Local Sustainable Development and Spatial Cohesion in the Post-transition Balkans: in search of a developmental model
The transition process that started in the Balkans some twenty years ago, and the European association process to which it has been inexorably connected, has led to a radical transformation of the Balkan economic space across local, regional, national and trans-national levels. Amongst the other effects that this have had, was the emergence of new and acute socio-economic dichotomies (polarisation) and problems of persistent underdevelopment, peripherality-rurality and economic dependence. In this paper we review the policies that have been applied to address these issues and examine the relevance of contemporary concepts of local economic development for the mobilisation of cohesive and sustainable development in the Balkans. We examine how the main elements of the new regionalist developmental strategy relate to the basic dimensions of socio-spatial infrastructure in the Balkans and identify the key weaknesses of the latter. We conclude by proposing a wider regional strategy that will be able to r solve the existing deficiencies by means of a regional cooperation approach that will seek to maximise intra-regional synergies and develop local and regional comparative advantages and the provision of similar public goods.
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