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Robert Hassink

Although place-based regional innovation policies have been favoured for some time over spatially blind policies, recently doubts have been expressed about their effectiveness, particularly in lagging regions where populism has arisen. In this chapter, I argue that, in order to overcome such problems, place has to be taken more seriously in place-based regional innovation policies. Place is more than a container filled with quantitative data; it is a qualitative concept, and relates to the sense, feelings, emotions, recognition, identity and imaginations a place evokes. Only if we conceptualize and understand place in such a way, will we be able to better understand and recognize inequalities, place-specific norms and values affecting the regional economy, and place-specific drivers of actors, which might go beyond technological innovation, as well as untapped, endogenous potential for regional development.

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Robert Hassink

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Xiaohui Hu and Robert Hassink

In recent years, regional resilience has become a fashionable term mainly used to understand how regional economies recover after ‘sudden’ shocks. However, little attention has been paid to how regions adapt to a ‘slow-burn’ crisis in a long-term perspective, and why they adapt differently. Moreover, the notion of resilience has suffered from conceptual fuzziness and trade-off thinking, which undermines its explanatory power in empirical studies. This chapter addresses this gap by developing a conceptual framework of uneven resilience of regions in a long-term perspective. This framework defines adaptation and adaptability in an evolutionary and mutually influencing way that goes beyond the traditional trade-off idea. It also demonstrates how variations of the adaptation–adaptability relationship can result in uneven regional resilience. In future research, more attention should be paid to the differentiated processes and qualities of regional long-term economic evolution both from the adaptation and adaptability perspective.

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Robert Hassink and Dirk Fornahl

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The Life Cycle of Clusters

A Policy Perspective

Edited by Dirk Fornahl and Robert Hassink

One-size-fits-all cluster policies have been rightly criticized in the literature. One promising approach is to focus cluster policies on the specific needs of firms depending on the stage of development (emergence, growth, sustainment or decline) their cluster is in. In this highly insightful book, these stage-specific cluster policies are analysed and evaluated. Moreover, several chapters also focus on smart specialization policies to promote regional development by taking into account the emergence and adaptation of clusters and industries.
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Huiwen Gong and Robert Hassink

One of the most intriguing questions in economic geography is why it is that some regional economies manage to renew themselves, whereas others remain locked in decline. In addition to evolutionary concepts, the idea of resilience is derived from ecology, psychology and disaster studies to tackle this question. After a strong critique of the regional resilience concept in 2010 pointing at three fundamental shortcomings, namely the focus on equilibrium and multi-equilibriums, the neglect of state, institutions and policy at several spatial levels and, the neglect of culture and social factors affecting adaptability, a burgeoning conceptual and empirical literature on regional resilience has emerged. This chapter therefore aims at revisiting the early critique on the basis of a review of this recent literature. It concludes that although most critique has been taken seriously, other, new challenges have recently emerged, such as the fuzziness of the concept, both among academic researchers and policy-makers, the way how to measure resilience and the way how evolutionary analysis should be carried out.