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 Ane Izulain, Mari Jose Aranguren and James Wilson
 European Planning Studies

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In an era when uncertainty and complexity are more tangible than ever, decision-makers are under pressure to turn from short-term politics and departmentalization to safeguard not only current wellbeing but also the wellbeing of future generations via longer term planning and visioning. In regions, as multilevel governance systems, no actor has the power to determine the decisions of others. Place leadership demands the mobilization of different actors to define an effective strategy for future development, by combining institutional, interpretive and network power in a dynamic manner.

This paper reflects on how leadership and power shape shared vision in regional foresight processes, and the role of academic knowledge. We conduct an in-depth single case study analysis of ‘Euskadi 2040’, the visioning initiative launched by the Basque regional government in collaboration with the research institute Orkestra. We articulate five main contributions of research institutes: facilitating the systemic character of the vision; incorporating academic action-oriented knowledge; supporting the divergence from traditional linear planning paradigms towards flexible learning-centred approaches to policy; promoting an interinstitutional and multi-agent shared discourse; and lastly, leveraging knowledge transfer within international networks.

  • Keywords: Shared vision, foresight, place leadership, power, future, regional development