New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by André Torre and Frédéric Wallet
Chapter 2: Proximity relations at the heart of territorial development processes: from clusters, spatial conflicts and temporary geographical proximity to territorial governance
Studies on proximity relations have, in the last 20 years, focused on a large number of topics of all sorts, mostly related to questions of production organization or knowledge and innovation creation and transfer (Knoben and Oerlemans, 2006). At first limited to the analysis of local relations, they then widened their focus to take into account more global relations, striving more and more towards generalizing the points of view and expanding the scope of their results, in terms of understanding the phenomena at play within contemporary economies (Boschma, 2005) as well as of the integration of new variables - environmental variables for example-in the analysis. (Torre and Zuindeau, 2009). The widening scope of this approach and the increasingly sophisticated tools it uses, make it possible, today, to raise the question of its contribution to regional or territorial development theories. This question is not only legitimate, in light of the impact of proximity approaches, but it also coincides with the major concern of many specialists in space-related topics studying the processes of territorial development, as well as the mechanisms that govern them or the different forms taken by the various types of development. It also echoes the search for insight or recommendations in terms of public policies whether they be purely regional or result from a shift towards more local governance, as part of decentralization processes.
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