We would like to invite you to the IGU CDES Conference “Rethinking the Economic Geography of Smaller Urban Places: Transformation and Well-Being in Small and Medium-Sized Towns” that will take place from September 13 to 15, 2023 in Bern, Switzerland.
The conference is organized by the IGU Commission on “The Dynamics of Economic Spaces” in collaboration with the Institute of Geography & the Center for Regional Economic Development at the University of Bern, Switzerland, and the Anton Melik Geographical Institute, ZRC SAZU, in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Small and medium-sized towns (SMSTs) are undergoing major socioeconomic transformations in these uncertain times. Many regions in the world are characterized by small and medium-sized towns (SMSTs) and these smaller urban places are fundamentally changing their economic structures because of these multiple crises. While there has been a recent upsurge in scholarly attention on small and medium-sized towns particularly with regards to their economic role and function, we still know little about how ongoing crises and upheavals influence economic transformation and well-being in them. There is little knowledge about the ways in which firms, communities, local actors in smaller urban places experience socioeconomic transformation and how they position themselves against larger centres of power in times of crises. In addition, we know little whether economic success is automatically reflected in the well-being of local communities and whether economic growth translates into positive social, cultural and political development of SMSTs. Moreover, there is a dearth of theories and concepts that can be applied to the small-town context and that can help us understand these changes.
We invite conceptual and empirical papers that cover the economic geography dimensions of transformation and well-being in small and medium-sized towns. We welcome papers on the following topics, but not limited to:
- Conceptualization and assessment of economic transformation processes in SMSTs or small city-regions
- Displacement and discontent due to economic transformation and (negative and positive) economic development
- Resilience and adaptation to economic transformation strategies by local communities, economic actors such as firms, organizations, public sector, local leaders etc.
- Embedding and disembedding of SMSTs in the global economy through global value chains, global production networks, local anchor firms such as so-called “hidden champions”
- Transformation of economic sectors such as manufacturing, retail, personalized services, tourism, creative industries, etc. in SMSTs
- Industrial culture: how it evolves and transforms SMSTs
- New innovation models and processes in response to multiple crises (COVID-19, climate crisis, economic crisis, etc.)
- Strategies of actors in SMSTs to go beyond small size and to capitalize on concepts such as “borrowing size” or “agglomeration shadows”
- Emerging opportunities as a result of shifting housing demands, shifting work patterns (e.g. homeoffice), changing work culture, etc.
- The role of real estate investors in small and medium-sized towns
- New forms of urbanity and the changing role of residential economies and the foundational economy
- Rethinking economic growth paradigms and sufficiency/post-growth policies in SMSTs
- Planning and policy responses to respond or to foster economic transformation such as Community-Led Local Development (CLLD) or others.
Please send your abstract including 4 to 6 keywords (max. 250 words) to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 15, 2023
Detailed information on the conference can be found in the attached pdf document or on our website. Feel free to forward this call to colleagues who might be interested in attending the conference.
We look forward to welcoming you to beautiful Switzerland and to Bern in September 2023!
Best regards on behalf of the local organizing committee
Prof. Heike Mayer, Institute of Geography & Center for Regional Economic Development, University of Bern, Switzerland
Dr. Ottavia Cima, Institute of Geography & Center for Regional Economic Development, University of Bern, Switzerland
Dr. Arnault Morisson, Institute of Geography & Center for Regional Economic Development, University of Bern, Switzerland
Dr. David Bole, Anton Melik Geographical Institute, ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dr. Maruša Goluža, Anton Melik Geographical Institute, ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana, Slovenia
Dr. Jani Kozina, Anton Melik Geographical Institute, ZRC SAZU, Ljubljana, Slovenia