Call for abstracts

The development of high-speed railway lines creates challenges for territorial development, because local actors are variously invested in promoting or preventing projects. Locals fight either to obtain a HSL station or to avoid the route on their territory, depending on whether they are economic actors who see the HSL as supporting new economic development, or
associations of residents or environmentalists calling into question the HSL and its environmental impact. In both cases local actors are strongly involved in HSL projects.

The academic literature has already questioned the impact of HSL on territorial evolutions in terms of the economic effect (on the real estate market, employment rate, tourism,…) or spatial effect (on mobility, urbanization, …), in particular by calling into question project proponents faith in the structuring effects of transport infrastructure. This research showed a complex interaction between high-speed rail and local economic development, for example. Nonetheless, one field seems quite unexplored until now, that of the evolutionary impact in terms of governance. Which are the impacts of a HSL project on local governance? Can highspeed rail be an instrument to recompose a new form of governance in the crossed territories? From its beginnings as a State concern, governance of high-speed rail has undergone some major changes. Governance systems have had to accommodate protest movements from residents, the critics of the HSL model over other technical solutions, and a decreasing rate of profitability on new lines. So in this particular context, local authorities play an important role in legitimating these great projects, contributing to their implementation, or even providing funds.

Our objective through this conference is to question the effects of high-speed rail on local governance. The point is to clarify the way in which high-speed rail can help, at the beginning of a project to build new governance relations between territories, to make them cooperate in the project process, and to create new interdependences, even after the line opening. In the same time, our ambition is to call into question the gap between a discourse of cooperation between the crossed  territories, and the reality of strong competitions and oppositions that do not disappear with a high-speed line.

A special focus will be the decision making-process in HSL projects and the role of local authorities in this process. This conference, by confronting various experiments around HSL in Europe and elsewhere, will propose a comparative approach to clarify the role of local authorities in a territorial development process based on a technological innovation.

Proposed themes
-Local authorities and the railway high-speed funding.
-Territorial network and cooperation: challenges, forms and tools.
-The scales of governance related to HSL (international, regional, metropolitan).
-The main objects of governance: HSL stations, the economic policy related to HSL, etc.
-Territorial disorganization: obstacles and failures of the governance.


Abstracts of 500 words must be submitted in french or in english.
Researchers, PhD students and professionals are invited to submit their abstract on this website or by e-mail by March 24th, 2014.

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