’ perspective is important for regional development and sustainable transitions, but so far, backward-looking, retrospective perspectives dominate economic geography and regional studies. Evolutionary perspectives, for example, emphasize historically developed regional industrial structures that set the opportunity space for the diversification into new/related activities. This view has also become highly influential in regional innovation policies such as Smart Specialization in the EU.
Scholars have started to question how well-equipped the evolutionary perspective, with its growth-oriented propositions (e.g., innovation for growth, related or unrelated diversification based on regional preexisting conditions), is in terms of providing insights into what conditions the ability for regions to deviate into more normative, sustainable, directions (Coenen and Morgen, 2020; Tödtling et al., 2022). Research in economic geography and regional studies needs to move beyond a purely backward-looking perspective, taking into account the directionality of future development that is collectively, and regionally, imagined (Grillitsch and Sotaurata, 2020). While substantial knowledge has been generated on how the past can influence the present and the future, we know relatively little about actors’ imaginaries of regional futures, how they come about and whether/how they can influence the ongoing and future activities happening in a region (Grillitsch and Sotaurata, 2020; Emirbayer and Mische, 1998; Kurikka et al., 2022; Miörner, 2021; Steen, 2016).
Against this backdrop, this special session aims to deal with the issue of how regions can look forward and imagine their futures for better and more desirable development. We welcome both theoretical, conceptual, as well as quantitative and qualitative empirical contributions that are targeting one of the following topics:
1. How do collectively formed regional imaginaries come about? What are the mechanisms? Who has the power to decide about regional imaginaries?
2. How can new regional imaginaries be institutionalized? And how do they influence the present socio-economic, political and cultural practices in a region?
3. How do collective regional imaginaries become socially performative and who has the capacity to render their visions performative?
4. How do different policy scales influence the emergence and development of regional imaginaries? How to deal with the multiscalarity of regional future imaginaries (i.e. regional, national, global) in a meaningful way?
5. What are novel methods that can be used to capture the emergence and change of regional imaginaries?
6. How did regional imaginaries change through time? Which conflicts and tensions arise during regional imaginary shift periods?
7. How do regional imaginaries inspire development trajectories in other regions? How do regional imaginaries ‘travel’ between regions? What are the potential opportunities and pitfalls with translating imaginaries of one region in another?
8. How can a forward-looking perspective be combined with backward-looking approaches to better inform regional policymaking and how can regions better leverage future opportunity spaces for sustainable and inclusive developments?
Maria Tsouri, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway
Ridvan Cinar Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, Norway
Over the past four decades, universities have been recognized as significant actors in fostering regional innovation and contributing into local (economic) development in places where they are located. Earlier conceptualizations of the role of universities in innovation and regional development emphasized commercialization activities, technology transfer, investing in start-ups and technological innovation, which usually manifests within entrepreneurial university. More recently, however, they are also expected to play a proactive role in regional sustainability transitions and move beyond an understanding of third mission that is based on only techno-economic rationality. In particular, they are expected to collaborate with broader segments of society (public institutions, NGOs, etc.) and contribute into different types of innovation (e.g., social, green etc.), which has been framed under the “engaged university” model. While new demands have emerged due to several complex societal challenges, the emphasis on older demands has not lost its validity and legitimacy. This raises the question of how higher education institutions are coping with such proliferation of institutional and policy demands, why they prioritize certain demands over others and how they adapt to the newer demands particularly relating to regional sustainability transitions and smart specialisation.
Hence, this session welcomes all presentations that address the role of the universities in regional innovation, regional development and sustainability transitions from different perspectives. We welcome both quantitative and qualitative approaches on this subject, which may address (but not limited to) the following topics:
• Theoretical and conceptual research on the positioning of universities in zero-carbon regional systems of the future.
• Methodological approaches on defining the enhanced role of universities in a sustainable future.
