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Abstract from the paper Vulkanland Case Study: Transformative regional development:

After being an economic backwater, the southeastern Austrian border region enjoys an economic boom today. The decisive factor for the turnaround was a regional development process that had its first steps in 1995. The region was suffering from low education, had the national lowest income rate, no industrial development, no infrastructure, little self-esteem and a lack of job opportunities. The initiators of the project were thinking of a different way of measuring progress and started imagining a future built on different standards. Due to profound research activities, the initiators came to the conclusion that megaprojects won’t entail sustainable solutions or future competence. Hence, they turned their focus to their habitat – their region. To in-valuate the living space, a new identity that was representative, gained recognition and reinforced the people's self-confidence. In 2001 the new identity ‘Steirisches Vulkanland’ was born. The vision throughout the entire development process was to transform the border region with little chances into an innovative, worth living region ‘Steirisches Vulkanland’ within a period of 15 years. In 2010 their vision seems to be achieved, 79 municipalities together promote successfully local, green, self-sustaining businesses. Yet, the development process is still going on, heading for new, courageous, challenging visions like achieving energy independence by the year 2025.

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