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Cursus: GEO1-3801
Geography in a Fast Changing Economy
Cursus informatie
Studiepunten (EC)7,5
Please note: the information in the course manual is binding.
At the end of the course the student is:
  • familiar with the conceptual base of contemporary economic geography;
  • able to understand the essence and importance of geographical scale in economic processes;
  • able to describe and understand geographical concepts related to cities and regions;
  • able to describe and understand patterns and processes of spatial unevenness in economic activity and growth, and to critically judge differential ways to change unevenness.
The following aspects of academic research, reporting and effective oral presentation skills are covered in the course:
  • you learn to relay the above points orally in a systematic and clear manner to other course-participants;
  • you collect, select and analyse relevant data from various sources;
  • you compile written reports on project assignments;
  • you effectively present the findings of assignments.
The world is not flat; it is round and spiky – from the local to the global perspective, economic activity is unevenly distri­buted. This observation means economic processes are fundamentally territorial processes, and this is revealed in the diverging fortunes of local commu­nities, cities and regions. Hence, the nature of economic activity also varies from place to place. Place and space exert significant influence on the  territorial occurrence and characteristics of economic processes. Moreover, territorial pat­terns and processes of economic activity and growth are highly dynamic; they change over time. The fortunes of local commu­ni­ties, cities and regions change, and the process we call globalisation is the starting point, or perhaps the total, of these changes. However, while some see it as a process that reduces unevenness, others argue the opposite: they contend that while the landscape of spikes changes, the world remains spiky.

Economic geography is concerned with describing, understanding, explaining and influencing econo­mic territorial patterns and processes. For this pur­pose, from an identification of key actors, economic geography has developed a range of approaches and key concepts. This course offers an overview of these approaches and key concepts. Moving from the local/regional level to the global, main conceptual ideas on the spatial development of industries and of regions at various scales are discussed. This is done through the lens of main actors: firms/entrepreneurs, labour and institutions (many linked to the state). In addition, the spatial economy involves a wider societal ‘context’ surrounding economic processes: socio-cultural, institu­tional, and relational (network) patterns and characteristics. The course is also an introduction to geography as a wider discipline, and pays attention to the (economic) landscape of the Netherlands.

Throughout the discussion of approaches and key concepts participants will be engaged in discovering the value added of a bi-disciplinary (economics and geo­graphy) rather than a mono-disciplinary approach of economic processes. This will be done through the study of ‘real world’ cases in class, in tutorials, and in assignments, revealing the relevance of not just economic but also geographic questions with respect to recent global develop–ments. Also, participants will actively carry out project assignments that are not only literature based but also include a fieldtrip and fieldwork.
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