The expression ‘a living countryside’ is often used to characterize the goal of Swedish rural politics. In this article the use of the expression in 170 non-government bills related to Swedish rural politics is analysed using discourse theory. On a general level, the expression was found to be empty of meaning and open for use by different and often opposing political parties proposing different and sometimes antagonistic measures. However, there were aspects of it that flirted with positively charged notions of Swedish national identity. It was also clear that the discursive struggle for a living countryside was also part of a party-political struggle. Further, the fantasy of a living countryside performed an ideological function in that it under-communicated how rural areas are generally and structurally subordinated to urban centres in ways that reach far beyond easily performed measures and political party quarrels.
This paper draws on the findings of a cross-national European Union project, named DIVERCITIES, that analyses the relationships between narratives and meanings of the term ‘diversity’ and their influence on the governance and planning of European cities. It is widely argued that there is a growing dissonance between the policy narratives and agendas found in metropolitan cities and amongst national governments. The former are characterised as being more pragmatic, tolerant and open in their approaches than the latter who, in many instances, have adopted more assimilationalist and nationalist rhetorics and policies. In exploring these governance dynamics, the paper builds on the work of Delanty to argue for a methodological approach grounded in what he terms critical cosmopolitanism, or a focus on the dynamic interactions between global and local influences on governmentalities and policy priorities. Much of the writing on critical cosmopolitanism has focused on questions of identity. This paper expands the concept and assesses its applicability to understandings and interpretations of urban politics and governance, through the lens of diversity narratives and the ways in which they are ‘fixed’ to broader political projects by regimes in different contexts. It argues that a range of meanings are being attached to ‘diversity’. In some instances, the term acts as a focus for more progressive forms of intervention. In others, however, it is being used to justify divisive forms of growth politics or acts as a lightning rod for existing discontents. The paper concludes by reflecting on the impacts of recent anti-globalisation and immigration politics across Europe and the fragility of existing fixes and policy assumptions.
We focus on the European Quarter in Brussels as a political place and the spatial context of European Union (EU) policy making. In addition to the EU institutions, the political place consists of a political agglomeration of various kinds of actors, from EU bureaucrats and politicians to a variety of stakeholders and lobbyists from all over the EU, who are permanently present in the Brussels neighbourhood. We present, firstly, the EU Quarter as a fixed setting for policy making with a relatively constant physical, locational and functional shape, and a specific sense of place as the EU bubble. Secondly, we emphasise the fragmentation and fluidity that portray it as a place divided into various political assemblages that make the place an assemblage of assemblages consisting of smaller and constantly evolving sub-processes. Thirdly, we aim to demonstrate the mobile and geographically distributed nature of EU policy making, and thus the dispersal of the political places where it takes place. This generates mobility of different kinds, which include not only the circulation of political ideas and people between different sites of the EU political system, but also the monthly migration of the Parliament and related lobbyists to Strasbourg. We believe that these three aspects of political place help the understanding of the situated but simultaneously spatially dispersed and mobile nature of EU policy making, and the study of the political places in other urban contexts.
Knowledge plays an essential key role in the policymaking process for interpreting the available information, defining policy issues at stake and evaluating possible solutions – especially in complex policy issues like water management. However, for city-regions, knowledge is often a scarce resource due to the small size of the policy community, context-specific issues, limited availability of resources and experts, as well as the challenge of addressing complex issues that are often supra-local. This paper explores which patterns of local knowledge promote policy change and learning. Starting from the ‘policy paradigm’ concept, a cognitive–evolutionary approach is applied to analyse Brussels’ water management policy, which aims to address the major challenge of flooding. The variety of knowledge by local actors, the role of the policy paradigm of the local policymaking community in vetting information and evaluating alternative solutions, and the importance of local governments for retaining knowledge, are the main dimensions to understanding policy change and learning. City-regions benefit from direct contacts between actors facilitating exchange of knowledge, while supra-local decisions (e.g. EU directives) and local accidents can also trigger major changes. Based on my findings, policymakers tend to rely on technocratic patterns using already available knowledge, mainly whether decentralisation reshapes the policymaking community. While a technocratic pattern determines only minor changes and institutional instability undermines policy learning, policy entrepreneurs and participative patterns can promote major changes and learning if they are able to engage in dialogue with the dominant policy paradigm.
The role of regional authorities is undeniably increasing in Europe. Due to increasing regionalism efforts within European Union (EU) member states and to the fact that EU legislation is affecting subnational authorities more and more directly, these authorities are not only striving for influence in the national arena, but in the European arena as well. The primary task of a public affairs (PA) practitioner working for a regional government in the EU is placing regional interests on national and European political agendas. However, since regional PA is a rather young discipline, opposite to PA in the private sector and in national government, much is unknown about the way regional PA practitioners are operating in the national and European political arenas, and how these arenas are receiving the subnational PA practitioners. In this study, 41 Dutch PA practitioners and PA receivers were interviewed about their opinions on and experiences with regional PA in both arenas: What are the relevant characteristics of these arenas for regional PA activities, and how are regional PA practitioners managing arena characteristics? The results show that at the national level, it is a struggle to find recognition for regional issues, due to dominant high-profiled regions, centralisation tendencies at the national level and a more general non-subnational attitude. At the European level, regional issues are more welcome, but regional PA practitioners have to overcome the dominant national interests of member states.
This paper presents an evaluation of the impact of the related EU internal energy market and renewable energy policies by exploring the (sustainable) energy transition in the EUropean electricity sector and drawing on the emerging literatures on energy geographies. We use evidence aggregated from plant-level data on installed electricity generation capacity in the EUropean electric utilities sector over the period 1990–2013 to demonstrate how the unintended interaction between EU policies on energy market liberalization and climate change have led to new renewable energy entrants and more widely dispersed ownership of total generation capacity. Our empirical results suggest that six energy geography concepts enable deeper insights into the spatiality of the EUropean energy transition. Specifically, we find that territoriality and scaling are key lenses for interpreting the differentiated change processes occurring at EUropean, subregional and national levels. The EUropean energy transition is unlikely to converge onto a single trajectory any time soon, but particularly subregional approaches are argued to offer policy-makers with more spatially cognizant and effective levers.
This article suggests that cities in Central and Eastern Europe should be understood as developing and interacting with their own unique character and challenges on their own terms. In providing an account of embodied and everyday activities, this paper challenges the conception of a decline in public-oriented acts and affordances understood via the notion of post-socialist privatism. In doing so this paper draws on ethnographic fieldwork of recreational running; an underutilised tool for urban analysis. Despite the growing interest in recreational running amongst urban scholars, engaging with the practice has remained largely neglected within research on the post-socialist cities of Central and Eastern Europe. This paper uses a case study of two recreational running clubs from Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, offering a discussion of everyday experience, public life and urban space. This case study combines participant observation and in-depth qualitative interviews with runners and club organisers to complicate the idea of post-socialist cities as places defined by the decline of public sensibilities and a single conception of the post-socialist condition.
This paper contributes to the literature on social sustainability in urban governance, with a focus on how this concept may be integrated into a Smart City strategy, so that excessive enthusiasm for smart technologies does not lead to neglect of the social implications of certain policies or programmes. By relying on a case study-based analysis, this work explores the path followed by the municipal government of Milan, and shows that integration of social sustainability into the Smart City strategy can be pursued by focusing both on the ‘content’ and the ‘process’ of strategy building. Rather than playing a strong leadership role, the planning department on the internal front and the entire municipality on the external front have chosen a role based on co-creation with citizens and other relevant stakeholders. The benefits of this approach may include the bottom-up character of several projects, better responsiveness and greater opportunities for different categories of actors; the drawbacks may include greater difficulty in ensuring that certain objective are reached (e.g. in terms of fairness and representativeness) and a higher risk of the dispersion of resources. This case also points to the difficulty of assessing the social sustainability of multiple rather than individual projects and programmes combined in a Smart City strategy: projects may reinforce each other in their social impact, or otherwise hinder possible benefits; also, a municipality may choose a combination of smart projects and programmes that attach different weights to economic, environmental and social sustainability objectives.
This paper presents an examination of the extent to which discursive integration is accompanying the European integration process, by focusing on the development of trans-European transport infrastructure networks. Because they facilitate movement across nation-state borders, these networks are central to European integration and have in fact constituted a key EU policy issue for more than two decades. Some authors have argued that their development has been driven by a hegemonic discourse that promotes the production of a ‘Europe of Flows’: a single, uniform space underpinned by a vision of ‘frictionless’ mobility through inter-city networks. However, the existence of such a discourse is questionable given the variety of rationales that may potentially influence the development of this type of infrastructure. Their claim is evaluated by means of an in-depth empirical study of the policy process surrounding a high-speed rail line of EU relevance in the Spanish region of the Basque Country. The analysis of the discursive constructions mobilized in this process indicates that the discourse on a ‘Europe of Flows’ is better conceptualized as one of the several storylines associated with different scales through which a wider hegemonic discourse is articulated. Whilst the heterogeneity of this discourse did not fundamentally contradict the development of a trans-European high-speed rail line, it did result in a policy compromise according to the influence the different coalitions were able to exert in the policy process. The analysis largely demonstrates the importance of considering the multi-scalar discursive landscape of policy-making in order to understand trans-European infrastructure development.
The article compares the reactions to the eviction of squatters in two very different neighbourhoods of Rome: the centrally located, former working-class and traditionally leftist San Lorenzo; and the peripheral, recently built, speculation and mortgage-driven Nuova Ponte di Nona. While the reaction of the San Lorenzo neighbourhood to the eviction of Communia (August 2013) was highly supportive of the squatters, the residents’ committee in Nuova Ponte di Nona promoted a strong public campaign for the eviction of squatters in a building in Cerruti Street (December 2013). This raised the question of how such different responses, taking place within the same metropolitan area in the same year, can be framed. Based on interviews and the collection of secondary data, the paper addresses this question by showing how the residents of these two neighbourhoods embody the two poles of the process of subjectification created by the singular asset-based Italian welfare regime, the ‘financialization of home’ and the increasingly precarious nature of living conditions. However, a dualistic and rigid account of the neighbourhood reactions is avoided by considering the ‘commoning’ dimension as central to the actions and campaigns of both. Indeed, it shows how the residents’ committees in both cases were engaged in (re)creating new urban commons challenging the increasing privatization and individualization of everyday life prompted by neoliberal/austerity-based urbanism. The case of Nuova Ponte di Nona, however, shows that urban commons are not intrinsically emancipatory, and that the material conditions shaping the community life can lead to viewing the ‘other’ (i.e. the squatters) as a threat to their lifestyle aspirations.
For more than two decades, cluster theory has served as a basis for widespread implementation of regional development policies in several countries. However, there are still persistent struggles in academia towards agreement on clear operational definitions of a cluster. In this article, we argue that this definitional haziness, reflected by difficulties in demarcating the scale and scope of clusters, leads to a stretching of the cluster concept when put into practice. We show how actors, through cluster projects, are utilizing strategies of "hubbing" and/or "blending" to develop their own understandings of both what clusters are and what they might or should be. Through studies of three Norwegian cluster projects, we argue that national cluster policies, through translation of an academically vague concept, facilitate a stretching of the original definition of clusters, giving regional stakeholders leeway to integrate other theoretical rationales instead. We argue that this is not taken into account in current policies.
Using Swedish longitudinal micro-data, the aim of this paper is to analyse how regional economies respond to crises. This is made possible by linking gross employment flows to the notion of regional resilience. Our findings indicate that despite a steady national employment growth, only the three metropolitan regions have fully recovered from the recession of 1990. Further, we show evidence of high levels of job creation and destruction in both declining and expanding regions and sectors, and that the creation of jobs is mainly attributable to employment growth in incumbent firms, while job destruction is primarily due to exits and micro-plants. Although the geography of resistance to crises and the ability of adaptability in the aftermath vary, our findings suggest that cohesive (i.e., with many skill-related industries) and diverse (i.e., with a high degree of unrelated variety) regions are more resilient over time. We also find that resistance to future shocks (e.g., the 2008 recession) is highly dependent on the resistance to previous crises. In all, this suggests that the long-term evolution of regional economies also influences their future resilience.
The temporary staffing industry has experienced significant growth in recent decades across many countries and sectors. The particular characteristics of the temporary staffing industry are influenced by the national institutional context in which they are embedded. This article presents empirical findings to investigate the concept of a national temporary staffing industry using two case studies, the UK and Germany. Through analysis of two national markets for temporary staffing, the article discusses the importance of investigating the wider institutional environment in which an industry is embedded, the interactions and interdependencies between the actors involved, and the relationships and activities through which an industry is co-created and constituted. Theoretically, this article seeks to stress the importance of considering how institutional systems change, rather than focusing on characteristics used to categorise socio-economic systems. Empirically, this article reveals the features and developments of two national temporary staffing industries within Europe. This advances of our understanding of changes in the temporary staffing industry in two European settings, and also highlights the importance of considering geographically specific national varieties of economic systems as dynamic institutional ecologies.
Research has pointed to the importance of artists in the early stages of gentrification; however, few studies have examined specifically the meaning of gentrification and place-change from the perspective of artists themselves, and few studies have investigated the role of ‘creative city’ policies as unintended drivers of gentrification processes. This study generates insights into artists’ own views of gentrification processes within the gentrifying bohemia of the Ouseburn Valley in Newcastle upon Tyne in the North East of England. We stress that gentrification in this area cannot solely be understood as a process of displacement, but is also clearly linked to the growth of modes of regulation and commercialisation within social space. Increasing regulation, brought about by greater local state focus on ‘creative districts’, has impacted the Valley. Alongside this, projects of property development as well as a general growth in the popularity of the Valley as a nightlife consumption district and area of production for commercially-orientated creative class workers have challenged artists’ values of the area as a ‘secret garden’ where romantically inflected values of self-expression, autonomy, spontaneity and non-instrumental artist cooperation can be found.
Increasing socio-spatial inequalities in Europe have led to a revival of the term "peripheralization" in urban and regional research. In this context, peripheralization is often seen as an outcome of powerlessness. It is stated that peripheralized actors are lacking the capacities to influence decisions or are excluded from decision-making networks. This paper contributes to the understanding of the relationship between peripheralization and power by empirically testing if the notion of "powerless" peripheries holds true in the light of established theories on local power. Therefore, we refer to the Community Power Debate, especially to concepts known as the "three faces of power" and the distinction between "power over" and "power to", which were brought forward by Urban Regime theories. We discuss two empirical cases in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany, and demonstrate that peripheralization here cannot be regarded as the outcome of an intended disadvantage facilitated by powerful elites ("power over"). Rather, we highlight a number of structural constraints, which decisively limit the capacity to act and the scope for local decision-making ("power to"). We conclude that future research should overcome a perspective on peripheries as exclusively being dominated and disadvantaged by the centres and focus on the lack of resources that hinders peripheries to have a more sustained influence in political decision-making.
