Global experts discuss regional inequalities at international conference

Over 600 delegates will discuss regional inequalities and their differing spatial impacts across the globe at an international conference – The Great Awakening: New Directions – co-hosted by Trinity and UCD, which begins today.

The Regional Studies Association (RSA) Annual Conference brings together world-leading regional studies experts, spatial scientists, economists, business studies scholars, political scientists, local development specialists, urban geographers, spatial planners, transport experts, development studies scholars, environmentalists, sociologists, economic geographers, financial geographers, academics, researchers and practitioners.

Pictured at the opening of the conference are (l to r): Professor Martin Sokol, Trinity Provost, Dr Patrick Prendergast, RSA Chief Executive, Sally Hardy, Professor Dieter Kogler, UCD, and RSA Chair, Andrew Beer.

There is a growing realisation that regional inequalities have both contributed to, and amplified, the ‘Great Recession’ that shook advanced and emerging economies alike. It is also becoming apparent that the crisis has been having very different impacts spatially. This will only help to further exacerbate uneven economic development, fuelling more trouble down the line.

In Europe, major economic fault-lines are re-emerging between and within national economies; between the core and the periphery; between urban and rural areas; between city-regions and within cities themselves. This pattern is replicated elsewhere – in advanced, emerging and developing world.

There is thus an urgent need to re-examine all aspects of local and regional development and how it relates to national and international economic dynamics; and to social, political, cultural, technological and environmental processes. Having spent over 50 years advocating more balanced regional development, the RSA is now spearheading a major effort to address these pressing issues in such challenging times.

Associate Professor in Geography at Trinity, and co-organiser of the conference, Dr Martin Sokol, said: “It is a great honour to host this conference in Ireland, in Dublin and in Trinity College, as it is the biggest Regional Studies Association (RSA) conference yet in the 50-year history of this fine organisation with a global reach.”

“The theme of the conference “the Great Regional Awakening: New Directions” has attracted 600 delegates from around the world, which bears testimony to the growing importance of regional studies in understanding contemporary economies and societies.”

“From the global financial crisis to regional innovation and to Brexit, geographically informed approaches are proving to be more indispensable than ever, to understand the past and to shape the future. Ireland’s economic trajectory itself is a perfect example of this.”

Among the many highlights over the four days is a Discuss & Debate session entitled ‘Brexit, Trump, and the death of globalisation? New directions in Economic & Financial Geography’.

For more details of the conference and for a complete programme list see:

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