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Cooperation, Proximity, and Social Innovation: Three Ingredients for Industrial Medium-Sized Towns' Renewal?

Abstract : Over several decades, medium-sized industrial towns have suffered from a combination of economic and political processes: Deindustrialization, metropolization, and withdrawal of public services. After two decades in which they have been somewhat neglected (in favor of metropolises), there have recently been State and European public policies aimed at them. Medium-sized cities are not homogeneous and present several trajectories. Based on quantitative approach in France, we highlight the very diverse socioeconomic dynamics of French medium-sized industrial towns. Thus, far from widespread decline or shrinking dynamics, some of these cities are experiencing an economic rebound. This is the case of Romans-sur-Isère, a medium-sized town located in the southeast of France. Focusing our qualitative analyze on this city, we try to understand this type of process. In this medium-sized town, former capital of the shoe industry, local stakeholders, private, and public try to support a productive renewal. The results of our case study highlight the role that cooperation, spatial and organizational proximity, and social innovation could play in the renewal of productive economy in medium-sized industrial towns. Even if the economic situation remains difficult for many medium-sized cities in France as in Europe, we argue that they could have a productive future making and ultimately take advantages of their "medium-sized" attributes.
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Contributor : Magali Talandier <>
Submitted on : Wednesday, May 13, 2020 - 12:09:09 AM
Last modification on : Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 4:00:18 PM


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Marjolaine Gros-Balthazard, Magali Talandier. Cooperation, Proximity, and Social Innovation: Three Ingredients for Industrial Medium-Sized Towns' Renewal?. Urban Science, MDPI, 2020, Alternative Futures of Small Industrial Towns, 4 (2), pp.1-21. ⟨10.3390/urbansci4020015⟩. ⟨halshs-02571601⟩



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