The ninth EPRC webinar of the 2021 was held May 12th (11:00 – 12:00 UK) over Zoom. Dr. Emil Evenhuis, researcher at the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL), presented on the topic “Place-based Applications of the Well-being Agenda: the case of Dutch regional policy”.

Evenhuis argued that the Well-being Agenda has gained traction in recent years. In several countries and places (New Zealand, Iceland, Finland, Scotland and Wales being high-profile cases) there have been attempts to shift away from an overriding concern for policy with performance on a narrow set of economic indicators, to gearing policies towards well-being in its many facets, reflected in a much broader set of indicators.

Reflecting on the particular case of the Netherlands, Evenhuis highlighted that the Well-being Agenda has recently been linked to place-based policy. The aim of the latest regional development policy programme – the ‘Region Deal’-programme (running from 2018 until 2022) – has entailed a shift from promoting economic prosperity to promoting well-being in the selected regions. Well-being has moreover been coupled to sustainable development; so the overarching objective could actually be termed ‘sustainable well-being’ (‘brede welvaart’ in Dutch).

Evenhuis’ presentation discussed the possible advantages of making ‘sustainable well-being’ the main objective of regional development policy:

  1. It directs policies to what really matters for people;
  2. It allows for more place-sensitive/place-based policies; and
  3. It encourages an integrated policy approach.

However, this can also give rise to issues, such as the challenge of fitting in place-based policymaking in a centralized government structure, or getting multiple territorial units to work together.

Emil Evenhuis is a researcher of Urban and Regional Development within the Department of Urbanisation and Transport of PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. His research focusses on the interplay between economic evolution over time, the development of cities and regions, and territorial governance & policy. Emil obtained a PhD in economic geography from the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) at Newcastle University in 2016. Prior to starting at PBL in 2019, he worked as a research associate first at the University of Cambridge (2016-2018) and then at the University Southampton (2018-2019).

Evenhuis’ presentation can be accessed here, and the recording of the webinar can be viewed on the EPRC’s YouTube page here.

Our next webinar will take place Wednesday May 26th, when Alison Hunter and Marta Pilati, from the European Policies Centre, will present on “Regional Implications of COVID-19”.

Future EPRC webinars will delve on topics of regional policy and development.

If you would like to attend, watch out for updates and registrations by following @eprc_eu on Twitter