The article discusses the relevance of policies of local development, starting from the evidence that processes of globalisation have been accompanied by parallel processes of economic regionalisation. The article contends that policies supporting territorial development can have a twofold role. First, they can favour local economic potentialities in the light of wider economic dynamics. Second, local development policies can promote social cohesion through the valorisation of resources that exist locally but are not fully exploited. The fundamental aim for policy should be the production of local public goods.