1 Aug 2014

It is with regret that the Regional Studies Association announces the death of Professor Sir Peter Hall. Peter was a founder member of the Association, a long time Editor in Chief of Regional Studies, and more latterly the inaugural President. He has been active within the Association for fifty years. Through his work he has shaped debate on the theory and practice of planning and has played an international role in advising various national governments. He was a fine and widely acclaimed scholar. We will remember him as a great supporter and friend with thoughtful and wise insight and a cunning sense of humour. We will miss him greatly. Our thoughts are with his family and friends.

Sir Peter Hall's Biography (Source: iris.ucl.ac.uk):

Professor Hall received his Master's (1957) and Ph.D. (1959) degrees in Geography from the University of Cambridge and has taught at the London School of Economics; at the University of Reading (1968‑88), where he was Dean of the Faculty of Urban and Regional Studies; and at the University of California at Berkeley (1980‑92), where he is Professor Emeritus of City and Regional Planning.

He is author or editor of nearly 40 books on urban and regional planning and related topics, including London 2000 (1963, 1969), The World Cities (1966, 1977, 1983); Planning and Urban Growth: An Anglo‑American Comparison (with M. Clawson) (1973); Urban and Regional Planning (1975, 1982, 2002); Europe 2000 (ed., 1977); Great Planning Disasters (1980); Growth Centres in the European Urban System (with D. Hay) (1980); The Inner City in Context (ed., 1981); Silicon Landscapes (with A. Markusen, 1985); Can Rail save the City?(with C. Hass‑Klau, 1985); High‑Tech America (with A. Markusen and A. Glasmeier, 1986); The Carrier Wave (with P. Preston, 1988);Cities of Tomorrow (1988); London 2001 (1989); The Rise of the Gunbelt (with A. Markusen, S. Campbell and S. Deitrick, 1991);Technopoles of the World (with M. Castells, 1994); Sociable Cities (with C. Ward, 1998); Cities in Civilization (1998); Urban Future 21 (with U. Pfeiffer, 2000; Working Capital (with N. Buck et al, 2002); The Polycentric Metropolis (with K. Pain, 2006); and London Voices London Lives (2007).

He has received the Founder's Medal of the Royal Geographical Society for distinction in research, and is an Honorary Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and a member of the Academia Europea. He holds fourteen honorary doctorates from universities in the UK, Sweden and Canada. He was knighted in 1998 for services to the Town and Country Planning Association, and in 2003 was named by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II as a “Pioneer in the Life of the Nation” at a reception in Buckingham Palace. In 2003 he received the Gold Medal of the Royal Town Planning Institute, the first to be awarded for twenty years. In 2005 he was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Deputy Prime Minister for his contributions to urban regeneration and planning. He received the 2005 Balzan Prize for work on the Social and Cultural History of Cities since the Beginning of the 16th Century. In 2008 he received the Sir Patrick Abercrombie Prize of the International Union of Architects.

30 Jul 2014

The recent release of Lord Adonis' Growth Review has stirred some interesting recent debates, some of which argue that a more nuanced perspective is in order when looking at UK's regions and their growth potentials.

Such a critique comes from Mark Hart, Deputy Director of Enterprise Research Centre, and was published recently on startups.co.uk. Professor Hart argues strongly that the "Adonis Review paints a distorted picture of economic growth", while the national growth picture is far more complicated than what the reports presents.

Mark Hart notices that Adonis' Review fails to depict the real state of regional growth in the UK, and overly relies on the argument that the UK's regions lag behind London. This is the base of the Review for supporting further devolution of power away from Westminster. However, in the opinion of Professor Hart this is not sufficient to support the argument, as it neglects the complexities of "the nature of the regional contrasts".

The Enterprise Research Centre research comes in support of Mark Hart's commentary, as this shows that based on the official statistics, the UK's national growth is not so reliant on London as the Adonis Review states.
The vast majority of private sector jobs have over the 12 months to March 2012 been created outside the capital, with ONS data showing that over 75% of all new private sector jobs have been created outside London.
While London created 551,000 gross new jobs the Local Economic Areas in the Midlands and the North created almost double that number of jobs (just over 1 million).

