Utilising Endogenous Potentials via Regional Policy-Led Development Initiatives in (Post-) Industrial Regions of Central Europe

  • Jörn HarfstEmail author
  • Peter Wirth
  • Danko Simić
Part of the EAI/Springer Innovations in Communication and Computing book series (EAISICC)


Since the Barca Report to the European Union in 2009, endogenous potentials have been firmly on the European Union agenda, streamlined by various policies related to territorial development. At the end of the current EU programming period (2012–2020), this chapter discusses how such place-based potentials are conceptualised and used, particularly in the local and regional context. In doing so, this chapter focuses on the situation of places characterised as non-agglomeration, (post-) industrial regions in Central Europe, often situated in the spatial peripheries and also outside the main academic focus. The analysis highlights governance issues and the valorisation of endogenous development potentials by different policy levels, discussing agenda setting and implementation. The cases highlight challenges in the current development of such regions, give examples for the identification and utilisation of endogenous potentials, and discuss lessons learned from this locally led development approach. Additionally, different governance modes are discussed and used to illustrate different agenda setting in regard to endogenous potentials. As a result, the authors argue that utilising potentials is streamlined top-down via various policy frameworks, which are in turn mediated by local and regional governance settings, adapting and translating these programmes into practical, regional and local actions, and thereby creating important learning effects for the regions.


EU Territorial Agenda Uneven regional development Post-industrial towns Endogenous potentials Governance 


