Curating: Angeliki Paidakaki (KULeuven)
Madrinas/Padrinos: Eric Swyngedouw (University of Manchester) & Marisol Garcia (University of Barcelona)
Chairs and Presentors : Constanza Parra (KULeuven), Angeliki Paidakaki (KULeuven)
Contributors : Nuria Spijker (KU LEUVEN), Nienke Busscher (University of Groningen), Erik Swyngedouw (University of Manchester)
Chair and Presentor: Flavia Martinelli (University of Reggio Calabria)
Presentor: Sumpor Marijana (The Institute of Economics, Zagreb, (EIZ))
Regional development policies were born at the national institutional level, when intranational spatial inequalities became acknowledged. In Europe, structured regional policies – and agencies – came into being after WW2. Among the first countries that explicitly addressed intra-national territorial divides and established regional development agencies and programmes were Italy with the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno (1950), France with the DATAR (1963) and the UK with its Regional Development Agencies (1970s), albeit debates had started even earlier. Regional policies were thus a national concern and were centrally engineered, in the context of the broader national development strategies of the Keynesian state. Significant national resources were allocated and the main actors were national (the central government, national corporations, state holdings, national unions, etc.).
With the Single European Act of 1986 and the launch of both the Single European market (with its corollaries of competition, liberalisation and deregulation) and Cohesion Policy, regional policy ceased to be a national prerogative – as it was deemed ‘unfair’ competition – and was up-scaled into an EU-wide funding scheme – based on the reformed Structural Funds – meant to aid the weakest firms, institutions and territories within the Union. Regional development policy was thus re-articulated between the EU level, which provided regulation, funding and strategic priorities, the national level, which was to ensure co-funding and strategic contextualisation, and – most importantly – the regional or local level which was the key scale of action.
By then, analyses of regional dynamics had lost the multi-scalar approach of critical political economy, which saw regions – and regional disparities – as interconnected 22 components – and results – of the overall capitalist development model. The EU discourses about subsidiarity and a ‘Europe of regions’, together with the emerging myth of industrial districts, innovative regions and endogenous development, had shifted the attention onto the ‘local’ level. Regions – now local areas* – were no longer inserted in national and international dynamics, but had to compete with each-others – as monads in a global world – on the basis of their endogenous resources and comparative advantages.
In the context of the above-sketched evolution of regional analysis and policy in the last 70 years (with special reference to Italy and the UK), this paper focuses on scale, the relations among different levels of governance, and what has been ‘lost in translation’ in the shift from the Keynesian state and its national regional policies to the EU neo-liberal regulatory framework and its Cohesion policy architecture. I will argue that: i) albeit a multi-scalar approach is in principle retained, as member states are formally in charge of drafting national plans consistent with the EU guidelines, which should act as reference frames for local actors, it is eminently the latter that are entrusted with formulating strategies and bid for resources; ii) such a funding and policy architecture, in line with the ‘competitive’ approach of the EU, not only pits localities against each other, but tends to reproduce the existing asymmetric power relations and social and territorial disparities, as actors and places are differently endowed with social, entrepreneurial and political power.
The blind trust in the local – as the best level to ensure efficient, democratic and selfdetermined agency – has not brought about the postulated effects, as in many places, negative cumulative causation mechanisms have not been reversed and the sum of many local strategies has not materialised in a coherent overall strategy. Without being nostalgic about the nation-state, the current absolute faith in the local appears illplaced. Recovering a multi-scalar perspective to assess regional development processes is in order, together with a dispassionate reflection on the appropriate level for regional policy governance.
* It is also interesting to note that in the last twenty years the term ‘regional’ has actually disappeared and the focus is now on ‘cities’.
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Chair and Presentor: Margareth Macharia (Technical University of Kenya)
Chair and Presentor: Jozef Kedogo (Technical University of Kenya)
Presentor: Grace Nyaguthii Kamweru
At the global scale, increasing environmental pressures, deepening globalisation and neoliberalist trends, economic and financial fiascos, the rise of right-wing politics and the election of demagogues, among others, are threatening to generate and aggravate myriads of complex and multifaceted crises that reinforce socio-economic and spatial inequalities as well as injustices. Nevertheless, the situation is exacerbated in the urban areas of the Global South, which apart from experiencing rapid urbanisation, also suffer further from internal and external politico-socio-economic insufficiencies and consequences, often bearing the brunt of global crises. Indeed the Urban South is beset with numerous and increasing crises despite the implementation of many prescribed solutions and actions, and involvement of numerous actors. Relating to socio-economic and spatial issues, the policy and practice arena in the urban South is subjected to multiple modes of transformation, perspectives and diverse vested interests. These include, firstly, those of powerful exogenous actors; secondly, powerful endogenous actors; and thirdly the ordinary citizens (subaltern) who are often greatly affected by the involved prescription and actions, but in the main lack a voice to influence them and have a very weak positioning, often being labelled ‘informal’, illegitimate, or illegal, but are nevertheless involved in spontaneous transformative actions.
Consequently, in view of the above, we invite contributions that shed a critical light on the role of Social Innovation in provoking a deeper and nuanced understanding of the Urban South crises; as well as generating insights that could point to possible solutions, that may improve the situation of the marginalised urban dwellers as well as enhance the politico-economic and socio-spatio-ecological justice and equality. These may include addressing questions such as, by whom and for who are global and local agendas set, how those agendas influence local socio-spatio-ecological dimensions, how do the different rationalities, interests; and perspectives involved in those agenda converge in increasing or reducing the socio-spatio-ecological inequalities and finally how Socially Innovative strategies provide valid alternatives for addressing the challenges posed by urban South crises, including feasibly empowering ordinary citizens.
Consequently, in view of the above, we invite contributions that shed a critical light on the role of Social Innovation in provoking a deeper and nuanced understanding of the Urban South crises; as well as generating insights that could point to possible solutions, that may improve the situation of the marginalised urban dwellers as well as enhance the politico-economic and socio-spatio-ecological justice and equality. These may include addressing questions such as, by whom and for who are global and local agendas set, how those agendas influence local socio-spatio-ecological dimensions, how do the different rationalities, interests; and perspectives involved in those agenda converge in increasing or reducing the socio-spatio-ecological inequalities and finally how Socially Innovative strategies provide valid alternatives for addressing the challenges posed by urban South crises, including feasibly empowering ordinary citizens. Proposed focus: Housing, community development, land issues, informality
Send your proposal for a contribution to Margaret Macharia<firstname.lastname@example.org>, to Kedogo Joseph <email@example.com> and hermes2017@RISEUP.NET firstname.lastname@example.org,email@example.com,hermes2017@RISEUP.NET
Please mention “Contribution Hermes 2017” as a subject of your mail.