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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Regional Studies

For a Special Issue on
Geography of COVID-19, local policy answers and future challenges for cities and regions

Abstract deadline
15 September 2021

Manuscript deadline
31 December 2021

Cover image - Regional Studies

Special Issue Editor(s)

Sebastien Bourdin, EM Normandie Business School
[email protected]

Nadine Levratto, University Paris Nanterre
[email protected]

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Geography of COVID-19, local policy answers and future challenges for cities and regions

In the first months of 2020, COVID-19 has affected many European countries and millions of people worldwide. European regions have also been hit, but it was soon observed that the regional and local impact of the COVID-19 crisis was and remains highly heterogeneous, with a strong territorial dimension that has significant consequences for crisis management and policy responses. The severity of the crisis has led almost all European governments to put in place – more or less strictly – measures to limit economic and social activities. However, local administrations and, when they exist, governments at the subnational level are responsible for crucial issues of containment measures, health care, social services, economic development, and public investment, putting them at the frontline of crisis management. The territorial and spatial dimension of this crisis needs to be considered in order to learn from this experience how to manage future crises and coordinate the different levels of government (local, national and supranational). Indeed, the institutional context, particularly social institutions, also shapes the response to the spread of infection from COVID-19.

This understanding is all the more critical as experts predict that other crises could happen in the future. Learning from this experience is thus a precious asset for managing the future. For this reason, this special issue aims not only to contribute to a better understanding of the current situation but also to prepare for the future. Editors encourage authors to propose future-oriented papers for academics and policymakers that look beyond the current pandemic analysis.

The papers proposed should aim to (i) enlighten the historic-scale disruption that has happened and the consequences for regions and regional science, (ii) disentangle the channels of the epidemic’s spread, and (iii) compare and assess the different measures and policies adopted at the regional level. We thus invite authors to propose papers pursuing one of the three following objectives:

  1. Analysing the structural changes caused by the crisis such as growth in regional inequality, the changing role of regional administration and their consequences for the discipline. In line with reflection on the need to ‘rebuild better’ or ‘redesign capitalism’, it is now time to redefine what is regionally fair and equitable. Papers considering how regional science could contribute to the debate about how the economic model could emerge from the crisis more regionally and socially equitable would be particularly welcome.
  2. Understanding the spread of the virus and its determinants at all scales. More than ever, the epidemic of coronavirus infection makes visible through space the social facts that regional science questions at all scales. In this special issue, we welcome papers that address global, European, national, local and even the finest scales of the determinants of COVID-19 and its spread. The analysis of socio-economic determinants and spatial characteristics will be particularly welcome.
  3. An in-depth analysis of policy answers to COVID-19 at the regional/local level. The EU's response to COVID-19 is based on four priorities: (i) limiting the spread of the virus; (ii) ensuring the supply of medical equipment; (iii) promoting research on treatments and vaccines; (iv) supporting jobs, businesses, and the economy. At the same time, local authorities are/were on the front line of the pandemic. Consequently, various territorial responses have been introduced to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The general objective of this special issue is to highlight how regional scientists contribute through their theoretical, empirical and public engagement for fair and equitable regional and local outcomes.

Possible Research Topics

This special issue seeks high-quality submissions that provide significant contributions, whether theoretical or empirical, to favour a clearer understanding of regional/local impacts of COVID-19 and policies implemented in cities and regions. Below are some illustrative research questions (not exhaustive) that would be suitable for inclusion in the special issue.

  • Resilience to health shocks
  • Territorial recovery policies
  • Local health policies
  • Social, economic and environmental policies in a post-pandemic world
  • Institutional innovation during and after the pandemic
  • Ex-ante and ex-post evaluation
  • Case studies
  • Comparing scope and efficacity of local policies
  • Territorial policies in OECD, middle and low-income countries

Submission Instructions

Please send an extended abstract (max. 500 words) to the Guest Editors by the 15th of September 2021. Contact details can be found above. Notification regarding further consideration (subject to the journal's usual peer-review process) will be given by the 15th of October 2021. Full papers will be expected by the 31st of December 2021 and should be submitted via the online submission system.

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