Gaining advantage from open borders. An active space approach to regional development

Author (Person) ,
Publication Date 2001
ISBN 0-7546-1710-6
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Book abstract:

Current thinking on regional boundaries is radically challenged in this work which originates from the second study cycle on border regions and regional development within the Network of European Communications and Transport Activity Research. The region is seen as the 'outcome of a field of forces, in terms of a coherent game of initiatives and responses produced locally and towards the outside world' - active space. Economic values and objectives common to a locality are seen as the binding elements in a region regardless of physical or political boundaries established previously.

Organised in three parts - Part I explores the theoretical elements in the 'active space' approach and the importance attached to creative learning in developing ' active space'. The role of the small firm in promoting this creative learning through interdependence and networking is addressed in chapter three whilst chapter four elaborates on governance and the capacity of political institutions to articulate through public policy the conflicting trends in regional development.

Part II contains several empirically based contributions. These explore the extent and ways in which advantage is being gained from openness in different types of interaction. Studies include cross border traffic flows, movements in the labour market and the particular sensitivities in border regions at the edge of the European Union.

Various institutional issues and policies are discussed in Part III and the authors examine the extent to which innovative approaches towards the 'active space' development are impeded by a retreat to traditional solutions and approaches. New concepts of co-operation between local governments are explored together with a specific regional development tool - the free zone enterprise. Comparison with various regional policies of the European Union and the 'active space' approach is made in chapter 18 and the concluding chapter reviews the main issues in gaining advantage from open borders and implications for 'active space' development.

The volume will interest economists, policy researchers and politicians, academics and students in European Studies and Regional Development Programmes.

Marina van Geenhuizen is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Technology, Policy and Management of Delft University of Technology. Remigio Ratti is Director of the Radio Televisione della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano and Professor at the University of Fribourg and the Universita della Svizzera Italiana in Lugano, Switzerland.

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