Culture-driven urban and regional strategies have grown since the 1980s in Europe and beyond. Countless initiatives for creative clusters, cultural quarters and culture-led urban policies have mushroomed since the mid-1990s. Being exceptionally rich and dense in cultural amenities and institutions, creative production and cultural consumption, Italy seemed to be the natural ground for such a cultural turn in policymaking. In fact, Italy has been the cradle for cultural districts (CDs) since the early 2000s, fostering both analytical and normative speculations and experiments. Despite this richness, a systematic study of CD policy implementation is lacking and several questions are still pending, in Italy as well as in other countries. For example, how diverse are the CD experiences being developed; and what are the aims and core activities, the urban and regional settings and development effects? This paper presents an original survey of 68 experimentations that were officially labelled as ‘cultural districts’ over the last 15 years in Italy: as such it constitutes the first attempt at a nation-wide comprehensive analysis of CD policy. Even though the major importance of CDs as an analytical tool is acknowledged, the evidence gathered in this study shows the fuzziness and inconsistencies in the implementation of CD policy in Italy. The analysis shows the uneven regional geography of CDs, stresses the large variety of contents and promoters and high rate of failure, and the limited degree of specialization and integration with cultural industries. The paper reconsiders critically the policy notion and practice of CDs in Italy and calls for further international scholarly and policy debates.
The well-known and much investigated rise of urban entrepreneurial policies has fuelled a transformation of urban spaces and landscapes, and has led to changes in the social composition of city centres. This is the case for Oslo, Norway’s capital, where increasingly urban policies are designed to attract transnational companies and those in the creative class. A key strategy to achieve this has been to transform the city’s waterfront through spectacular architecture and urban design, as has taken place in other European cities. Transnational and local architects have been commissioned to design the Barcode, one of the most striking waterfront projects. This article investigates the role of architecture and architects in this process, because architects can be seen as influential generators of urban spaces and agents for social change, and because there is remarkably little published empirical research on this specific role of architects. It is argued that although there was an overall planning goal that the projects along the waterfront of Oslo should contribute to social sustainability, with the implication that planners and architects possessed information about the local urban context and used this knowledge, in practice this was not the case. It is demonstrated that the architects paid little attention to the social, cultural and economic contexts in their design process. Rather, the architects emphasized the creation of an exciting urban space and, in particular, designed spectacular architecture that would contribute to the merits of the firms involved. It is further argued that because of this the Barcode project will not contribute to the making of a just city.
Migration is predominantly directed towards cities that have been facing a highly competitive global environment within the last 30 years of globalisation. Against the background of economic restructuring, cities are looking for new forms of city branding. In this process, ethno-cultural diversity is increasingly regarded as an asset, leading to the branding of migrant neighbourhoods, especially those characterised by migrant economies. These agglomerations of shops, cafés and restaurants provide places of leisure and consumption for cosmopolitan urbanites. This paper shows how Berlin’s municipal politicians failed in staging ‘Chinatowns’ and ‘Asiatowns’ as ethnically branded commercial districts and argues that the Vietnamese migrants who are primarily addressed by these projects are not readily marketable by a city-branding approach. The assumed common identity of Asian migrants in Berlin and the city’s top-down municipal approach contradict the structures of the heterogeneous group of Vietnamese residents. This paper traces Berlin’s transition from a reactive to a proactive approach in the marketing of ethno-cultural diversity. My approach is to embed the Dong Xuan Centre in Berlin-Lichtenberg, a Vietnamese-run wholesale centre that was founded through Vietnamese agency, in the local discourse on Asia- and Chinatowns. The study shows that the centre’s management appears to be an active agent in the branding process of the project, modelling itself after the global brand of ‘Chinatown’. However, the centre’s vision of a place of cultural life and trade contradicts German planning laws, a conflict that has led to ongoing negotiations between the centre’s management and the district government, thereby hindering its branding.
The fight against unwanted sea migration in Southern Europe has triggered the territorial redefinition of European Union (EU) borders and transformed the relationship between sending and receiving countries in the region. This paper focuses on the strategies that the EU and Spain adopted to seal the maritime border around the Canary Islands between 2005 and 2010. According to the primary and secondary data used here, the closure of the Atlantic route that happened in this period was the result of the combination of defensive and preventative measures along and beyond this section of the EU border. Initiatives aimed at promoting economic development, creating jobs at origin, and temporary migration programs paved the way for cooperation among governments, thus making possible the deployment of military resources along the border, the return/deportation of unwanted EU-bound migrants, and the externalization of migration control responsibilities. Cooperation and the mixture of proactive and reactive initiatives seen in this case study are likely to become the hallmark of a new kind of global anti-immigration border that extends beyond the territory of the state.
This article traces the transfer of competitiveness and cohesion policies from the European Union (EU) institutions to the national and subnational authorities in Greece, both before and after the sovereign debt crisis. We argue that prior to the crisis, the flexibilities of the EU governance system allowed the Greek central government to use the competitiveness and cohesion agenda, as well as the associated funds, to build a domestic socio-political consensus focused on the idea of ‘convergence’ with Europe. The crisis-induced bailout programme deepened neoliberal policies and reorganised vertical and horizontal power relations: policy-making powers have been upscaled towards the supranational level, while the national authorities have been socially disembedded.
In the past decades many cities have experienced growing pressure to produce and stage cultural events of different sorts to promote themselves and improve economic development. Culture-led development often relies on significant public investment and major private-sector sponsoring. In the context of strained public finances and profound economic crisis in European peripheral countries, local community low-budget events that manage to create significant fluxes of visitors and visibility assume a particular relevance. This paper looks at the four editions (2011–2014) of Noc-Noc, an arts festival organized by a local association in the city of Guimarães, Portugal, which is based on creating transient spaces of culture by transforming numerous homes, commercial outlets and other buildings into ephemeral convivial and playful ‘public’ environments. By interviewing a sample of people who have hosted (sometimes doubling as artists) these transitory art performances and exhibitions, artists and the events’ organizers and by experiencing the four editions of the event and engaging in multiple informal conversations with the public, this paper attempts to discuss how urban citizens may disrupt the cleavages between public and private space permitting various transgressions, and unsettling the hegemonic condition of the city council as the patron of the large majority of events.
In some countries in Europe the economic crisis starting in 2008 was marked not only by a rise in unemployment, but also by increases in individuals in part-time and temporary working, so emphasising the need to examine employment composition as well as non-employment. The promotion of non-standard forms of employment – such as part-time and temporary working – has been part of Europe’s employment agenda, but directives have also focused on raising the quality of such work. Using European Union Labour Force Survey data, an indicator of involuntary non-standard (part-time and temporary) employment (INE) is constructed, depicting a negative working condition. Descriptive analyses show important differences between countries in the incidence of INE, which is highest in Spain, Portugal and Poland, and also in the composition of INE. By contrast, INE tends to be lower in countries with Anglo-Saxon and Nordic welfare state models. Econometric analyses reveal that young workers, older workers, women, non-nationals, those with low education and those who were unemployed a year ago are at greatest risk of INE.
This paper focuses on the meaning of the urban environment for parents on family leave in Helsinki, Finland. Finland is a part of the Nordic model that emphasises ‘family-friendly arrangements’, such as family leave for mothers and fathers. To date, there is little research on how parents use urban space on family leave, although it is known that fathers stay on family leave more often in urban areas. Based on a triangulation of qualitative data on the day-to-day life of mothers and fathers on family leave, the paper argues that particular place-dependent ways of being on family leave take place in the inner city. Mixed-use pavements in many ways help mothers and fathers to cope in their new life situation and break the isolation often associated with family leave. The data also shows the importance of family-friendly public and commercial places in the city, such as playgrounds and accessible grocery shops, cafeterias and restaurants. The paper concludes that there is a need to further explore the production side of the everyday practices of parents, and how they add to city life and participate in changing cityscapes.
Investments through the 2014–2020 European structural funds pursue goals of smart, inclusive and sustainable growth, while many towns and cities in Europe are shrinking rather than growing. Policy makers and practitioners therefore face challenges in ensuring that places with very limited growth potential will not fall further behind. While scholars argue that cities in long-term decline would benefit from enhancing their capacity to develop collaborative initiatives that draw on local resources and assets, in practice local decision makers seem to struggle to engage their communities in the fight against the causes and consequences of decline. This paper advances the argument that the concept of co-production is well suited to explore and explain how collaborative actions unlock new strategic choices that are based on capabilities and resources over which local actors have control. A case study from a small manufacturing town in Germany is used to illustrate how co-production at different levels can lead to tangible, long-term improvements in a context of ongoing shrinkage.
For decades, public and scholarly debates on large, post-war housing estates in western Europe have been concerned with social decline. After 1989/1990, the point in time of fundamental societal change in eastern Europe, this concern was transferred to estates in post-socialist cities. However, empirical evidence for a general negative trend has not emerged. Recent publications confirm the persistence of social mix and highlight the differentiated trajectories of estates. This paper aims to contribute to an approach of how to conceptually make sense of these differentiated trajectories. Using data from a unique longitudinal survey in East Germany, starting in 1979, we investigate the state of social mix, drivers of social change and the inner differentiation in the housing estate Leipzig-Grünau. We found no proof for a dramatic social decline, rather there is evidence for a slow and multi-faceted change in the social and demographic structure of the residents contributing to a gradual social fragmentation of the estate. This is a result of path dependencies, strategic planning effects and ownership structures. We discuss these drivers of large housing estate trajectories and their related impacts by adapting a framework of multiple, overlapping institutional, social and urban post-socialist transformations. We suggest embedding the framework in a wider and a local context in which transformations need to be seen. In conclusion, we argue for a theoretical debate that makes sense of contextual differences within such transformations.
Energy poverty can be understood as the inability of a household to secure a socially and materially necessitated level of energy services in the home. While the condition is widespread across Europe, its spatial and social distribution is highly uneven. In this paper, the existence of a geographical energy poverty divide in the European Union (EU) provides a starting point for conceptualizing and exploring the relationship between energy transitions – commonly described as wide-ranging processes of socio-technical change – and existing patterns of regional economic inequality. We have undertaken a comprehensive analysis of spatial and temporal trends in the national-scale patterns of energy poverty, as well as gas and electricity prices. The results of our work indicate that the classic economic development distinction between the core and periphery also holds true in the case of energy poverty, as the incidence of this phenomenon is significantly higher in Southern and Eastern European EU Member States. The paper thus aims to provide the building blocks for a novel theoretical integration of questions of path-dependency, uneven development and material deprivation in existing interpretations of energy transitions.
The paper reports on a study of the comparative stability of foreign owned manufacturing firms in Wales, using as a framework the Welsh Register of Manufacturing Employment which records details of regional manufacturing entry and exits since 1966. The paper is set in the context of competing claims on the more transformative effects of inward investment with some stressing that notions of a ‘new regionalism’ in Wales have been unjustly founded on assumptions about the transforming effects of foreign investment. There is also a problem of a paucity of research showing how foreign investment had been involved in evolutionary processes of regional economic change. The paper shows that a more complete appreciation of the role of inward investment needs to consider not only its role in job creation but also the relative stability of the investment and jobs attracted. The paper reveals how analysis of plant birth and deaths also links through to perspectives offered by evolutionary economic geography, and how patterns of entry and exit might work to influence the economic trajectories of a disadvantaged region such as Wales.
This paper contributes to the debates on policy mobilities by examining Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in Germany as examples of contested, failed and unfinished travelling policies. Recent debates on policy mobilities opened a fruitful discussion on how policies are transferred from one place to another and the complex processes that rework places and policies in heterogeneous ways. While we are sympathetic to this literature, there are theoretical and empirical gaps to be addressed. It is frequently stated that processes around the transfer and grounding of policies are complex, and that outcomes are far from secure. However, the empirical focus in most cases is on transfers that are more or less "successful", or at least portrayed as being successful by their advocates. In contrast to this "success bias" in research and public discourse, we argue that it is helpful to focus more closely on failures, resistances and contradictions. Judging from work on the transfer of BIDs – an almost classical example of successfully mobilized urban policies – we argue that it is helpful to reflect on unfinished policy mobilities, that is, the failure of mobilized urban policies.
The paper addresses the abundant literature on the creative city that has been generated following publication in 2002 of Richard Florida’s work on the creative class. In particular, it is maintained that the discussion should be based more on a robust social economic analysis of urban economies. The paper starts with a brief review of the polarized debate on the creative city in which either the optimist obsession with a new growth sector is stressed or there is a focus of attention on its negative impact on urban society. Building on the idea of cultural production as a reflexive economic activity and on three empirical vignettes about how culture, the economy and the city interact, it argues that cultural production is an adaptable activity which is, however, permanently forced into a state of adaptation. Urban space and society have an ambivalent role here. On the one hand, the city offers adaptability: on the other hand, however, because this is the case, it fosters the need for permanent adaptation.
Europe has set out its plans to foster a ‘green economy’, focused around recycling, by 2020. This pan-European recycling economy, it is argued, will have the triple virtues of: first, stopping wastes being ‘dumped’ on poor countries; second, reusing them and thus decoupling economic prosperity from demands on global resources; and third, creating a wave of employment in recycling industries. European resource recovery is represented in academic and practitioner literatures as ‘clean and green’. Underpinned by a technical and physical materialism, it highlights the clean-up of Europe’s waste management and the high-tech character of resource recovery. Analysis shows this representation to mask the cultural and physical associations between recycling work and waste work, and thus to obscure that resource recovery is mostly ‘dirty’ work. Through an empirical analysis of three sectors of resource recovery (‘dry recyclables’, textiles and ships) in Northern member states, we show that resource recovery is a new form of dirty work, located in secondary labour markets and reliant on itinerant and migrant labour, often from accession states. We show therefore that, when wastes stay put within the EU, labour moves to process them. At the micro scale of localities and workplaces, the reluctance of local labour to work in this new sector is shown to connect with embodied knowledge of old manufacturing industries and a sense of spatial injustice. Alongside that, the positioning of migrant workers is shown to rely on stereotypical assumptions that create a hierarchy, connecting reputational qualities of labour with the stigmas of different dirty jobs – a hierarchy upon which those workers at the apex can play.
Social networks are vital to the start-up and development of new businesses. In immigrant entrepreneurship research, the key role of co-ethnic networks has been particularly highlighted. However, there is a lack of knowledge about the networking practices of immigrants who start businesses in a rural context where co-ethnic communities do not exist. In order to address this gap, this article highlights the experiences of female Russian immigrant entrepreneurs living in Finnmark in northernmost Norway. Finnmark in fact represents a particularly interesting geographical context for such an empirical focus. The article considers how social, economic and cultural contexts configure network relationships and reveals the important role of the family, and in particular the male spouse, representing a network of resources that may alleviate migrant disadvantage through affective ties. Moreover, it shows that the family of the immigrant entrepreneurs may be located both locally in the new context of settlement and transnationally in the country of origin, and in addition may be of both co-ethnic and cross-ethnic character.
This paper scrutinises the effects that the financialisation of land has on the land use planning process. Although finance is increasingly penetrating not only real estate but also land planning and development, there are few in-depth case studies describing and analysing this process. Contemporary urban development is characterised by the clustering of investments, the relocation of projects into peripheral areas and an instrumental approach to planning. These trends are expressions of a change in the development process, characterised by the increased detachment between land use planning processes at the local level and financial investor logics located at other scales. We call this the de-contextualisation of land capital. An in-depth analysis of the internal economic mechanics of an urban project in the Milan area is provided to illustrate these trends. We conclude by reflecting on the challenges that the conditions of financialised land capital pose to local and national governments.
