Place-Based Approaches to Regional Development: Global Trends and Australian Implications

Place-Based Approaches to Regional Development: Global Trends and Australian Implications Report

  • Author(s): John Tomaney
  • Published: 2010
  • Publisher: Australian Business Foundation

Abstract: The “Commitment to Regional Australia” agreement following the 2010 Federal Election called for the adoption of “place-based thinking” in order to address the problems of regional Australia. This report for the Australian Business Foundation examines international trends in “place-based thinking” and their implications for Australia, drawing especially on thinking developed by the OECD and the European Union. The new paradigm of local and regional development emphasises the identification and mobilisation of endogenous potential, that is, the ability of places to grow drawing on their own resources, notably their human capital and innovative capacities. This approach aims to develop locally-owned strategies that can tap into unused economic potential in all regions and are the basis for strategies that tackle questions of sustainable development and human wellbeing. Such approaches require strong and adaptable local institutions, such as regional development agencies, which are increasingly commonplace around the world. At the same time, such approaches require the involvement of a wide range of stakeholders and mechanisms for identifying assets in the local economy that can be the basis for local growth strategies. Examples of this new approach are drawn from the European Union. Although Australian and European experiences are different, the relative success of some European regions is worth studying. The report looks in detail at the performance of three regions from different parts of Europe that outperformed their respective national economies in recent years. While revealing a diversity of experiences and conditions, the regions have a number of attributes in common, including a strong focus on innovation and human capital, clear long-term strategies and robust and accountable institutions. The report notes the distinctive and diverse conditions of Australia’s cities and regions and, in international terms, the relatively benign prevailing economic conditions compared to Europe. It notes that in some respects Australian policy is moving in the direction of place-based thinking, but that this development could be accelerated.

Notes: ISBN 978-0-9804138-8-5

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Suggested Citation
John Tomaney, 2010, Place-Based Approaches to Regional Development: Global Trends and Australian Implications, Report, viewed 14 August 2022,

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