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European Week of Regions and Cities

Sustainable cooperation across the Alps: the governance of fuzzy territories

The workshop focuses on the governance of alpine territories located between the mountainous inner areas and the metropolitan lowlands, characterised by a high number of links and flows beyond administrative boundaries and requiring tailored governance instruments. ESPON and Alpine Space Programmes, with EUSALP and Alpine Convention, have already tackled this cross-border challenge. The workshop aims to contribute to operative policy design to support the responsible authorities.

  • Territorial | Local and regional | INTERREG | EU/ European | Governance and Public administration | Cohesion
  • Code: 12WS23280
  • SQUARE Brussels Meeting Centre, Hall 300



Practical information

Thu 12/10/2023, 11:30 - 12:30 CET
SQUARE Brussels Meeting Centre, Hall 300
Breaking barriers to cross-border cooperation
Social media



Session summary

The workshop on the topic of governance of fuzzy territories in the Alps was proposed by Lombardy Region and moderated by Cristina Pellegrino on October, 12.
A transnational panel of experts addressed the theme of the governance of alpine territories located between the mountainous inner areas and the metropolitan low-lands, characterized by a high number of interlinkages and flows beyond administrative boundaries and that require tailored governance instruments. This specific crossboarder challenge is already under the attention of the ESPON and Alpine Space programmes, as well as EUSALP and the Alpine Convention, with the aim of contributing to the development of operational policies to support the responsible authorities.
The speakers with different experiences, nationalities and backgrounds, provided possible explanations of the theme "governance of fuzzy territories" on which there are still no shared definitions and common understanding and presented possible examples of governance taken from ESPON and Alpine Space projects. The Alpine region is an area in itself with “fuzzy boundaries”: the effectiveness of strategies in this context cannot fail to take into account the interactions and flows that characterize this peculiar spatial and geographical area. The speakers highlighted how the reference context is characterized by extreme diversification and complexity and therefore requires new types of cooperation (formal and informal) in combination with "soft governance" tools. In this context, territorial cooperation initiatives are crucial trying to overcome the administrative borders and to define “a new unformal territory” characterised by specific domains (economics, social, cultural, demographic, etc.) (M. Coronato).
An analysis of the “quality of life” in these particular territories, supported by data, maps and indicators has provided a different key to understanding the theme of governance in the context of ESPON and the Alpine Convention - RSA 10 (Report on the State of the Alps) for the period 2023–2024 (N. Marot).
Finally, the "smart village approach" developed in the context of the Alpine Space Program and EUSALP was presented, as a further contribution to the discussion. Based on the involvement of local communities and the use of digitalisation to address various aspects related to the liveability of remote areas, this approach has led to the implementation of specific pilot actions in the Alpine context and the development of further European initiatives and networks (P. Niederer).
An interesting discussion with participants started after the presentations, intruducing further reflections and inputs on this challenging topic.