There is an increasing need for developing European Union Cohesion Policy in terms of greater sensitivity towards territorial specificities, more supportive of community-based development and the facilitation of greater civic participation. This also relates to the concern over decreasing identification with the European project among the population. Place-based development, endogenous regional development and territorial capital are some of the policy approaches that have been invoked to facilitate a reorientation of Cohesion Policy and territorial development policy. These need to be connected more specifically to notions of the local and localism. RELOCAL will target this objective by exploring in depth the two dimensions underlying the challenge described in the Call text. The project will be based on case studies of local contexts (e.g. cities and their regions) that exemplify development challenges in terms of spatial justice. Among the research questions that have been identified are the following:
- How can spatial justice be conceptualised, operationalised, adapted?
- How processes of territorial inequalities in different localities be understood and analysed?
- How does the local relate to cohesion in an EU context?
- What factors and filters are operating that enhance or limit the relation between the local and cohesion? What might bridge abstract notions of spatial justice and local practises on the one hand and CP on the other?
- Is there a territorial trap in thinking locally, endogenously? Can enhanced autonomy contribute to spatial justice? How can processes of place-making be related to spatial justice?
- What is the scope for alternative development, stabilisation, sustainability, solidarity models/scenarios?