Throughout the last decades, the societal and economic integration taking place within Europe has aimed to improve and balance people’s living conditions. This process should be sustained by both shared political values as well as free trade, a common market, and the mobility of people and ideas. Nevertheless, territories often still develop unevenly and the focus on neoliberal policies often perpetuates polarisation instead of achieving social and territorial cohesion. To better grasp these dynamics, this research area pursues new perspectives on researching diverging socio-spatial developments that lead to “multiple geographies”. The focus is on the question of how actors from politics, the economy and civil society initiate new developments. What obstacles are overcome in doing so? To what extent can processes of regional and local change be understood as collaborative forms of state and civil society action? Contributing to the wider debate on spatially balanced and socially just development, the research area looks into alternative perspectives on structurally weak and peripheralised regions in Germany and Eastern Europe.