Regional Studies Association
University of Tampere, Finland
Regional Studies Association European Conference 2013
In the many regions and localities of the world, there is an ever-growing need to find new solutions for the future, as they are increasingly confronted with intertwined sets of ecological, social and economic difficulties as well as new opportunities brought to them by the globalising economy. Indeed, there is a need to work for more balanced and sustainable development and cross the many institutional boundaries that prevent new solutions from being created.
Of course to promote balanced sustainable regional development is a huge challenge in a world that is characterised by an almost pathological race for short-term profits, short-sighted politics, conflicts of interests and a search for quick fixes. Additionally, it is not possible to only rely on state interventions as regional development more often than not, is a collective process involving networks of public, private and semi-public actors in which no organisation has a predestined primacy in governance. To overcome these, and many other potential bottlenecks of balanced regional development, new ways to shape it are needed.
What makes all this a demanding set of policy challenges, is that regions and localities need to find ways to manage their own destiny while being manipulated by many forces. The central idea underpinning the RSA 2013 conference in Tampere is that there is now an urgent need to better to understand how regions and localities can adapt to current challenges and deal with the wicked issues of sustainability by developing new multi-actor governance, policy-making and leadership capacities. The conference offers researchers and workers in local and regional development an opportunity to collectively explore and discuss these key issues from a multitude of perspectives and with different theoretical stand points and with empirical observations from different parts of the world.