Call for Papers - Special Issue: Sustainable and inclusive development in left-behind places

Guest editors:

Maximilian Benner, University of Vienna
Robert Hassink, Kiel University
Michaela Trippl, University of Vienna

In line with a renewed interest in spatial inequality (e.g, Cox, 2022; Evenhuis et al., 2021; Feldman et al., 2021), economic geography has put the spotlight on “left-behind places” (MacKinnon et al., 2022; Rodríguez-Pose, 2018). This debate is embedded into a growing awareness of the social and political consequences of spatial divergence that have become particularly visible across Europe and the United States (e.g., Economist, 2016; McQuarrie, 2017; Rodrik, 2017; Trubek, 2018) and sparked an enormous interest into what is termed “geographies of discontent” (De Ruyter et al., 2021; Essletzbichler et al., 2018; McCann, 2020). Developing regional innovation and development policies suitable to address the place-based challenges and opportunities of these left-behind places is of critical importance (Isaksen et al., 2022; MacKinnon et al., 2022; Martin et al., 2022; Rodríguez-Pose, 2018; Tödtling et al., 2021).

At the same time, in the face of grand societal challenges related to sustainability (Schot & Steinmueller, 2018), regional innovation and development policies are increasingly confronted with expectations to embrace greener and more inclusive agendas. A variety of approaches such as green path development, the foundational economy, or place-based innovation policies for sustainability (Coenen & Morgan, 2020; MacKinnon et al., 2022; Trippl et al., 2020) are relevant in this regard, but what they mean specifically for left-behind places is not fully understood. In particular, green transformations pose particular challenges to those regional economies that rely on old “brown” industries such as oil, gas, coal, or energy-intensive industries, often leading to (short-term) job losses. Managing the decline of these old industries (Kivimaa & Kern, 2016) in left-behind places is thus fraught with tension and contested.

The special issue addresses both the challenges and opportunities for more sustainable and inclusive forms of development in left-behind places, as well as the innovation and transformation strategies and policies that could promote these forms of economic development. Relevant issues include, inter alia, the following ones:

  • Comparative research of green and inclusive regional development in Europe, the United States, and beyond (including the Global South),
  • Green regional development and patterns of social exclusion and inclusion,
  • Processes of green regional development and their tensions and contestation,
  • Multi-scalar policy impacts on sustainable and inclusive regional development,
  • Place-based policy approaches for green and inclusive regional development in left-behind places.

If you are interested in submitting a manuscript for the special issue, please send a 250-word abstract to Maximilian Benner ( Deadline for abstract submission is April 30th, 2023.

Submitters will be informed about the decision until May 31st, 2023. Full manuscripts should be submitted until September 30th, 2023 through the journal submission system All submissions will go through a blind peer-review process.


Coenen, L., Morgan, K. (2020). Evolving geographies of innovation: existing paradigms, critiques and possible alternatives. Norsk Geografisk Tidsskrift - Norwegian Journal of Geography, 74, 13-24.

Cox, K.R. (2022). Uneven development: convergence, divergence and politics. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 15, 23-38.

De Ruyter, A., Martin, R., Tyler, P. (2021). Geographies of discontent: sources, manifestations and consequences. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 14, 381-393.

Economist (2016). Place-based economic policies as a response to populism. The Economist, December 15th, 2016.

Essletzbicher, J., Disslbacher, F., Moser, M. (2018). The victims of neoliberal globalisation and the rise of the populist vote: a comparative analysis of three recent electoral decisions. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 11, 73-94.

Evenhuis, E., Lee, N., Martin, R., Tyler, P. (2021). Rethinking the political economy of place: challenges of productivity and inclusion. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 14, 3-24.

Feldman, M., Guy, F., Iammarino, S. (2021). Regional income disparities, monopoly and finance. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 14, 25-49.

Isaksen, A., Trippl, M., Mayer, H. (2022). Regional innovation systems in an era of grand societal challenges: reorientation versus transformation. European Planning Studies, DOI: 10.1080/09654313.2022.2084226.

Kivimaa, P., Kern. F. (2016). Creative destruction or mere niche support? Innovation policy mixes for sustainability transitions. Research Policy, 45, 205-217.

MacKinnon, D., Kempton, L., O'Brien, P., Ormerod, E., Pike, A., Tomaney, J. (2022). Reframing urban and regional ‘development’ for ‘left behind’ places. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 15, 39-56.

Martin, R., Martinelli, F., Clifton, J. (2022). Rethinking spatial policy in an era of multiple crises. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 15, 3-21.

McCann, P. (2020). Perceptions of regional inequality and the geography of discontent: insights from the UK. Regional Studies, 54, 256-267.

McQuarrie, M. (2017). The revolt of the Rust Belt: place and politics in the age of anger. The British Journal of Sociology, 68, 120-152.

Rodríguez-Pose, A. (2018). The revenge of the places that don’t matter (and what to do about it). Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 11, 189-209.

Rodrik, D. (2018). Populism and the economics of globalization. Journal of International Business Policy, 1, 12-33.

Schot, J., Steinmueller, W.E. (2018). Three frames for innovation policy: R&D, systems of innovation and transformative change. Research Policy, 47, 1554-1567.

Tödtling, F., Trippl, M., Desch, V. (2022). New directions for RIS studies and policies in the face of grand societal challenges. European Planning Studies, 30, 2139-2156.

Trippl, M., Baumgartinger-Seiringer, S., Frangenheim, A., Isaksen, A., Rypestøl, J.O. (2020). Unravelling green regional industrial path development: regional preconditions, asset modification and agency. Geoforum, 111, 189-197.

Trubek, A. (ed.) (2018). Voices from the Rust Belt. New York: Picador.

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