The social dimension of regional sustainable development planning

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The Lisbon strategy has prioritized socio-economic issues in the European development. Through the Lisbon strategy together with the Gothenburg strategy Europe is striving for a balance between the social, economic and ecological dimension of sustainable development. In research the social dimension did only get limited attention because it is difficult to conceptualize. Politicians have difficulties with the social dimension of sustainable development because they think it relates sustainable development with everything. Here we use a capitals approach to sustainable development were regional development is more sustainable as it maintains or increases the total stock of natural, economic, social and human capital in a region. We define human capital as the knowledge, skills, competencies, and attributes, embodied in individuals, that facilitate the creation of personal, social and economic well-being. We will argue that the stock of human capital and changes in this stock (brain drain and brain drain) are central for the goals of the Lisbon strategy on knowledge economy, employment, sustainability and social cohesion. We illustrate the unbalance between different capitals in one region and compare the level of human capital between regions. Sustainable development is the balancing of the various types of capital so that they do not hold back each other. We will suggest in this paper that an investment in human capital compared with investments in other forms of capital, gives us the most economic return if we are able to find the right measures. The paper gives illustration of measures to stop brain drain and foster brain gain through regional planning in (peripheral) European regions. The examples are taken from an INTERREG IIIb project
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2005
Event19th AESOP Annual Congress 2005 - Vienna, Austria
Duration: 13 Jul 200517 Jul 2005
Conference number: 19


Conference19th AESOP Annual Congress 2005


  • Human Capital
  • regional sustainable development
  • regional planning
  • IR-82147


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