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Borders as opportunities in the space-economy: towards a theory of enabling space

Peter Nijkamp

Asia-Pacific Journal of Regional Science, 2021, vol. 5, issue 1, No 11, 223-239

Abstract: Abstract This paper posits that regional science—as a multidisciplinary analysis of the functioning of regions—has, in its historical evolution, largely neglected the specific role of borders. Borders do not only act as barriers with friction costs in an otherwise open human interaction space; they are multidimensional organizing principles for mobility, interaction, location, and socio-cultural identities of areas. The existence of borders does therefore not necessarily mean exclusively the existence of costly impedance and transaction frictions. Starting from a historical sketch of focal points in regional science, the paper seeks to develop the contours of a new conceptualisation of enabling space in which borders may be seen as opportunities for innovative development in a cross-border space-economy. Amartya Sen’s capability theory will be used as a cornerstone for a novel interpretation of borders to be used by smart and alert actors as a challenging and promising portfolio of cooperative development strategies for people, business agents, and spatial cohesion policy. This study concludes that borders—in case of a sufficient degree of permeability—may generate smart opportunities for the regions involved.

Keywords: Border; Spatial opportunity; Capability theory; Enabling space; Resourceful region; Borderless world; Euregio (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1007/s41685-021-00191-x

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