Moreover, the Review also seems to ignore the "influence of non-urban areas" and the "hidden sources of job and value creation that already exist across some of the UK’s regions".

In short, to state that London is the UK's solitary powerhouse is at least an overstatement, which in the perspective of Professor Hart ignores the complexities of UK's regions.

You can read the full commentary of Professor Mark Hart on startups.co.uk.

2 Jul 2014

This is a guest post by the Regional Studies, Regional Science Early Career Paper – Editor and Abstract Manager Dr. Marijana Sumpor, FeRSA. She was kind enough to share her experience with the association and to explain how the RSA membership can assist its members during their career.

More than a decade ago, as a PhD student I held a copy of the Regional Studies Journal in my hand and was wondering what this Regional Studies Association might be about. There was a brochure telling that for an acceptable annual membership fee I can join the RSA as a Student Member. The same year I applied and got a travel bursary to attend a RSA seminar in the UK that exceeded the membership fee. This was a great experience and motivated me to further investigate the goodies of the RSA. A few years after getting my PhD, I attended a RSA Conference and presented a research paper. I liked the presentations of other colleagues and discussions and learned a lot through interdisciplinary networking among regional scientists and professionals.

Sometime later, I learned about the initiative of the RSA to have country ambassadors. I checked the Regional Studies website and found that there was no one representing my country, so I wrote a letter to the RSA with the wish to become the RSA Ambassador for Croatia. I had experience with networking among regional development researchers and experts in Croatia. I have published work in books and journals, worked as a guest lecturer at Croatian Universities and was actively following Croatia’s EU accession process. The response from the RSA was positive and I regularly prepare information about regional development in Croatia for the RSA website as well as a mailing list. Since we have already an established informal Croatian regional development expert network and website, I regularly disseminate information about the RSA. Also, I am regularly invited to the Ambassadors’ meetings at the RSA Conferences where we report to each other what has been done regarding the RSA in the respective countries we are representing.

After the meeting at the Delft RSA Conference, the Regions magazine editor asked, if I would like to write a short paper for the magazine, which I happily did together with my colleague from the Institute of Economics, Zagreb. Soon thereafter I saw the Call for the Regional Insights editor position and decided to apply for this voluntary position. The editorial team informed me that even though my application was very good, they chose two other candidates... never mind...   

At the following European RSA Conference in Tampere, besides presenting a conference paper, I got the opportunity to present Croatia’s EU accession process at the Ambassadors meeting. Also, the Regional Insights Editors organised a Workshop on top tips in presenting research to a wider audience for early career researchers and asked me to join other senior researchers to speak at the workshop about my experiences in presentations.

During the conferences, I saw that the conference attendants got tags stating either MeRSA or FeRSA. Soon after, I wrote an e-mail to the RSA office stating that I am member since 2003 and wanted to check, if my membership status can change from RSA member (MeRSA) to fellow of RSA status (FeRSA), since this change is related to the duration of the membership. Immediately a return e-mail arrived with a certificate attached stating that I am from now on a Fellow of the RSA.

Finally, how I became the RSRS Early Career Papers – Editor and Abstract manager. In autumn 2013, an e-mail arrived from the Regional Insights editors asking, if I would like to reapply for the editor position. The next day I confirmed and got a positive response. The editorial team members explained that Regional Insights will go through a transition to become the Early Career Paper Section within the new open access journal Regional Studies, Regional Science. From 2014, I am part of the RSRS ECP editorial team and abstract manager. Being very fresh in this new role, I can only say that I am very excited and look truly forward to the inspiring cooperation with early career researchers.

So, if you are an early career, you can benefit by going along the mentored route, where the RSRS ECP editors support you in the publishing process. Please, follow the RSRS Early Career Papers Call and we are looking forward to your submission!

Dr. Marijana Sumpor, FeRSA is Senior Research Associate at The Institute of Economics, Zagreb (EIZ), Department for Regional Economics, Sustainable Development and Governance, Croatia and Early Career Paper – Editor and Abstract Manager at the RSA's Open Access journal RSRS.

