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Regional science: back to the future?


  • William J. Coffey

    (Department de geographie, Université de Montreal, C.P. 6128, Succ. C.-V, Montreal, Quebec H3C3J7, Canada)

  • Antoine S. Bailly

    (Department of Geography, University of Geneva, 102, boulevard Carl-Vogt, CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland)

  • Lay J. Gibson

    (Geography and Regional Development, University of Arizona, 845 N. Park Avenue Tucson, AZ85719, USA)


After initiating a provocative discussion on "regional science in crisis" (Bailly and Coffey 1994; Gibson 1994; Plane 1994; Stough 1994; Anas 1994; Vickerman 1994; Casetti 1995), we now wish to present some additional thoughts on how regional scientists can simultaneously make their field more relevant scientifically and more useful for society. At a time when resources are tight, when the number of regional science students is small, when administrators are scrutinizing our budgets and our ability to generate outside money, we need to do something to regain (or is it simply to gain?) our place in the sun. In this paper, we argue that regional scientists will not reestablish their field by using classical approaches to regional analysis alone. It is essential that we look at new ways to answer questions raised by our social, economic, and political institutions. More specifically, we make some observations concerning the history of regional science, its role within universities, and its nature, as well as offering some suggestions concerning how regional scientists can attempt to improve the situation.

Suggested Citation

  • William J. Coffey & Antoine S. Bailly & Lay J. Gibson, 1996. "Regional science: back to the future?," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 30(2), pages 153-163.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:anresc:v:30:y:1996:i:2:p:153-163
    Note: Received: March 1995 / Accepted: February 1996

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