Projects / Programmes source: ARIS


Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
6.12.02  Humanities  Geography  Social geography 

Code Science Field
S240  Social sciences  Town and country planning 

Code Science Field
5.07  Social Sciences  Social and economic geography 
regional development, regional policy, problem border areas, Slovenia
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (15)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  24301  PhD David Bole  Geography  Researcher  2019 - 2021  302 
2.  20425  PhD Gregor Čok  Urbanism  Researcher  2020 - 2021  223 
3.  17898  PhD Mojca Foški  Urbanism  Researcher  2019 - 2021  386 
4.  08467  PhD Matej Gabrovec  Geography  Researcher  2019 - 2021  606 
5.  35706  PhD Maruša Goluža  Humanities  Junior researcher  2019 - 2021  61 
6.  15636  PhD Damjan Kavaš  Economics  Researcher  2019 - 2021  270 
7.  18431  MSc Klemen Koman  Economics  Researcher  2019 - 2021  103 
8.  32206  PhD Jani Kozina  Geography  Researcher  2019 - 2021  232 
9.  52012  PhD Erik Logar  Geography  Junior researcher  2019 - 2021  69 
10.  33468  PhD Gašper Mrak  Urbanism  Researcher  2019 - 2021  135 
11.  23513  PhD Janez Nared  Geography  Head  2019 - 2021  333 
12.  28438  PhD Nika Razpotnik Visković  Geography  Researcher  2019 - 2021  142 
13.  00343  Peter Repolusk  Geography  Researcher  2019 - 2021  215 
14.  37557  Anja Trobec  Geography  Junior researcher  2019 - 2021  27 
15.  13184  PhD Alma Zavodnik Lamovšek  Urbanism  Researcher  2019 - 2021  889 
Organisations (3)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0502  Institute for Economic Research  Ljubljana  5051690000  2,705 
2.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  61,827 
3.  0792  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering  Ljubljana  1626981  26,270 
Due to its size and geographic position, 93 out of 212 of the Slovene municipalities lie in the 10-km border belt (Pečar 2017). Majority of border areas face unfavourable natural and social conditions, such as bad accessibility, depopulation, mountainous character, various protection regimes ... Consequently, their development is marked by negative demographic trends, low level of education, lack of jobs, long-term unemployment, bad accessibility, and erosion of services of general and general economic interest that strengthens centralisation tendencies in Slovenia (Nared 2016). Consequently, 85 municipalities are defined as border problem areas by law. They cover nearly half of the Slovene territory and are settled by more than a fifth of the country's population. Its economic role is important as well. 12,2 % of companies work there employing 12,1 % of workers (data for 2013 and 2014; MGRT 2019). The scope of border areas, the share of the population, that lives there, as well as the share of companies and jobs,  show the importance of border problem areas for better cohesiveness of the national territory and the competitiveness of the economy. Therefore, a comprehensive development program should be shaped, enhancing the development of border problem areas and ensuring their territorial cohesion, competitiveness, social cohesion and sustainable development in general. As mentioned by Rodriguez-Pose (2019), the wellbeing of wealthy areas strongly depends on the wellbeing of weaker areas, thus, the better policy is needed, not less or more policy. Due to the aforementioned reasons, Slovene regional policy tends to focus on border problem areas in the new 2021–2027 financial perspective. Such focus is justified by the draft of the Slovene Spatial Development Strategy 2050, that in case of the border problem areas provides »introduction of governance and spatial measures, that are grounded in territorial dialogue, their priority treatment and identification of synergies with a coordinated set of various sectorial development measures and instruments«.  Slovene Development Strategy 2030 similarly emphasizes the importance of horizontal and multi-level cooperation. Thus, the development of border problem areas strongly depends on their clear identification, typology, and definition of well-calibrated and program-based measures, that connect policies of various sectors. The main question in this relation is how to comprehensively enhance the development of border problem areas. The answer will be provided by the proposed project. The project will analyse the development of border problem areas, considering existing studies, experiences with the implementation of the regional policy in Slovenia, and by conducting questionnaire survey in Slovene municipalities, interviews with the crucial stakeholders, and workshops and focus groups. The results will be used to prepare a typology of border problem areas, as well as for the preparation of the system for inter-sectoral coordination of problem border areas development. The proposed system will offer short-term measures, based on the existing legislation and strategic documents, e.g. multi-level and multi-sectoral enhancement of border problem areas (territorial dialogue, inter-sectoral cooperation, analysis and proposal of mechanisms and instruments), as well as mid-term measures, where a mid-term and long-term strategic guidelines and system-based solution for multi-sectoral and multilevel governance will be provided. The project will focus on currently less-studied fields, like economic and governance aspects of border areas, although the approach will be holistic, tempting to provide integral and coordinated systemic solutions for the development of border problem areas. Thus we will address the quality of life, accessibility to services of general and general economic interest, demographic change, sustainable development, mobility, cross border cooperation and the policy system for
