Cross- national policy transfer in regional and urban policy


Date and location

  • 19th January
  • Department of Urbanism, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, TU Delft, Delft, The Netherlands

Event details

In a globalising world, many countries and regions face similar challenges. As a result, governments and policy-makers increasingly look for policy solutions, ideas and ‘good practice’ examples from other countries, seeking to adapt them to their domestic contexts.

At the same time, certain states or supranational and international organizations are keen to export their policy approaches and tools to other countries for pragmatic or normative reasons striving to project some of its policy norms and values beyond its borders. This is exemplified by the increasingly prominent dialogues on regional and urban policy between the EU and the major developing countries, including China, Brazil and other Latin American countries. Such processes of transnational learning, import/export of models and exchange of knowledge on policy approaches are embedded in international relations, diplomacy or para-diplomacy, and relate to an expanding range of policy areas, involving governmental and non-state actors at multiple territorial levels.

While this phenomenon appears increasingly commonplace, there are few studies looking at the policy transfer in the field of regional and urban development policy, even though such transfer does take place, as illustrated by the diffusion of place-based approaches to regional policy among the OECD countries, adoption of shared regional policy practices across the EU Member States through processes of Europeanisation, or cross-national cooperation on development of industrial parks and eco-cities in East Asia.

We invite paper proposals exploring this under-researched topic from both theoretical and empirical perspectives, looking at cross-national transfer and learning in the fields of regional and urban development policy but also spatial planning and related topics in the EU context and in other parts of the world to enable insightful comparisons and reflection on common trends and factors affecting those processes. We encourage in particular submissions that examine motivations for engaging in these types of activities, the mechanisms of influence, as well as the characteristics of transnational learning in the regional and urban policy fields, which make it more successful in some contexts than in others.

The workshop will be hosted by the Chair of Spatial Planning & Strategy (Department of Urbanism, Delft University of Technology) and co-organised by the European Policies Research Centre (University of Strathclyde) and the Department of European Studies at Poznań University of Economics, in collaboration with the partners within the RSA Research Network on EU Cohesion Policy.

1)  Regional and urban policy transfer between the EU and third countries 

EU-third countries transfer: What are the motivations behind and what are the outcomes of the dialogues on regional and urban policy between the EU and the third countries, such as Latin American countries, China, or Japan? What aspects of policy are transferable and are the focus of the dialogues? What are the mechanisms of policy transfer and what barriers to learning are at play? Are the processes of learning mutual? What is the relevance of these processes? Projecting the EU regional policy within the European neighbourhood: What is the rationale behind and the track record of the efforts to promote regional development policies in the EU’s neighbouring countries?

What are the mechanisms, outcomes and relevance of these processes? How do these developments in neighbouring countries that are and are not candidates for EU accession compare? What lessons can be learnt from the processes of Europeanisation in regional policy observed among the former EU candidate countries in Central and South-Eastern Europe?

2) Intra-EU policy transfer and cross-national learning 

How are best practices in regional and urban policies diffused within the EU? What are the challenges and pitfalls associated with spreading best practice in this policy area? To what extent do the territorial cooperation activities among the EU member states promote cross-border learning and adoption of imported policy practices? Which aspects of regional and urban policies are being transferred and under what conditions is such cross-national learning most likely? Can the policy transfer perspective shed new light on the processes of Europeanisation of regional and urban policies among the EU member states?

3) International perspectives and comparisons: exploring the success factors in cross-national learning in regional and urban policies

How transferable are place-based policies such as regional and urban development policies? What factors determine successful international policy transfer? How do the policy transfer experiences observed within the EU or between the EU and third countries compare with cross-national learning experiences in other parts of the world?


We invite theoretical and empirical contributions, which will explore one or more of the above themes. All
interested researchers, PhD students and practitioners are invited to submit, by email, an abstract of around
1,000 words to the following email address:

The abstract should:
• put the paper in wider context
• outline the theoretical background and the key findings of the paper,
• briefly discuss the methodology and the data used,
• explain what is new and original about the paper in relation to the debates on the above topics,
• include full contact details of the Author(s).



The invited participants and presenters will be asked to submit full papers by 5 January 2015 to allow for circulating them among the participants ahead of the event. The workshop will start at 9 AM and end by 7 PM on Monday 19 January 2015. The proceedings will include thematic sessions with discussants leading the debates and providing the Authors with feedback on their papers.

Related Documents

The papers (or at least the PPT slides) presented at the workshop will be made available for download. A special issue proposal on cross-national policy transfer in regional and urban policies is already in preparation and the best contributions to the workshop will be invited to contribute to it.


• Participation in the event is free of charge.

• Venue: Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in Berlagezalen at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, located at Julianalaan 134 (map).

• Delft is a small, attractive, historic city located between The Hague and Rotterdam. The city is renowned for its city canals, its 17th century painter Vermeer and Delft Blue earthenware.

• Delft is very accessible by public transport and air. By high-speed train, Delft is just 1.5 hours from the centre of Brussels and 3 hours from Paris. Amsterdam Schiphol airport is a 40-minute journey from Delft by train, and Rotterdam The Hague airport is just 15 minutes from Delft by taxi.

• Lunch will be provided to all participants and the speakers will be invited for a dinner after the proceedings.

• The RSA will be able to offer a small number of travel bursaries (up to GBP 250) for attending the workshop. Funding will be offered on a ‘first come, first served basis.’ If you wish to apply for a bursary or if you have any questions regarding your eligibility, please contact Marcin Dąbrowski: Please note that bursaries can only be offered to participants who are members of the RSA and fulfil one of the following eligibility criteria:
– are student or early career members of RSA,
– are associate (retired) members of RSA,
– are RSA member working in a band B, C or D country (to check in which band your country is please see the table here) .


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