Rural cooperatives are assumed to contribute to economic development, regeneration, service delivery and local democracy. This paper examines the problems of setting up early-stage rural cooperatives, the difficulties experienced by them, and antecedents of their failure by complementing extant research with an empirical study of existing and recently failed early-stage Welsh cooperatives. Factors inhibiting early-stage rural cooperative growth and survival encompass various aspects of negative and antithetical social capital, exacerbated by management and marketing weaknesses, as well as regional and national institutional conditions. Such factors are relevant to theory development, cooperative management practice and public sector policy, and are theorised from rural cooperation, social capital and rural development perspectives.
There is a general consensus that welfare states influence urban inequality patterns in cities experiencing increases in immigration. Whereas much of the existing research focused on the extent to which welfare states affect the well-being of immigrants after their admission, this study focuses on how immigration policy regimes affect the extent to which immigrant flows, and subsequent labour supply, match variations and fluctuations in the composition of demand in urban labour markets. In particular, the article develops a comparison between Malmö and Genoa, an Italian and a Swedish city with similar urban histories that display considerably different patterns of urban inequality. Immigration to Malmö was fuelled largely by humanitarian emergencies in the countries of origin and occurred in a period of economic decline for the city. The growth of the immigrant population was associated with a worsening of the labour market situation for immigrants and an increase in ethnic residential segregation. Immigration to Genoa was mainly driven by demand for cheap labour, particularly in the private-care sector. Therefore, the growth of the immigrant population was associated with an ethnic segmentation of the labour market, but it also resulted in a more dispersed distribution of immigrants than in Malmö. The differences in the urban inequality patterns in Malmö and Genoa can be only partly explained by policies affecting the living conditions of admitted immigrants. An important role has also been played by the immigration policy regimes of the two countries, which prescribed the integration potential of immigrant flows.
This article examines the growing interest in local food by focusing on local food networks. The objective is to explore what factors drive or hinder the development of local food networks in rural Denmark. For this purpose, we have combined three bodies of theory: local food networks; entrepreneur networks; and the experience economy. This provides a valuable contribution to the current discourse on local food networks, as it introduces a novel framework to investigate the localisation of food dynamics. The article presents an explorative, case-based investigation of three Danish local food networks. The findings demonstrate that the main drivers of the development of local food networks are the pursuance of transparency and knowledge of origin, the existence of entrepreneurship potential, the coordination of networks by means of joint strategies, and the overcoming of conflict patterns. However, these factors can also be barriers to further development of local food networks. Hence, strategies for developing local food networks must be sensitive to their individual needs and conditions.
The role of civil society in enhancing the quality of democracy has become institutionalised within many developed states. However, within states where programmes of regionalisation, federalisation or devolution are being implemented, how does an already institutionalised civil society respond to new arrangements of governance? This paper demonstrates that the historical institutional and organisational civil society context of newly devolving or regionalising areas inhibits the growth of strong civil society in those areas. It detects a limiting effect on the development of effective policy-making and scrutiny functions, and a prolonged period of time taken to develop effective civil society mechanisms at a territorial level. It concludes that civil society development in developed, regionalising contexts is vulnerable to strong, centralised institutions, and that a lack of civil society organisational engagement to the regionalisation of government ultimately fosters a weakness in the resulting regional civil society.
There has been growing interest in regional policies that stimulate interactions between different sectors, often based on the concept of ‘related variety’. The identification and development of new cross-sectoral growth trajectories has been described elsewhere as building ‘regional development platforms’. This article contributes to conceptual debates about cross-sectoral regional development platforms and provides an empirical analysis of attempts to create and develop such a platform. From a conceptual perspective we argue that the notion of related variety can help policymakers to identify potential combinatorial platform opportunities, but may overestimate the ability of ‘related’ actors to collaborate together in innovative ways, because knowledge is embedded in practice and the process of ‘combining’ knowledge in new activities is therefore challenging. The paper illuminates the development of cross-sectoral platforms by examining the creation of new activities from a practice perspective that directs attention to the everyday activities, routines and understandings that constitute the ‘doing’ of economic development. We explore the development of a cross sectoral platform in the North Jutland region of Denmark, which integrates actors from the food and tourism sectors into a new food-tourism platform. We identify the dominant forms of the practices of producing food, retailing, catering, and promoting tourism, and then consider the ways in which these have changed in response to new cross-sectoral initiatives. The analysis shows that some aspects of practice are easier to change than others, and we conclude that an analytical approach inspired by practice theory can identify the requirements in terms of micro-level change in the practices of actors that is required for an initiative to succeed.
Using the case study of Slovakia, this article considers the role of the state in the rapid growth of the automotive industry in integrated peripheral markets of the global automotive industry. Although this growth has been mainly driven by the investment strategies of automotive lead firms, the state has played an important role by accommodating the strategic needs of foreign capital through neoliberal economic policies. In addition to secondary sources, the empirical research is based on a 2010 survey of 299 Slovak-based automotive firms with a response rate of 44% and on 38 on-site firm-level interviews conducted between 2011 and 2013 and one in 2005. The analysis draws upon approaches in economic geography, international political economy and upon global value chains and global production networks perspectives to argue that the successful development of the automotive industry in Slovakia has been achieved at the expense of its overwhelming dependence on foreign capital and corporate capture. The article considers the potential consequences of dependent industrial development for the domestic automotive industry and its position in the international division of labor.
The tendency towards the diffusion of more localised welfare provision is part of the wider post-industrial transformation and challenges the citizenship protection system that developed during the Fordist age. It is assumed that local welfare provision is more efficient and less expensive than centralised national welfare programmes. In this article we argue first that the process of transformation and localisation of welfare is driven by two different (sometimes opposing) forces: (1) the necessity to identify effective ways of responding to the need for social support which is increasingly individualised, fragmented and heterogeneous, and therefore to expand ‘active’ social policies; and (2) the necessity to keep under control (and more often reducing) national public spending. Second, we argue that a more integrated welfare system (involving the third sector, voluntary organisations and private providers) and one which is more locally differentiated poses a series of problems in terms of social and territorial inequalities. We then identify some conditions that can help to keep inequalities under control. In the conclusion we will see how the crisis is exacerbating these tendencies.
In recent years, the Smart City has become a very popular concept amongst policy makers and urban planners. In a nutshell, the Smart City refers to projects and planning strategies that aim to join up new forms of inclusive and low-carbon economic growth based on the knowledge economy through the deployment of information and communication technologies. However, at the same time as new urban Smart interventions are being designed and applied, insufficient attention has been paid to how these strategies are inserted into the wider political economy and, in particular, the political ecology of urban transformation. Therefore, in this paper we critically explore the implementation of the Smart City, tracing how the ‘environment’ and environmental concerns have become an organising principle in Barcelona’s Smart City strategy. Through an urban political ecology prism we aim to critically reflect upon the contradictions of the actually existing Smart City in Barcelona and how Smart discourses and practices might be intentionally or unintentionally mobilised in ways that serve to depoliticise urban redevelopment and environmental management. The paper stresses the need to repoliticise the debates on the Smart City and put citizens back at the centre of the urban debate.
The enlargement of the European Union in 2004 and 2007 and the marketisation of health care are increasing the mobility of workers and driving a scalar transformation of the sector across Europe. Drawing on questionnaires and interviews in 17 European Union countries, and focusing on two case study New Member States, we analyse inter- and intra-country drivers and impacts of health care labour mobility. The data are analysed from an open political-economy perspective underpinned by an understanding of scale as a socially constructed material entity mediated by national and supranational state institutions, and the collective agency of workers. We emphasise the contradictory and contested nature of rescaling health care and the complex micro-dynamics of mobility. Although absolute outward migration across borders is relatively small, the movement of health care specialists is having a disproportionate effect on sender countries and regions within them.
A number of contributions have analysed or supported community or neighbourhood-level activities connected with the development of sustainable or low-carbon localities. The paper reports on a recently completed project (Newcastle Low Carbon Neighbourhoods). The paper aims to deepen understanding of problems relating to the creation of low-carbon neighbourhoods, focusing on competing discourses, which tend to marginalise residents. The paper shows that there is the potential to employ critical discourse analysis to probe the inclusivity or exclusivity of social and political actors and agenda, and the story sets, texts and practices capable of binding together, or keeping apart, individuals, groups and perspectives, and to examine the normative underpinnings of people’s behaviour and interpretations. The conclusions concern what we learn from the project regarding the role of language in multi-actor research and engagement and the promotion of low-carbon homes and neighbourhoods, which may be informative for the broader challenge of city-wide urban sustainability.
This paper unveils the logic behind urban industrial derelict places connected to the petrochemical industry in the cities of Romania and specifically draws from the post-socialist experience of the Solventul petrochemical plant in Timişoara. In the context of transition from state socialism to capitalism and globalization, huge areas of debris stand as proof of a once flourishing socialist industry forced into controversial cases of privatization and re-privatization. The most important petrochemical plants in Romania have been the object of post-socialist economic restructuring. The reasons are due to the loss of the communist market, the cessation of government subsidies, and the growth of international competition, all in the face of aging production facilities. In the process, more than 30,000 workers were forced into intra-urban or urban–rural migration pushed by an emerging privatized housing market. The authorities acted with secrecy with regard to the process of privatization as well as to the ecological hazards posed by these industrial ruins. Created through a process of industrial decline paired with a general legal framework permeated by neoliberal influences, these urban industrial derelict places have caused hot spots of controversy for urban policies and practices for more than 20 years since the fall of communism in Romania.
In recent years border externalization has emerged as a central policy framework for European Union (EU) border and migration management. New multi-lateral and bi-lateral agreements on border management have been forged between the EU, its member states, and its North African neighbours and neighbours-of-neighbours. In the process, what is meant by the ‘border’ is being transformed with implications for where the border is located, who has jurisdiction over particular spaces, and how border and migration management is undertaken. This paper analyses the spatial logics of EU border externalization practices as they are being applied to and in North and West Africa. It focuses on Operation Seahorse and the transnationally coordinated border control projects and infrastructures implemented by the Guardia Civil of Spain. Seahorse serves as an implementation case of the Migration Routes Initiative, an approach toward migration management emphasizing interregional cooperation between designated origin-transit-destination countries. The initiative is the organizing strategy of the Global Approach to Migration, the EU’s overarching framework toward migration policy. The paper shows how Seahorse is changing migration policy and re-articulating Europe’s relations with African countries, producing new bordering processes, creating new geographies of integration and border management, and redefining the practices of territory, sovereignty, and extra-territoriality.
Until recently, Mediterranean countries were called on by European Union officials to provide for a "less-rigid" regulatory framework, in order to enhance "flexicurity". This paper critically examines post-2008 flexibilization trends by focusing on Spanish, Italian and Greek regions. Starting from a contextualization of atypical employment and security, it then moves in a twofold direction; firstly, it presents the Flexible Contractual Arrangements and Active Labour Market Policies composite indicators, calculated for the NUTS-II regions of 12 member states for 2008 and 2011. These indicators reveal the changing ranking, especially of the Greek regions, towards higher labour market flexibility and relatively low levels of employability security; secondly, it focuses on the changing forms of atypical labour in the six regions that host the capital and the most important port city of Greece, Italy and Spain, respectively, by offering data on the expansion of flexible arrangements therein. The uneven flexibilization trends found in the study regions are seen as an outcome of the interaction between the general devaluation trends, different backgrounds and regionally specific patterns of labour market adjustment, while employment is found to be neither "rigid" nor "flexicure". The paper concludes with some remarks on the relation between post-2008 dismantling of local labour regimes, restructuring and flexicurity.
The issue of the resilience of rural areas has again emerged as a result of the economic recession, particularly in the countries of Southern Europe, which have been especially hard hit by cuts in the provision of services. In this paper we focus on the Spanish case to explore the role that mobility plays in the central age groups of the age pyramid in rural sustainability. Based on the results obtained from a representative survey of the population and in-depth interviews carried out between 2008 and 2012, we show how demographic composition and mobility strategies are two central factors in considering the future of rural areas. Their medium and long-term effects have been considered separately, but in this article, their inter-relationship is analysed in the context of the sustainability of Spanish rurality. The conclusions point to the dual effect of mobility: on the one hand, it regulates the actual subsistence of rural populations to the point of making them highly dependent on cars; on the other hand, it transmits social inequalities in the social structure, such as those related to gender.
This paper explores the driving forces for divergent trajectories of cluster evolution within the same branch of industry using the example of two packaging machinery clusters located in the German regions of Schwaebisch-Hall and Mittelhessen. Between 1998 and 2010 the Schwaebisch-Hall cluster recorded an increase in employment of almost two thirds. On the other hand, employment in the Mittelhessen cluster declined by about 15% and the cluster is characterised by negative functional and cognitive lock-in. This study tackles the existing lack of comparative in-depth longitudinal case studies with regard to cluster evolution. In doing so, the driving forces from recent conceptual approaches to cluster dynamics are exemplified empirically, which has rarely been done before. It is pointed out that dynamics at individual firm level (e.g. routines, spin-offs) are equally important – albeit highly interdependent – as those dynamics of relations (e.g. learning, rivalry, policy) and those operating at a systemic level (e.g. cluster heterogeneity, markets). Therefore we consider conceptual approaches to cluster evolution, which combine several driving forces to really understand changes, as necessary.
This paper revisits the geographical legacy of socialism in the urban areas of the former Soviet Union. Building on research on housing and socio-spatial differentiation under and after socialism, this will be achieved by examining an important component in the spatial differentiation of the city, namely neighbourhood reputation. The analysis is based on survey data (n = 1515) from the city of Ust’-Kamenogorsk, Kazakhstan; a combination of descriptive statistics and multivariate logistic regression are deployed in order to shed light on the factors that are associated with the reputation of the neighbourhoods in which people reside. The results show that the Soviet system manufactured its own brand of socio-spatial distinction, which reflected the priority hierarchies built in the socialist planned economy. Education, age and, most importantly, area of employment appear to have been ‘rewarded’ with prestigiously located housing.
The paper investigates the territorialization process with a twofold aim: to focus on the territory as the medium of the current relation between citizenship and governance; and to analyse the problems and opportunities created by governance and territorialization. After outlining an interpretative frame for territorialization in Europe, the paper concentrates on the Italian case and on two policy instruments: Area Social Plans and Neighbourhood Contracts. Light will be shed on how moves towards innovations intertwine with dynamics of fragmentation, thereby creating the complexity of territorialization in Italy.
Despite a rich body of literature dealing with suburbanization across Central and East Europe, the issues of crime and safety in residential suburbs have not been addressed. At the same time it is obvious that the existing knowledge on suburban crime derived mainly from Western experience cannot be simply transferred to the post-socialist transition context. This research investigates the issues of crime and safety in new residential neighbourhoods in the hinterland of Prague, the Czech Republic. Suburbanites’ fear of crime and feeling of safety are discussed in the context of registered crime patterns in the Prague metropolitan region. The research draws on data gathered in a questionnaire survey of newcomers to suburban housing. The findings confirm the generally high feelings of safety in low-crime suburban districts. Our analysis further showed that age, previous victimization and length of residency are the main determinants of fear of crime in Prague’s suburban communities.
