In our turbulent and uncertain economic age, it is not hard to understand the appeal of resilience, a term invoked to describe how an entity or system responds to shocks and disturbances. Although the concept has been used for some time in ecology and psychology, it is now invoked in diverse contexts, both as a perceived (and typically positive) attribute of an object, entity or system and, more normatively, as a desired feature that should somehow be promoted or fostered. The notion of resilience has rapidly become part of the conceptual and analytical lexicon of regional and local economic studies: there is increasing interest in the resilience of regional, local and urban economies. Further, resilience is having a discernible impact on policy thinking: a new imperative of ‘constructing’ or ‘building’ regional and urban economic resilience is gaining currency. However, despite its popularity and influence, our understanding of the concept in economic geography still requires development. There is still considerable ambiguity about what, precisely, is meant by the notion of regional economic resilience, about how it should be conceptualized and measured, what its determinants are, and how it links to patterns of long-run regional growth. The aims of this chapter are to show how the meanings and explanation of regional economic resilience have changed and evolved, and evaluate the progress and limits of these debates. We thereby aim to outline the directions of a research agenda.
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