• Empirical research comparing the role of universities in different regions in terms of innovation, regional development and sustainability transitions
• Identifying the roles of higher education institutions in regional and innovation policies
• Transforming from entrepreneurial to engaged university model
• How universities legitimize prioritization of certain demands over others
• How universities drive quadruple helix collaborations
• How universities contribute into green reskilling of various industries
Robert Knippschild, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development & Technische Universität Dresden, Germany
Sebastian Heer Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development, Germany
Tomáš Sýkoram Jan-Evangelista-Purkyně-Universität Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic
Jaroslav Koutský, Jan-Evangelista-Purkyně-Universität Ústí nad Labem, Czech Republic
Politics and public authorities responsible for regional policy are currently facing multiple challenges: climate protection and mitigation, environmental justice and regional disparities, decarbonisation and energy transition, demographic change and migration, societal change and cohesion – all this against the backdrop of democratic political decision-making. All these dynamics overlap and interact with each other. Moreover, uncertainty seems to be increasing and predictability decreasing in these policy areas. All of this leads to increasing complexity in tackling the challenges ahead and in designing effective policy instruments, governance structures and procedures of decision-making. At the same time, capacities not only in public administrations are increasingly limited and not growing at the required rate.
The scientific community is increasingly recognizing the need not only to provide knowledge for shaping regional change, but also to identify and address the need for advice in administration and politics, to develop practical solutions and to translate them into offers suitable for consulting.
– To what extent can continuous, science-based policy advice help to increase the capacities in politics and administration for sustainable regional change?
– What framework conditions to do so are existing in politics and science on the one hand and are required for having an impact on policy-making on the other?
– What are the limits? How to handle them?
We are interested in contributions on these questions, be it conceptual approaches or practical experiences.
David Bole, Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Slovenia
Ottavia Cima, University of Bern, Switzerland
Estelle Evrard, University College London (BSP), UK and University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
Regions are always transforming. But: towards what? In response to rising inequalities and uneven development (Djikstra et al. 2020), a growing body of literature questions the notion of ‘development’ (Pike et al., 2017). Regions, after all, have “the right not to catch up” (Demetrova, et al., 2020) with regional specialisation, technological innovation, export-oriented activities or green growth and to redirect their trajectories towards other goals – be those post-growth (Schulz and Braun 2021), community economies (Schmid 2020), or others.
If, as we believe, the goals of regional development constitute a political and societal choice, it is crucial to ask who shall have a say in redefining it and how shall they be involved? The proposed special session offers a platform for a comprehensive discussion on the methodological grounds for reflecting on how those having a direct interest in place-based development (e.g. citizens, stakeholders, civil society) can be meaningfully included besides elected officials and experts. The idea of having an interest in being involved (Barnett, 2010) is used merely as a starting point recognising that bringing in place knowledge can be instrumental in improving the legitimacy and effectiveness of local development strategies (Blondel & Evrard, 2020; Borén & Schmitt, 2021).
This session explores innovative methodologies to co-construct visions for regional futures with the concerned communities. It welcomes all contributions dedicated to discussing methodological insights as to how to build inclusive place-based development strategies. The presentations may address epistemological and/or methodological foundations for developing inclusive approaches. Presentations may also focus on case study-based application of creative, art-based and/or participatory methods in regional development studies, aimed in particular at the inclusive renegotiation of regional development goals; and on the integration of such methods into decision-making processes and regional policies.
Depending on the alignment of contributions, we will consider coordinating a special issue to a well-established journal after the conference.
Roman Martin, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Laura James, Aalborg University, Denmark
Markku Sotarauta, Tampere University, Finland
Marte Cecilie Wilhelmsen Solheim, University of Stavanger, Norway
Martin Henning, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Economic downturns, climate change, political instabilities, and other global challenges are placing major transformative pressures on regions, which need to continuously adapt their structures and functions to remain competitive. Regional industrial restructuring has become a central concern among researchers and policy makers interested in regional development. Regional industrial restructuring is typically seen as a process by which local companies diversify into new fields, relying on a new combination of skills, knowledge and other assets accumulated in the past. While early theories have mostly considered firms and their knowledge assets, a lively academic debate has recently emerged around various drivers and mechanisms for new path development, including policy, change agency, public and private demand, institutional and innovative entrepreneurship, local and non-local knowledge linkages, and other types of firm- and system-level assets. The purpose of this special session is to advance our understanding of economic, social, and environmental transformation of regions, by focussing on assets, agency, and policy. We are interested in drivers, hinders, processes and mechanisms for regional industrial restructuring and new path development. We welcome theoretical contribution as well as empirical studies, especially, but not exclusively, from the Nordic territory.
The special session has three main objectives:
(1) to advance existing theories on regional industrial path development, with a particular focus on assets, agency, and policy,
(2) to introduce new methodological approaches to analyse and understand regional path development and structural change, and
(3) to provide empirical evidence on drivers, hinders, processes and mechanisms for regional industrial restructuring in different geographical settings.
