Transformation in Industrial Towns

Session organisers:
  • Heike Mayer (Institute of Geography & Centre for Regional Economic Development (CRED), University of Bern, Switzerland)
  • Arnault Morisson (Institute of Geography & Center for Regional Economic Development (CRED), University of Bern, Switzerland)
  • David Bole (Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Slovenia)

The industrial sector accounts for a large share of employment in small and medium-sized towns (SMSTs) (see Kotzeva et al., 2016). Industrial transformation is thus a central concern for these smaller urban places, of which some may count as so-called left-behind places where their citizens “feel that they don’t matter” compared with citizens in large urban centres (Rodríguez-Pose, 2018). Despite being often portrayed as “old-industrial towns” where future economic successes lie in innovation and the creative economy, the industrial sector in industrial towns is constantly transforming itself. With the launch of the European Industrial Strategy in 2020, the European Commission renewed its interest in strategic industrial policies recognising the strategic importance of the industrial sector for Europe’s future progress and prosperity. This shift of paradigm to ‘rebuilding the economy from the COVID Crisis’ and ‘Coping with deindustrialisation’ will require researchers to better understand how socio-economic and industrial transformation take place in industrial towns and what contextualised place-based policies can contribute to industrial renewal (Martin, 2021; Pike, 2020).
Researchers are invited to send abstracts for this session related to:

  • The role of industrial culture, values, and traditions to shape industrial transformation
  • New production models in industrial towns
  • Industry 4.0 in industrial towns
  • Transition in industrial towns
  • Sustainability in industrial towns
  • Circular economy in industrial towns
  • Entrepreneurship and industrial towns
  • Industrial reshoring in industrial towns
  • Urban production and small scale industries
  • Creativity and industrial towns
  • Agents of change and industrial transformation in industrial towns
  • Social innovations in industrial towns
  • Policy initiatives to promote socio-economic and industrial transformation in industrial towns
  • New industrial path development in industrial towns
  • Other topics

Kotzeva, M., Brandmüller, T., Lupu, I., Önnerfors, Å., Corselli-Nordblad, L., Coyette, C., … Wolff, P. (2016). Urban Europe: Statistics on Cities, Towns and Suburbs. Luxembourg: European Union.

Martin, R. (2021). Rebuilding the economy from the Covid crisis: time to rethink regional studies?. Regional Studies, Regional Science, 8(1), 143-161.

Pike, A. (2020). Coping with deindustrialization in the global North and South. International Journal of Urban Sciences, 1-22.

Rodríguez-Pose, A. (2018). The revenge of the places that don’t matter (and what to do about it). Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 11(1), 189–209. https://doi.org/10.1093/cjres/rsx024


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