Sustainable Recovery? Rebalancing, Growth, and the Space Economy

Country: United Kingdom

City: London

Abstr. due: 18.08.2014

Dates: 27.11.14 — 28.11.14

Organizing comittee e-mail: elizabeth.mitchell@regionalstudies.org

Organizers: University of Sheffield, Department of Geography

Conference fees and accomodation: Individual and Corporate £265.00 Student £175.00

 

This conference provides a platform on which to address the new economic order and its spatial manifestations.  The world has seen a series of shifts in socio-economic relations over the past decade, which has picked up pace since the global financial crisis of 2008, particularly in relation to the complex inter-related processes of industrialisation, urbanisation, and regional and local development. Is the mediation between economic logic and political institutions leading to new patterns of economic activity at a local, regional, national and global level? 

Is it possible to talk again—as  the leading economic geographers and regional development theorists did in the late 1980s and early 1990s—about the periods (Fordism, Post-Fordism, After-Fordism), places (Silicon Valley, Route 128, Baden-Württemberg, the Rhone-Alpes etc) and pathways (flexible specialisation, flexible accumulation, agglomeration economies) of economic development? Replaying this argument—scholars at that time argued that the coupling between spatial Keynesianism and Atlantic Fordism was being undone and replaced by neoliberal social regulation.  They saw that this resulted in the disintegration of economic activity into new industrial/political spaces. In turn, these processes were buttressed by changing modes of state intervention—welfare state restructuring, the shift from redistributive regional policy and planning to indigenous economic development, and the promotion of flexible labour market policy and the rebalancing of social relations.  Where are we now on these trajectories?  What have their impacts been on regional and local economies?       

The 21st Century has been an era of devolution, predicated on ‘realising’ place-based assets and assembling these as the building-blocks of agglomeration for a new brand of local and regional economic development. On the one hand, political devolution has happened through constitutional change (see Spain and current events in Scotland), and on the other hand, economic devolution has occurred through the explosion of state rescaling.  City-regions are the outlet for some of this thinking. In the context of urban and regional austerity, post-crisis, politicians and policy-makers argue this is a more ‘balanced’ approach to growth than past interventions.  Crisis in the Eurozone though is having highly differentiated impacts, with some places benefiting, while others have seen a worsening of problems. These outcomes appear complex, and relatively unpredictable, challenging prevailing narratives of places and their future.  This begs the question as to whether recovery is sustainable and/or is spatially selective growth occurring at a cost?

This Regional Studies Association Winter Conference 2014 presents a timely opportunity to discuss these issues, to establish the need and nature of future research imperatives, and to address the concerns and challenges confronting policymakers and practitioners.  The conference organisers are keen to attract papers and sessions which address a broad research and policy agenda, including contributions from any discipline which can offer relevant insights associated with the remaking of the world space economy and its shaping of our cities and regions. Papers which are collaborative, international or multi-disciplinary are especially welcome:

  • Modelling and theorising the space economy: urban renewal and regional growth;
  • New approaches to agglomeration and the clustering of economic life;
  • The impacts of devolution and constitutional change on economic policy, and vice versa;
  • Cities, Regions, or City-Regions: searching for scalar and institutional fixes;
  • Post-suburbia and governance of metropolitan areas;
  • New industrial spaces of the 21st Century and the future of old industrial regions;
  • EU and OECD agendas for Smart, Inclusive, and Sustainable Economies;
  • The future of work and work-welfare regimes: labour market policy, flexibility, resilience or flexploitations?;
  • Creative city-regions and urban leadership;
  • The politics and policies of urban and regional austerity;
  • The lived experience of urban and rural change in times of austerity;
  • Social enterprise, the third sector, and alternative economic geographies;
  • Low Carbon Futures: Green deals and beyond;
  • Methodological challenges for studying crisis, austerity, and the space economy.

Conference Web-Site: http://www.regionalstudies.org/conferences/conference/regional-studies-association-winter-conference-2014