This is an open session organised by Nordic Division of the RSA (NoRSA).
Jen Nelles, Oxford Brookes University, UK
Micheal Glass, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Jean-Paul Addie, Georgia State University, USA
This special session both assesses work at the intersection of infrastructure and regional studies and will help chart future directions for research on ‘infrastructural regionalism’ (Addie, Glass, and Nelles, 2020; Glass, Addie, and Nelles, 2019). Infrastructure is fundamental for the production of regions. Regardless of the region in question, infrastructure forms the foundation of urban and regional development in material and discursive terms. Infrastructures including highways, airports, bridges, transit systems, pipelines, sewers, and fibre optic cables are more than banal or apolitical engineered artefacts. Rather, they are the central elements that make the urban possible in its myriad forms. Calls to open the ‘black box’ of infrastructure are a major concern for urban and regional scholars, both as a focus for empirical research (i.e., examining socio-technological networks within and between cities or, disclosing regional development logics) and as a methodological orientation (exploring socio-natures, risks, and disruptions). Indeed, analysing regions through infrastructure provides a novel perspective on the regional question as investment and disinvestment in infrastructure reveals vital discursive and material elements that produce, structure, and modify metropolitan regions worldwide.
We welcome papers engaging research at the intersection of urban infrastructure and regional studies broadly considered, with the aim of (non-exhaustively) interrogating:
• How do we study, and thus produce knowledge of, regions through infrastructure?
• How are decisions on infrastructure made and regionalized?
• Who develops regional infrastructural visions and how are their spatial imaginaries legitimized?
• What technologies of power and infrastructure arrangements concretize the region?
• What types of infrastructure are more amenable to/successful at the regional scale?
• Who benefits, and is excluded, from regional infrastructural formations?
• In what ways do state and non-state actors adopt a regional infrastructure politics?
• How do infrastructure issues shape regional imaginaries and interpolate regional political subjects?
• How can key actors shift from producing an infrastructural region ‘in itself’ to a region ‘for itself’?
• How are the dynamics of ‘power over’ and ‘power to’ articulated through regional infrastructural politics?
Addie, J.-P.D., Glass, M.R., and Nelles, J. (2020). Regionalizing the infrastructure turn: A research agenda. Regional Studies, Regional Science, 7(1), 10-26.
Glass, M.R., Addie, J.-P.D., and Nelles, J. (2019). Regional infrastructures, infrastructural regionalism. Regional Studies, 53(12), 1651-1656.
Conference and Submission
Please send abstracts (250 words) to the session organizers by 14 February 2023. You can submit your abstract to the conference portal until the 28 February 2023 through this link: https://lounge.regionalstudies.org/Meetings/Meeting?ID=413
This session is sponsored by the RSA Research Network on Infrastructural Regionalism (NOIR). Thanks to the support of the RSA, NOIR is able to offer several travel bursaries of up to $500 for early career researchers, graduate students, and/or participants from band B/C/D countries to support attendance and presentation at the conference. Please contact the session organisers if you wish to be considered for a NOIR bursary when submitting your abstract.
Jen Nelles, Oxford Brookes University firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael Glass, University of Pittsburgh email@example.com
Jean-Paul Addie, Georgia State University firstname.lastname@example.org
Franziska Sielker, TU Wien, Austria
Christian Lamker, RU Groningen, The Netherlands
Peter Dannenberg, University of Cologne, Germany
The world is living in an age of polycrises, with the organisation of and influence through infrastructure being at the heart of much of today’s turmoil. The diverse impacts of climate change, trade wars, the Russian aggression towards Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic led to related yet substantially different sets of challenges for infrastructure making for regions across the globe. At the same time, China’s Belt and Road Initiative and the EU’s Global Gateway highlight the interest of states in securing influence over the development of (critical) infrastructure. In recent decades, China has sought to increase its influence in the reshaping of the world’s financial system, for example, by establishing the Asian Development Bank and positioning the RMB as a competing reserve currency. The rise of new actors and changing power relations challenges financial systems and traditional coalitions. In conjunction with the quest for influence, infrastructures have become the object of foreign direct investment, often even directly linked to states. This moves alongside the demand for secure and affordable energy supply and supply chain reliability more broadly. The severe realities and consequences of climate change are further increasing pressure for fast private and public decisions for a sustainable transition. In this context, this session aims to discuss recent making and (re-)organisation of infrastructures. We ask what the key contemporary structural changes are, and what the challenges regions across the world are facing as a result of these polycrises.
