AbstractsGeography &GIS

An Exploration of Regional Capability

by Yan Li

Institution: Freie Universität Berlin
Year: 2016
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2068678
Full text PDF: http://edocs.fu-berlin.de/diss/receive/FUDISS_thesis_000000102530


The Northeast of China as an old national industrial base has not been able to escape the shadow of deindustrialization. The Yangtze River Delta, on the other hand, has moved from strength to strength, becoming a leading region of the Chinese economy. Why have these two regions developed so differently? What factors play a role? This study attempts to grasp the complexity of regional development analytically. It examines the latest findings and concepts from economic geography – from the relational, institutional and evolutionary turns of economic geography to the concept of contextuality, path dependence and contingency –, develops a concept of regional capability and proposes path-assets analysis as a model for regional analysis based on a relational-dynamic perspective. The study applies and tests the model empirically with reference to Northeast China and the Yangtze River Delta in the period from 1978 to 2015. It conducts a multi-dimensional path-assets analysis of economic, socio-cultural, environmental and political-institutional factors using official statistical data, planning documents, expert interviews and participant observation of planning processes in the two regions. It concludes that regional development cannot be sustained by relying on national policy and investment alone, but requires endogenous impetus and innovation based on regional assets, and hence regional governance and planning can be effective tools for the management and the strengthening of regional capability. The analytical framework proposed deploys a capability-based interdisciplinary approach for regional analysis. It offers a new perspective for regional planners, scientists and policy makers to facilitate regional governance from an interdisciplinary and relational-dynamic perspective by analyzing regional capability with respect to the implementation of sustainable development, and is particularly suitable for a capability-based spatial analysis in the sense of a path-assets analysis under a relational dynamic perspective. It can be applied to the broader research fields of spatial analysis, with a six-step methodology recommended. The study therefore makes a theoretical contribution to geographical development studies and cognate fields, in particular in connection with current debates in economic geography. Der Nordosten Chinas als ein altes nationales Industriegebiet ist heute noch nicht aus dem Schatten der Deindustrialisierung. Das Yangtze Delta hat sich vom Land des Überflußes zu einer führenden Region der chinesischen Wirtschaft entwickelt. Warum entwickeln sich zwei Regionen so unterschiedlich? Welche Faktoren spielen dabei eine Rolle? Diese Studie versucht die Komplexität der Regionalentwicklung analytisch zu fassen. Sie bezieht sich zunächst auf aktuelle Erkenntnisse und Konzepte aus der Wirtschaftsgeographie, von den relationale, institutionelle und evolutionäre Wendungen der Wirtschaftsgeographie bis zum Konzept der Kontextualität, Pfadabhängigkeit und Kontingenz, und entwickelt die Konzeption der…