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Location and Space-Economy at half a century: Revisiting Professor Isard's dream on the general theory


  • Masahisa Fujita

    () (Institute of Economic Research, Kyoto University, Yoshida-Hanmachi, Sakyoku, Kyoto, 606-01, Japan)


Nearly half a century has passed since the publication of the seminal work of Professor Isard, Location and Space-Economy, which became the basis of a new field called regional science. As indicated by its subtitle (i.e., A General Theory Relating to Industrial Location, Market Areas, Land Use, Trade, and Urban Structure), the book was written with the aim of nothing less than initiating the development of a general theory of location and space-economy, embracing the total spatial array of economic activities. Such a theory was supposed to include both the traditional general equilibrium theory and the international trade theory as special cases. In this paper, first I shall discuss what were his possible ideas on the general theory, given the state of economic science at that time, and what were the main contributions of Location and Space-Economy in initiating the development of such a theory. Second, I review the major contributions of subsequent works by Professor Isard and other scholars from the viewpoint of the development of the general theory. Finally, I discuss possible future directions in developing such a theory.

Suggested Citation

  • Masahisa Fujita, 1999. "Location and Space-Economy at half a century: Revisiting Professor Isard's dream on the general theory," The Annals of Regional Science, Springer;Western Regional Science Association, vol. 33(4), pages 371-381.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:anresc:v:33:y:1999:i:4:p:371-381
    Note: Received: June 1999/Accepted: July 1999

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    Cited by:

    1. Fujita, Masahisa, 2012. "Thünen and the New Economic Geography," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(6), pages 907-912.
    2. Iulia Andreea BUCUR & Oana Ancuta STANGACIU, 2015. "The European Union Convergence In Terms Of Economic And Human Development," CES Working Papers, Centre for European Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University, vol. 7(2), pages 256-275, August.

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