We welcome contributions that address a range of infrastructures, related to (but not limited to)
• the impacts of new financial mechanisms and stakeholders;
• the reorganisation of governance structures in supply chains;
• shifts in power relations across different spatial or administrative levels;
• geo-economic challenges for a sustainable organisation;
• geopolitical implications of climate change adaption and mitigation;
• the cumulative effects of contemporary crises on regions and infrastructures;
• policy responses and planning strategies to the arising challenges in the age of crises;
• the cumulated impacts of polycrises for infrastructures and their sustainability.
Raffaele Paci, University of Cagliari, Italy
George Petrakos, University of Thessaly, Greece
Riccardo Crescenzi, London School of Economics, UK
Daniele Mantegazzi, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
The aim of this session, organised in the framework of the Horizon Europe ESSPIN project, is to analyse the nexus of social, economic and spatial inequalities in the European Union (EU), the mix of policies addressing them, in the light of highly interacting mega-trends and global challenges. As new and pre-existing drivers of change are projected to create a rather unfavourable environment for balanced growth and socio-spatial resilience, this session will focus on the analysis of policy responses, seeking to make them more pro-active, inclusive and effective. The purpose is to detect, model and map the interdependence among pre- in- and post-market drivers of inequality and outcomes (including circular causality) in a multi-level context with specific tailor-made policy recommendations.
We welcome theoretical/conceptual contributions, as well as quantitative and qualitative empirical analyses targeting one of the following topics:
1. Analysis of the definition and measurement of inequality across social and spatial scales
2. Analysis of the relationship between public goods and social and spatial inequality in the era of mega-trends and external shocks.
3. Analysis of the impact of demographic dynamics (including refugees and immigrants) on social, spatial and intergenerational inequalities.
4. Analysis of the relation between the dynamics of Industry 4.0 and the social, economic and spatial inequalities.
5. Analysis of the effects of Global Value Chains, Foreign Direct Investment, and Innovation on inequalities in different agglomeration settings.
6. Analysis of the effects of public policies for inclusive recovery and resilience in the era of digital and green transitions
7. Analysis of the effects of the social, economic, development or redistributive polices on inequalities under
conditions of external shocks, related to economic crisis, the pandemic or climate change.
8. Analysis of the adaptation and effectiveness of European policies as a means for lowering inequalities.
Tina Haisch, University of Applied Sciences and Arts Northwestern Switzerland
Max-Peter Menzel, Universität Klagenfurt, Austria
This session takes “Valuation Studies” as its starting point coming from economic sociology (Kjellberg et al, 2013). These studies argue that value is created through social practices based on social norms, standards, “orders of worth” (Boltanski and Thévenot, 2006), identities, situations (Hutter and Stark, 2015), imaginary futures (Beckert, 2021), associations (Reckwitz, 2017) and means of assessment like market devices (Muniesa et al, 2007) and testing (Marres and Stark, 2020).
The aim of this session is to explore the potential of a valuation perspective for regional development. Most approaches on regional development take an innovation perspective, whereas regional development depends on innovation (Frenken et al, 2007) and respective policies (McCann and Ortega-Argilés, 2015). These approaches usually focus on the supply side and investigate how novelty is created.
Valuation studies in this respect represent a change of perspective, that is described by Hutter and Stark (2015, page 1) as follows: “Something new is entering the world and someone, or some group in society has to determine its worth, its dangers, and its potential”. In doing so, valuation puts emphasis on the demand and selection side and how social values and norms affect economic development and transformation. Accordingly, valuation perspectives became prominent in fields where cultural practices and social norms drive economic development and transformation like e.g. cultural industries (Carvalho and van Winden, 2018) or sustainability transitions (Heiberg and Truffer, 2022).
