Ecology, Economy and Climate Crisis in European Regional Development

The need for economic geographies of regional development to interrogate fully nature-society relations, the relationship between ecology and economy, and the relentless commodification of nature in the production network-nature nexus is becoming widely accepted (Werner 2021). In this moment of climate crisis, more or less radical formulations of green economies and path development are also apparent alongside calls for just transitions, climate justice and New (Green) Deals. In a European context, for example, the EU’s Green Deal is one way in which European states are attempting to respond to the climate crisis. The Green Deal focuses on a range of initiatives attempting to stimulate clean energy, developing a circular economy industrial policy, enhancing food sustainability via a ‘farm to fork’ strategy, and establishing sustainable mobility systems including electric vehicle uplift. But how do we understand such challenges in the context of European regional and territorial development?

Notable recent examples of work on green regional futures and what we might call the “ecology-economy nexus” have examined a “clean-tech” economy (Gibbs and O’Neill 2017), the political economies of regional evolution in renewable energy systems such as off-shore wind (e.g. MacKinnon et al 2021) and solar energy (Dunford et al 2012)), the forms of work and employment in ‘green’ resource recovery industries (Gregson et al 2016), regional energy transitions (e.g. Coenen et al 2021), and local socio-ecological transitions (Sauer and Huber 2016). This session seeks to build on this work by bringing together papers that provide theoretical and empirical approaches to understand the relationship between ecology, economy and climate crisis in the context of European regional development.

We welcome abstracts for papers engaging with this emerging terrain, which might examine any of the following areas through both conceptual and empirical (or ideally combined) research, although this list is by no means exclusive. We are open to a range of perspectives seeking to examine how ecology and economy intersect in processes of European regional development and sustainability transitions:

It is hoped to produce a special issue of European Urban and Regional Studies from the papers presented, subject to peer review. Early career researchers and those without institutional conference funding are likely to be supported in their attendance via a contribution towards conference attendance costs.