Hållbart välbefinnande som mål för den Nederländska regional utvecklingsstrategin: Lärdomar från eftersatta regioner
Especially for ‘left behind places’, a shift away from a focus on economic growth as the primary normative objective of development, may hold considerable promise. First, because economic prosperity and economic growth should be seen as a means to an end; with the end being to improve the quality of life of people. It makes sense for policies to target the end rather than the means. A second reason is that the results of regional and urban development policies that have attempted to boost growth in ‘left behind places’ and effectuate economic convergence, have in many countries been disappointing. Fueling a growing disillusionment perhaps, and concomitant inclination to look for what can be achieved instead. Since the start of the so-called ‘Region Deal’-programme in 2018, regional development policy in the Netherlands is explicitly geared towards promoting ’well-being’ combined with ‘sustainable development’ (encapsulated in the term ‘brede welvaart’). The aim of this presentation is to draw some lessons from this shift, which are important to consider when moving away from economic growth as a central objective in development policies in and for ‘left behind places’. The experiences in the Netherlands so far, show that the move towards ‘sustainable well-being’ leads to new possibilities for place-sensitive and place-based policies that advance the quality of life of people in different places, but also brings with it several new challenges and issues.
Emil Evenhuis, PhD