*CALL FOR PAPERS*
‘Structural Change and the Economic Evolution of Cities and Regions’
Special session at 2017 AAG annual meeting, Boston, April 5-9 2017
Ron Martin, University of Cambridge
Pete Tyler, University of Cambridge
Emil Evenhuis, University of Cambridge
Susan Christopherson, Cornell University
Amy Glasmeier, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ben Gardiner, University of Cambridge and Cambridge Econometrics
David Bailey, Aston University
Peter Sunley, University of Southampton
Andy Pike, Newcastle University
Historically, the long-run economic development paths of cities and
regions show a particular tenacity over time, with some cities and
regions exhibiting fast growth over longer periods, while other cities
and regions slip into a trajectory of relative and sometimes absolute
decline (Blanchard and Katz, 1992; Gardiner et al., 2013; Moretti, 2013;
Pike et al., 2016). Nevertheless, turn-arounds are also witnessed, with
some lagging cities and regions finding renewed growth, and vice versa,
previously buoyant cities and regions losing momentum (Birch et al.,
2010; Hobor, 2013; Cowell, 2015). It appears that structural changes in
the economy benefit some cities and regions, and put others at a
disadvantage. The set of existing economic - and also political -
activities and functions in a city or region is crucial in this respect,
and will determine whether a city or region can be at the forefront of
such changes, can position itself to benefit from new rounds of
investment, or instead will lose out and become marginalised. The
variety in the evolution of cities and regions in the context of
continuous structural changes (albeit at times accelerating), defies
predictions of a clear-cut convergence or divergence, and instead leads
to an intricate pattern of uneven development depending on a multitude
of factors (Storper et al., 2015; Martin et al., 2016). Such combined
and uneven development between cities and regions has of course long
been a central research topic within economic geography and regional /
urban studies (e.g. Fothergill and Gudgin, 1982; Harvey, 1982; Massey,
1984; Hudson, 1989; Storper and Walker, 1989).
The aim of this session is to give a new impetus to the
conceptualisation and empirical exploration of the evolution of - and
between - cities and regions in the context of structural change in the
economy. We consider this particularly timely for a number of reasons.
Firstly, cities and city-regions have assumed increasing prominence over
the past decades in discussions about economic growth and prosperity,
and with this there is a renewed interest in explaining deep-rooted
differences in performance. Secondly, evolutionary approaches,
‘resilience thinking’, and ‘transitions to sustainable development’ have
established themselves as key reference points in the past 15 years
(alongside older frameworks, such as political economy perspectives and
institutionalism) in theorising current economic, societal and
environmental challenges. Yet more work remains to be done to further
develop these conceptual advances for understanding the long-run
evolution of cities and regions, and for working out concomitant policy
recommendations. Thirdly, even though some very valuable comparative
work (both qualitative and quantitative) has come out in recent years,
most studies have had a limited geographical reach (e.g. with a focus on
the US, UK, Germany, or Europe, let alone other parts of the world).
Hence, there appears scope for improved interaction between scholars
from different parts of the globe.
We invite paper submissions which take on the theme of the economic
evolution of cities and region in the context of structural change.
Research questions and issues could include (but are not limited to):
·The conceptualisation of how cities and regions cope with structural
changes in the economy (through e.g. evolutionary approaches, concepts
from the literature on sustainability transitions, long wave theories,
·The choice of key indicators, research designs, and analytical
techniques. This can range from a more philosophical and normative
discussions (e.g. what constitutes success or lack of success? how can
we move beyond ‘competitiveness’ as a normative ideal?), to more
methodological and technical suggestions (e.g. regarding measures of
specialisation and variety, modelling patterns of continuity and change
in the economic base of cities and regions, frameworks for comparative
case study work, typologies of different kinds of cities and regions, etc.).
·The relative importance of, and interplay between, different factors
which determine the long-run development paths of cities and regions:
the sectoral make-up of the economy in a city or region, the
concentration of economic and political functions (e.g. HQs, R&D, branch
plants, regulation, finance, etc.), innovation, entrepreneurship,
productivity, human capital, agglomeration, legacies from earlier rounds
of investment, local leadership and governance, etc.
·The multi-scalar and relational nature of the structures and processes
that shape the development of – and between – cities and regions.
·The geographical particularities and commonalities of how cities and
regions cope with economic change in different countries and different
parts of the world.
Please submit a 250-word abstract with title to Emil Evenhuis
(ee...@cam.ac.uk <mailto:ee...@cam.ac.uk>) by *14th October 2016*.
Participants will be notified of acceptance by October 21th; after which
they need to register for the conference and upload their abstract, and
provide us with their PIN (before the registration deadline of October
·Birch, K., MacKinnon, D. and Cumbers, A. (2010) 'Old Industrial Regions
in Europe: A Comparative Assessment of Economic Performance', /Regional
Studies/, 44, (1), pp. 35-53.
·Blanchard, O. J. and L. Katz (1992): ‘Regional Evolutions’, /Brookings
Papers on Economic Activity/, 1, pp. 1-61.
·Cowell, M. M. (2015) /Dealing with Deindustrialization: Adaptive
Resilience in American Midwestern Regions/. Routledge: London.
·Fothergill, F. and G. Gudgin (1982): /Unequal Growth: Urban and
Regional Employment Change in the U.K/. Heinemann Educational Books: London.
·Gardiner, B., R. Martin, P. Sunley, P. Tyler (2013), ‘Spatially
Unbalanced Growth in the British Economy’, /Journal of Economic
Geography/, 13, (6), pp. 889–928
·Harvey, D. (1982) /The Limits to Capital/. Blackwell: Oxford.
·Hobor, G. (2013) 'Surviving the Era of Deindustrialization: The New
Economic Geography of the Urban Rust Belt', /Journal of Urban Affairs/,
35, (4), pp. 417-434.
·Hudson, R. (1989) /Wrecking a Region: State Policies, Party Politics,
and Regional Change in North East England/. Pion: London.
·Massey, D. (1984): /Spatial Divisions of Labour: Social Structures and
the Geography of Production/. Methuen: New York, NY.
·Martin, R., P. Sunley, P. Tyler, and B. Gardiner (2016): ‘Divergent
Cities in Post-Industrial Britain’, /Cambridge Journal of Regions,
Economy and Society/, 9, (2), pp. 269-299.
·Moretti, E. (2013): /The New Geography of Jobs/. Mariner Books: Boston, MA.
·Pike, A., D. MacKinnon, M. Coombes, T. Champion, D. Bradley, A.
Cumbers, L. Robson and C. Wymer (2016) /Uneven Growth: Tackling City
Decline/. Report for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, available through
·Storper, M., T. Kemeny, N. P. Makarem, and T. Osman (2015): /The Rise
and Fall of Urban Economies: Lessons from San Francisco and Los
Angeles/. Stanford Business Books: Stanford, CA.
·Storper, M. and Walker, R. (1989) /The Capitalist Imperative:
Territory, Technology and Industrial Growth/. Basil Blackwell: New York, NY.