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RELOCAL will share with the ESPON ESCAPE project a half-day session at DG Regio Cities and Regions “Open Days” event


RELOCAL will share with the ESPON ESCAPE project a half-day session at the DG Regio Cities and Regions “Open Days” event in October. This session under the title of “Shrinking Rural Areas and Spatial Justice” focuses on shrinking rural areas, and how to meet their needs in twenty-first century ways through discussing interesting crosscutting issues between ESPON ESCAPE project and H2020 RELOCAL project.

The ESPON ESCAPE project explores the concepts of simple (demographic) and complex (economic and social) shrinkage in their various manifestations across European space. It takes a fresh look at policy approaches, both conventional mitigation (to reverse decline) and adaptation (maximising wellbeing despite decline). The H2020 RELOCAL project explores, within the context of 33 European case studies, the various factors which either promote or inhibit spatial justice (defined as a fair distribution of opportunities and resources, and as “having a voice” in the context of governance).

Detailed Description of the session

  • Introduction: Petri Kahila, University of Eastern Finland. The workshop will be opened with a few words introducing the two projects, and stressing the importance of the topic in the context of cohesion and rural development policy after 2020.
  • Presentation 1: Andrew Copus, the James Hutton Institute. An account of the findings of ESPON ESCAPE regarding the definition of simple (demographic) shrinkage, and its spatial distribution across Europe.
  • Interaction 1: Audience members will be asked to record (in Slido) two words which represent their understanding of the social and economic situation in shrinking rural areas. One of these should be negative, the other positive. These words will be listed on the screen prior to the next presentation.
  • Presentation 2: Thomas Dax, BAB Vienna. A discussion of mitigation and adaptation as a basis for intervention logics to address simple and complex shrinking in rural areas.
  • Interaction 2: Audience members asked to suggest (through Slido), factors which might promote or inhibit spatial justice in the context of shrinking rural areas.
  • Presentation 3: Sabine Weck ILS Dortmund. This presentation will present findings of the H2020 RELOCAL project, about spatial justice as experienced by shrinking rural regions, and how a Theory of Change approach can provide new insights and approaches for policy responses.
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