Studies already started to explore the geographies of valuation processes, like the geographies of marketization (Berndt and Boeckler, 2009), the geography of market devices (Haisch and Menzel, 2022), the relevance of valuation processes for localized industries (Carvalho and van Winden, 2018) or respective regional policies (Jeannerat and Crevoisier, 2022). This session contributes to this line of research and invites theoretical and empirical contributions that explores how a valuation perspective can contribute to understand regional transformations, such as:
– Social practices of valuation and their role in regional development and transformation processes
– The role of places and spaces of valuation (from fab labs to public spaces) and multiscalarity of valuation processes for regional development and transformations
– mission-oriented or valuation based policies in regions
– the contribution of a valuation perspective to understand spatial disparities
Ritu George Kaliaden, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) & IZS Görlitz, Germany
Constanze Zoellter, Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER) & IZS Görlitz, Germany
Traditionally, peripheries were defined as outskirts, determined by their distance to a ‘core’. Recently, this has been complemented by the process-centred concept of peripheralization” (Kühn, 2015) which highlights the dynamic nature of regional trajectories over time (Kühn et al., 2017; Kühn, 2015; Willett and Lang, 2018). The periphery is conceptualized as a space that, for varying reasons, has not successfully adapted to changing global economic and political contexts, and which may be characterized by a lack of innovation (low qualified work, decline of employment); poverty (out migration and stigmatization); and powerlessness indicated by dependency in decision making and exclusion from networks (Kühn, 2015).
The transition to climate neutral economies has posed a challenge to many peripheral areas that still rely heavily on fossil fuels and heavy industry to fuel their growth. Within peripheral settings there is a call for greater civic participation and inclusive governance as communities struggle to adapt to a changing world. On the other hand, the Covid-19 pandemic has ushered in a new era of remote working, reducing the dependence of the workforce on their locations of work, triggering an exodus from dense cities (Stawarz et al. 2022; Tønnessen et al. 2021). Peripheries offering a higher quality of life through relaxed real estate markets and other soft location factors have the potential to leverage these trends and attract new residents, skilled labour and capital (Mainet and Edouard 2018; Sousa and Pinho 2015). In this context of complexity and change, peripheries grapple with the need to transform their political processes, economic structures and physical and social infrastructure.
In this interdisciplinary session we want to invite theoretical as well as empirical contributions that examine transformations in peripheral settings ranging from the city/town to the regional scale.
The focus of this special session will be on, but not limited to the following topics:
1) The periphery and its transforming connections to global flows of knowledge, labour and capital
2) Peripheries as settings for culture, innovation and creativity
3) Transformative capacities and challenges of peripheral sites
4) Experimental empirical approaches in peripheral settings such as ‘Living labs’, experimental games, community based research
5) Human-environment interactions in peripheral sites including placemaking processes, ecosystem services, adaptive strategies and quality of life
6) The built environment in peripheral sites – its characteristics and debates regarding revitalization, preservation, adaptations or demolition
Stanko Pelc, University of Primorska, Slovenia
The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated global social and economic inequality levels, induced economic recession and exacerbated political uncertainties which altogether have destabilised the predictability and perceived improvements in human welfare which characterised the last three decades. These processes have forced many communities, places and regions into more pronounced situations of marginalisation – economically, socially, politically and geographically as well as environmentally. A reality now widely associated with the term ‘left behind places’. In this session we will explore evidence of growing marginalisation and its causes as well as debate solutions – drawing on emerging evidence of regional and local response and national and international support where it exists. Papers which explore issues such as the nature and causes of marginalisation, the role of place-based leadership, social capital and the realities of the causes and implications of ‘left behind places’. We conceptualise left behind places as emerging from developmental disruptions and are particularly prevalent in border and cross border regions. In this regards papers which focus on cross border cooperation projects – aiming to foster the cooperation, involve local communities and (re)building regional identities as drivers of regional development), endogenous development and related issues are particularly welcomed. More generally, papers can focus on global, regional or local issues or on multi-scalar issues.
Madeleine Eriksson, Umeå University, Sweden
Rikard Eriksson, Umeå University, Sweden
Emelie Hane-Weijman, Umeå University, Sweden
“Peripheral” regions have been going through numerous pressures in recent decades. The demise of the manufacturing has privileged dense urban regions while an aging population make welfare supply difficult in stagnating regions – processes exaggerated by neoliberal supply-side policies. Extraction and exploitation of natural resources needed to facilitate the necessary green transformation accentuates uneven geographical development but may also produce new “winners” and “loosers”. The pressure on different actors and places to adopt to these changes are raising questions of development for whom and where. The developments in western countries have, for example, shown growing inequalities between and within regions, a trend that does not seem to change and even magnify as the world-economy is closer to a recession. Hence, it is crucial that we better understand how to plan for inclusive and sustainable regional development focussing on both the present and future population. This calls for a better understanding of the representations of different places and people in creating, and adjusting to, social, political and economic change.
