Beyond ‘Left Behind’ Places: Understanding the Evolution of Peripheral Regions

Social and spatial inequalities between and within core and peripheral regions have re-emerged as an acute concern in economic geography and regional studies. The past couple of decades have seen growing spatial polarisation between 'superstar' cities and economically lagging and declining regions. These struggling or 'left behind’ places, particularly former industrial and rural regions, are attracting renewed interest.

Yet research is only beginning to problematise the label of ‘left behind’ and the different kinds of places and predicaments it evokes. There is a need for in-depth studies of the ‘development’ problems of ‘left behind places’ and the aspirations and needs of their residents. Such engagement can be seen as a pre-requisite for the formulation of place-based policies for regional recovery.

Seeking to remedy this wider neglect and contribute to emergent debates, the aim of this open session is to investigate the distinct circumstances of ‘left behind places’ and to understand their diverse pathways of development over recent decades. The organisers welcome theoretical, methodological, empirical and policy analyses which address the following indicative topics: