This book, Regional and Local Development in Times of Polarisation, edited by Thilo Lang and Franziska Görmar, contains contributions from 32 academics on “re-thinking spatial policies in Europe”. It is part of the New Geographies of Europe series published by Palgrave.
The book takes its starting point by considering a threefold polarisation within the EU: an increasing demographic concentration in and around the bigger cities with population decline in many other regions, economic development favouring a smaller number of capital and metropolitan regions with seemingly less economic prosperity in most other regions as well as a spatially and socially uneven distribution of wealth with a growing number of people feeling neglected and favouring right wing conservative or even extremist political positions in a number of recent national elections.
At the same time, the future of cohesion policy is again being discussed at the EU level, as happens every few years. And there is again the question whether cohesion policy will turn back to its original objectives of supporting the worse off regions in the European Union or whether it will follow the neoliberal course of recent years to foster competitiveness and growth.
Based on these observations, the book asks a couple of questions: What actually is meant when we are speaking about regional and cohesion policies in these times? In which ways is socio-spatial polarisation (re-)produced and how should policy respond to these processes? To what extent should we rethink current spatial policies when aiming for more just ways of development? What are the alternatives to the neoliberal mainstream?