Geographies of Growth
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Geographies of Growth

Innovations, Networks and Collaborations

Edited by Charlie Karlsson, Martin Andersson and Lina Bjerke

Today we can observe an increasing spatial divide as some large urban regions and many more medium-sized and small regions face growing problems such as decreasing labour demand, increasing unemployment and an ageing population. In view of these trends, this book offers a better understanding of the general characteristics and specific drivers of the geographies of growth. It shows how these may vary in different spatial contexts, how hurdles and barriers to growth in different types of regions can be dealt with, how and to what extent resources in different areas can develop, and how the potential of these resources to stimulate growth can be realized.
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Chapter 4: Inter- and intra-regional balance: drivers of change and development

Innovations, Networks and Collaborations

Andreas P. Cornett


Fundamental alterations to the inter- and intra-regional balance in Europe have taken place over the last decades, partly powered by endogenous factors and partly caused by changes in the external environment. From a global perspective the relative decline of the non-urban areas is the most significant trend, powered by the positive externalities of agglomeration, specifically benefiting knowledge-intensive services and high-tech industries, but also creating huge congestion costs and, in particular in the developing world, social inequality (Kourtit et al. 2013). The purpose of this chapter is to discuss this trend in a European context with main attention on the implications for non-metropolitan regions, identifying the determinants behind this process and assessing the implications for economic growth and development. Securing welfare and creating new and well-paid jobs has increasingly become a challenge in the traditionally leading Western market economies, often with significant implications for the internal regional economic balance. Globalization and changes in the international production system have highlighted the limited potential of traditional economic growth factors in mature, high-income economies. The shocks caused by the international financial crisis in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) economies and the debt crisis in the European Union have reinforced the disparities between countries and regions as well as between urban and rural areas. Recent years have witnessed that these countries have passed the point of no return when it comes to traditional low-tech industrial production as dominant growth drivers. Changes in the settlement patterns of young people and of the working population affect the regional economic performance. Furthermore, the overall demography due to the ageing population has caused significant structural changes in the welfare system and public sectors in many countries.

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