This session aims to explore issues related to people and places in the light of these changes and pressures for development. We welcome both theoretical and empirical contributions dealing with the social, economic, and political consequences of regional transformation, for example (but not exclusively):
• Perspectives of just, inclusive and sustainable regional transformation
• Labor mobility and redundant workers
• Local conflicts and resistance
• Regional resilience
• Agency and structures in regional transformation
• Multiple dimensions of processes of inequalities and uneven development
Anastasiya Ansteeg, Tilburg University, The Netherlands
Jessica Clement, University of Liège, Belgium
Sabina Hodžić, University of Rijeka, Croatia
Climate change is an unprecedented and urgent challenge of our time. It affects all regions around the world, their ecosystems, biodiversity, economy, and society. Climate change also has consequences for social justice because it is intertwined with patterns of inequality within regions. This challenge has resulted in ambitious policies. For instance, one of the European Union’s top priorities is to make Europe the first climate-neutral continent. To achieve this goal, the concept of a “just transition for all” must be implemented, which is a feature of other Special Sessions (SS) at RSA 2023 (see SS13). As key factors for this concept are social inclusion and leaving no one behind, it involves not only the main actors such as governments, but also all other societal actors, which include marginalized communities. Studies show how transitions to climate neutrality primarily affect the lives and livelihoods of communities who already experience different levels of social vulnerability or marginalization (Newell et al., 2021; Schlosberg & Collins, 2014). These communities also tend to suffer more from the unintended consequences of climate transitions, such as the negative impacts of gentrification, to provide one example (Wachsmuth et al., 2016).
Yet visions of justice for marginalized communities are rarely recognized or even understood, as public discourses on climate transitions are disproportionally shaped by global organizations (e.g. United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), supranational institutions (e.g. European Union), and national or regional governments (Fisher, 2015; ILO, 2019; Jenkins et al., 2020). Meanwhile, research suggests a place-based perspective can support inclusive and just policymaking for marginalized communities (Weck et al., 2022). Thus, a stronger focus on the contexts of specific marginalized groups is needed in order to guarantee just transition processes. In this session we would like to get a better understanding about the current status of marginalized communities in transition processes. Addressing this challenge raises a number of critical questions with major implications for transdisciplinary research, social and territorial cohesion, and public policy, including, but not limited to:
– How are marginalized communities conceptualized in transition research?
– How do marginalized communities manage social transitions? Are they included in this transition or not? If so, in what ways?
– What are the consequences of transitions towards climate neutrality for marginalized communities?
– How do transition processes engage vulnerable populations to avoid reinforcing existing marginalization dynamics or catalyzing new ones?
– How might transition research, regional planning, and public policy help empower marginalized communities?
– What are the ’best practices’ of inclusion of marginalized communities in climate change policies?
– What social, economic, and financial supports by regional and local governments are put in place to help marginalized communities in the transition process?
In this session, we hope to achieve a better understanding about the current status of marginalized communities in transitions by exploring some of these questions. Specifically, it will provide a reflective space in which to share theoretical and methodological approaches (such as walk along, art-based methods, mind mapping techniques) and empirical insights from research with marginalized communities, affected by transition processes. We invite papers across disciplines as well as from different lenses of justice (climate, energy, social, etc.).
Jani Kozina, ZRC SAZU, Slovenia
Jörn Harfst, University of Graz, Austria
There is a growing recognition that traditional development strategies and EU policies have often failed to address the challenges faced by industrial towns and regions (Capello & Cerisola, 2022), which are increasingly framed as sites of socio-economic marginalisation and political discontent (Rodríguez-Pose 2018). Oddly enough, the concept of ‘exclusion’ is often applied to whole ‘regions’, regardless of who (of its inhabitants) is excluded and in which way (MacKinnon et al. 2022). Much in line with this observation, most of recent literature on the transformation processes of old industrialised regions has focused on the role of leadership and ‘agents of change’, identifying and analysing network processes of key decision-makers and their (top-down) influence on such processes (e.g. Beer et al, 2019; Grillisch & Sotarauta, 2020). It thereby ignores to a great extent the needs and challenges of different groups within the transformation processes, from which different views, perspectives and values emerge that form the core of the under-researched informal institutions (Rodríguez-Pose, 2020).
