The 2007 Lisbon Treaty stimulated new discourses related with the concept of territorial cohesion. The importance of adopting a place-based approach to such policies emerged, putting people living in places at the center of the discourse. As a consequence, not only multi-level governance, but also the complex internal organizational structures of communities (local governance) do matter. In the framework of the Italian cohesion policy, specifically within the National Strategy for Inner Areas, this article discusses the governance structures of an experimental area, the Simeto Valley in Sicily, arguing the importance of adopting specific organizational structures and processes of local learning for successful outcomes of place-based cohesion policies.
Keywords: Community-based planning, institutional innovation; action research