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Regional Science Cyclops - from a One Eye to a Two Eyed View of a Changing Regional Science World

  • Year: 2004
  • Author: Blakely, Edward J
  • Journal Name: Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, The
  • Journal Number: Vol. 10, No. 3
  • Country: Australia

Region is now on the political agenda. In fact, much regional science is available and made more accessible to policymakers in their quest for global regional economic and political agendas. Words like cluster analysis, regional advantage, along with forward and backward linkages are now common speak in many civic meetings, even in city halls. The race to regional is now well entrenched. In Australia, six regional strategy plans have been produced in the last year. The Australian regional plans have been initiated in large measure because state governments recognise they are no longer just in competition with internal economic regions but international localities as well. As a result, the rush to region in Australia focuses on building regional plans, but regional science is not an important ingredient in this planning process. The reason for this is that the new emphasis in regional tools by policymakers is on more fashionable soft-structure aspects of regional development than on economic models of regional scientists. This paper discusses the shift in paradigm from regional hard economics to institutional drivers for regional economic development and urges regional scientist to find new tools, techniques and strategies to meet the needs of policymakers. It is argued that if regional science cannot meet the challenge of crafting new ways to identify, measure and create new institutional tools it will be marginalised from the important policy directions of global regionalism.

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