Process Tracing in Evaluating Innovation in Sub-Regional Governance. Case Study of Selected Integrated Territorial Investments in Poland

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Integrated Territorial Investments (ITIs) are a new integration tool that binds the thematic objectives defined operational programmes with the territorial dimension. Due to their formula, ITIs may be seen as a kind of innovation in sub-regional governance. The European Commission considers them as an opportunity to introduce solutions that can be effective in facing the challenges of contemporary development on a supra-local scale. Accordingly, they should be regarded as a possibility for Member States to activate innovative governance arrangements that will allow for the implementation of projects, which - depending on the country - more or less reflect issues indicated by the Commission as a priority. In Poland, the Integrated Territorial Investments are implemented in 24 functional areas. Due to a new approach to cities and their role in development processes in the country, they can mean a new opening for the urban policy and urban development. Concentrating on innovative governance arrangements, the aim of this paper is to analyze selected case studies of 4 ITIs implemented by large (more than 500,000 inhabitants) provincial cities: Wrocław, Łódź, Gdańsk, Katowice, which are capitals of regions in which one defined a different development potential. Th e analysis will allow the formulation of answers to the following research questions: • Are there any innovative governance arrangements indicated during ITIs implementation? • What are the implemented modes of sub-regional governance? • What is the role and importance of institutional actors in the process of ITIs governance? • What are their new competences linked to the ITIs implementation? • Are there any new products/services related to innovation in sub-regional governance? • Do ITIs consider principles of “good governance” a one of key factors of innovation in governance? Th e paper contains key definitions and points out processes related to the transition of modes of governance at the sub-regional level. It also indicates further challenges in Polish territorial development upon Europeanisation.

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