Some European emerging markets appear to be weathering the global financial crisis better than others. Countries such as Turkey continue to enjoy robust economic growth due to ‘strong’ domestic demand, a ‘solid’ financial sector and an elevated geo-political ‘significance’. All these factors contributed to the robust performance of the Istanbul Stock Exchange in 2012. The recent crisis is in this respect ‘special’, since some emerging markets are now re-imagined as ‘safe havens’ in comparison with volatile Western economies, and consequently their financial markets are seen as attractive investment opportunities. However, how can the changing attractiveness of places such as Turkey be explained? In this paper I suggest that the appeal of Turkey and its financial markets is not simply a consequence of Turkey’s domestic dynamics. Reminiscent of recent debates about the links between territorial and relational spaces, I show that Turkey’s emergence as an attractive destination for financial capital is the consequence of the territorial as well as the relational dynamics of global capitalism and the power of financial actors to shape (as well as being shaped by) economic geographies. I explain how Turkey is currently been discursively framed as an alternative destination for portfolio investments through a reassessment of its geo-political and economic assets in the light of the recent financial crisis.
This paper investigates the development trajectory and spatial governance practices in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, a small but affluent, rapidly developing member state of the European Union. Against the background of globalisation and its urban impact (particularly concerning smaller or emerging metropolitan areas), the paper aims at reconstructing the Luxembourgian urban development trajectory, which is characterised by continuous population growth and successful attraction of global services and financial industries in a rather unique context of the niche sovereignty politics of the small state/small city. The paper also presents a carefully balanced critique of governance practices that seeks to implement integrative strategies in a rather fragmented setting of development, policy and regulation. In so doing, the paper situates this specific case of urbanisation in the context of current paths and narratives of development, particularly with respect to the emergence of global ‘enclave spaces’ and the way these are becoming nested into broader network constellations. The paper also discusses possible consequences for both governance practices and comparative urban studies.
This paper examines young Danish families’ motives for leaving the city. By drawing on theories of Bourdieu and Giddens and combining them with a notion of place drawn from human geography, an analytical framework for studying people’s motives for moving is developed. In this framework the concept "dwelling habitus" is central. By applying the analytical framework to the study of Danish middle-income families with children, their motives for out-migrating from Copenhagen are explored. Two broad categories of motives for moving are identified: the housing and the anti-urban. The housing motive is based on changes in housing needs during family formation and on the limited opportunities in the Copenhagen housing market. The anti-urban motive is based on a wish to bring up children in a non-urban milieu. The paper argues that an understanding of motives that focuses on the interrelationship of habitus and sense of place, the "dwelling habitus", can inform studies of migration processes and make them more nuanced.
This article departs from accounts that either deify Indignant Squares as a model for 21st century political praxis or demonize them as apolitical/post-political crowd gatherings. By performing a closer ethnographic reading of the Indignants’ protests at Athens’ Syntagma Square, we depict the Indignant Squares as a consensual and deeply spatialized staging of dissent, which nevertheless harbours in its underbelly internally conflicting and often radically opposing political imaginaries. A closer reading of the organization, practice and discourses that evolved at Syntagma Square unearths the existence of not one, but two distinct Indignant Squares, both at Syntagma, each with its own topography (upper and lower square), and its own discursive and material practices. Although both squares staged dissent, they nevertheless generated different (opposing, even) political imaginaries. The ‘upper square’ often divulged nationalistic or xenophobic discourses; the ‘lower square’ centred around more organized efforts to stage inclusive politics of solidarity. The paper suggests that, rather than focusing on the homogenizing terms Indignants’ movement/Indignant Squares we should instead be trying to develop a more nuanced theoretical understanding and a more finely grained empirical analysis of the discursive and spatial choreographies of these events. This, we argue, would allow us to go beyond either celebrating them as new political imaginaries, or condemning them as expressions of a post-political era. Talking of ‘Indignant Squares’ in the plural helps one explore in more grounded ways both the limitations and the possibilities that these events offer for opening up (or closing down) democratic politics.
This article deals with cross-border cooperation analysed in terms of cooperation that takes place between organisations in particular societal institutions and in a cross-border context. The concept on which this study is based is path dependence understood in terms of its function in explaining the creation of institutions in societal life. The aim of this article was to determine the sustainability of trans-border partnerships initiated within the framework of the PHARE CBC Programme in Poland. Three major rules governing the system of cooperation in border regions in Poland have been identified in the course of this analysis: the dependence of the activities of organisations cooperating in border regions on external financing; a lack of cross-border organisations recognised as border-region hosts whose position would entitle them to make key decisions concerning the whole area under research; and the significance of the border-region and attractive neighbour locational rent for territorial cooperation.
This article presents Russian and Ukrainian ethnographic case studies on informal payments in state health and education sectors. Overviews of post-socialist transformation can conflate daily informal payments to bureaucrats made by citizens with high-level political corruption. Micro-study analyses frame informal payments within a binary of ex-ante ‘insurance’ or ex-post ‘gratitude’, embedded within an economistic transactional frame. In contrast, this article takes a ‘social function’ approach, examining transactions for what they reveal about parties’ evaluations of personhood, both of the giver and receiver. Street-level bureaucrats and citizens engage in socially grounded negotiation whereby payment is assessed within a needs–means spectrum. The more needy, the smaller the payment; the greater the means, the greater the payment. This is an efficacy-affective form of redistribution and welfare functioning against a backdrop of the dysfunctional state’s refusal to act as social welfare guarantor. It reveals a degree of structuring from below of the qualitative intervention by the state in the lives of citizens, even as distrust and despair in post-socialist societies due to the retreat of the state from its duties towards citizens reach ever higher levels.
In the political fluidity of our times, the dismal economic situation in Greece is perhaps extreme but indicative of a deepening crisis in Europe, which is expanding, both geographically and socially. Contrary to the dominant rhetoric, austerity measures and pacts imposed on Greece, Portugal, Spain – and later Cyprus – do not seem to provide effective remedies. On the contrary, they seem to plunge entire areas and groups of people into a vicious cycle of rising unemployment, shrinking incomes and deep impoverishment. In the context of this rhetoric, an almost exclusive emphasis on the macro-economic aspects of the crisis, seems to "expel" from public debate the fact that there are effects of austerity policies that are unevenly distributed, inscribed as they are on existing inequalities: inequalities among places, between women and men, locals and migrants, big and small employers, secure and precarious workers and, most importantly, intersections of these. This paper engages with some of the less debated aspects of the crisis in Athens, with a focus on the complex and usually invisible ways in which it impacts on women. It draws upon research in a low-income neighbourhood of Athens and focuses on changes in women’s everyday lives, which have to do with job precarity and job loss, destruction of social services and the re-shaping of care, as well as practices of coping with/resisting the crisis.
This article explores the conditions under which local and regional governments will establish and sustain cross-border co-operation in the fields of police, fire fighting and emergency health services. It argues that understanding this type of cross-border co-operation requires a focus on the way in which professionals define and apply their professional standards in cross-border contexts. Moreover, it requires a focus on individual organizations and professionals working in them, rather than ‘government’ or ‘the state’ as a whole, since cross-border co-operation in these areas typically develops as a result of disparate and unconnected initiatives taken by governmental actors in a given border region. Based on four studies of cross-border co-operation in Dutch border regions, we argue that differences in legal, organizational and cultural backgrounds between the participating countries can be and are overcome by street-level professionals and their organizations, who act as ‘regionauts’ in exploring opportunities for cross-border co-operation. In this type of ‘bottom-up’ cross-border co-operation, motivation among participants is the key to establishing co-operation, and solutions to differences between work routines will be developed along the way. As a result, the establishment of cross-border co-operation often is an experimental, pragmatic enterprise, which is greatly affected by local intra- and inter-organizational dynamics. This opens the potential for pragmatic, flexible and creative solutions. Yet, at the same time it also runs the risk of producing unaccountable cross-border arrangements that are insufficiently embedded in legal and professional safeguards against error and abuse.
This paper proposes a tripartite framework of transportation, transformation and translation to conceptualise the circulation, mutation and impacts of mobile policies as translocal, socio-material networks. Drawing on material from semi-structured interviews, participant observation and documents it considers the value of this framework by examining the mobility of the sustainability agenda of the Winter Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi, Russia. The paper shows how sustainability policies were packaged and mobilised to flow to Russia (transportation), how ineffective governance arrangements, a lack of institutional controls and time pressure altered them (transformation) and how the results fell far short of initial bid commitments (translation). As such, it sheds light onto the multiple immobilities and mutations that come with the attempts to mobilise policies.
Past studies of business associations conducted in the late 1980s indicated that employers were reluctant to support devolution due to economic fears and political uncertainties. However, profound changes have altered the dominant economic and political paradigms over the course of the last three decades. Regional innovation has become a linchpin for competitive economies, whereas secession has become a skyrocketing political issue in Catalonia and Scotland, and a number of regional agencies have been settled throughout Europe, even in unitary states. Have business associations adapted to this new reality? This article examines 18 regional business associations from three Spanish regions (Catalonia, Andalusia and the Valencian Community) and three UK regions (Scotland, Wales and South West England). The first part of the article discusses six theoretical arguments linking business associations and regionalism. A general overview of the cases is offered in the second section. The third section of the article performs a fuzzy sets/Qualitative Comparative Analysis to identify the main factors that bolster the regionalisation of business associations. By way of conclusion, there are two routes towards successful regional business mobilisation. On the one hand, this happens in regions where a competent institutional arrangement has been established. On the other hand, this also happens when business associations recognise the economic and political strengths of the region while they are able to interact with regional institutions.
Beyond the national political-territorial borders in Europe, the cross-regional dimension maintains an experimental democratic character. Entities developed to foster cross-border cooperation, such as working communities and Euroregions, are conceived as mechanisms of democratisation through the decentralisation of regional or/and local governmental bodies. However, scholarly debate suggests that the top-down policy-making process that is characteristic of cross-border programmes seems to cast doubt on the fulfilment of a European participatory democracy. In this respect, the cross-border cooperation process seems to contribute an added value to the dilemma of the European democratic deficit. The objective of this paper is to present a regional contribution to this debate through a study of local experts’ perspectives on the implementation and impact of cross-border cooperation policies in the southern Portugal–Spain border region and the possibilities for local and social participation. This paper utilises data from two related investigations in the southern cross-border area between Portugal and Spain, including qualitative interviews, focus groups and content analysis of secondary data. The results reveal a positive attitude towards the recent regional top-down initiatives of European integration, although local experts question the potential for the inclusion of local perspectives in cross-border initiatives. In addition, during this period of economic crisis, political contradictions may be observed, and political initiatives related to the Spanish–Portuguese border may hamper the existing cross-border flows and dynamics of progressive integration. In this sense, local authorities play an important role as the nexus between transnational institutions of cross-border cooperation and the inhabitants of border regions.
Why do increases in globalisation in the face of European expansion lead to sharp levels of regional divergences in wealth in some countries but not in others? The central crux of this paper is that convergence/divergence trends in European states are conditioned by ‘state capacity’. State capacity –which we define here as a combination of impartial bureaucratic practices, corruption and the rule of law – limits, and in some cases reverses the tendency towards greater divergence linked to trade. Countries with high levels of state capacity – that is, those that have greater government effectiveness, stronger rule of law and lower corruption – experience lower levels of divergence, as they have the mechanisms to counterbalance the strong centripetal forces linked to openness. This claim is tested on countries that have experienced relatively high levels of increases in levels of economic and political globalisation – European Union (EU) member states – using aggregated regional-level data from 1995 to 2008. Strong and robust empirical evidence is found for this claim.
Portugal is working on the reform of its local government. Although amalgamation was one of the recommended strategies, as a consequence of the European Union/International Monetary Fund bailout process, an alternative approach has been suggested. This reform is mostly a development of inter-municipal cooperation mechanisms combined with partial devolution strategies. However, as the bailout agreement was its main catalyst, the urgency to cut public administration costs required in the memorandum and the imposed deadlines gave a perverse incentive for central government to produce ad hoc and fragmented modifications. I argue that these political and economical demands, which sanctioned the argument for rushed measures, together with the country’s strong local identities, historical municipalism, political centralism and the political costs of significant territorial changes, can explain the absence of a comprehensible reform strategy and the singularities of its policies. This article explores the framework that justifies the reform and assesses the impacts of the bailout agreement.
This paper engages with the debates around the Olympic legacy by exploring the qualitative, intangible impacts of the Cultural Olympiad programme on local small creative firms in Torino, Italy and London, UK. The research objectives are achieved through a qualitative study of local small creative firms’ perceptions of the impacts of the Olympic Games’ cultural programme on their activities. To achieve this, Torino 2006 and London 2012 are used as case studies. The findings of this exploratory study show that cultural events can impact the creative sector. They do this by providing opportunities for mutual learning and access to initiatives that may generate ideas and new skills, as well as contributing to the development of a creative field. The study also explores the weaknesses and missed opportunities linked to the Cultural Olympiad programme, as perceived by creative practitioners. These include the lack of information and failure to engage smaller businesses. Based on qualitative analysis and discussion, recommendations for future organizers and further research are provided.
While recent studies have illustrated how European cities are shifting towards exurban development, the influence of urban form on sprawl models has been poorly investigated at both the regional and local scales. The present study introduces an original sprawl index and analyses its spatio-temporal dynamics between 1960 and 2010 in two Mediterranean regions (Athens and Rome) characterized by contrasting urban morphology. Different models of urban dispersion have been identified during the investigated period by correlating variables such as population density, land-use and territorial characteristics to the sprawl index. This index significantly diverged in the two regions, suggesting that recent urbanization patterns are influenced by the city’s form. The results contribute to the debate on sustainable urban form for expanding cities in Europe.
The level of integration of a city into transnational networks has become widely interpreted as the decisive factor of urban development in a globalising world. Hence, the building of transnational links has become a vital aspect of city development strategies. This applies in a particular way also to the "latecomer" cities in East Central Europe aspiring to overcome marginality. Here, the analysis of final European Capital of Culture applications allows for definition of the state-of-the-art of such transnationalisation strategies in this part of Europe. As the cases of the five cities shortlisted in the contest to become the Polish European Capital of Culture 2016 show (i.e. Gdałsk, Katowice, Lublin, Warsaw, and the eventual laureate city of Wrocław), transnational networking on the level of innovative regions, metropolitan areas or cross-border regions is rather poorly developed. The cases also show that the lack of transnational urban societies, which is interpreted as a disadvantage in the quest to build and market attractive and creative cities, can be compensated for by the rediscovery of a multiethnic past.
Analysing the territorial dynamics of culture, particularly its tendency to form clusters, has become a study area that draws the attention of various social science disciplines. It has grown steadily in importance over the last 20 years alongside the increasing interest in creative industries and cultural institutions as factors in socio-economic development and urban regeneration. Most of today’s literature on the subject takes cultural clusters as a single type and focuses on aspects linked to their urban planning or economic impact. However, there is a growing awareness of the importance of the social dimension of cultural clusters. This paper aims to differentiate between various cultural clusters in the city of Barcelona by constructing models or types of cluster, taking into account the predominant interaction dynamics and the type of social ties generated between the cultural agents participating in these groupings. Following these criteria we distinguish three types of cultural cluster according to whether a bureaucratic, associative or community dynamic predominates. These social dynamics enable us to understand the success or failure of a cluster policy.
This paper discusses the current tendency of institutionalizing supranational regions and building their identities in planning. The focus is on the interplay of regional identities and branding, for regional identity and image are understood as intertwined both conceptually and in the everyday practices of region-building. Research on the Barents and Ireland–Wales supranational regions is discussed by making an analytical distinction between thick and thin region-building, emphasizing that regional identity, as an aspect of thin region-building, has a strong instrumental element and is assumed to cause positive development across borders. It is argued that as a result of the emphasis on competitiveness, marketing-oriented promotional representations are now becoming emphasized in region-building. The advocates of region-building did not emphasize thick and/or cultural identity, but they were aware that it, too, is part of European regional policy and that they should react accordingly by promoting it.
