Building territorial governance capacities

Bio-städte, Ökoregion

The paradigm of the eco-regione or bio-region comes with the desire to reconnect the urban agglomeration to the ‘natural’ regional geography that precedes urbanisation ( Dynamics of urbanisation overwrite a pre-urban geography, threatening the hydrological integrity of the region, the soil structure, the nutrient cycles, the biodiversity, etc. Particularly inspiring is the way in which many eco-regional initiatives start from self-imposed ecological and territorial boundaries and re-think urbanisation as part of the care for the landed resources within the particular region.

In the German and Austrian context we can witness many Öko-region initiatives. Most of them have their origin in the promotion of organic farming (not in agroecology per se). The focus on organic farming cements the link between regional policies and soil care (ie. Ökoregion Kaindorf and the Humus+ project). Soil and farming are recognized as the necessary basis for an ecological regional geography. These initiatives do establish a strong connection between resource sovereignty and an understanding of territorial control built around place-based solidarities between actors within a region, and move well-beyond protectionist and identitarian regionalist logics. They give farmers a potential place within regional constituencies, and indirectly a place in the territorial governance of urbanisation, a place often denied to them within urban and metropolitan territorial governing bodies.

Building Block: Agroecological Park