Regional resiliency: exploring the emergence and resiliency of two regional initiatives in the Netherlands

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In the past few decades we have observed a proliferation of regional initiatives labelled in various ways. Some refer to city-regions, appealing to some kind of territorial coherence of adjacent cities, others to learning -, creative -, or competitive regions, ascribing to the region human abilities to learn and create. Even though such regional initiatives are very distinct from each other in their appearance and process of development, most of these initiatives are results of actor networks with some kind of common interest crossing the administrative boundaries of cities. As such, from an actor-network perspective, it can be argued that regions emerge through network activities between various actors who in first place prioritise meaningful (economic) relations above spatial scale and fixed demarcations. In the same line, regions are thought as a landscape of perpetual overlapping processes of becoming. Such regional processes develop at a certain grade of complexity and uncertainty of how relations (re)assemble and how do they become resilient. Consequently the dynamic context of changing relations also implies a different role for planners in regional initiatives. Even though it seems impossible to plan for such complex and volatile regional processes, planning activities occur and regional concepts emerge in co-evolution with other socioeconomic processes. In this paper we will explore the emergence of two regional initiatives in the Netherlands and their resiliency. More specific we want to address the meaning of the regional concepts in relation to the resiliency of regional initiatives. One, Brabantstad, is a governmental initiative concerning five middlesized cities in the province of Brabant. The other, Eindhoven-Leuven-Aachen- Triangle, is a cross-border regional network including Flemish and German cities Leuven and Aachen. With the help of Assemblage Theory and Actor Network Theory we will investigate which conditions lead tonmore (or less) resilient and robust regional initiatives and their capacity to transform their context.
Book of proceedings: Annual AESOP Congress, Spaces of Dialog for Places of Dignity, Lisbon, 11-14th July, 2017
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