среда, 8 августа 2012 г.

Lessons from metropolitan region‑building: socio-spatial polarisation and territorial development in Central and Eastern Europe

Lessons from metropolitan region‑building: socio-spatial polarisation and territorial development in Central and Eastern Europe
Workshop Cluj-Napoca 9.-10.11.2012 (arrival 8 Nov 2012 afternoon/evening):

In the last two decades there has been an increasing interest of researchers and practitioners dealing with regional policy issues in the concept of metropolitan regions. The idea of promoting metropolitan regions thereby seems to be based on a widespread big city enthusiasm around ideas about the economic power of global cities and a dominant discourse picturing the big agglomerations as being international, innovative, economically successful and in general future oriented and less vulnerable to crisis. As an emerging paradigm, the idea has spread from Western Europe to countries such as Poland and Romania. At the same time as policies supporting the development of a smaller number of strong metropolitan regions have emerged, however, there is growing concern of sociospatial polarization. In particular in Central and Eastern Europe, regional disparities have been growing, often measured in demographic or economic terms.

A good example for the dominance of the bigger centres to the disadvantage of other areas is the debate about metropolitan regions in Germany.  With the definition of the first six in 1995, metropolitan regions nowadays cover nearly the whole area of Germany and can be seen as a current paradigm of spatial planning. This parallels similar political discourses in other EU-countries such as France, Hungary, the UK, Poland or Rumania and at EU level. Whereas in CEE countries the role of regional development policies has somewhat been neglected in the early years after transition, a new debate has been emerging in the last years. For example in Hungary, there has been an ongoing re-orientation of regional policy, where there have been trends towards centralisation since 1998 and especially after recent national elections. Poland has seen struggles with metropolitan regional strategies provoking debates relating to core/periphery dualities. In Poland, this debate has become more vigorous recently raising serious concerns in the context of the new National Strategy of Regional Development 2010-2020 and the emerging Conception of Poland’s spatial organization. The role of regional policy has also gained importance in Romania since 1998 with the delimitation of 8 development regions. This has been the first step towards the formation of metropolitan regions with European and national significance.

For a two-day workshop we invite presenters and discussants dealing with regional policy and territorial development in CEE and at European level. The aim of the workshop is to discuss European and national paradigms following and opposing the metropolitan regions model. In doing so, we aim to supplement research on regional policy in CEE which so far predominantly deals with the governance of metropolitan regions. Contributions to the workshop should deal with issues of uneven development in relation to different attempts to regional policy within a dominant EU policy framework.

Key questions:
Why has the debate on metropolitan regions in Europe received such a noticeable character in the last two decades? How do governments try to achieve global economic significance with promoting metropolitan regions without neglecting other spaces and furthering socio-economic polarization? What are the key lines of discourse between global competitiveness and territorial cohesion in this context? Which paradigms do governments follow in the interlinked debates and what new forms of governance are emerging? What is the relation between European, national and regional policies and which key actors are involved?

Method and structure of the workshop:
workshop participation is limited to 20 researchers and will start with informal discussions and a joint dinner. A full workshop-day will be structured in three thematic blocks with two to three presentations in each block. We prefer longer presentations of up to 40 mins and plan for sufficient discussion time. All given papers will be followed by a response of about 5 mins. There will be a final round table session identifying cross cutting issues and key themes relevant to the study of metropolitan region-building processes. Revised papers will be published in a book volume or journal special issue. The workshop will close with a study trip highlighting regional development issues in Northeast Rumania.

Proposed timeline:
31 August: submission of abstracts for presentations or motivation letters to act as discussants (500 words max.) – EXTENDED DEADLINE
15 September: notification of participants, publication of draft programme
15 October: deadline for registration of participants
31 October: draft papers for workshop reader
30 November: final paper
2013: publication “Metropolitan Region Building and Uneven Development in CEE: Institutions, Actors, Impacts”

Jozsef Benedek, Universitatea „Babeş-Bolyai”, Facultatea de Geografie, Cluj-Napoca (Romania)
Thilo Lang, Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde, Leipzig (Germany)

Contact, registration and support:
Ibolya Török: email: ibolya.kurko@geografie.ubbcluj.ro

For speakers we can fund local costs for catering, accommodation and the study trip; travel to Cluj must be paid individually. For a limited number of colleagues we might be able to support travel costs if no other funds are available. Please apply informally for this option if needed. All further participants might need to pay a small fee to cover additional costs.

The workshop is financially supported by Leibniz-Institut für Länderkunde (www.ifl-leipzig.de), Babeş-
Bolyai University Cluj-Napoca (http://geografie.ubbcluj.ro) and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences,
Territorial Committee Kolozsvár (www.kab.ro).

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