  1. Amin A, Thrift N (1995) Institutional issues for the European regions: from markets and plans to socioeconomics and powers of association. Econ Soc 24:41–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Avdikos V, Chardas A (2016) European Union Cohesion Policy Post 2014: more (place-based and conditional) growth—less redistribution and cohesion. Territory Polit Gov 4:97–117CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barca F (2009) An Agenda for a reformed cohesion policy. A place-based approach to meeting European Union challenges and expectationsGoogle Scholar
  4. Chhotray V, Stoker G (2009) Governance theory and practice—a cross-disciplinary approach. Palgrave MacmillanGoogle Scholar
  5. Damsgaard O, Lindquvist M, Roto J, Sterling J (2009) Territorial potentials in the European Union. Nordregio Working Paper 2009. Stockholm, p 6Google Scholar
  6. Danielzyk R (2012) Der raumordnungspolitische Metropolendiskurs – Konstruktion von (neuen) Peripherien? disP—Plan Rev 48:27–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dunford M, Smith A (2000) Catching up or falling behind? Economic performance and regional trajectories in the “New Europe”. Econ Geogr 76:169–195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Eisenstrasse (2017) Association’s homepage. Accessed 13.12.2017
  9. Eisenstrassenmuseen (2017) Association’s homepage. Accessed 15.12.2017
  10. EU (2011) Territorial Agenda of the European Union 2020. Towards an inclusive, smart and sustainable Europe of diverse regions [WWW Document]. Accessed 6.23.17
  11. European Commission (2010) EUROPE 2020. A European strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth [WWW Document]. Accessed 9.1.2018
  12. Fischer W (2014) The mining and industrial heritage presented by the Association of Museums of the Styrian Iron Road. A story of success? In: Rust, regeneration and romance: iron and steel landscapes and cultures, conference proceedings. International Institute for Cultural Heritage, Ironbridge, 10–14 July 2013. Ironbridge, TelfordGoogle Scholar
  13. Garretsen H, McCann P, Martin R, Tyler P (2013) The future of regional policy. Camb J Reg Econ Soc 6:179–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Greenwood D, Levin M (2007) Introduction to action research: social research for social change, 2nd edn. Sage, Thousand OaksCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gruenewald DA, Smith GA (2014) Place-based education in the global age: local diversity. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  16. Harfst J (2015) Utilizing the past: valorizing post-mining potential in Central Europe. Extr Ind Soc 2:217–224Google Scholar
  17. Harfst J, Osebik D (2015) Social learning in transnational projects—lessons from European territorial cooperation projects.
  18. Harfst J, Simić D (2017) Industrial Culture as an emerging topic in regional development? pp 145–152Google Scholar
  19. Harfst J, Wirth P (2011) Structural change in former mining regions: problems, potentials and capacities in multi-level-governance systems. Procedia Soc Behav Sci 14:167–176CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Harfst J, Wirth P (2012) Zwickau-Lugau-Oelsnitz (Germany)—the long shadow of mining. In: Wirth P, Černič Mali B, Fischer W (eds) Post-mining regions in Central Europe. Problems, potentials, possibilities. oekom, Munich, pp 118–128Google Scholar
  21. Harfst J, Wirth P (2014) Zur Bedeutung endogener Potenziale in klein- und mittelstädtisch geprägten Regionen—Überlegungen vor dem Hintergrund der Territorialen Agenda 2020. Raumforsch Raumordn 72:463–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hooghe L, Marks G (2001) Multi-level governance and European integration. Rowman & Littlefield, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  23. InduCult (2017) Project homepage. Accessed 14.12.2017
  24. Jeffery C (2015) The regional dimension of the European Union: towards a third level in Europe? Routledge, London, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  25. Karlsch R, Schäfer M (2006) Wirtschaftsgeschichte Sachsens. Edition LeipzigGoogle Scholar
  26. LAG Steirische Eisenstraße (2015) Die Lokale Entwicklungsstrategie der LEADER-Region Steirische Eisenstraße 2014-2020: High Tech versus High Feeling [WWW Document]. Steirische Eisenstrasse. Accessed 24.1.2018
  27. Landkreis Zwickau (2017) Authentisch und dynamisch. Argumente für eine lebendige Industriekultur im Landkreis Zwickau [WWW Document]. Industrikultur in Sachsen. Accessed 10.1.2017
  28. Lazzeroni M, Bellini N, Cortesi G, Loffredo A (2013) The territorial approach to cultural economy: new opportunities for the development of small towns. Eur Plan Stud 21:452–472CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Maier G, Tödtling F, Trippl M (2006) Regional- und Stadtökonomik/Gunther Maier; Franz Tödtling; 2: Regionalentwicklung und Regionalpolitik, 3., aktualisierte und erw. Aufl. ed, Springers Kurzlehrbücher der Wirtschaftswissenschaften Springer, Wien [u.a.]Google Scholar
  30. Marques P, Morgan K (2018) The heroic assumptions of smart specialisation: a sympathetic critique of regional innovation policy. In: Isaksen A, Martin R, Trippl M (eds) New avenues for regional innovation systems—theoretical advances, empirical cases and policy lessons. Springer, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  31. Martin R, Sunley P (1998) Slow convergence? The new endogenous growth theory and regional development. Econ Geogr 74:201–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. McCann P (2015) The regional and urban policy of the European Union: cohesion, results-orientation and smart specialisation. Edward Elgar PublishingGoogle Scholar
  33. McCann P, Ortega-Argilés R (2013) Modern regional innovation policy. Camb J Reg Econ Soc 6:187–216CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Mendez C (2013) The post-2013 reform of EU cohesion policy and the place-based narrative. J Eur Publ Policy 20:639–659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Moulaert F, Sekia F (2003) Territorial innovation models: a critical survey. Reg Stud 37:289–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Myrdal G (1957) Economic theory and underdeveloped regions. Duckworth, LondonGoogle Scholar
  37. Oevermann H, Mieg HA (eds) (2014) Industrial heritage sites in transformation: clash of discourses, 1st edn. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  38. Osebik D (2012) Steirische Eisenstraße (Austria)—the region surrounding an outstanding mining landmark. In: Wirth P, Černič Mali B, Fischer W (eds) Post-mining regions in Central Europe. Problems, potentials, possibilities. oekom, Munich, pp 79–91Google Scholar
  39. Perlik M (2001) Alpenstädte - Zwischen Metropolisation und neuer Eigenständigkeit. Arbeitsgemeinsch. Geographica Bernensia, BernGoogle Scholar
  40. Petrakos G, Rodríguez-Pose A, Rovolis A (2005) Growth, integration, and regional disparities in the European Union. Environ Plan A 37:1837–1855CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Pinder D (2017) Regional economic development and policy: theory and practice in the European Community. RoutledgeGoogle Scholar
  42. Pollack MA (1997) Delegation, agency, and agenda setting in the European Community. Int Organ 51:99–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Posch A, Steiner G, Risopoulos F (2004) Die Erzherzog-Johann-Fallstudie—ein inter- und transdisziplinäres Lehr- und Forschungsprojekt der Kulturlandschaftsforschung. Österreichisches Bundesministerium für Bildung. WienGoogle Scholar
  44. Princen S (2007) Agenda-setting in the European Union: a theoretical exploration and agenda for research. J Eur Publ Policy 14:21–38CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. REVI (2001) Revitalisation of towns in former coal mining areas (REVI). Stadtentwicklung Südwest GmbH (STEG), DresdenGoogle Scholar
  46. Romer PM (1994) The origins of endogenous growth. J Econ Perspect 8:3–22CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Sachsen DM (2017a) Demografiemonitor Sachsen [WWW Document]. Accessed 1.10.18
  48. Sachsen VW (2017b) Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH [WWW Document]. Volkswagen Sachsen GmbH. Accessed 1.10.18
  49. Shift-X (2014) Project homepage. Accessed 21.12.2017
  50. Stough RR, Stimson RJ, Nijkamp P (2011) An endogenous perspective on regional development and growth. In: Kourtit K, Nijkamp P, Stough RR (eds) Drivers of innovation, entrepreneurship and regional dynamics. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp 3–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wirth P, Lintz G (2007) Strategies of rehabilitation and development in European mining regions. In: Good (best) practice cases in regional development after mining and industry, Grazer Schriften der Geographie und Raumforschung. Universität Graz, pp 75–85Google Scholar
  52. Wirth P, Černič Mali B, Fischer W (eds) (2012) Post-mining regions in Central Europe. Problems, potentials, possibilities. oekom, MunichGoogle Scholar
  53. Wirth P, Elis V, Müller B, Yamamoto K (2016) Peripheralisation of small towns in Germany and Japan—dealing with economic decline and population loss. J Rural Stud 47:62–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Zimmermann FM, Janschitz S (2004) Erfolgs- und Misserfolgsfaktoren bei der Umstrukturierung von traditionellen Bergbaugebieten. Das Beispiel Eisenerz/Österreich. In: Sächsisches Staatsministerium des Innern (ed) Neue Landschaften, Bergbauregionen im Wandel. Dokumentation des Fachkongresses auf der Euregia 2004 in Leipzig. Dresden, pp 30–41Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geography and Regional ScienceUniversity of GrazGrazAustria
  2. 2.Leibniz Institute of Ecological Urban and Regional Development (IOER)DresdenGermany

Personalised recommendations