The concept of ‘territory’ has been totally neglected by both contemporary economic theory and the dominant discourse of globalization. The former has difficulty finding a place for it between a macroeconomic approach that favors national aggregates and a microeconomic approach that addresses each actor individually; the latter represents the planet as one big unified market, giving the impression that the territorial mooring of production and exchange activities has lost all relevance.
Yet the need for sustainable development and the rising cost of raw materials both reflect the role played by territories in production, consumption and exchange. Attention must be given to the spatial inscription of our economies and the multiple relations that are organized at the territorial scale. New tools are needed to measure the wealth, materials and energy that flow across territories, for example. The same holds true if we are to describe the relations that develop between actors at the local level and conceive of alternate modes of action and forms of cooperation at the territorial scale.
In order to respond to this need, IRE organizes events and presents analyses and studies on its site concerning the territorial inscription of economic activities, territorialized indicators of well-being, the redistribution of wealth between territories and within them and the identification by means of studies and experiments of the key factors allowing for balanced territorial development.