Prosilience trajectories of phoenix regions: a narrative on intelligent transformation of old mining areas

Patricio Aroca, Karima Kourtit, Peter Nijkamp, Roger Stough

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


This paper departs from the regional resilience concept – as part of a broad strand of literature on non-linear dynamic systems in a space-economy – and introduces the notion of prosilience to highlight the policy challenge of developing radically new and innovative strategies for regions in decline. The mining industry will be used as an illustrative case. The notion of phoenix regions is put forward to argue that an external disruption or shock in an established industrial sector in a region necessitates unconventional survival strategies oriented towards entirely new market demands and based on totally different product packages. Ansoff’s model on product diversification in competitive markets forms an inspiration source for the Schumpeterian ‘creative destruction’ proposition advocated in this study. An illustrative case study is concisely described in the present paper, viz. the South- Limburg coal mining region in the Southern part of the Netherlands. Smart prosilience trajectories supported in particular by evidence-based decision support tools are sketched for such depressed regions, based on the so-called Pentagon intervention model. The paper is concluded with some general policy lessons for an intelligent transformation of regions in decline.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-99
Number of pages24
JournalEastern Journal of European Studies
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Ansoff model
  • creative destruction
  • intelligent transformation
  • mining areas
  • phoenix regions
  • prosilience
  • resilience
  • sustainable development


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