This article connects two streams in the literature on local political leadership by identifying the effect of leadership in form on the altering nature of leadership behaviour in the era of governance as a promising field of research. In particular, it argues to proceed with a comparative new institutionalism agenda. In order to illustrate this approach it uses data from a comparative project on local political leadership in Europe and focuses on mayor business orientation as an aspect of external networking. The analysis shows institutional form matters, but is highly contingent upon leadership context and characteristics. Future research should not only improve the conceptualization of form and extend the scope of leadership behaviour under study, but also probe into the causal mechanisms that relate form, context and characteristics.
This article is concerned with the role of national governments in the rescaling of cross-border metropolitan governance structures in Europe. In the context of emergent cross-border metropolitan regions, the objective is to highlight the structuring effects of support policies to metropolitan areas at national level, in the context of their politics of scales, on the scalar configurations developed by local and regional actors. Using a comparative approach, the cases of Basel, Geneva and Luxembourg are singled out. The confrontation between German, Swiss and French state policies, and the modalities of the rescaling of levels of governance within the three cross-border metropolitan regions, allows us to underline the considerable influence of national guidelines on scalar reconfigurations. The structuring role of governments in this ‘new cross-border regionalism’ needs to be relativized, however, in functions of the specific characteristics of each context as well as factors relating to the actors involved.
Although migrants dominate employment in many major cities, the reasons for this, and the mechanisms by which they are recruited, are surprisingly under-researched. Focusing on the numerically dominant small hotel sub-sector in a global city, London, the paper first questions whether labour costs or competences are the main drivers of migrant employment, emphasising the difficulties of disentangling the relationships between these. Secondly, it analyses how migrant workers are recruited, and finds less evidence to support the concepts of ethnic queuing and co-ethnic recruitment as opposed to diversified migrant recruitment in the context of the super-diversity of migrant populations in a global city. Finally, it demonstrates that although there are compelling reasons for migrant employment in London’s small hotels, and that this is supported by a number of recruitment practices, they are unevenly distributed across establishments, reflecting the complex nature of migrant employment in a highly diverse sub-sector. The research utilises mixed methods, drawing on a survey of 155 hotel managers and 51 in-depth interviews.
This Euro-commentary puts the lens on the European Union (EU) North-African city of Ceuta. In so doing, it introduces the notion of EU limboscapes. In the 1990s and early 2000s the iconic twin-metal fencing of Ceuta’s borders added powerful visual strength to the metaphorical Fortress Europe. Today, Ceuta is still (or even more) central when it comes to the conceptual understanding of the socio-spatial articulation of the EU project vis-à-vis migration management. In this respect, we suggest that the limboscape profile drawn by Ceuta’s spatial dynamics is now iconic in terms of current EU b/ordering practices. The notion of limboscape helps us conceptually grasp/map the expanding archipelago of migrant confinement spaces scattered within and beyond EU space.
The film "Homes for Games" consists of documentary footage showing the profound transformation of Imeretinskaya Bay, the location of the Olympic Coastal Cluster in Sochi, situated on the Black Sea coast near the border between Georgia/Abkhazia and Russia. In the tradition of local history, the documentary footage collects the local residents’ stories about their experiences with the Olympic relocation. Through the people’s narrations that come from periodic interviews, the film explores the links between space, place and the creation of individual and collective identity. By commenting on video stills and specific film sequences, this article reflects the gradual replacement of fields and settlements as the master plan of the Games is being implemented. By giving voice to the residents, whose views go unnoticed in the official media, the film shows to what extent the Olympic Winter Games change the residents’ living and working situation.
In this article I ethnographically investigate the urban governance of Rancitelli, a marginalized neighbourhood in Pescara, Southern Italy; in the neighbourhood the majority of the members of the local unrecognized minority of Italian Roma reside. Although privately recognizing social problems concerning the neighbourhood and its residents, who live in marginal social conditions, local authorities are silent vis-à-vis these issues. Drawing on long-term fieldwork and analysis of local media and policy texts, I show that in the absence of local authorities’ official discourses on Roma and the neighbourhood, social order is continually maintained through an unofficial complex dynamic, which I call ‘urban governance apparatus’. I show that this ‘apparatus’ is composed of three elements, namely (1) public policy in the neighbourhood; (2) urban Roma stigma; and (3) what I call ‘surreptitious gazing’ in the neighbourhood. My argument is that when urban governance involves major tacit and unofficial dynamics – and this is especially true when unrecognized minorities are involved – the concept of ‘urban governance apparatus’ may better serve the aim of analysing and understanding certain local power dynamics.
While research on the globalisation of services in economic geography continues to develop in multiple directions, some service industries are still largely under-researched. The hotel industry is one of the most striking examples. Given that the hotel sector is much more global in terms of number of countries covered by each company than many other service industries, one of the crucial aspects of hotel sector globalisation that requires attention from a geographical perspective is the territorial embeddedness of expanding hotel groups in the variety of institutional, political and economic contexts. Grounded in the global production networks (GPNs) approach, this paper aims to address this lacuna in empirical and theoretical terms. Drawing from extensive research carried out in Poland, Estonia and Bulgaria, the paper examines the impact of post-communist transformations on the expansion of international hotel groups into Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) and analyses how different hotel GPNs interact with the various contexts across the region. It is argued that the ways in which post-communist transformations influence the expansion of hotel groups into CEE depend upon the degree of territorial embeddedness of the hotel group, which, in turn, is reflective of the group’s business model and the architecture of its GPN. In theoretical terms, the paper illustrates how, to better account for the particularities of CEE, the GPN approach can incorporate the ‘alternative approach’ – the theory of post-communist transformations that challenges the neoliberal orthodoxy which drove the post-communist restructuring in the 1990s.
This paper has two main aims: on the one hand, it provides an overview of recent metropolitan area population changes in Spain and assesses their spatial patterns through a typology and on the other hand, it analyses the impact of the current economic crisis on the aforementioned trends. The main source used is the Padrón continuo, the local continuous registration system providing official data updated every year on 1 January. Regarding metropolitan area delimitation, we have decided to use that employed by the Atlas de las Áreas Urbanas de España and to situate the population threshold at 500,000 inhabitants. Fifteen urban areas satisfied the requirements. Therefore, this paper analyses, for the 2001–2011 decade, population growth and urban expansion in the 15 Spanish largest metropolitan areas. In the first phase, suburbanisation intensified while the areas simultaneously received significant international migration inflows. The latter compensated Spaniards’ exit flows from core cities, which increased their population again. The economic crisis, which began in 2008, and its significant impact on the real estate sector, drew an end to this urban expansion and growth period, as it seems to have slowed Spanish metropolitan area growth and restrained suburbanisation dynamics. Consequently, in recent years, residential mobility has decreased and metropolitan areas have entered a new phase characterised by a reduction of both foreign immigration inflows and Spaniards’ movements away from core cities. Therefore, with few exceptions, urban centres are currently once again gaining Spanish residents or at least have stopped losing them.
Amongst developed countries, Italy is unusual in that it has maintained a specialisation in traditional industries such as textiles and clothing (TCI). Explanations of Italy’s unusual industrial profile mainly emphasise the role of endogenous economic and cultural resources. Globalisation in the 1990s and 2000s saw slow growth and a significant decline of these formerly resilient industries. Analyses of trade and unit value data support accounts of the lateness of the Italian TCI’s movement in the direction of Outward Processing Traffic (OPT) and the subsequent rise of a pan-Euro-Mediterranean system. More recently, however, this system has declined as a result of new competitive challenges from China and other emerging economies that have eroded the position of Italian enterprises on export and domestic markets and adversely affected their Euro-Mediterranean suppliers. As district and value-chain theories show, the geography of industrial activities is a result of enterprise strategies and the environment in which they operate. To embrace recent trends these theories must, however, be extended to give greater weight to exchange rate, trade, market, demand-side and related institutional issues.
The European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) is the most significant of the Structural Funds in terms of budget and range of thematic priorities. For the purposes of this paper, we argue that three different levels in multi-level governance emerge in their planning and management: the higher (European and national) level planning; the lower level (beneficiaries); and the intermediate level of (national and regional) planning and management. We discuss the views and practices of intermediate managers and beneficiaries to gain insights on the effectiveness of ERDF interventions on the island of Lesvos (Voreio Aigaio region, Greece), with interviews with a number of key stakeholders and beneficiaries. The findings suggest differences and contrasting views on the role of ERDF funding among the different levels. Local politics also affect the effectiveness by influencing the administration, planning and management of ERDF implementation.
While Finland has traditionally been a country where major political forces have put important emphasis on balancing the regional structure and supporting the peripheral regions, development since the 1990s has been characterised by growing regional differences and increasing dominance of centralising tendencies. In the first decade of the new millennium, these tendencies have further intensified. This article analyses the processes, dynamics and underlying rationalities of this state restructuring and state spatial transformation in Finland and in the Helsinki region, the capital area of the country. The developments in Finland are placed in broader international context as they are analysed in relation to recent debates on state rescaling. The validity of some of the core arguments presented in these debates is examined in the Finnish context. The case of the Helsinki region and Finland is also set into a Nordic perspective by presenting a comparison of rescaling tendencies in the Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark and Norway). The findings are mixed, as there are both elements supporting the rescaling thesis and clear deviations from the core arguments.
With reference to cohesion policy, multi-level governance (MLG) is the policy-making architecture that implements the subsidiarity principle, which aims for direct involvement bringing government closer to the citizen. In parallel, the partnership principle (PP) has been introduced to guarantee the participation of social and economic actors in both decision making and implementation processes in order to better understand and respond to territorial needs. A review of existing literature identifies opposing views on the benefit of this complex architecture. This paper investigates potentially conflicting effects of MLG and the PP on political accountability, for example by blurring responsibilities and corrupting stakeholder engagements. The Italian case is used to test this hypothesis and identify bottlenecks. Initial findings suggest that the empowerment of new actors by means of MLG has had the effect of disclosing political influence from several players in the decision-making arena, therefore obscuring the accountability of the different tiers involved both vertically and horizontally. This is because actors in the governance chain might tend to shift blame of policy failure towards higher or lower governmental levels. Additionally, the engagement of stakeholders may reduce the efficiency of implementation processes both through a lack of inclusiveness in the decision and policymaking style or through a lack of competences within civil society in interpreting local needs in relation to EU cohesion policy goals. This article concludes by outlining possible solutions for cohesion policy practice to minimize the negative consequences of a multi-tier/multi-actor system.
This article contributes to the debate over the fashionable but contested concept of ‘territorial cohesion’ in the European Union. Scholars have long recognised and traced discursive shifts in EU territorial development policies, but theoretical accounts of the drivers and parameters of such shifts are rare. This article applies the multiple streams model of agenda-setting to the territorial cohesion debate in order to explore how useful this model is in analysing and predicting the outcome of a debate. The article is structured according to the three ‘streams’ that are relevant to agenda-setting: problems, policies and politics. The analysis relies on the responses to the 2008 Green Paper on Territorial Cohesion in order to determine how politically feasible different policy solutions are. More recent developments such as the Territorial Agenda 2020 and the European Commission’s proposals for Cohesion Policy for 2014–2020 are then used to assess the predictive power of multiple streams. It is shown that the model successfully predicts the endurance of solidarity-based cohesion goals, the emergence of territorial capital as a key policy solution, and the rejection of geographical criteria for the allocation of EU Structural Funds. At the same time, the multiple streams model fails to predict the introduction of spatial planning tools into EU cohesion policy. This shows that explaining a substantial redefinition of existing policy terms requires some reference to key actors’ broader discursive strategies. The article concludes that the multiple streams model has some predictive and explanatory power; criticisms of the model as overly descriptive are exaggerated.
Two major processes have increased the need for cross-border public transportation policies in European metropolitan regions in the recent past: the imperative of a region’s accessibility within the inter-urban competition and the aspired EU-wide regional harmonization and de-bordering process. Governing such multifaceted issues in cross-border regions requires the implementation of suitable and efficient organizational solutions. In the example of the cross-border metropolitan region of Luxembourg, we discuss the contradicting ‘border effects’ of a complex cross-border governance network. Such flexible policy networks are supposed to make the proclaimed economic, socio-cultural, and spatial European integration work on the very local level. We suggest that the governance typology of Liesbet Hooghe and Gary Marks offers a useful guiding heuristics for function-specific governance arrangements in cross-border regional contexts. We utilize a method mix of a quantitative social network analysis and a complementary qualitative survey to illuminate structural notions of the policy network relations to relate our empirical results to the conceptual debate on governance structures in the politically proclaimed de-bordering regions within the EU.
We analyse industry–academic links in the context of a dual economy (or disarticulated industrial structure) in Ireland, a peripheral region of the EU. The duality found in the Irish industrial structure is the result of a FDI-led industrialisation strategy which has resulted in two distinct economic sectors – foreign and indigenous, respectively – with weak interactions between the two. Through increased public funding of academic research, the Irish government aimed to attract and embed new waves of higher-value foreign direct investment and increase the dynamism of its indigenous enterprise base. Based on a combination of quantitative and qualitative data, the paper analyses a crucial aspect of Ireland’s recent emphasis on STI policy – industry-academic linkages – and finds that the measures introduced reproduce in the public research system the uneven development found in Ireland’s productive system between indigenous industry and the foreign-owned industrial base.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, the Leader programme has been hailed as the instrument of rural policy that most explicitly takes account of the territorial dimension. This culminated in the mainstreaming of its underlying concept into the Rural Development Programmes of the current period (2007–2013), with the aim of having more effective policy implementation that considers the diversified needs of rural regions. Starting from analysis of the application and delivery of Leader under the present Rural Development Programme in two EU countries, Austria and Ireland, this paper presents an assessment of the effects of this programme change. In addition, it includes the EU-wide discussion on the (limited) effectiveness of the current implementation of Leader and the search for a reorientation towards local development activities in the EU’s reform proposals. The paper frames the analysis around the notion of social innovation, a concept of central importance to the aims of Leader. It is argued that the implementation of Leader in this period falls far behind its potential to beneficially impact rural regions; hence it should be an object of critical debate in the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy and rural development measures, as well as coherence analyses with other policies, beyond 2013.
This paper presents a study of the Irish experience of EU cohesion policy, with a view to exploring what the Irish case can tell us about the conditionality of state’s adaptation to EU policy values and practice. Using Bache’s (2008) framework for the analysis of Europeanization, Multi-Level Governance and Cohesion policy, the paper finds that Europeanization has resulted in a reorientation of domestic policies, practices and preferences in the Irish case, but the consequence has been the creation of Multi-Level Governance Type II not I (Börzel and Risse, 2003). The governance changes that have occurred have been ad hoc and messy, and central government’s response to them has been short-termist and financially expedient. This raises concerns about the sustainability of knowledge transfer impacts from Irish Multi-Level Governance and partnership projects within the formal system of Irish government. More generally, it suggests that if the desired impacts of EU Cohesion policy are to be sustainable in the longer-term, more attention needs to be given to effectively measuring and explaining EU policy influence, so that we might begin to understand how it can be supported and sustained in a variety of state contexts.
