Instead of our 2021 Summer Academy, Mesopartner is inviting you to a series of different events throughout the year!

The theme that will be woven throughout the events is Reimagining Place.

Mesopartner has a long history in place-based development. As a firm, we have developed a widely used approach to Local and Regional Economic Development. Place has always played an important role for us as we believe sub-national territories are central to all development efforts.

The schedule of events will be unfolding as we walk through the year, so stay tuned and subscribe to our newsletter.

In our 2015 Annual Reflection on Territorial Economic Development, we quoted Barca, McCann et al. (2012) who argue that, “... space matters and shapes the potential for development not only of territories but, through externalities, of the individuals who live in them. Consequently, development strategies should be placed-based and highly contingent on context.”

Our exploration of complexity theory and systemic change is consistent with that finding: complexity requires us to be context-sensitive and work with tailored interventions based on the idiosyncrasies of a place rather than with generic interventions.

Place-based development approaches have somewhat fallen out of fashion in development but have seen a revival in recent years. This is partly driven by a better theoretical understanding of why place matters, but also by practical and painful experiences with peripheral places that were ignored by central governments in favour of more vibrant places, leading to the people there voting for populist and extremist parties – a phenomenon that can be observed in countries all over the world.

With our research theme we have initiated a discussion in Germany on the role rural areas can play in a region’s development. We thereby interpret ‘smart’ as going far beyond ‘digital’ and argue that new and innovative solutions are needed to take rural and more remote areas along on our journey into the 21st century.

Looking forward, places will have a central role in the great transformation towards a sustainable society as outlined by the Sustainable Development Goals and the requirements of the Paris Agenda to mitigate climate change. Mesopartner is stepping up its efforts to supporting places to transition towards more sustainable ways of living and working together.

The Reimagining Place event series will contain various formats from online training on Local Economic Development to discussion groups and online seminars. Also, our Annual Reflection 2021 will be on the topic of Reimagining Place this year and will take the form of articles and essays that are going to be published over the whole year and compiled in one publication at the end of the year.

Don’t forget to sign up to our Newsletter to get updates about our events this year.

Photos by Britta Radike