In this session, we would like to broaden the perspective of firm- and system-level ‘agents of change’ by inviting contributions formulating a ‘people-centred approach’, investigating the role and perspective of civil society, everyday activism and ‘ordinary people’ including vulnerable and marginalised groups, such as women, elderly, youth, NEET, minorities, and migrants (e.g. Nayak, 2006; Helgesen et al., 2013; Nared et al., 2013). These groups are normally ignored and under-represented in the academic debate on transformation processes (Hadjimichalis & Hudson, 2006), albeit they are usually affected most by processes of economic and social transformation and play a particularly important role in making industrial towns ‘better places’ to work, live, and play in. By fostering this ‘bottom-up’ perspective on urban and regional development, the session strives to for better understanding of the social and cultural sphere of industrial towns and regions, which form the basis of economic development (Hadjimichalis & Hudson,2016).
Papers addressing the following questions are welcome:
– What ‘people-centred approaches’ exist in analysing development trajectories of industrial towns and regions?
– What concepts exist in regard to the role of civil society and ‘ordinary people’ in the transformation of industrial towns and regions?
– Which methodological approaches exist to map out perspectives of vulnerable and marginalised groups in the transformation of industrial towns and regions?
– What are the perspectives and narratives of ‘ordinary people’ and marginalised groups on transformation processes of industrial towns and regions?
– How do ‘ordinary people’ and marginalised groups shape and contribute to socio-economic development in industrial towns and regions?
– What kind of policies are designed and needed in for the participation of marginalised groups in industrial towns and regions?
– How do and could ‘ordinary people’ and marginalised groups contribute to different path creations and path renewals in industrial towns and regions?
These are just some examples of the questions that could be addressed in this session.
The session invites contributions from the field of urban and regional planning, inclusive planning approaches, participation studies, governance and urban and regional development. Any other papers addressing socio-cultural notion of industrial towns and regions in connection to marginalised groups are also welcome.
Please submit proposals for papers in the form of a 250-word abstract (text only) through the RSA conference portal by 28st February 2023. Proposals will be considered by the Conference Program Committee against the criteria of originality, interest and subject balance.
Ida Andersson, Örebro University, Sweden
Brita Hermelin, Linköping University, Sweden
Linnea Eriksson, VTI, Sweden
Robin Nuruzzaman, VTI, Sweden
The transport sector is a target area for sustainable development and in this session, we address this theme through focusing the role of public transport from a regional development approach. For European countries, the direction of EU policy for public transport has for more than a decade pushed for an increased regionalisation of the organization of public transport. This policy stresses the aims to facilitate for passenger transport to be safer, more efficient, and with higher quality, which is assumed to be facilitated through increased competition and the liberalization of public transport markets. At the same time, public transport authorities in each member state are expected to ensure that social and environmental concerns related to public transport are observed whilst also acknowledging factors for regional development (EG, 1370/2007).
However, balancing different interventions for sustainable development is demanding for the public authorities in charge of public transport. For instance, to meet climate goals through public transport it is vital to increase ridership and to attract large numbers of travellers. At the same time, such a target risks excluding the mobility needs of less populous rural communities while favouring more densely populated urban areas, leading to tensions between regional and local actors in their collaboration and planning to provide public transport services. In addition, there is somewhat of a bias in research towards the urban context with high traffic volumes and largescale ridership, and the development of new local traffic systems using technical solutions such as autonomous vehicles, rather than on the development of more spaciously extended regional public transport systems and its effects for regional development.
From this background, this session explores the role of regional public transport for sustainable regional development. It welcomes all contributions on public transport related (but not exclusive) to regional development, regional sustainable transformation, regional marketization, regional policy, and welfare services. We encourage both empirically grounded and conceptual papers on the broad topic public transport in regional sustainable development.
Susann Schaefer, University of Jena, Germany
Heike Mayer, University of Bern, Switzerland
Entrepreneurial ecosystems have emerged in the past ten years as one of the major analytical frameworks to examine entrepreneurial practices and outcomes from a regional perspective. The approach differs from other place-based concepts of economic agglomeration by focusing on entrepreneurs and their surrounding institutional and organizational environment, which in turn influences entrepreneurial opportunities and constraints.
The goal of this special session is to discuss ongoing conceptual and empirical research on entrepreneurial ecosystems and identify future avenues of research and policy making to create sustainable and inclusive environments for entrepreneurs.
