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Katalin Erdős and Attila Varga
Patrizio Bianchi, Sandrine Labory and Clemente Ruiz Durán
The beginning of the twenty-first century is turning out to be full of disruptions and challenges for economies and societies. Climate change, world population growth, migratory pressures, are pressing challenges; the financial crisis has had a dramatic effect and many economies have had difficulties in recovering their pre-crisis development level. Meanwhile, innovation and technological changes are accelerating, in various fields including genomics, nanotechnologies, information and communication technologies (ICTs) and big data, robotics and artificial intelligence, new materials, and others. ICTs, with the Internet of Things (IoT), the Cloud, big data, are allowing hyper-connection of people and objects and digitisation of production processes. The change induced is so disruptive that there is quite wide consensus that we are experiencing an industrial revolution, the fourth one. New means of production and new products are appearing and will continue doing so, changing individuals’ life in important aspects, namely economic, social and cultural.
Roberta Capello and Peter Nijkamp
The space-economy has never been static, but has always shown a state of flux. Regions are normally in transition; they are work in progress. As a consequence, we observe a complex evolution of regional systems that varies between growth and decline. Static location and allocation theories may be helpful in understanding underlying structures in regional economies, but do not offer a full-scale picture of the development of multi-actor processes and of the perpetual or temporal impediments for regional growth and prosperity. The conceptualization and solid explanation of regional growth, and differences therein, is still largely a mystery for the research community in many countries. There is no uniform panacea for enhancing or accelerating the development trajectory of regions in a national or supranational economy. Therefore, regional policy is still in many cases a black box; the outcomes of intensified regional growth strategies are often largely unpredictable. Best guesses are more common than testable and operational estimates of policy impacts. Against the above-mentioned backgrounds, the editors of the Handbook of Regional Growth and Development Theories published a decade ago a comprehensive volume with a rich collection of advanced contributions on the above challenges in regional economics and regional science. In the ten years since then the world, both the empirical regional world and the theoretical and empirical reflection on growth and development issues, has not come to a standstill. We have become sadder and wiser after economic crises, regional fragmentation trends, the introduction of radical technological innovation, and the awareness of failures of regional policy. However, we have also enriched our knowledge horizon, with new insights and new methods and theories of regional analysis. The time has now come to take a refreshing and new look at the achievements of regional growth and development theories.