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Place-Sensitive Social Investment and Territorial Cohesion: Implications for Sustainability

Marta Cordini, Tatjana Boczy and Ruggero Cefalo
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Marta Cordini: Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Politecnico of Milan, Via Bonardi 3, 20133 Milan, Italy
Tatjana Boczy: Department of Sociology, University of Vienna, 1010 Wien, Austria
Ruggero Cefalo: Department of Sociology, University of Vienna, 1010 Wien, Austria

Sustainability, 2021, vol. 13, issue 13, 1-16

Abstract: This theoretical paper presents a review of existing literature on the Social Investment (SI) approach to social policy and its underlying and under-explored territorial dimension. The SI approach has been debated and promoted mainly at national and supranational level, while the territorial dimension has been relatively underestimated in the policy as well as in the academic debate. A place-sensitive approach should be included within the analytical framework when addressing the territorial articulation of SI, as territorial-related variables may foster or hinder SI policies. Therefore, we provide a theoretical frame to articulate the territorial dimension of SI, and we discuss relevant points of contact between Social Investment and Territorial Cohesion. First, we provide a critical discussion about Social Investment approach, with the simultaneous aim of highlighting the gaps and the flaws, among which we focus on the territorial dimension of these policies. Second, we argue that this territorial dimension is related to the interaction between four main factors: (1) The reliance on the provision of capacitating services; (2) the process of institutional rescaling; (3) the persistence of spatial inequalities at subnational levels; and (4) the characteristics of the knowledge and learning economy. Third, we explore the relationship between place-sensitive Social Investment and Territorial Cohesion, discussing potential implications for sustainable development. The work is a theoretical reflection based on the HORIZON2020 project COHSMO “Inequality, Urbanization and Territorial Cohesion: developing the European social model of economic growth and democratic capacity”.

Keywords: Territorial Cohesion; social investment; multilevel governance; sustainable development; spatial disparities (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: O13 Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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