The Polish Section of the European Regional Science Association (ERSA) will hold its 3rd international conference and workshop on December 8 and 9, 2017 at the University of Lodz in Poland. The topic of the conference is “Regions of Tomorrow – Hopes & Threats”. It will bring together researchers and practitioners to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and experience concerning multidimensional aspects of regional development. Regionalists, statisticians, econometricians, applied scientists, political scientists, sociologists, geographers, and economists will present and discuss ongoing research on both novel theories and latest applications in regional science and in regional policy. In doing so, the participants will make transparent the hopes and threats that will influence the social, economic, environmental, and political situation of regions of tomorrow.
The conference will start with a keynote presentation by Dutch professor Eveline van Leeuwen (Wageningen university & research) on "Inclusive Participation: local impacts of individual choices". Based on research performed with colleagues she concludes that social interaction is key to a participating society. Regions that face decline and/or an ageing population may experience more difficulties in recruiting volunteers and enter in a vicious circle. Participation is associated with wellbeing benefits. It provides activities and services to the local community, and research shows that volunteering and participating lead to increased happiness and subjective wellbeing levels for the participants themselves. In addition, people who are actively involved with their living environment can make their voice being heard and thereby can influence their local environment. This is true for local policies as well as for the organization of social events or local services.
However, the extent of civic and political activity varies widely across individuals and regions leading to heterogeneous responses to policies that seek to foster participation. In her keynote presentation, Prof. van Leeuwen will first show the economic and social relevance of participation across European regions. Then, she will zoom in on individual level choice determinants concerning participation, and demonstrate the important role that local social interactions play.
The workshop will focus on the opportunities arising for regional researchers from the wide availability of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). The first part of the workshop will concentrate on primary visualization methods of socio-economic phenomenon. The second part will deals with database management available by the GIS software. The workshop is designed as a crash-course and is targeted to early career researchers in regional science and PhD students.