Land use planning practices in different municipalities and urban regions in Finland vary substantially, as do attitudes towards land ownership and land use policy. Consequently, inter-municipal cooperation in strategic land use planning is often weak, despite central government efforts such as the introduction of the PARAS Act in 2007, which exhorts municipalities in the urban regions to consolidate or cooperate. However, governmental steering has been vague on most sensitive and pragmatic land use policy issues such as planning and policy tools to control dispersed development patterns leading to urban sprawl. This article examines the challenges of consistent steering of land use practices by presenting observations from follow-up studies of five Finnish urban regions, all in the first stage of implementing the PARAS Act. The analysis reveals that mixed messages and defensive routines are preventing effective political debate on core issues. These defences are fostered by the vagueness of central government policy. Since these core issues have not been brought up in the legislation, they are now being tackled – or ignored – at the local level in an unpredictable manner.
The issue of urban shrinkage has become the new ‘normal’ across Europe: a large number of urban areas find themselves amongst the cities losing population. According to recent studies, almost 42 per cent of all large European cities are currently shrinking. In eastern Europe, shrinking cities have formed the overwhelming majority – here, three out of four cities report a decrease in population. Shrinkage has proved to be a very diverse and complex phenomenon. In our understanding, a considerable and constant loss of population by an urban area classifies it as a shrinking city. So, while the indicator of shrinkage used here is rather simple, the nature of the process and its causes and consequences for the affected urban areas are multifaceted and need to be explained and understood in further detail. Set against this background, the article presents, first, urban shrinkage as both spatially and temporally uneven. Second, this article shows that the causes of urban shrinkage are as varied as they are numerous. We explore the ‘pluralist world of urban shrinkage’ in the European Union and beyond. The article provides an original process model of urban shrinkage, bringing together its causes, impacts and dynamics, and setting them in the context of locally based urban trajectories. The main argument of this arrticle is that there is no ‘grand explanatory heuristics’ of shrinkage; a ‘one-size-fits-all’ explanatory approach to shrinkage cannot deliver. To progress and remain relevant, one ought to move away from outcome-orientated towards process-orientated research on urban shrinkage.
Contributing to an emerging debate that brings the mobilization of land rent as a financial asset to the heart of urban analysis, this article offers a narrative of land financialization as a ‘lived’ process. Focusing empirically on Bicocca (a post-industrial area north-east of Milan that traditionally hosted the activities of Pirelli, one of Italy’s most successful companies), the paper shifts the focus of enquiry on land financialization from global capital flows and real estate aggregate data to a qualitative analysis of the alliances and struggles between the elites and workers who animated the traditional manufacturing sector. Centring the analysis on these previously neglected actors permits an understanding of land financialization as a ‘lived’ and socially embodied process, and offers a complementary perspective to the discussion on the role of land rent in the making of financialized capitalism. First, it reveals the struggles and alliances between industrial elites, workers’ unions, and local governance as key protagonists in the way land became mobilized as a financial asset, was subsequently embedded in practices of urban renewal, and finally contributed to an epochal change in urban capitalism. Second, it shows how mobilizing industrial land as a financial asset performed not just a coordinating but also a transformative role in the transition from industrial to financial capitalism as it enabled traditional elites to launch into a financialized phase of transnational competition. Third, it reveals changes in urban governance to be as much responses to the needs of local traditional elites as they are responses to the demands of global financial elites.
In urban policy discourses across Western Europe, video surveillance is often considered an important tool to increase the safety of consumers in city-centre areas in general, and in nightlife districts in particular. However, the question of whether closed-circuit television (CCTV) actually promotes experiences of safety is neither straightforward nor resolved. Although this topic has received substantial attention in the academic literature, relatively little research has been conducted on how users of public spaces perceive CCTV whilst in the midst of situations. By directly confronting study participants in the presence of CCTV cameras, we explore nightlife district visitors’ perceptions and understandings of CCTV in situ, in relation to safety when out at night in Utrecht and Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Potential differences regarding gender and ethnicity are also considered. We found, first, that our study participants’ awareness of CCTV during the practice of ‘going out’ was a continuum rather than a dichotomy (aware or unaware) and that fuller awareness of CCTV is related to greater personal safety. Second, we observed a large gap between the policy discourses surrounding CCTV and the understanding of nightlife district visitors regarding how CCTV works. It is suggested that one way of aligning visitors’ understanding and policy discourses is to shift the latter from a focus on ensuring safety towards offering assistance. For the delivery of such assistance in practice, CCTV needs to be integrated further with other forms of policing and surveillance, especially those forms that are compatible with a spatiotemporal logic of embodiment and situatedness.
Urban-to-rural consumption-led mobility contributes to restructuring stagnating rural areas in Europe. Against this background, this article explores international rural place-marketing efforts by Swedish municipalities towards affluent western European migrants, exemplified by campaigns in the Netherlands. The analysis is based on the concepts of rural place marketing and lifestyle migration. Research methods employed in this article are observation and a survey during migration information meetings, followed by interviews with both stakeholders and migrants. The results suggest that rural municipalities with less favourable or unfavourable geographic conditions are the most actively engaged in international place-marketing efforts. Participation in migration information meetings and the Internet are the most commonly used communication strategies. The engaged municipalities are selective in their consideration of target groups. Attracting even a few of the ‘right type’ of migrants (i.e. families and entrepreneurs from affluent countries) over the course of some years contributes considerably to maintaining a small municipality’s population and economic viability. However, although stakeholders claim that the marketing efforts have been effective and statistics point out that the number of Dutch migrants has increased, it is hard to distinguish the effect of rural place-marketing campaigns from the myriad possibilities for migrants to gather information about potential destination areas. Therefore, regional policy makers may consider shifting their focus to actively receiving potential migrants who are in the final stage of their decision process.
This article draws on the concept of Europeanization to assess the EU cohesion policy’s capacity to promote inclusive regional governance and cooperation in regional development initiatives in Central and Eastern European countries. EU cohesion policy is often credited with improving cooperation and coordination in the delivery of the regional development policy through the application of multi-level governance enshrined in the partnership principle. By imposing a close partnership among a variety of actors, cohesion policy has the capacity to alter domestic relations between the centre and the periphery, and to create a broader scope for regional and bottom-up involvement in economic development policy. However, a lack of tradition of decentralization and collaborative policy-making, as well as a limited capacity of sub-national actors, can result in uneven outcomes of the application of the partnership principle across countries and regions. This raises questions about the transferability of the partnership approach to new Member States characterized by weak sub-national institutions, a legacy of centralized policy-making and limited civic involvement. This paper addresses this issue by comparing horizontal partnership arrangements put in place for the purpose of cohesion policy implementation and examining their impacts on the patterns of sub-national governance. The horizontal partnership arrangements are compared across three regions in countries with differentiated systems of territorial administration: Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
Across Europe, urban shrinkage has become an important phenomenon. According to recent studies, almost 42% of all large European cities are currently shrinking, the largest number of them being situated in Eastern Europe. Across Europe, shrinkage affects all types of regions; in a way, Europe has become a shrinking continent. Shrinkage is not only a problem of larger cities, but has, in fact, become one of several pathways for European urban and rural development. Given the context that the European Commission’s ambition is to create prosperous, attractive and sustainable cities, they are expected to create equilibrium between population and employment opportunities, provide clean, safe, sustainable environments and avoid social exclusion. Set against this background, the commentary discusses the challenge that urban shrinkage brings about for European policymaking. It addresses especially issues of urban governance and planning. It draws on recent research on shrinking cities across the European territory. It argues that, on the European level, knowledge about shrinking cities is required; hence, the European Commission should encourage networks of researchers and support mutual exchange between research and urban practice. It argues, too, that there is a great deal of expertise available in some European cities about how to cope with shrinkage and there are other places, throughout Europe, that are in urgent need of this expertise. It finally advocates a stronger voice for the vision of the sustainable, shrinking or shrunk city as a priority of current and future urban policy of the EU.
Endogenous growth policy and partnership collaboration have become increasingly prevalent in the search for value creation and innovation in regional development. Little attention is, however, paid to the dynamic role of project leadership in promoting such broad partnership-based collaboration. Drawing on experiences and data from a partnership-based Regional Development Coalition in Norway (2007–2010), this inquiry seeks to fill this gap. It explores, from a project leadership viewpoint, key challenges in orchestrating and facilitating bottom-up learning processes along the horizontal dimension, and the upholding of national mandates and political visions along the vertical dimension. Based on the empirical findings, a model is developed which sheds light on the complex role of project leadership in partnership-based collaborations.
In the context of financial crisis and recession, concern has grown in the UK and elsewhere over the relationship between labour immigration and indigenous unemployment. This article argues that, to understand this relationship, it is necessary to adopt a historical perspective and examine closely both the experiences and representations of migrant and indigenous workers and the unemployed together, as these develop and evolve in local labour markets over time. Presenting a case study of employment shift at a meat processing factory in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, the article demonstrates how the promotion and acceptance by employers and others of a discourse that constructs Merthyr locals as bad workers reframes a history of local labour conflict as a matter of endemic worker deficit, and shifts attention away from problems of poor job quality to alleged problems of poor local labour supply, thus legitimating the turn to employing migrant workers in the first place. It is argued that investigating these kinds of local labour market histories is essential for developing appropriate and effective policy on immigration, employment and unemployment alike.
This paper presents a study on regional development and innovation systems. The theoretical points of departure are gender theory and two perspectives from human geography and sociology: the theory of network governance for regional development and the theory of homosocial networks. The regional policy of the EU today is characterized by a strongly emphasized governance model: i.e., an orientation towards networks and cluster initiatives. The 2004–2007 regional development programme in Värmland, a Swedish county, is a template for this policy. Its basic principles included partnership engagements, networking, EU-specific linguistic usage and superstar rhetoric. However, this seemingly innovative regional policy has roots in traditional industrial society (ironworks and paper mills). The network-planning model allows informal social structures to re-enter the arena of regional planning. Gender equality in regional government policy was challenged by the presence of a homosocial shadow (seamy-side) structure, such as secret networks and clubs on the outside of the official organizations. Networks were also important in the reproduction of traditional power structures, male dominance and hegemony. One conclusion we reach is that networking can be used mutually as a progressive force and as a conservative tool among actors in the innovation of policy.
The strategic choices regarding innovation and research and development (R&D) policy in Portugal have, over the past two decades, produced various positive benefits, in which the regions of Lisbon and Algarve, in particular, have taken the lead. These are the only regions in Portugal which converge towards the European average growth rate with respect to gross production, investment and employment creation. It is now timely to evaluate firms’ contributions to national and regional growth, their obstacles, and impacts. After a conceptualization of innovation policy in Portugal, the present paper treats innovation as a major criterion for the policy evaluation process referred to above. Our empirical investigation aims to explain the innovation performance of Portuguese firms throughout the country, and to explore those determinants of innovation which are region-specific. Therefore, the analysis addresses a set of firms’ achievement patterns, by focusing on ways in which institutions interact in the process of innovation at the regional level. In our modelling study, we employ a new methodology, viz. the external logistic biplot method, which is applied to an extensive sample of innovative institutions in Portugal. Variables identified as crucial determinants in earlier studies are used to describe regional institutional profiles. Such profiles exhibit a great variety of ways in which these determinants are able to promote regional innovation. The creation of a Gradient of Capacity to Dynamically Innovate associated with each firm enables an analysis of the innovation gradient of each region in Portugal. Our paper presents and investigates these findings, and offers some policy lessons.
This paper aims to provide a historical reading of the urbanization of the water cycle in Madrid and Barcelona. Starting from an urban political ecology view, the urbanization of the water cycle is understood as the mobilization of water resources to keep pace with and sustain urban growth. This process could not be understood without inquiring into the evolution of the urban fabric in both cities. At the same time an understanding of the power choreographies over the water cycle needs to be brought to the fore. In Barcelona, disputes between the municipality and private capital over the water monopoly deeply shaped the trajectory of the urban supply from the mid-19th century until the early 20th century. Later on, under private monopoly, the search for water resources beyond the urban limits required the development of infrastructures such as dams and channels to keep pace with the intense urbanization of the postwar period. On the other hand, the fully public nature of the supplier in Madrid may help to explain the impressive magnitude of the waterworks, which belittle the urbanization of water of the Catalan city, while showing that ‘modernity’ in the form of ample supplies of good-quality water arrived in Madrid almost 100 years before Barcelona. Recent environmental and economic crises bring to light the hidden, complex and fragile entanglements that permit the flowing of water into the urban and suburban fabrics.
The implementation of the Water Framework Directive (WFD) has represented a unique opportunity to enhance the regulatory capacity of public agencies and restore the ecological condition of water bodies in the European Union. This paper examines the experience of translating the new Directive into practical policy-making in the Douro River Catchment in the north of Portugal. Regional development and the evolution of water management are initially described, which then inform the assessment of the achievements and failures of the new regulatory regime. The higher level of concern for environmental impacts and the integration of responses that follow the WFD can be identified as positive steps in the direction of resolving lasting water management problems. However, the translation of the Directive into national legislation has also reinforced techno-bureaucratic practices and politico-economic centralisation, as well as led to various forms of contestation and protest. It is suggested that two main reasons account for those difficulties: the sociospatial rigidity (i.e. the fragmented and static understanding of ecological and social interactions) and the monotonic categorisation of water management issues (i.e. upfront decisions with limited scope for innovation and creativity at the local level). Overall, the success of the WFD seems to depend fundamentally on the ability to perceive the broader socionatural complexity of water management and on the pursuit of more effective forms of negotiation and social inclusion.
In Flanders (Belgium), as throughout other parts of Europe, a decrease in the total number of full-time farms and a concentration of production in fewer and larger full-time farms can be recorded. Meanwhile, developments in other sectors in the economy, such as higher incomes, more free time and greater mobility, have increased demand for wildlife, landscape, leisure and outdoor recreation as an integral part of the countryside. These trends have major impacts on the countryside in general. These profound changes within both the agricultural sector and society are not simple and distinct processes, but are often complex and reciprocal. In this research we try to unravel this complex and reciprocal relationship by focussing on the production factor land and the bond that the individual farmer as well as the farming community has with it. More specifically, we want to provide insight in the way changes in land use and transformations of the countryside are acknowledged and evaluated among the farming community. In order to do this we propose a methodology which combines in-depth interviews with focus group discussions centred around visualized spatial data. This method allows us to get a better understanding of the perception farmers have of land and the value they attach to it. It also provides us with a better insight into the less visible changes in the social fabric of the countryside (such as the apparent tensions between retired and active farmers, tensions between part-time and fulltime farmers and the suspicion of traditional farmers towards multifunctional farmers).
The requirements of the knowledge-based economy and the contribution of information and communication technology (ICT) to socio-economic change have had a significant impact upon regional economic performance in the European Union. So far, however, the literature on the implications of the ICT paradigm for labour productivity growth has largely neglected the (sub-national) regional dimension. By using experimental micro-data, this paper first provides a picture of the regional contributions to labour productivity growth in Italy in the period 2001–2005. Second, it explores the relationship between ICT production and regional labour productivity in the same reference period. In line with previous studies at the country level, our findings highlight a strongly positive relationship between ICT production and regional labour productivity growth, at the same time suggesting a complementary relationship between ICT production and diffusion in explaining interregional differences in productivity performances.