30 Jun 2014

Because of the high interest level regarding the association’s student and early careers social events that recently took place, our Early Career Representative Julie Miao was kind enough to put together some notes regarding the recent event that took place in Izmir, and to describe what those that could not attend missed.

Following a long discussion and careful preparation, the Regional Studies Association Students & Early Career Social Event Serials was officially launched on 16th June 2014, along with the Association’s European Conference in Izmir, Turkey

The launch event comprised of four parts: 1) Skill workshop; 2) ‘Speed-dating’; 3) Social slot and; 4) ‘Wish box’ and lucky draw.

Part 1: Skill Workshop

This workshop was jointly organized by the RSA’s Early Career Representative Julie Miao and the editors of the Early Career Research Section of the new RSA journal, Regional Studies, Regional Science.  The main focus of the workshop was ‘How to Make an Impact’. The idea was to bring together the more experienced scholars, early career researchers and students for an exchange of knowledge and best practice, regarding how researchers can engage with communities beyond the academy to make sure that their research makes an impact.

Six highly experienced speakers had kindly accepted the role of plenary speakers, including Prof. Martin Johns (Department of Geography, Sheffield University); Sally Hardy (CEO of RSA); Prof. Nicola Bellini (Scuola Superiore Sant'Anna University, Italy); Prof. Margareta Dahlström (Karlstad University, Sweden); Prof. Ron Boschma (Urban and Regional research centre Utrecht (URU)); and Dr Adrian Healy (Planning and Geography, Cardiff University). Each plenary speaker had five minutes to offer their insights on how to make impact, and the tips given had covered wide areas from publishing, consulting, conferences/events, to socialising, time management, and career plan making.

Part 2: ‘Speed-dating’.

After the plenary speech and refreshment break, attendances were divided into four groups with randomly assigned plenary speakers. Each attendant could then have ten minutes to ‘draw attention’ from plenary and seek advices based on their particular questions. Then these ‘matches’ between plenary participants and attendants were broken up and reformed into new discussion groups. In this format, both the plenary participants and students/early careers became fully engaged, and everyone would had the opportunity to meet each other. Questions asked by the students and early careers were too diverse to summarise, but our voluntary ‘note-takers’ had done a fantastic job in terms of taking notes during the ‘dating’ process, as well as summarizing the key questions raised at the end of discussions.

You can read one these talks recorded by our colleagues Anna Sznajder here.

Part 3: Social slot

A more relaxing social time followed these exciting discussions and ‘dating’ exercises. Drinks and snacks were provided by RSA for attendants to sample. Many decided to stay longer than the assigned two-hour session slot, either catching up with old friends or exploring common ground with new friends.

Part 4:  ‘Wish box’ and lucky draw

Feedbacks and advices were sought from all students and early career attendances in order to improve the social series. All the participants confirmed these events could bring added-value to the RSA, and they especially appreciated the effort RSA had put in organising this event. An interactive format, such as our ‘speed-dating’, was also preferred by participants.  The Chair of the RSA, Professor Andrew Beer, and CEO Sally Hardy, drawn two lucky participants from our ‘wish box’ and they were announced in the conference’s Gala dinner the following day. 

Detail of some the ‘Top-tips’ from the plenary, and summary discussions of ‘Speed-dating’ are to follow. 

26 Jun 2014

The recent Regional Studies Association European Conference in Izmir, Turkey was a great success. The conference also hosted an Early Career Session. During this session, Professor Margareta Dahlstrōm, one of the panelists kindly responded to the questions of the participants. The groups consisting of PhD candidates and early career researchers were vividly involved into discussing the topics related to academic as well as policy practitioners’ careers. The variety of issues raised by the attendees of the plenary sessions can be divided into subjects, which will be briefly described in the following paragraphs, thanks to the notes of Anna Sznajder.

