In this chapter we chart the rise and fall of regional planning in the global South, and posit that it is re-emerging as an accepted method of state-led development. The chapter consists of three sections and draws on the three UN Habitat Agendas and other policy documents. First, we narrate the emergence of a consensus surrounding regional planning in the global South in the post-independence period. We introduce a number of empirical examples in which regional planning features prominently in state-led developmental agendas. In the second section we show how this consensus was eroded during the neoliberal period. In the final section we chart the re-emergence in recent years of regional planning, this time more decidedly informed by spatially extensive urbanization processes, which culminates in the adoption of the New Urban Agenda after the UN Habitat III process. We conclude by proposing directions for future research on the emergent regime of regionalism in the global South.
Seth Schindler, J. Miguel Kanai and Deusdedit Rwehumbiza
Sociospatiality comprises complex, polymorphic relations. Social agents respond through spatial imaginaries and horizons of social action that focus on just some aspects of these relations, generally or in specific contexts. Critical geographers also incline to selective simplification, disagreeing on the best entry-points for sociospatial investigation. This can be illustrated in debates about territory, place, scale, and networks, where one-sided approaches create theoretical deficits, methodological hazards, and restricted empirical analyses. Named after its systematic demarcation of these four moments and its mapping of their possible relations, the ‘TPSN’ schema was developed to counter these problems. It considers different kinds of sociospatial processes and configurations in these terms, commenting on statehood, different kinds of empire, territorial logics and the space of flows, the relativisation of scales, and the limits of spatiotemporal fixes in displacing or deferring sociospatial crisis-tendencies. It also discusses different approaches to sociospatial governance, illustrating them from the European Union.
Rather than being ‘natural’ entities, territories emerge through a series of social and political practices. Territories can be seen as politicised space, that which is mapped, claimed and bordered. Territorial strategies can be viewed as mechanisms deployed to convey messages of political power, communicated through various means including the creation and securing of borders. Territory is also intimately bound up with identity and can be used to instill and reproduce a sense of loyalty and affiliation. Territories exist across a range of spatial scales and in a wide range of contexts. This chapter explores the concept of territory and the uses of territoriality as a strategy. It focuses on the state, highlighting its territorial practices, foregrounding ongoing debates over the shifting and contingent nature of state sovereignty. Finally, the chapter considers the significance of territory and place in shaping and reproducing a sense of national identity.
Unlike other animals, humans have the capacity to reflect on the meaning of territory and to change it in accordance with the changing circumstances in which they find themselves. The sources of the modern understanding of territory are rooted in ancient mythological and religious understandings of the earth and of human beings' place in it. This, in turn, affected the ways in which they understood the governance of territory. This developed from primitive tribal ideas to great empires such as the Roman Empire. In the West, the Roman Empire was succeeded by feudalism, complex church–state relations, and eventually the arrival of the modern nation-state and the post-war welfare state. Regions became subordinate to national governments, but this changed with the European Union and then with neoliberal globalisation. Regions became, to some extent free from national control, although this is now changing following the 2007/8 financial crisis and the crisis of the European project itself.
Philosophers ask how a territorial right – exclusive control over a vast space full of valuable resources – could ever be justified. This chapter presents a set of universal values: justice in meeting basic needs, desert, efficiency, and autonomy. Because everybody has a reason to value these principles, then everybody has a reason to believe that territorial rights are, in principle, justified, even though they may exclude outsiders from an immense territory. Territorial rights are justified as a system of international rights, when this system creates more political justice than alternatives. Particular territorial rights are justified when self-determining collectives demonstrate the capacity to use the geographical domain and its resources to rule themselves justly. These values are best realized in a system of territorial rights where collectives can exercise political jurisdictional authority over their territory in perpetuity.
Concerns over issues such as climate change and sea level rise have become a major driver for international, national and local policy responses. From an initial focus on sustainable development from the late 1980s to attempts to restrict carbon emissions and limit global temperature rise in the 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change, these have in common the need to address the detrimental impacts of economic development. There is a longstanding argument that these problems are best addressed at the local and regional scale. This chapter initially explores the context for, and interpretations of such sustainable regions. It examines the rise of green economy approaches at the regional scale and the geography of the green economy, drawing on socio-technical transitions theory to investigate the concept of transition regions. The chapter concludes by briefly outlining critiques of the dominant green economy approaches and the need to develop further research into alternative approaches.
Dmitrii Kofanov, Anton Shirikov and Yoshiko M. Herrera
Scholars of Eurasian post-communist space have long struggled in finding an appropriate name for this region. This naming issue is, however, only a reflection of a more fundamental question: how much do these countries have in common? In this chapter, we consider the conceptualization of regional units and sovereignty in Eurasia on the supranational, national, and subnational level, the origins of these territorial concepts, and the institutions that follow from different concepts of sovereignty. Our analysis shows that regionalism in post-Soviet Eurasia has been marked by a range of sovereignty claims, movements and settlements, and to a great extent shaped by imagined geographies that divide space along civilizational lines and combine malleability with deep historical roots. The European idea, which found its embodiment in the European Union, turned out to be the most potent of those, while the development of other Eurasian supranational institutions remains a work in progress.
Interest in geography in scale and territory has waxed and waned. Classical geopolitics was an early expression but with the implosion of the first globalization interest retreated only to revive with the advent of the second. This was expressed through a vocabulary of territorial hierarchy that then attracted critical opprobrium, partly as a form of power-knowledge, partly on empirical grounds. But abstraction from social relations meant a failure to recognize the internal nature of scalar relations. The social relations in question are capitalist. Through its socialization of production capitalism necessarily produces scales as so many spheres of complementary regulation: cities regulate different things from countries, but they are both complementary and contradictory. Scalar arrangements get contested as those favored in their accumulation projects by regulation at one scale, seek to create consistent arrangements at other scales with the result that scales internalize one another; the more global internalize the more local and vice versa.
It is easy to slip into ways of thinking that naturalise or reify regions as taken for granted economic or political entities, each with its own distinct and distinctive defining identity. Here, by contrast, the emphasis is on exploring the implications of acknowledging that regions can only be understood in relational terms. There is not some overarching set of concepts capable of defining regions in some holistic and definitive fashion for everywhere and always. The challenge is to explore the uneasy sets of relationships that make up and come to define actually existing regions, rather than seeking to uncover some underlying lattice of regional forms. Focusing on the apparent dichotomy between territory and regions is ultimately unhelpful. Instead it is necessary to distinguish between the role of institutionally (or territorially) defined regions as spaces of government and governance, and the processes by which such spaces are made up in practice.
In this chapter, I examine the connections between regions and cultural representation. My overall aim is to demonstrate the tensions that can exist between more cultural, and more economic or political forms of regionalism. Drawing on ongoing fieldwork conducted within the region of Wales in the UK, I problematise the conception of cultural regionalism and show that it is far from being a unitary or homogeneous thing, with many different cultural regions existing or being promoted. I contend that the relationship between politically or territorially defined regions and more culturally defined regions is complex. They are, undoubtedly, sometimes in conflict with one another but, at certain times, they can complement and reinforce one another. I conclude the chapter by discussing some of the potential challenges facing cultural regions and potential ways of addressing them.