La plate-forme du développement régional en Suisse

SwissLAB_2021: The making of city regions - Mobility, innovation and networks

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Regional development in Switzerland between 1950 and 1980 has mostly focused on rural and mountain areas. Despite these political efforts, urban centres have developed at much faster pace. As a result, deep imbalances between urban centres and the rural periphery have affected the optimisation of existing endogenous resources and the overall innovation, competitiveness and entrepreneurial rates across many regions.

From 1990 onward, Switzerland has experienced a real change in the politicaleconomic context, which has pushed the country towards a globalized world. Nevertheless, these imbalances are still present between urban centres and the periphery. Within this context, the concept of the “city-region” which has been traditionally well represented in the scholarly debate, has been gathering momentum in recent years.

As a matter of fact, city-regions represent one of the most advanced and sophisticated stages of urban development. The combination of an urban core or cores, associated to semi-urban as was well as the rural hinterland through functional ties, are considered as efficient developmental strategies. These strategies are geared to respond to the exigencies of an interconnected and globalized world. 

In the SwissLAB_2021 the accent is posed on examining – comparatively how a city-region is being made in order to respond to current economic, social, political and cultural challenges. The Canton Ticino represents a relevant case-study where the concept Città Ticino (Ticino City) has been coined to define this new reality. The Monte Ceneri Base Tunnel, inaugurated in September 2020, offers a new mobility concept for the canton. By halving the travel time between the three main urban centres - Bellinzona, Locarno and Lugano – the birth of the City-Ticino will become a reality. Such revolutionary paradigm will pave the way for improving existing networks and opening new ones; it will enhance the cantonal economy by placing it closer to important economic and financial hubs at both national and international levels.

Research questions

The SwissLAB_2021 will focus on addressing the following questions:

  • How can new mobility concepts change the economic and socio-political dynamics of an entire region?
  • How do this concept can alter the existing mentality which has been particularly divided by a scattered spatial distribution? 
  • By harnessing the opportunities offered by this mobility concept, which type of policies can be implemented to boost local and regional innovation, competitiveness and entrepreneurship? 
  • How will be altered the existing governance at both horizontal and vertical levels? 
  • How can it maximize existing networks and develop new ones? 
  • How can it affect cross-border relations? 
  • Which economic sectors can benefit most from this context? 
  • Which economic sectors may be challenged?
  • How other city-regions and foreign experiences can inspire this process? 


Call for papers

We welcome papers addressing the concept and challenges of City-Regions from comparative and multidisciplinary points of views. 

Submission process and important dates.

  1. Individual and collective paper proposals (extended abstracts) can be sent by 30th July 2021
  2.  The proposals have to be articulated in this way
    • Title/subtitle
    • Author/authors
    • Affiliation/s
    • Keywords
    • Extended abstract: max 1500 words. 
    • Languages: German, French, Italian, English
  3. Proposals review: 
    • The scientific committee will end the reviews on the 15th August 2021
    • Acceptance or rejection will be communicated on the 16th August 2021
  4. The proposals must be submitted to:
    • and 
  5. It is possible for researchers based abroad to participate via Zoom if travel restrictions or other limitations still apply. 



  • The participation fee is CHF 160 (double room) and CHF 180 (single room)
  • The participation fee for students is CHF 80 (in a double room)
  • The participation fee for a single day is CHF 90. These fees cover all costs of the event (except travel costs).

Hotels will be communicated to the participants and they will be based in Lugano city centre.



Please fill in the attached registration form and send it to or at The deadline for registration without research paper: 15th August 2021 Places are limited.

Type de rendez-vous
Lugano and Locarno
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