JEL Classification: O30, O49, R11
Within the EU, efforts in relation to integration are generally directed towards migrants from outside the EU. However, there is evidence that intra-EU migrants face similar obstacles to integration to those of non-EU citizens. Since Ireland has a large EU migrant population, this paper critically explores EU migrants’ integration in Ireland. Drawing on awider longitudinal study, the paper focuses on the lived experiences of 39 migrants from EU Member States living in Ireland. Focusing on domains of integration, we explore the different pathways by which EU migrants move to Ireland and become part of Irish society. Cultural and social pathways – including language, study, adventure and social relationships – are important as the original motivation for migration. Contrary to popular perception, economic factors such as employment were mostly seen as enabling social and cultural interests. However, economic but also social pathways came to the fore during the recession, when securing one’s livelihood and networks took on a new importance. We show that migrants developed various tactics to intensify their contact with Irish society and to develop feelings of being ‘at home’, despite a deteriorating economic situation. Despite these individual efforts, EU migrants continue to face obstacles to integration in Ireland: obstacles that need to be acknowledged at addressed within Ireland and across the EU more broadly.
Metropolitan decision-making in flexible policy networks based on voluntary cooperation is present in most industrialised countries and a widely debated topic in governance research. The research focus primarily lies on the ability of metropolitan governance networks to organise area-wide public service provision efficiently and effectively – as opposed to hierarchical, bureaucratic policy-making. However, the inherent lack of input-orientated democratic legitimacy in governance institutions has only recently come to the forefront of research. In the present article, the democratic deficit of metropolitan governance is investigated with respect to the role of the municipal councillors and their inclusion in such institutions. The objects of study are local councillors in Swiss metropolitan areas, where regional cooperation is traditionally organised in functional associations that correspond to the flexible, informal logic of governance networks. The impact of metropolitan governance on the councillors’ political influence and on their behavioural patterns is assessed on the basis of large-scale survey data and comprehensive multilevel analyses accounting for the multilevel system of Swiss federalism.
This paper reviews the rhetoric of arts-led regeneration in the UK and reflects on its evidence base. We show how the notion of arts-led regeneration as a tool to combat social exclusion in our inner cities developed momentum for policy makers under a New Labour government, culminating in its status as a quasi-social fact. We critique this quasi-social fact and underline its limited and problematic evidence base. We offer suggestions for constructing a new and more robust evidence base.
There are considerable regional differences when it comes to age composition, as rural areas are ageing more rapidly as a result of age-selective migration. Eras of urbanization and counter-urbanization are also making their mark on migration patterns from a long-term perspective. The current generation approaching retirement age in Sweden is a generation of urbanization, thereby constituting a potential for return migration, especially to some rural regions many people of this generation left decades ago. The aim of this paper is to compare rates of return migration in municipalities in Sweden in order to identify regions where return migration is particularly important, and also to identify which regions are the most attractive for return migration. The empirical study is based on Swedish register data, and the results indicate that the rate of return migration varies considerably between regions; some are more attractive for return migration, yet return migrants might be most significant in the regions that attract few other migrants. Another conclusion is that the regions that lost a greater share of this generation on account of previous migration often fail to attract return migrants.
In recent years, most European countries have experienced substantial demographic changes and rising cultural diversity. Understanding the social and economic impacts of these shifts is a major challenge for policymakers. Richard Florida’s ideas have provided a popular – and pervasive – framework for doing so. This paper assess Florida’s legacy and sets out a ‘post-Florida’ framework for ‘technology, talent and tolerance’ research. The paper first traces the development of Florida’s ideas. ‘Florida 1.0’, encapsulated by the Three Ts framework, has performed badly in practice. There are problems in bringing causality to the fundamental relationships, and in consistently replicating the results in other countries. ‘Florida 2.0’, though suggests that Creative Class metrics have value as alternative measures of human capital. This create space for a post-Florida agenda based on economic micro-foundations. I argue that the growing body of ‘economics of diversity’ research meets these conditions, and review theory and empirics. Urban ‘diversity shocks’ shift the size and composition of populations and workforces, with impacts operating via labour markets, and through wider production and consumption networks. While short-term labour market effects are small, over time low-value industrial sectors may become migrant-dependent. Diversity may help raise productivity and wages through innovation, entrepreneurship, market access and trade channels. Bigger, more diverse cities help generate hybridised goods and services, but may also raise local costs through crowding. All of this presents new challenges for policymakers, who need to manage diversity’s net effects, and address both economic costs and benefits.
There are few analyses available of the role played by finance and business consultancies in post-socialist economic geographies and even fewer on the internationalization of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Both issues are addressed in this paper with a focus on Italian banks and business services as well as their relationship to SME outsourcing in Central and Eastern Europe. The basic premise of this paper is that a relationship exists between the internationalization of banks, services, and SMEs when analyzed within the framework of the Uppsala Internationalization Process Model. Specifically, banks and services allow the mobilization of resources forming knowledge pipelines between Italian firms and Central and Eastern European regional economies.
The European Union’s cross-border cooperation policy is regarded as a key instrument through which to promote regional cohesion, competitiveness and identity. This paper studies performances of regional identity within the framework of the EU’s INTERREG North cooperation, and especially in the Finnish/Swedish border area. The performativity approach shifts the focus from the question of whether regional identities are fixed or hybrid, and thick or thin, toward the question of how regional identities are manifested in border regions. The point of departure in the study, based on policy documents, fieldwork and interviews with local actors involved in the implementation of the INTERREG initiatives, is that spatial identity is not a feature that regions have but something that is actively performed. Performances of regional identity in this northern border region do not create continuous and parallel sets of practices. Instead, different kinds of directions and disjunctures emerge in and between different interest groups for which local, national and transnational all serve as important scales of coming-togetherness and differentiation.
This article examines the impact of the 2008–2009 economic crisis on the automotive industry. The uneven nature of the crisis contributed to the gradual shift in production from traditional core areas of the global automobile industry to selected less developed economies. In this context, the paper analyses the firm-level effects of the economic crisis in the Czech and Slovak automotive industries as two examples of automotive industry peripheries that were integrated in the European automobile production system and experienced rapid production increases after 1990. The analysis draws on unique data collected during a survey of 274 Czech-based and 133 Slovak-based automotive firms conducted in autumn 2009 and spring 2010, 98 company interviews conducted with automotive firms in Czechia in 2010 and 2011, and 30 interviews conducted in Slovakia in 2011. Changes in revenues, production and employment during the economic crisis are compared between Czechia and Slovakia, and are analysed according to ownership, the involvement of firms in the automotive value chain and firm size. The article also investigates plant closures and relocations in the Czech and Slovak automotive industries during the economic crisis.
The European Structural Fund programmes are embedded in a multi-level governance system, which has grown in parallel with European integration. Decision-making power is increasingly delegated to territorial authorities on the assumption that local agents possess both contextual knowledge and political legitimacy to integrate different policy measures in a cooperative fashion. Within contexts of structural socioeconomic constraints, problems of coordination are associated with policy co-formulation, governance network management, meta-governance processes, and performance management and evaluation use. This paper aims to examine the variety of coordination mechanisms adopted by regional government agencies in order to collaborate with local authorities to stimulate economically lagging territories. The paper analyses management techniques of local organizational capacity and network building, project development, monitoring and evaluation, highlighting the rationale of regional development policies and the role of institutions. Building upon 2 years of field research on local development programmes in four regions in the south of Italy, this paper shows that cooperation co-exists with opportunistic behaviour during programme design and implementation, while bureaucratic culture and organizational weaknesses hamper managerial leadership and administrative decentralization. Findings highlight that centrally guided decentralization is a more sustainable capacity-building strategy. Furthermore, perceived efficiency, equity, uncertainty, and relational quality shape coordination and its evolution over time. Interpersonal relations may increase to reduce uncertainty, or higher procedural formalization may ensure efficiency, equity, and fair dealings. The evolution of coordination mechanisms has a bearing on administrative capacity of public spending absorption against corruption and waste as well as on the potential for economic development and social cohesion.
Taking the two second-tier financial centres Munich and Vienna as illustrative cases, this paper empirically evaluates the extent to which the restructuring of the banking and insurance industry and the emergence of new financial agents calls for a reappraisal of the geography of European finance against longer-term developments. Conceptually, the paper adopts an evolutionary perspective that conceives inter- and intra-sectoral corporate takeovers and mergers and the rise of the private equity industry as driving forces for diversification/specification of financial centres. The paper traces the historic origins and long-term evolution of financial services in Munich and Vienna and then provides a twofold investigation of new empirical data: first a static investigation of the location networks of the 50 largest private equity firms and the 30 most important European banks; and second a network analysis of 493 merger and acquisition transactions in the European banking and insurance industries between 1997 and 2009. The study reveals the varying roles that Munich and Vienna play today in Europe’s financial geography and elucidates to what extent this variation results from both longer-term and more recent developments.
The unexpected scale of labour migration from eastern Europe to the UK following EU enlargement in 2004 was thought to pose a threat to the cohesiveness of those local communities hosting larger influxes of migrants. Nevertheless, areas rich in community capacity may have been able to incorporate migrant workers in ways that sustained social cohesion. This paper explores the effects of labour migration on residents’ perceptions of social cohesion in urban areas in England using multivariate statistical techniques. The statistical results suggest that post-enlargement migration weakened social cohesion, but that the prospects of social incorporation were better in areas with stronger community capacity. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed.
This paper analyses relations between sub-national institutional actors responsible for the attraction and retention of foreign direct investment, other ‘governance’ actors in regional business systems – local and sub-regional government, cluster/sectoral bodies, RDA and LEP executives, and those involved in the coordination of skills provision – and subsidiaries of foreign-owned multinational corporations. It is based on qualitative research in two regions of England conducted between 2008 and 2011. Within a context of international competition for investment within global production networks, it explores recent politically driven changes in sub-national governance, including the abolition of Regional Development Agencies, alongside the more long-standing instability of economic development and skills coordination in England. The analysis is centred on an argument that a more adequate understanding of sub-national economic governance requires the active integration of perspectives on political systems of governance, and embedded patterns of economic coordination, as analysed in the varieties of capitalism literature.
Recent urban and economic development policies put much emphasis on the promotion of experiences. Within the experience economy, the production and consumption of products and places is transformed into "theater." The organization of international festivals highlights that trend. However, festivalization has also infiltrated urban and economic development on a much smaller scale and turned into an overall eventification. In addition, producers and marketers of cultural products simultaneously apply this concept to advance their market positions. Hence, eventification provides shared interests for local stakeholders and producers and marketers of cultural products and opportunities to further include the latter in urban growth coalitions. This paper demonstrates how eventification fosters new relationships between local urban developers and individual artists in Berlin-Wedding and the South Bronx, New York City. It explores the benefits and disadvantages of experience planning through eventification including social exclusion and arts-led revitalization. Ultimately, eventification not only embraces an accelerating logic of ever more experience schemes and thus raises questions about its sustainability, but also features a process in which urban space, itself, is transformed into staged experiences of event consumption.
As the debt crisis in Europe continues to unfold, renewed attention is placed increasingly on public (and private) investment as a vehicle for reigniting growth and counterbalancing the austerity effects of fiscal consolidation policies. Nowhere is this more urgent, or salient, than in Greece. However, there is remarkably little research, at least in that country, examining the criteria under which public investment is allocated across functional categories and across space. This article offers an extensive analysis of the spatial and functional allocation of public investment in Greece over a 33-year period and for various political-economic sub-periods. It examines the prevalence of criteria relating to redistribution, efficiency and equity; the temporal stability and functional complementarity of the observed allocations; and the extent of specialisation, concentration and clustering. Our results offer little evidence of regional or functional targeting, the exploitation of synergies and scale effects (efficiency), or the pursuit of objectives related to equity or redistribution. This raises serious questions about the efficacy of past public investment allocations in Greece and, with the expected increase in funding emanating from the EU, highlights the need for (re)defining the priorities and criteria for the spatial and functional allocation of public investments in the future.
This article examines elite interaction and its potential to affect local development. A theoretical discussion sets the stage for a systematic exploration of the social capital of regional elites in a comparative study of 12 European Union regions. The working assumption is that elite social capital and trust between elite groups reflect on the regional development record. A survey of experts captures a number of proxy variables on elite social capital. In a cross-sectional study we observe an association between levels of gross domestic product and the propensity of elites to act in concert. Associations are also evident between concerted action and similarity in attitudes between regional elite actors.
In addition to human capital and creativity, cultural consumption opportunities play an important role in explaining local development and growth. They promote the attraction of visitors, as well as the attraction of the creative class, improving local income and wages. This paper analyses the relative importance of cultural consumption opportunities, as cultural scenes, explaining income differences among Spanish municipalities. Indices to measure talent, creative class, and different kinds of opportunities for cultural consumption at the local level are proposed, using multivariate regression analysis to show their complementary impact on local income. In addition to human capital and the creative class, the main results show that different kinds of opportunities for cultural consumption (cultural scenes) have an independent impact on local income.
This paper focuses on the process of region formation and its interrelation with agency and regional identity. The region formation processes of two regions in Flanders (Belgium) were analysed, using a framework assessing the institutionalisation of regions. Based on semi-structured interviews and policy documents, the analysis confirmed the usefulness of the concept of institutionalisation to understand and visualise the evolution and ongoing dynamics of region formation processes. The analysis reveals the importance of the dynamic and interactive character of the different aspects of the framework of institutionalisation. The region formation processes in the two regions also indicate the importance of individual catalysts, people who stimulate synergies between the different aspects of the process, resulting in the (re)production of the region and its identity. Regional attachment or ‘regional identity’ was indispensable in the actions of these catalysts and the region formation processes.
European Union policy at the local scale is split into numerous sectoral programmes in the spheres of cross-border cooperation, energy, the environment, culture and transport. In this context, the CIVITAS (City-Vitality-Sustainability) initiative on sustainable urban mobility was launched in 2000. The aim of this article is to analyse relations between cities and Europe, focusing on the practical ways in which local policies have been ‘Europeanized’ in four French cities. The article highlights three main results. First, CIVITAS does not represent a sufficient financial incentive to sustain ‘download Europeanization’ of local transport policies, which remain under the control of local authorities. Second, despite a lack of European funding, local authorities mobilize strongly on a European level in order to distinguish themselves. In a context where French transport authorities are becoming increasingly dependent on local financial resources, entering the CIVITAS programme and acquiring this seal of approval has played a determining role in legitimizing and boosting budget allocations to public transport. Third, the mobilization of local authorities and the selective strategy of the European Commission jointly strengthen political competition between cities at a European level and reinforce a network of innovative cities.
There is an ongoing debate in the literature on urban policy networks about governance and, more specifically, the role of public bodies in urban policy implementation networks. This paper focuses on the specific debate in Dutch and Spanish academic and professional circles regarding property rights in land (hereafter property rights) and the need to separate development rights from property rights. The British nationalisation of development rights in 1947 is an important point of reference in these debates. This paper adds to these debates by providing empirical evidence about a land readjustment regulation that public bodies can use to modify the power relationships between public and private parties. This regulation can improve public value capturing by helping public bodies transfer the costs for public infrastructure and affordable housing to developers while capturing part of the enhanced economic value.