Significance for science
Development of less developed and problem regions is an important issue for regional planning for a long time. Namely, development models are mostly grounded on successful development cases and economic growth factors, that are significant for developed and mostly urban areas. Among these factors belong financial, social, and human capital, infrastructure, innovations, and networks/clusters, that agglomerate in cities and urban areas, whereas they are weaker in less developed areas. This means the development concepts like clusters, creative regions, learning regions, industrial districts, etc. are of limited value in developing less developed areas. Thus, alternative models are sought, that are adapted to sparsely populated areas with the less educated workforce, insufficient infrastructure and week and low-tech economy. This is particularly significant for border problem areas, that are in demographic decline from 1970ies on (Klemenčič 1974). Border areas have had special attention in the Slovene regional policy, however, they haven't received sufficient funding and consequently, their development path hasn't turned in a positive direction. From 2000 on, the experts have thought the border regions will gain some importance with accession to the EU due to open borders. Some positive trends were observed in some urban areas, whereas the rest of the border regions continued to decline, mostly because the neighbouring areas across the border are similarly underdeveloped. The study will thus systematically examine the possibilities for developing border problem regions, which might become true only by fostering systematic, long term development, supported by successful knowledge, financial means and political will. The study will draw main guidelines for the development of border problem areas and thus support the experts in conducting development activities. In addition, the results will enhance regional planning and connected sciences. The main contribution is expected in new alternative development and business models, that might support the development of less developed areas and regions.
Significance for the country
According to Ministry of economic development and technology, Slovene border problem areas encompass 12,2 % of economic subjects and employ 12,1 % of all the Slovene employees (2013). Therefore, border areas are an important part of national economy and thus their further development is of crucial importance. Problem border areas are mostly peripheral and economically less developed, but at the same time, they are also areas with specific opportunities. Thus they represent untapped potential for strengthening the endogenous development, also in relation to cross-border cooperation. Therefore, problem border areas are strategic areas of national development where economic and social development should be promoted. This approach will enable the preservation of the settlement in order to avoid depopulation, as it will enable new employment opportunities in the areas characterized by the lack of working places and high unemployment rates. Therefore, the development of border problem areas based on the typification of border problem area will be based on a "place-based" approach (OECD 2019) based on:   •  Existing specific assets (resources) of an area (taking into account the characteristics of the area, including cultural, social and institutional characteristics, and based on the integration of existing endogenous resources and knowledge) and on the acquisition of resources, knowledge, and ideas outside the area, • on a multisectoral approach (coordination of sectoral policies at the regional/local level), • in a multi-level governance approach where different levels (administrative/developmental) aligned objectives, approaches, instruments, and implementation, • combining national and cross-border cooperation. A program approach to the development of problem border areas taking in to account proposed typification will enable the preparation of programs that will:  •on the one hand, include incentives for the development of the economy with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises and social economy (the potential set consists of repayable and non-repayable support for investments, financial instruments, promotion of the social economy, development of human resources, tourism support) •On the other hand, enabling conditions for the development of the economy (infrastructure development, enabling access to the services of general economic interest, preparation of joint projects, national/international promotion of areas, spatial development, preservation of cultural landscape, revitalization of cultural heritage, management of natural heritage). A comprehensive and programmatic approach will ensure the improvement of the conditions for the development of the economy, both for small and medium-sized enterprises, maintaining the level of public services (positive impact on social infrastructure and state administration), preserving and revitalizing the cultural heritage, in particular with the aim of promoting development of tourism, and thus also enhances cultural development. Therefore, the multi-sectoral, multi-level governance and program approach will have a positive impact on the economy, social infrastructure, state administration, cultural development, and cultural and natural heritage.
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