Politicising uneven regional development: Towards socially responsible geographies
This interdisciplinary research project brings together theories from human geography, planning and political science to scrutinize how uneven development is addressed and dealt with in Swedish regional policy and planning. While much of current research on regional development focuses on economic production, this research projects deals with political, democratic and socio-spatial aspects of regional development. Sweden displays growing inter- and intraregional differences in income, education, health, job opportunities and welfare services. Against official anticipations, current regional policy, which emphasises regional competition, has not so yet curbed the on-going processes of uneven development. Complex institutional conditions, with different forms of regional bodies, pose additional layers of challenges. Preconditions for formulating spatial regional development strategies differ largely between Swedish regions. Mandates for implementing policy is however largely located to the local level, in the form of municipal decisions on land-use, and the national level, i.e. through infrastructure investments. By carrying out comparative studies on the two regions Västra Götaland and Skåne, this research project scrutinizes how uneven intra-regional development is addressed and dealt with in Sweden. It contributes to provide with a better understanding of possibilities of curbing the trend towards increased regional disparities and is thus of high societal relevance.
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