Handbook on Regional Economic Resilience
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Handbook on Regional Economic Resilience

Edited by Gillian Bristow and Adrian Healy

This Handbook provides a collection of high quality contributions on the state of the art in current debates around the concept of regional economic resilience. It provides critical contributions from leading authors in the field, and captures both key theoretical debates around the meaning of resilience, its conceptual framing and utility, as well as empirical interrogation of its key determinants in different international contexts.
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Chapter 4: Adaptation, adaptability and regional economic resilience: a conceptual framework

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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