Much discussion can be found in the literature on the determinants of immigrants’ decisions to repatriate. Yet, missing is the identification of such determinants where the host country has become a reception country relatively recently. The main objective of this paper is to identify the determinants influencing the decisions of Albanian migrants in Greece to return home. Research is based on quantitative analysis techniques applied to a survey sample of 200 Albanian migrants returning from Greece to Albania. Results indicate that the main determinants driving them back home include the difficulty of integrating into Greek society, racism and failure to find work. Despite certain limitations of the study, the unconventional return migration determinants identified may become key considerations for migration policy makers for many related policy issues in cases where the reception country has a short history of migration.
By the 1980s, some scholars had already claimed that corporatism, as an expression and institution of the bilateral negotiations between trade unions and employers’ associations, had come to an end. This perception is stronger nowadays than it was then. Quite often it is argued that, as a result of economic liberalisation and the paradigm shift from Keynesianism to Monetarism, industrial relations are under pressure, and that this is accompanied by a weakening of trade union power. In this article, the development of collective negotiations and the new contours of corporatism are analysed with respect to Germany. At the moment we are witnessing a decentralisation of formerly central negotiations and their differentiation in the direction of collective and/or concession bargaining at the level of the firm. At the same time, there is an important trend towards the up-scaling of industrial relations to the European Union level. The central argument of the article, therefore, is that a rescaling of industrial relations is taking place, which does not necessarily mean an end to corporatism but, rather, profoundly new qualities of corporatism. In order to develop the argument, changes in industrial and political organisation are examined.
The 1990s witnessed a strong debate around the emergence of a new kind of citizenship in Europe. This article analyses the ways in which identity and citizenship are being reshaped in cross-border areas following the implementation of European Union Cross Border Cooperation (CBC) programmes, with reference to the Upper Adriatic area. First, it offers a brief theoretical background on citizenship. Second, it investigates how different cross-border grass-roots stakeholders relate to each other in the process of implementing CBC projects and how, through their interaction, construct new meanings, interests and values and revisit their identities. It concludes by arguing that the constant interaction between societal and political cross-border actors at the local elite level is leading to greater mutual understanding, long-term transnational initiatives and an increasing emphasis on shared interests and values.
Changing demographics and modified settlement patterns have reshaped the socio-economic context of Southern Europe at the turn of the century. Within this context, Italy has become one of the major European destinations for migrants; their numbers have more than tripled during the years 2000–2010. This paper analyses the changing demography of (legal) migrants to Italy, as well as their settlement patterns and spatial distribution over time. Since the onset of the new millennium, immigrant populations in Southern Europe in general, and in Italy in particular, have been experiencing rapidly increasing volumes and rapidly changing demographics. The feminization of foreign population, its changing age structure and ethnic composition are some of the most striking features. Meanwhile, noteworthy changes have been registered in the spatial distribution of immigrants. Different ethnic groups follow different settlement patterns and register different levels of spatial dispersion. Though the migrant population in Italy remains more concentrated in the north, disparities between north–centre and south have decreased over the last decade. Analysis at a lower spatial level (Nomenclature of Units for Territorial Statistics level 3) shows a higher variability across time and counties, partly due to a changing ethnic composition and the increased numbers of immigrants.
The age of globalization has often been associated with de-/re-territorialization processes. The increasing integration of markets and the appearance of new modes of economic production and capital accumulation on the one hand, and the transformation of forms of political governance on the other, have led to the emergence of new territorial actors at the supra-national and sub-national scales. While these economic and political de-/re-territorialization processes have been studied at length, relatively little attention has been paid to the transformation of the territorial identities associated with these spaces. The aim of the present study is twofold. First, it aims to understand whether territorial identities are experiencing a similar re-scaling along with modes of economic production and forms of political governance. Second, it explores which factors today explain the attachment of people to their territories. A descriptive analysis of Eurobarometer survey data for Western Europe reveals no signs of a re-scaling of territorial identities, pointing to a sort of inertia of these identities in relation to the changing of political and economic structures. A statistical model on four scales of territorial attachment (local, regional, national and European) shows the complexity of its formation, as both personal compositional and regional contextual factors should be taken into account.
Europeanness has been determined in various ways in academic, political and everyday discussions. The concept has become profoundly current in European Union (EU) policy during the past few decades: the EU is paying more and more interest in creating cultural coherence in Europe. The EU has various cultural instruments, such as the European Capital of Culture programme (ECOC), which aim to produce and strengthen Europeanness and cultural identification with Europe among its citizens. The ECOC programme creates an ideological frame for an urban cultural event: the frame directs the reception and experiences of the festivals, exhibitions and performances in the ECOC. Pécs – a city in southern Hungary – was selected as one of the ECOCs in 2010. In the article I analyse the discourses of Europeanness in the reception of the ECOC events in Pécs. The found discourses indicate how transnational spatial categories, such as Europe, and their spatial identities are constantly constituted in local settings through multiple processes in which sensory, perceived, materialized space is intertwined with linguistic and symbolic representations of space, and its subjective experiences, beliefs and uses.
This paper addresses the role of quality, difference and differentiation in the value both producers and consumers attach to products and firms. It is argued that analysis of urban and regional competitiveness needs to be complemented by a renewed focus on the vital role that quality plays in competitiveness as well as an understanding of geographies of product difference and differentiation. Debates on economic development and resilience need to focus on innovation but also on how through making and providing quality goods and services – that may be based on the latest technologies or equally on age-old craft traditions – firms secure and develop competitive strengths. But since quality is always a value co-constructed in a negotiation between the consumer and producer, processes of identification and differentiation are formative. A case study of two developments in winter sport equipment is used to exemplify an industry in which quality is both an entry condition as well as a major factor in differentiation and valuation. The case illustrates the roles of producer-led innovation and user-led innovation in equipment innovation; and that the appreciation of products’ quality, value and differentiation rests in interactions between producers, intermediaries and led-users in localized and regional settings. Focusing on the geographies of quality and differentiation is suggested to be important not only for firms but also for urban and regional policy. Regional advantage may partly rest upon how actors come together to co-construct notions of quality and difference: notions that can have lasting effects on regional competitiveness.
This paper uses the bandwagon metaphor to analyse, in two rural contexts, how small tourism firms become engaged in the idea of the experience economy and how the idea is turned into practice through network formation and innovation. In developing a practice-based approach we use the bandwagon metaphor to conceptualize network formation and innovation in terms of a ‘journey’. Following the practice-based literature on bandwagons, the journey starts by labelling an idea that is broad enough to give meaning to, and pull together, a number of diverse supporters. The journey also depends on two further central processes, namely appropriation and narrowing the workspace. One Norwegian and one Danish network are studied using a case methodology. They are two rural networks of mainly small tourism firms. The empirical study confirms and illustrates how the bandwagon effect involves these three core processes. However, we also argue for the importance of a fourth process, namely strategic reflexivity. The paper closes by suggesting a development model with relevance for policy. The paper offers an increased understanding of how the experience economy as an idea can become practice and puts forward a practice-based development model.
French state planning grabbed the investment opportunity the Walt Disney Company offered in the 1980s when it was searching for a site for a European Disneyland. The French state needed to revive the development of the eastern Paris Basin towards the expanded European Union. Embracing the ‘experience’ know-how of the company, it pioneered the implementation of ‘experience planning’ to support the status of greater Paris as a global Metropolis. Aestheticisation, the hallmark of the experience turn of the economy was avoided for the city of Paris, yet materialities for cosmopolitan consumption were provided those willing to invest in Val d’Europe. The Walt Disney Company adapted its ‘experience’ knowledge to the urbanization of the area under the constraints of a Convention and its accompanying ‘planning project’, which determine all aspects and all phases of this land use development over 30 years. Collaboration between the experiential expertise of the Walt Disney Company and the vision and design of the French state has led to the effective and successful continuous emerging of a competitive yet liveable urban place.
There is a growing interest in island economies within Europe. In the European Union (EU) this has led to enhanced Cohesion Policy support for islands, along with a number of other regions facing geographical challenges. Because of major problems with data, comparative research on islands across different EU member states has been of limited extent. This paper explores the use of national data sets to undertake comparative cross-country analysis of islands. The paper concentrates on two member states, Greece and Britain, which have large numbers of offshore islands. Data from national population censuses are drawn upon to allow typologies of the islands to be developed. These typologies are utilised to identify similarities and differences between British and Greek islands.
This article discusses the new wave of spatial development strategies in small, peripheral municipalities, based on the notion of the experience economy as a local response to the challenges of globalization and industrial restructuring. The notion of the experience economy, originally derived from strategic management, is more encompassing than the related notion of cultural economy, and its application in urban strategies aims to promote (1) new forms of business innovation, (2) the development of new industries and (3) the development of place as a factor of attraction. The article proceeds to describe the extent to which this perception has been integrated into urban strategies in North Denmark, and the associated local discourses and institutional practices. One municipality, Frederikshavn, is described and analysed in more detail. In this municipality the experience economy has been constructed by the initiatives of public, private and civic actors over more than a decade, until it finally became institutionalized in official municipal policy and organizations. The many initiatives materialized in a considerable enhancement of the local cultural and leisure supply, urban refurbishment, business innovation and a change of urban image from industrial city to experience city. The experience economy mainly became institutionalized as a reinterpretation and development of welfare services from a consumer perspective. As a municipal strategy the experience economy concept is faced with two problems: the municipal scale is not adequate to change the economic and demographic fate of peripheral localities, and enhancing the quality of place and image can be only part of the response to the serious challenges facing them.
Rural regions in Europe are facing diverging pathways of development. On the one hand, the influence of urbanisation and the intensification and continued up-scaling of agriculture make it more difficult for many regions to remain distinctive and increase sustainability. Places, as well as goods and services, have become increasingly interchangeable. For many regions an obvious choice is to compete with other regions for global mobile capital and labour. On the other hand, and as a counterforce to these global logics, new strategies, which are more place-based, are being developed, such as the construction of identities or images around new agricultural goods and services. These strategies can be seen in the context of the ‘New Rural Paradigm’ for European rural regions. In the search for new trajectories for sustainable development, different models can be identified: the bio-economy paradigm and the eco-economy. Each model has its own sustainability claim and can be analysed in the context of the overarching development theory of ecological modernisation. The central question in this article is what types of strategies and pathways for eco-economic development can be witnessed in rural regions in Europe? The empirical analysis is based on 62 European cases. Three key eco-economic strategies that show a shift from an agricultural-based development to a more integrative rural and regionally based development are identified. The article concludes with some consistent parameters for understanding the dynamic complexity of rural regional development.
Recent decades have been dominated by discourses describing a resurgence of regions. Yet despite its prominence the region remains a largely Delphian concept. In the period of new regionalist orthodoxy, for example, while it was recognized that regions take various forms, the normative claim that we were living in a ‘regional world’ became narrowly focused on regions as subnational political units. Nevertheless, the emergence of city-regions, cross-border regions, and European Metropolitan Regions is leading some scholars to suggest the formation in this century of a brave new ‘regional world’. With economic, social and political activity increasingly orchestrated through regional spaces that cross-cut the territorial map that prevailed through much of the twentieth century, the literature is adorned with accounts advancing the theoretical and policy rationale for relational approaches to regions and regionalism. Yet far less has been written on the struggle to construct these spaces politically, thereby neglecting questions of territory and territorial politics. With this in mind, our paper draws on the experience of Germany to consider the political struggle to overcome the contradictions, overlaps, and competing tendencies that result from new regional spaces appearing alongside, rather than replacing, existing forms of state scalar organization. In particular, we observe how the Federal State is using the ambiguity of the regional concept to present territorial and relational approaches as complementary alternatives. The paper concludes by relating these findings to ongoing debates on how we, as ‘regional’ researchers, should approach the analysis of regions and regionalism; speculates on the degree to which they form progressive and effective spatial policies; and asks what lessons can be learnt about contemporary state spatiality more generally.
Although enterprise support policies continue to be favored by policymakers in the European Union (EU) as tools for regional revitalization, there is as yet insufficient empirical evidence examining the effects of the policies on socially relevant outcomes. This paper helps fill that gap by utilizing firm-level data to offer robust counterfactual impact evaluation evidence on the employment effects of the coexisting European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) co-sponsored, national and regional programs commonly operated in many EU regions. By using data from a large northern Italian region, the analysis yields employment impact estimates of the policies under plausible identification assumptions. The paper finds no significant difference between the employment impacts of ERDF co-funded and national/regional programs, whereas, regardless of the funding body, the absolute per-firm employment effects of the programs are increasingly larger the higher the economic value of the incentives. However, the most generous incentives come with a much higher cost per each additional new job. The analysis also shows that the absolute per-firm employment effects of soft loans are similar to those of capital grants, but, because soft loans cost much less, they are more effective from a policy perspective.
In contrast to London’s image as a global city and its position as the most affluent region in Europe, the formally established empirical evidence assembled in this paper suggests that spatial inequality in the capital is a key economic and social problem that is unlikely to be resolved by the prevailing localism doctrine of the ‘big society’. Isolated from an initial and non-discriminate England-wide clustering analysis of 73 Audit Commission-defined quality of life indicators, the results of our study reveal that pivotal to London’s prevailing quality of life distribution is the influence of deprivation, health and educational inequalities, all of which are masked at a pure ‘inner’ and ‘outer’ London comparison, capable only of distinguishing the city’s borough-level transport and community safety diversity. The policy implications of our study are duly considered and several methodological insights are advanced for future research.
In the last 20 years, the number of cross-border cooperation structures in Europe has exploded owing to political and financial support by the European Union aimed at encouraging cohesion and developing peripheral regions. These policies are part of processes of de-bordering and political rescaling that have profoundly affected cross-border areas by creating new institutional territories and political structures. The purpose of this paper is to study the institutional history of cross-border metropolitan governance in Europe through the comparison of two of the most advanced cross-border metropolitan regions: Lille and Luxembourg. This paper asks how these cross-border structures have developed and changed. What can their patterns of institutional evolution contribute to understanding governance in other cross-border regions? Are these new spaces evidence of political rescaling? This paper presents and redefines cross-border governance as a cyclical and a long-term process and also explores the challenges that these partnerships face in becoming functionally effective and autonomous policy actors. Ultimately, we find that there is no replicable ideal of cross-border governance and that even long-standing partnerships are in a period of exploration and reinvention. Establishing a competitive and coherent cross-border metropolitan region is ambitious and complex, and it necessitates the coordination of policies at multiple scales and across institutionally diverse territories. This project requires the modification and/or construction of new institutional and legal frameworks. This reorientation of political attention has resulted in a reconceptualization of political space but not the empowerment of new political actors, indicating that the process of rescaling may be a work in progress.
Regional development policies to foster innovation and competitiveness have evolved towards a ‘soft’ focus on facilitating relationships of cooperation. This is demonstrated by the popularity of network and cluster policies. However, the development of these policies poses particular challenges since there is insufficient understanding of the factors in the social structure that underpin networking behaviour and network outcomes. The analysis of this social context provides an important base for policy learning and therefore for the development of networking policies. The paper makes both a theoretical contribution (in establishing the framework) and a methodological contribution (in exploring its implementation in an ongoing policy process). The case studied is that of the Basque aeronautics cluster, a medium-sized cluster with 35 members founded in 1997 within the Basque Country (Spain) cluster policy, one of the longest-running cluster policies in Europe. The participatory design carried out in the application of the theoretical framework to the case study enabled a deeper appreciation of the different realities and behaviour of targeted firms and supported strategies to improve policy effectiveness.