The session is open for various topics within the debate of these ecosystems, such as
• Adaptation to political and economic events and crises (e.g., Brexit, energy crisis, Russian war against Ukraine),
• Equity, (positive/negative) discrimination, and in-/exclusion of entrepreneurs,
• Intersectionality and entrepreneurial ecosystems,
• Cooperation and mutual learning in entrepreneurial ecosystems,
• Evolution and future scenarios of entrepreneurial ecosystem development,
• Micro-geographies of entrepreneurial ecosystems (e.g., communication, spatial pattern within the regional ecosystem),
• Intersectional and feminist approaches to entrepreneurial ecosystems,
• Sustainability, resilience, and transformation of entrepreneurial ecosystems,
• Transnational linkages and flows between ecosystems, and between ecosystems and non-entrepreneurial regions (e.g., peripheral regions),
• Venture capital and financial dimensions of entrepreneurial ecosystems,
• New data sources and novel methodological approaches of ecosystem analysis
Lucy Natarajan, UCL, UK
Michael Short, UCL, UK
This session is interested in the role of the university in democracy. It focuses on current relevance of critical pedagogy to the agenda of ‘transforming regions’. Higher education praxis is increasingly directed at (or exhorted to) participatory approaches, the anchor institution, the extended classroom, and service learning. Active learning has enormous potential to advance higher learning in urban and regional subject areas (Natarajan & Short 2023). Such practices are also implicated in the production of space, and public understandings of democracy.
Building on this, the special session theme spans the diverse disciplines in urban and regional studies. It comprises two aligned areas: how staff are embedding engaged educational modes within their teaching, and how learning underpinning policies and plans may connect to people and places. We seek critical insights that advance understandings of practices of democracy in a) university education, and b) epistemic bridging between the ‘worlds’ of the academy and practice.
We invite contributions to the session, to continue the exploration of Engaged Urban Pedagogy and expand critical questioning of ‘democratic practice in university education today’. Contributions can be purely theoretical or methodological, or they can focus on empirics (e.g. with case study or dialogic/reflective pieces on experience). If in doubt, just ask the organiser!
We welcome diverse contributors, teaching, researching, learning or practicing in urban and regional disciplines, with abstracts on:
a) Practices of engagement, participation, and expansion of university education. We encourage creativity in the definition of these, including learning and educational activities beyond formal university teaching; and curriculum review, or revision of course content considering urban problematics.
b) Techniques for participatory critical pedagogy in urban and regional fields. These may include studies of. (e.g.) professional development, learning in action, academic collaborations with non-academics, research programmes, and other practice-oriented works. However they must explore the implications for higher education and/or the role of the university.
Grete Gansauer, Montana State University, USA
Bryonny Goodwin-Hawkins, University of Gloucestershire, UK
Medeleine Eriksson, Umeå University, Sweden
The political and academic rediscovery of so-called ‘left-behind places’ and ‘geographies of discontent’ has ignited new interest in peripheral regions – or, at least, become the de rigueur reference for discussing unequal geographies (and what to do about them). Yet, as the quantitative flurry abates, both research and policy must look beyond headline narratives that collapse the complex diversities of the myriad places that are ‘non-core’, or on the ‘edge’ of core activities, including but not limited to rural, semi-rural, post-industrial, de-populating and sparsely populated areas. That too many places have not mattered for too long calls for new ways of reckoning with peripherality: Edgy Matters.
Building from #RinR22, this session continues critical conversations from among a growing community of researchers who are working to reinvigorate the study of peripherality within (and beyond) regional studies. Together, we take up two key tasks. First, we debate emerging theorisations of peripheral places and peripheralising processes that reveal, problematise and challenge the social, spatial, economic, environmental, and temporal inter-relationships that impact on how peripheries are imagined. Second, we explore the contributions that peripheries can and do offer, and the consequent tensions between extractive practices and innovative possibilities. The session is distinct in both also its focus on understanding the changing nature of core-periphery relations, and by contrast, a parallel focus on what is gained when peripheral places are understood in their own right.
We welcome papers that share the Edgy Matters ethos, and critically engage with questions of peripherality, broadly conceived. We especially invite scholars with interest in a future Edgy Matters collaborative research network. Potential topics might include:
– Types of peripherality (e.g. rural, remote, post-industrial, topological, peripheries-within-cores).
– Reinterpreting the relationships between cores and peripheries.
– Peripheries as spaces of exploitation, extraction, and innovation.
– Disciplinary perspectives on peripherality (e.g. economic geography, rural sociology).
– Peripherality in territorial policy and sustainable developmental pathways.
– Local economic futures and territorial well-being in peripheral places.