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RELOCAL: Resituating the Local in Cohesion and Territorial Development
Client:European Commission, Horizon 2020
Partner(s):Project Consortium of 13 Partners, led by University of Eastern Finland
Time frame:10/2016 – 05/2021

The RELOCAL project took a decidedly bottom-up perspective within a multilevel context; it was our aim to identify factors that condition local accessibility of European policies, local abilities to articulate needs and equality claims and local capacities for exploiting European opportunity structures.

There is an increasing need for developing European Union Cohesion Policy in terms of greater sensitivity towards territorial specificities, more supportive of community-based development and the facilitation of greater civic participation. Place-based development, endogenous regional development and territorial capital are some of the policy approaches that have been invoked to facilitate a reorientation of Cohesion Policy and territorial development policy. Among the RELOCAL research questions were the following: - How can spatial justice be conceptualised, operationalised, adapted? - How are processes of territorial inequalities in different localities understood? - How does the local relate to cohesion in an EU context? - What factors and filters are operating that enhance or limit the relation between the local and cohesion? - Can enhanced autonomy contribute to spatial justice? How can processes of place-making be related to spatial justice? - What is the scope for alternative development, stabilisation, sustainability, solidarity models/scenarios?

RELOCAL was based on case studies of local contexts (e.g. cities and their regions) and comparative insights into place-based approaches or actions to promote spatial justice. In the German context, we focussed on two cases: (1) The establishment of Rabryka, Centre for Youth and Socioculture in the city of Görlitz, with local youth as urban development actors, and (2) Digitalisation as a tool to promote civic engagement in rural villages, as initiated and implemented by the “Smart Country Side” project in Ostwestfalen-Lippe.

For more information on results and reports of the RELOCAL project see:

Case Studies:

Report on "Local youth as urban development actors", Görlitz (in English):

Short video on Rabryka, Görlitz (in German, English subtitles):

Report on "Smart Country Side" project (in English):

Short report on "Smart Country Side" project (in German):

For results of the project (in English) see:

RELOCAL Policy Conference (March 2021):

RELOCAL Policy Considerations:

Special Issue in "European Planning Studies" on place-based development and spatial justice:

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