KNOWLEDGE AND INNOVATION PARTNERSHIPS FOR SMART AND SUSTAINABLE TERRITORIAL DEVELOPMENT
Keywords:quadruple helix, sustainable territorial development, rural-urban linkages, food systems, digitalisation
The complexity of contemporary territorial development challenges – such as uneven growth trajectories triggered by monocentric development, social and economic inequalities, depopulation of rural and remote territories, environmental degradation – calls for addressing them in a systemic, multi-level and cross-sectoral manner. Collaborative and participatory approaches are increasingly recognised as a precondition for smart and sustainable territorial development where local resources and digital technologies are employed in ways that stimulate economic growth, increase social integration and wellbeing, and improve environmental conditions. We apply the framework of quadruple helix to explore the role of knowledge and innovation partnerships (KIPs) in three key areas of contemporary territorial development in Latvia, i.e., regional food systems, rural-urban interfaces, and rural digitalisation. The study is based on a review and synthesis of theme-specific results from across 11 national and European projects carried out by the Baltic Studies Centre since 2007, and national expert interviews. The results suggest that KIPs in rural and territorial development contexts have specific constellations and activities both within and across the three areas. It can be more challenging to establish KIPs there than in urban surroundings because of scarcer resources. When established, KIPs allow for pooling resources of different stakeholders for joint practical problem solving. Improved understanding and knowledge of local resources and systems within which those resources circulate, and targeted support for multi-actor knowledge and innovation collaboration within and across territories, including rural-urban ones, are needed to enable KIPs for sustainable territorial development.