Between research and practice

One of the most sensitive issues for many of the participants was the usefulness of their research for policy makers, consultants, regional and local government, communities. The often asked question ‘How to make practitioners read your paper?’ required a detailed explanation from Professor Dahlstrōm. She highlighted the importance of communication and the need for adjusting methodologies used by researchers in academia to ordinary life demands. This could happen in multiple ways, such as:
  • writing/presenting short papers adapted to the audience;
  • organizing panel discussions open to everyone in the region;
  • meeting with a key representative for the region and convincing him/her first;
  • using action research as a way to engage the community or leaders;
  • building good relations through various actions and activities; and finally,
  • teaching students is a way to train future practitioners, who will understand the importance of collaboration between academic and practice realities.

From PhD to profession

According to Professor Margareta Dahlstrōm post-doctoral studies are a good way to develop the career of young researchers. Starting early allows the building of contacts and networks necessary for future progress. This is also the best time to prepare some publications resulted from the research. Sometimes having the experience in another country, where there are funds to conduct the required studies is a good idea. For example in Sweden there are special funds for international students accessible to post-doctoral candidates.

Getting published

Professor Dahlstrōm advised also regarding writing a paper (or papers) from doctoral dissertation. Her first publication appeared in the Journal of Rural Studies. It was a result of cooperation with editor and recognized author of rural studies at that time, Jo Little, who interested in the subject provided multiple suggestions on how to construct the paper and improve it in order to get published in a journal. This experience boosted Margareta’s confidence, and provided the needed encouragement for future career in research.

Thanks to the peer-review mechanism, of submission and re-submission of corrected paper versions according to editorial advises, young researchers have a chance to publish their research and adjust it to the journal and academic standards. Thus, Professor Dahlstrōm strongly recommended the publication of papers resulted from the PhD thesis as a way to build one’s careers path.

In order to be more effective in the number of publications, she strongly recommended co-authoring as a way to publish, network and ensure a level of complexity of the academic career. However, she did not fully agree with a concept to publish only in high quality journals. One publication in an excellent journal might not be equal and cannot be compared to ten publications in average journals. Even so, there are different careers paths and various institutions that recognize the quality of a researcher’s work not only through his/her selectiveness in choosing journals to publish.

Interdisciplinary research

Interdisciplinary research is both an advantage and challenge for early career researchers. Professor Dahlstrōm advised for the researcher to first recognize his/her own position in the discipline, i.e. how much one is close to one discipline: geography or economy. She considered borrowing concepts between disciplines as good practice. Multidisciplinary practices are also an opportunity to come up with something new and creative concepts and ideas. However, conducting this research depends from on the traditions existing at each university and the ability of one to be flexible with this idea.

Organization of work

Organization of work and good time management are crucial for a successful academic career. High demands from institutions regarding number of publications and teaching duties were a concern for the participants, as these can come in conflict with family life. Professor Dahlstrōm agreed that to keep a healthy work-life balance whilst working in academia is very difficult and highlighted the importance of breaks for efficiency and progress. By breaks she meant different experiences, such as motherhood or temporary change of profession, i.e. dropping academia for participation in practical projects. Also, shifts between various tasks, which stimulate creativity and innovation, help to organize time and be more productive. 

Anna Sznajder is a PhD Candidate at the Faculty of Business and Creative Industries, University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, UK. 

17 Jun 2014

This June is an extremely interesting month for us here at the Regional Studies Association. At this very moment the Regional Studies Association European Conference 2014 entitled: Diverse Regions: Building Resilient Communities and Territories is taking place in Izmir, Turkey. If you are not able to attend, do not worry. Out staff and fellow members at the RSA are live covering the event via Twitter using the hashtag #RSA_Izmir2014 (feed also embedded below!).

Not only that, the recent issue of Regions Magazine, which keeps you up to date with the Associations activity was published online. You can access the current issue here. Besides the interesting articles, in the second part of the magazine you can also find news and reports regarding our latest workshops, seminars, research networks, and conferences:

  • Report on Workshop on ‘Cities’ Regeneration Processes: The Role of Entrepreneurs, Residents and Tourists’ 
  • Report of the RSA Research Network on ‘Governing the Sustainability Transition’
  • Report of the RSA Research Network on ‘Governing Metropolitan Regions within a Localist Agenda’
  • Reflections on the RSA North American Conference
  • Report on the RSA Seminar on ‘Leadership in Urban and Regional Development: Debates, and New Directions’
  • Report of the RSA Research Network on ‘Tourism and Regional Development’

If you want to keep up to date with the RSA's latest developments go to: www.regionalstudies.org

#RSA_Izmir2014 Live coverage:

19 May 2014

Dear friends and colleagues,
We want to let you know that the role of Executive Editor for the Regional Studies Associations' flagship journal Regional Studies is vacant. If you are interested, you could be our new Executive Editor.

