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Whither the region? Re-thinking the space and place of regions and cities in international comparative perspective

Beall, Jo ORCID: 0000-0002-1898-3872 (2020) Whither the region? Re-thinking the space and place of regions and cities in international comparative perspective. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 54 (9). pp. 1163-1174. ISSN 0309-1317

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Identification Number: 10.1080/00343404.2020.1798611


‘Rethinking Regions in Turbulent Times’ was the title of our editorial at the start of this volume (54) of Regional Studies (Bailey et al., 2020a). Back in January we had not foreseen quite how prescient that statement would look just a few months on. Climate and migration crises have been met by a rise in populism, which have in turn been most recently overshadowed by the Covid-19 pandemic and Black Lives Matter movement. The impacts of the current Covid-19 crisis alone will be vast as well as spatially uneven. Comparisons have been drawn between this global pandemic and the global financial crisis of 2008–09, although the impact of the former is likely to be much more profound and pervasive (Turok et al., 2017). As with the financial crisis (Lago et al., 2020), although most comparisons in the media have been at the country level, the spread and impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been regional rather than national. The virus’s impact has been unevenly distributed geographically, sometimes with greater variation within countries than between them. In Europe, a small fraction of the 500 NUTS-3 regions account for a majority of Covid-19 deaths (Guibourg, 2020). In Italy, for example, at the time of writing, the number of fatalities in Lombardy has been much higher than in any other region, reaching almost 50% of the national total cases affecting just 16% of the population (Ministero della Salute, 2020). In the United States, the spread of the virus has been extremely uneven. The statistics are continually evolving but have ranged from 2000 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants in New York and New Jersey down to slightly more than 60 in Hawai’i (Coronavirus Research Centre, 2020). The economic impacts are also unfolding unevenly at the regional level (KPMG, 2020). There is a concomitant call from regions for tailored responses at the city and regional level (Bailey & Tomlinson, 2020; Parkinson, 2020). The current crisis, then, is undoubtedly a regional one, with important consequences for economies, well-being, transportation, everyday life, and even the practice and publication of regional studies research itself. A regional analysis is essential to fully understand and manage the unequal impacts of the current pandemic, not least because Covid-19 is unlikely to be the last of its kind. This editorial considers some relevant regional dimensions to set an agenda for the kinds of research the journal hopes to see in future, and also with the hope that this academic perspective can be of assistance if/when another pandemic shock takes place.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2020 Urban Research Publications Limited
Divisions: LSE Cities
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HB Economic Theory
J Political Science
Date Deposited: 12 Nov 2019 13:27
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024 18:36

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