Join our session on cross-border regions at the RSA23 annual conference

Olle Järv together with colleagues from LISER (Luxembourg) organize a special session focusing on cross-border regions from the broad perspective of mobilities & social interactions of people at 2023 RSA Annual Conference Transforming Regions: Policies & Planning for People & Places. The #RSA23 takes place from 14.–17. June 2023 in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Join us and submit your abstract HERE. Abstract deadline extended: Midnight 14th March 2023.

We plan to submit a special issue proposal to a well-established journal depending on the focus of presented studies after the conference. Read session description, below:

SS27: Understanding Cross-Border Regions through the Lens of Mobilities and Social Interactions of People

Session Organisers:

  • Olle Järv, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • Philippe Gerber, LISER, Luxembourg
  • Guillaume Drevon, LISER, Luxembourg

Session Description:

We live in a mobile world and cross country borders for various reasons – migration, tourism, work and education, and seeing family and friends. In addition to migration and tourism, cross-border practices are increasing due to the people whose daily lives are not confined to a fixed territory of one country, including cross-border commuters and people with multi-local living lifestyles between different countries (Gerber 2012; Carling et al. 2021; Järv et al., 2021). These recurring and frequent mobilities crossing country borders for work, shopping, services, and leisure not only affect individuals’ social connectedness and integration (e.g. social networks, well-being and place attachment) across borders, but also contribute to the (re)production of functional transnational spaces – border regions from different countries forming a functioning system.

In Europe, these functional border regions are seen as a key towards balanced and sustainable spatial cohesion within the EU. However, regardless of its growing importance, little attention has been paid to cross-border practices of (local) people. How, where, when and why habitual and regular spatial mobilities and social interactions of people across country borders take place? What kind of temporal rhythms and trends over time these cross-border practices have? How these cross-border practices affect people and society in a border region, but also what external factors affect these practices?

By having more detailed information on these questions and knowing how practices of people form functional cross-border regions could help us to understand its role in the connectedness and integration of border regions and foster cross-border spatial planning and development. This can further help for example to monitor and evaluate the impact of institutional instruments (e.g. the ERDF) on the daily lives of local people, and how policies on border closures during the COVID-19 pandemic influenced the production of functional cross-border regions and spatial cohesion from the perspective of people.

In recent years, the mobility and social practices perspective of people in the cross-border region context is gaining more attention due to the introduction of the Time Geography concept (Drevon et al. 2018; Gumy et al. 2022) and the adoption of novel (big) data sources and methods (Gendronneau et al. 2019; Docquier et al. 2022; Järv et al. 2021, 2022; Silm et al. 2021), among other reasons.

With this special session, we aim to bring more attention to the discussion of theoretical and conceptual contributions as well as quantitative and qualitative empirical research on cross-border regions from the perspective of people, their mobilities and social interactions. We are looking forward to receiving proposals that focus on, but are not limited to, the following indicative topics:

  • The conceptualization and mapping of functional cross-border regions from the perspective of mobilities and social interactions of people;
  • The feasibility (opportunities, challenges) of novel data sources and methods in capturing mobilities and social interactions of people to study cross-border regions;
  • The conceptualization and operationalization for the longitudinal monitoring of cross-border mobilities and social interactions of people;
  • The impacts of cross-border (infrastructure) developments on the cross-border mobilities and interactions of people in border regions
  • The influence of external factors (e.g. the COVID-19 pandemic) and policies on cross-border mobilities and social interactions of people;
  • The processes of cross-border integration (e.g. social networks, place attachment and wellbeing) of people and its implications;
  • The sustainability transitions in cross-border regions from the perspective of cross-border mobilities of people.



  • Carling, Jørgen, Marta Bivand Erdal, and Cathrine Talleraas. 2021. “Living in Two Countries: Transnational Living as an Alternative to Migration.” Population, Space and Place 27 (5): e2471.
  • Decoville, Antoine, and Frédéric Durand. 2018. “Exploring Cross-Border Integration in Europe: How Do Populations Cross Borders and Perceive Their Neighbours?” European Urban and Regional Studies, 26: 134–157.
  • Docquier, Fredérić, Nicolas Golenvaux, Siegfried Nijssen, Pierre Schaus, and Felix Stips. 2022. “Cross-Border Mobility Responses to COVID-19 in Europe: New Evidence from Facebook Data.” Globalization and Health 18 (1): 41.
  • Drevon, Guillaume, Philippe Gerber, Olivier Klein, and Christophe Enaux. 2018. “Measuring Functional Integration by Identifying the Trip Chains and the Profiles of Cross-Border Workers: Empirical Evidences from Luxembourg.” Journal of Borderlands Studies 33 (4): 549–68.
  • Gendronneau, Cloé, Arkadiusz Wisniowski, Dilek Yildiz, Emilio Zagheni, Lee Florio, Yuan Hsiao, Martin Stepanek, Ingmar Weber, Guy Abel, and Stijn Hoorens. 2019. “Measuring Labour Mobility and Migration Using Big Data: Exploring the Potential of Social-Media Data for Measuring EU Mobility Flows and Stocks of EU Movers.”
  • Gerber, Philippe. 2012. “Advancement in Conceptualizing Cross-Border Daily Mobility: The Benelux Context in the European Union.” European Journal of Transport and Infrastructure Research 12 (2): 178–97.
  • Gumy, Alexis, Guillaume Drevon, and Vincent Kaufmann. 2022. “Inequalities in Access to Cross-Border Resources? An Analysis Based on Spatio-Temporal Behaviours in the Cross-Border Area of Greater Geneva.” European Urban and Regional Studies, 29(1): 85–106.
  • Järv, Olle, Ago Tominga, Kerli Müürisepp, and Siiri Silm. 2021. “The Impact of COVID-19 on Daily Lives of Transnational People Based on Smartphone Data: Estonians in Finland.” Journal of Location Based Services, 15 (3): 169–197.
  • Järv, Olle, Håvard W. Aagesen, Tuomas Väisänen, and Samuli Massinen. 2022. “Revealing Mobilities of People to Understand Cross-Border Regions: Insights from Luxembourg Using Social Media Data.” European Planning Studies, August, 1–22.
  • Silm, Siiri, Jussi S. Jauhiainen, Janika Raun, and Margus Tiru. 2021. “Temporary Population Mobilities between Estonia and Finland Based on Mobile Phone Data and the Emergence of a Cross-Border Region.” European Planning Studies, 29 (4): 699–719.
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The BORDERSPACE project is carried out at the Digital Geography Lab — an interdisciplinary research team focusing on spatial Big Data analytics for fair and sustainable societies at the Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki.