Regional Development and Proximity Relations
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Regional Development and Proximity Relations

Edited by André Torre and Frédéric Wallet

The notion of proximity is increasing in popularity in economic and geographic literature, and is now commonly used by scholars in regional science and spatial economics. Few academic works, however, have explored the link between regional development and proximity relations. This comprehensive book redresses the balance with its assessment of the role of, and obstacles caused by, proximity relations in regional development processes.
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Chapter 3: Relatedness and transversality in spatial paradigms and regimes

Phil Cooke


Why are most regions associated with the six long waves of techno-economic development since 1770 (see Figure 3.1) still characterised by significant amounts of their founding industry? For example, in 2010 Manchester remained the largest concentration of UK textiles with some 20 000 employed. In the same year, Gothenburg remained the main marine engineering centre in Sweden despite the demise of shipbuilding, while Detroit with 185 000 broad automotive employment retained its hegemony in the United States. Other industries may have bigger impact regionally, but it is clear the legacy of industry priority lingers on for generations. This is a conservative statement since the choice of illustrations was deliberately biased towards declining industrial belts where the dominance is not as great as hitherto. If engineering origin clusters like Stuttgart, Munich and Seattle (aerospace) were selected, then the case for strengthening path dependence, even in industrial monocultures, would be overwhelming. To be sure these locales have changed over the decades, with flexibility enriching mere endurance in their evolutionary trajectories but much of what they currently produce would be familiar to their founding fathers. Despite these interesting tastes of the path dependence issue, that discussion is ably led elsewhere (Martin and Sunley, 2006, 2010; Martin, 2010). However, path dependence enters into the focus of this chapter largely due to the relevance to its broad argument regarding spatial specificity occasioned by the notion of path interdependence.

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