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International Summer School 2019

Projekt abgeschlossen

Europe and its Regions

ARL International Summer School 2019

28 to 30 October 2019 in Hannover (Germany)

Bildquelle: Adobe Stock/ Stephanie

A “Europe of the regions” is by no means a new idea. However, in view of increasing political nationalism it is worthwhile to reanalyse Europe’s position and prospects from a political, economic and cultural perspective. This was the aim of the ARL International Summer School 2019, which took place from 28 to 30 October 2019 in Hannover. The event was jointly organised by the ARL – Academy for Territorial Development in the Leibniz Association, the Leibniz Research Centre “TRUST – Transdisciplinary Rural and Urban Spatial Transformation” and the Ministry of Federal and European Affairs and Regional Development of the Federal State Government of Lower Saxony (MB). Professor Sabine Baumgart (President of the ARL), Professor Rainer Danielzyk (ARL), Dr Ina Peters (ARL) and Professor Winrich Voß (Leibniz University Hannover / TRUST) guided through an intensive and inspiring three-day programme filled with keynote lectures, student presentations and a field trip to the Kronsberg district of Hannover.

The summer school started with a public opening ceremony at the Old Townhall. Professor Simin Davoudi (Newcastle University) held an inspiring lecture about the meaning of “social imaginaries” (i.e. socially shared ideas about values, institutions, laws and symbols) and critically reflected upon the opportunities and problems of Europe’s territorial development. An essay based on her talk has been published open access in the Transactions of the Association of European Schools of Planning.

Minister Birgit Honé (MB) explained the interplay of political levels from the perspective of a German federal state. She gave several examples of how close cooperation with Brussels contributes to overcoming regional challenges in Lower Saxony.

On the following days, the summer school participants explored the role of regions in Europe’s multilevel governance system and discussed conceptual, methodological, and empirical questions. The doctoral students gave insight into their dissertation projects. These included advances in regional geography, examples of cross-border cooperation, analyses of formal and informal planning tools, as well as new approaches to sustainable urban development. The keynote lecturers addressed several dimensions of regions and regionalism. Professor Anssi Paasi (University of Oulu) spoke about the historical conditionality and social construction of regions. Professor Peter Schmitt (Stockholm University) compared formal, informal and hybrid planning instruments in their ability to bring together actors and spaces. From a political science perspective, Professor Sabine Riedel (University of Magdeburg) explained the process of centralisation and decentralisation in the course of EU enlargement.

With reference to the summer school venue, Professor Axel Priebs (Vice President of the ARL and former Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Environmental Protection, Regional Planning and Building Control of the Hannover Region) gave insights into the development of the Hannover Region focussing on critical success factors. Moreover, a field trip to the Kronsberg district demonstrated how urban and regional planning are carried out in the city of Hannover and the Hannover Region.

At the end of the summer school, the doctoral students emphasized that they benefited from the lecturers’ inspiring talks, expertise and critical feedback. The small number of participants and pleasant working atmosphere fostered fruitful discussions and networking.