For details see the advert below.

Regional Studies Journal
Executive Editor
The post is for 3 or 4 days a week, subject to negotiation, fixed term for three years, renewable by mutual agreement.
The person will be appointed by Taylor and Francis on a standard editor’s contract and the post is home based.
Fee: £30,000 p.a., pro-rata
The Regional Studies Association seeks an Executive Editor or equivalent to provide academic and administrative support to the Editor in Chief (EiC), Regional Studies.

Regional Studies is a large journal which is wholly owned by the Association and published under contract by the imprint Routledge, which is owned by Taylor and Francis, itself part of Informa Group plc. Regional Studies is an international journal both in terms of its subscriber/readership base. Submissions are global and typically from departments of geography, economics, planning and political science. Many of the published articles are empirical in nature and the majority of articles include some quantitative methodology.

The tasks to be undertaken will include but not be limited to:
  • day to day manuscript management including; desk screening of submissions, allocation of submissions to editors, suggestion of referees to the editors, provision of summary advice to editors and to the EiC for final decisions
  • supervision of the Editorial Assistant (recognising that this person is appointed by the Publisher and will work on journals other than Regional Studies),
  • management and reporting of journal flow and publication times
  • principle point of contact for the publisher regarding production e.g. final approval of proofs, issue planning and compilation of print issues
  • oversight of special issues and mini-themes
  • contribute to planning for and delivery of journal activities such as two annual lectures (one within an RSA international conference and one within the AAG annual conference each year)
  • preparation of minutes, papers and reports for relevant meetings and the organisation of these meetings
  • strategic development of the journal; providing advice and recommendations to the editors and the Publications Committee on journal development initiatives, working with the publisher to promote the journal, working the editors to refine the review and production processes etc.

Person Specification

An Executive Editor is sought with the following skills
  • personal experience of research and scholarship and the ability to command the respect of colleagues
  • knowledge of the field of regional studies (it is expected that this will not be even across the breadth of the field)
  • ability to interpret and evaluate academic material and referees reports
  • an understanding of common scientific methods, statistics and other analytical methods,
  • an understanding of the peer-review process and the roles of those contributing to it
  • a clear sense of academic writing styles and the organisation and presentation of research information, including in diagrammatic and map form
  • an understanding of research and publishing ethics
  • good task, time and line management skills - including the ability to delegate effectively and work supportively with junior colleagues
  • ability to work to time and to budget on any project


To apply for this post please submit a full CV and letter setting out why you are suitable for the role and what you would expect to contribute to the journal and its management.

Send the letter and supporting CV to: Sally Hardy, Chief Executive, Regional Studies Association – sally.hardy@regionalstudies.org

For further particulars, please visit www.regionalstudies.org

Closing Date - Monday 9th June 2014, 10am UK time

Interview Date – Friday 13th June 2014, central London. No other date is possible but arrangements can be made to use Skype or similar technologies.

If you would like to discuss your suitability for the post or have questions about the role phone please contact Sally Hardy on 0044(0) 1323 899 698

9 May 2014

As you already know Regional Studies, Regional Science, is the first interdisciplinary Open-Access (OA) journal from the RSA, which offers established academics, professionals, early careers or students the opportunity to publish their articles and ensure a wide reach throughout the global communities in the field.

In this recent interview made available by Routledge / Taylor & Francis, Co-Editor Alasdair Rae talks about what he is most looking forward to about editing Regional Studies, Regional Science, gives advice to aspiring authors and introduces the journal's early careers mentoring route.

You can either watch the video here or directly on Vimeo. The transcript of the interview is also available here. Enjoy!