Research area: Multiple geographies of regional and local development

The research area focuses on processes of socio-spatial polarisation and peripheralisation at multiple scale levels. The core questions are how political, economic and actors in realm of civil society set new developments in motion, which barriers have to be overcome, and which processes lead to socio-spatial preferential or adverse treatments of actors, locations or regions. In this way, the research area contributes to the debate around a balanced and just spatial development and improves the understanding of spatial and socio-economic change for various groups of society.

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Over the last decades, the societal and economic integration in Europe have been pushed further with the aim to improve the living conditions for the people and make them more balanced in a spatial respect. Shared political values should contribute therefor as much as free trade, a common market and mobility of persons and ideas. With their regional development policy, the European Union created an instrument which pursues with high financial effort the structural compensation between regions within Europe. Nevertheless, areas still develop unevenly.

Regarding these dynamics the research area focuses on diverging socio-spatial developments which results in “multiple geographies”. It also offers suggestions on how political, economic and societal challenges of increasing polarisation and peripheralisation could be addressed. The core questions are how actors set new developments in motion, which barriers have to be overcome, and which processes lead to socio-spatial preferential or adverse treatments of actors, locations or regions.

In view of the debates around a balanced and just spatial development the research area develops alternative perspectives for structurally weak and peripheralised regions. The focus here lays on forms of spatial development, which to date find little attention in public discourse.

Which role do spatial conditions and relations play in social and economic innovation processes? In what way can processes of regional and local change be understood as collaborative processes of state, quasi-state and non-state action? How and under which circumstances are cities, regions and especially peripheralised areas re-positioning themselves in contexts of Europeanisation, nation building, internalisation and globalisation? These are the questions the research are seeks to examine mostly through transnational comparative studies.


Projects

Peripheral but global: World market leaders outside of agglomerations
Shifting paradigms
Industrial Heritage, Cultural Resources of Current Industries and Creative Pioneers – InduCult2.0
Social entrepreneurship in structurally weak rural areas: innovative troubleshooters in action (RurAction)
Hidden Champions – Stabilisation and development factors of small towns in peripheral regions
Agents of change in old-industrial regions in Europe
Local democracy in small and medium-sized cities under the conditions of peripheralization

Completed projects

ira.urban
Socio-economic and Political Responses to Regional Polarisation in Central and Eastern Europe – RegPol²
Mining Cities in Central Asia and the South Caucasus
Cities after decline: small city revival in the USA and Russia

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