When development is more on the spatial dynamics

When the discipline of
regional development emerged in the 1950s it had a strong economics basis and a
focus on what firms did in regions and how their performance influenced a range
of economic indicators i.e. employment, profit, GDP and growth. Towards the end
of the 20th century, regional development became far more multi-disciplinary in
its approach. Political science, public policy and sociology became critical
disciplines alongside economics focusing more on the notion of what a region
might be and how a range of factors  not
just economic but shaped the idea of a region.


A region is a basic
unit of study in geography, a unit of space characterized by a feature such as
a common government, language, political situation, or landform. A region can
be a formal country governed by political boundaries, such as France or Canada;
a region can be defined by a landform, such as the drainage basin of all the
water that flows into the Mississippi River; and a region can even be defined
by the area served by a shopping mall. Cultural regions can be defined by
similarities in human activities, traditions, or cultural attributes.
Geographers use the regional unit to map features of particular interest, and
data can be compared between regions to help understand trends, identify
patterns, or assist in explaining a particular phenomenon.

In the 21st century
economic geography has joined the disciplines and the focus of regional
development is more on the spatial dynamics of regions as places to live, work
and invest. The focus for the discipline is just as much on people as drivers
of regional development as smoke stack industries, regional development
agencies and firms. People with their knowledge and where and how they use that
knowledge is a key focus for research in regional development.

In most
countries of the world, different geographical areas are not endowed the same
way. While some areas are blessed with some category of resources, others are
rich in other types of treasure. These resources, which are material and human,
also vary in stock from one place to another. Hence some areas tend to grow and
develop at a higher rate, at the expense of others. The resultant effect of
this is overconcentration of activities and its attendant problems of
population explosion, congestion, housing shortage, environmental problems, etc
in the favoured areas or cities, and underdevelopment or backwardness in the
less privileged areas. If the trend continues
unchecked, it will not only amount to social injustice and inequity to some
class of people or areas but also constitute a setback to regional and overall
national development.


Regional planning helps
to identify areas where excess labour force is concentrated and those areas
where resources are under-utilized, with a view to striking a balance and
promoting not only aggregate growth of the national economy but also spatial
equity and equality. It can also be defined as a formal process of spatially
ordering human activities for the purpose of ensuring spatial equity and
general progress in socio-economic welfare terms.

It is clear then that
regional planning depends in large measure on the political and economic
contexts within which it is undertaken. In relation to the dimension of
control, the difference between a fully socialized economy (as in some
Communist states) or a fully government directed one (as in some wartime
conditions), and an economy where government or social direction was minimal,
would be critical in enabling or excluding forms of regional planning. The
purposes of interest here are those relevant to a political economy of the kind
normal to Europe now, and to, in varying degrees, most other developed

The primary
purpose is deciding on the general distribution of new activities and
developments. This is necessarily indicated on some map base, but the scale of
regional planning and other considerations will dictate the level of detail
given in showing, for example, new settlements, areas of commercial and
economic development, placing of linear or other major infrastructure. The time
scale planned for may also vary considerably, although at this scale a minimum
of ten years from the expected date of completion of the plan is normal. In
recent years this has often been extended by ten or even 20 years. This is the concern of regional pl anning which is aimed

Correcting lopsided

Promoting regional and
national development through the identification, analysis, and allocation of
resources within and among region of a state or country.