CWS and regional development strategies: Searching between top-down and bottom-up initiatives

Vera Fabinyi (Vera Fabinyi)
Danai Liodaki
This paper will contribute to the session ‘(Re)working spaces: Collaborative workspaces as effects and drivers of new spatial relations’ by shedding light to the integration of collaborative spaces’ potential in current regional development agendas. This will be illustrated through presenting data from a qualitative case study about a small town in Western Greece.


The proposed paper contributes to the session ‘(Re)working spaces: Collaborative workspaces as effects and drivers of new spatial relations’ by unraveling the relation between collaborative workspaces and regional development strategies. Thus it focuses - from a multi-scalar and relational space perspective - at the interrelation of state and regional strategies for peripheralized areas and collaborative workspaces (hereafter CWS) as place-based actors reconfiguring those places. Correspondingly two conceptualisations are combined. On the one hand regional development strategies are considered as assembled by different actors, interests and knowledge arriving from the near and far as policies and their ideologies and discourses are translated and mutate throughout space and time. On the other hand CWS are conceptualized as “alternative spaces ”for “alternatives to development”.

The presentation focuses on three different dimensions:

First, it sheds light to the enactment of current regional development strategies in peripheralized areas. Specifically it analyzes how a state strategy for a periphery is produced through diverse interests, capacities, power relations and actors.

Second, it analyzes the creation of alternative spaces in peripheralized areas through CWS as place-based actors. This analysis is implemented by questioning the alterity of CWSs and analyzing the local engagement and the community activation they create in the places they act.

Third, it looks at the enabling and disabling moments of the policy for those CWS. Bridging the two aforementioned dimensions together, the paper aims to question if and how the state and regional strategies and policies can support the development capacities of CWSs in the periphery. This question will be approached through two case studies in the Region of Western Greece.

More specifically, the data is drawn from qualitative case study research focusing on a place-based local hub and the implementation of a CreativeHub project from the regional authorities in a small town in Western Greece. The small town is located in a Region, which is one of the most underdeveloped Greek regions, facing many structural problems and lacking innovation. The study is based on semi-structured interviews, direct observations and document analysis. Main findings will focus on a comparative approach of the two cases on the question of regional and state support. From a local perspective we will question how the two initiatives are rooted in the local population and how they activate the local community.