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Manuscript deadline
31 August 2020

Cover image - Regional Studies

Regional Studies

Special Issue Editor(s)

Gabriela Carmen PASCARIU, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania
[email protected]

Peter NIJKAMP, Open University, Heerlen, The Netherlands & Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania

Cristian INCALTARAU, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania

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The Tidal Movements of Spatial Labour Markets: Perturbation and Resilience

Labour markets do not function in an abstract world or a spaceless vacuum, but are concrete manifestations of the effective functioning of complex economies in a geographic context, being highly volatile and sensitive to a large spectrum of external challenges or internal shocks. The internal and external force field of labour markets may exhibit both slow and fast dynamics, depending on demographical trends, local or regional cultures or habits, institutional ramifications, adaptive behaviours of agents or stakeholders, industrial dynamics and organisation, environmental, infrastructural or regulatory systems or constraints, social and spatial networks or geopolitical context. Overall, the space-economy forms a complex and ever changing web of interacting regions and cities, with permanent changes and fluctuations. Spatial labour markets move between fixities and fluidities. They are the signposts for the healthy development of regional or urban economies, as they reflect urban-rural dichotomies, spatial disparities or structural deficiencies.

In all such developments, the question emerges: How can cities or regions adapt themselves to unanticipated perturbations? And which mechanisms can be put in place to restore the balance or to find a way to a new and more promising or robust spatial equilibrium situation? Such questions are nowadays often framed in the context of spatial resilience. The Special Issue seeks to investigate and contribute to a better understanding of the functioning of spatial labour markets – and especially their response and adaptive behaviour after an external shock or perturbation – from the perspective of modern resilience theory. Clearly, labour market policy (ranging from general stimuli to place-based incentives) may play a key role in the adaptive capacity of regions and cities against the background of labour market dynamics.

The resilience concept has proven to be very influential over the last decades; it has prompted a change of paradigm from regions focused on (sustainable) development to a more comprehensive and dynamic view that integrates the multiple challenges faced by regions or cities in our globalised world. The investigation of regional resilience calls also for in-depth evaluations of place-specific consequences of various shocks, while simultaneously integrating the analysis of consequent resistance, adaptation, and transformation of territory (considering different scales from local to regional, national or continental) to these inherent perturbations. Clearly, the resilience notion offers a new and challenging perspective on urban or regional development with respect to decision-making processes in a time when the number of transformative shocks and uncertainty drivers grows, while providing a useful framework capable of building a bridge between emergency, competitiveness, and (sustainable) development (Béné et al. 2014, Scott, 2013).

Spatial labour markets are very sensitive to external stimuli and disruptions, such as: financial crises, political-geographic developments (Brexit, e.g.), unexpected migration flows, unanticipated barriers on (inter)national connectivities (e.g. corona pandemics), dramatic industrial transformations or disruptions, new strict environmental laws, new big infrastructures, radical innovations (including robotisation and AI), and the like (Stough et al., 2018; Kourtit et al., 2020; Gentili et al., 2020). Hence, they may provide interesting and sound test beds for exploring the relevance of resilience theory and conceptualisation in a geographic context. There has been an avalanche of spatial labour market studies in recent years, especially after the economic and financial crisis (see e.g. Stough et al., 2018). There has also been a flood of contributions to the relevance of resilience concepts in a spatial context (see e.g. Reggiani et al., 2002; Modica and Reggiani, 2015). The cross-section of both strands of literature however, is much thinner. And a systematic, thematically-oriented scientific endeavour to an integration of both approaches is largely missing. Most studies at the interface of spatial resilience and labour markets are somewhat anecdotal in nature and lack often a solid methodological orientation. Thus, the resilience concept calls for solid and new theoretical, methodological and empirical insights, so as to understand the real contribution of resilience debates to regional studies on spatial labour markets, to increase the added value of modern approaches and to connect more profoundly emergent theoretical views to a more policy-oriented perspective.

The Special Issue aims to address new perspectives on the causes and effects of perturbations on regional and urban labour markets, against the backgrounds of resilience regarding (dis)equilibrating forces on labour markets. The various papers to be collected for this issue might have both a theoretical-methodological or an applied-statistical orientation and should connect or inter-connect the territorial dimension of resilience to the socio-economic evolution of spatial labour markets. Relevant topics for this Special Issue are:

  • The spatial (urban, regional, territorial) significance of resilience (and related concepts such as vulnerability or robustness) for labour markets in the context of regional growth and development.
  • The nature and role of drivers and facilitators of spatial resilience and ways it is able to capture regional and urban dynamics.
  • The relevance of changes in the legal environment for labour market transitions. How resilient is e.g. the flexicurity model?
  • The testable impact of natural (e.g. disasters), medical (e.g. corona virus), social (e.g. migration inflows), economic (e.g. crises), demographic (e.g. ageing), institutional (e.g. regime switch), technological (e.g. robotics) or policy-based factors or determinants on the resilience capacity of spatial labour markets.
  • The relevance of resilience capacity in relation to urban-rural labour markets in the context of spatial disparities and structural core-periphery differences.
  • The significance of networks, accessibility, multi-scale hazards/shocks, or unanticipated influxes on resilience capacity and resilience estimation models.
  • Analysis of new forms or concepts of resilience (e.g. individual or community resilience, security resilience, social network resilience) in relation to urban and regional labour markets.
  • Critical studies on the relevance of resilience concepts for regional development policy (including cohesion strategies for EU regions).
  • Strategic studies on new resilience types of studies, e.g. complexity theory, panarchy theory, spatial decomposition analysis, multi-scalar analysis in relation to big data metrics etc.

Besides the above-mentioned themes, the editors are open to other novel approaches and welcome papers that relate to or challenge prevailing understandings of resilience-related topics such as: smart regions, territorial capital, adaptive mechanisms, systemic vulnerability, sectorially induced resilience, urban-rural differences in resilience capacity building, or evolutionary paradigms focused on relevance for spatial policies.

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Submission Instructions

Proposals (max 500 words) for this special issue need to be submitted by e-mail to: [email protected] (mention Special Issue on Tidal Movements), before August 31st, 2020.

The authors will be notified of the acceptance of their paper proposal by September 15th, 2020.

The deadline for paper submission is December 15th, 2020; however, early submissions are welcomed and encouraged.

Each submitted paper will be subjected to the strict refereeing rules of the journal. Details regarding the publication process, evaluation criteria and style are available on the Regional Studies website.

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