New Horizons in Regional Science series
Edited by Aura Reggiani and Peter Nijkamp
Aura Reggiani and Peter Nijkamp 1.1 PROLOGUE Modern spatial systems are in a permanent state of flux, in which static equilibria are replaced by varying space–time structures. Spatial dynamics – of urban, regional, transportation, environmental, industrial and social systems – has become a common feature of modern societies that undergo fundamental change. The background of these transformations is manifold, ranging from changes in political systems (for example, the fall of the Iron Curtain) to changes in lifestyle (for example, a trend towards individualism). All such changes have an impact on both the supply and demand of our infrastructural and communication systems. Locational and residential patterns display a high degree of volatility, as spatial network use and design are intertwined in a complex dynamics that is often unpredictable. Economic principles, socio-psychological change patterns, political constraints and technological conditions may sometimes retard and sometimes accelerate fluctuations in such spatial systems, but the backgrounds and directions of change in such movements are sometimes difficult to trace. The lack of appropriate information systems yet again hampers a solid and testable analysis of structural change in open economies. The dynamic complexity of emerging spatial systems is a research challenge, as spatial systems are subjected to both integrative and disintegrative forces. In recent years, we have witnessed new developments and rapid progress in advanced modelling efforts that address complex spatial dynamic systems. At both a micro and a macro level, promising endeavours have been made to come to grips with the complex evolution of the modern multi-faceted...
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