DIFFERENT BORDERS-DIFFERENT COOPERATION?
TRANSBORDER COOPERATION IN POLAND
Sylwia Dołzbłasz and Andrzej Raczyk
Geographical Review 105 (3)
American Geographical Society: What is the main purpose of your study?
Sylwia Dolzblasz: We tried to identify similarities and differences in transborder cooperation at a number of Polish border regions and pinpoint what were the crucial local factors determining the character of cooperation.
American Geographical Society: What are the practical, day to day implications of your study?
Sylwia Dolzblasz: The study concerns transborder cooperation and how it works within regional policy set across the European Union. Our study identifies the real mechanisms of cooperation: e.g. local self-governments, scientific and cultural institutions, NGOs. We include 591 co-operation projects at 5 national borders (see map). Each of these places are very different in character. It draws attention to the need for adjusting cooperation policies to local and regional conditions.
American Geographical Society: How does your study relate to other work on the subject?
Sylwia Dolzblasz: The study fits with research on political geography and regional development. We also look specifically at how true co-operation across borders can work.
American Geographical Society: What are two or three interesting findings that come from your study?
Sylwia Dolzblasz: We show that even though the rules and institutional structures are the same, the actual character of cooperation differs among the borders. Cooperation frameworks need to be constantly adjusted as local and regional conditions change. To make cooperation work better, joint activities need to be intensified.
American Geographical Society: What might be some of the theoretical implications of this study?
Sylwia Dolzblasz: We address the real transborder effects of cooperation projects by examining a number of empirical spatial studies.
American Geographical Society: How does your research help us think about Geography?
Sylwia Dolzblasz: The research highlights the need to incorporate the spatial dimension in the regional and co-operation policies. Geographical insight helps understand complex phenomena occurring in border regions.
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