Centre-peripheral regional development and human capital distribution: peripheral experience within functional region of Stockholm

University essay from Lunds universitet/Institutionen för kulturgeografi och ekonomisk geografi

Abstract: Studying knowledge-intense regional development from the perspective of classified periphery fills an identified gap in analysis and practice. It illustrates challenges, possibilities, and nuances current trajectory of centre-peripheral development. Exploring role and perspective of peripheral areas within regions, and thus marginalized places, can help increase cohesive, instead of fragmented, regional development. It can also, partly, explain the rift between city and countryside as centre-peripheral segregation. Therefore, it is an important part of re-linking interconnected territorial, social and economic inequality. Which, more than once, has been linked to discontent and called a “ticking bomb”. Thus, the aim of this thesis is to explore regional centre-peripheral structures and spatial sorting of human capital and its effects on local and regional development from a peripheral perspective. The design is a mixed research where secondary demographical data is visualized via ArcMap. The processing through ArcMap also inspires the purposive qualitative sample selection and complements the qualitative data by investigating spatial pattern of human capital and centre-peripheral structures in the functional region of Stockholm. The primary data is qualitative, semi-structured interviews were conducted with key informants within local and regional development at municipal public administration. The research questions are answered separately and in a synthetizing discussion. Human capital is a resource and underlying variable for institutional development capacity. Found to work selectively in a centre-peripheral hierarchy during regional enlargement and structural change. Which sometimes hinder institutional learning, stability, and capacity at one side and concentrate, secure, and maintains advanced knowledge at the other. The concentration process of knowledge, human capital and structural advantages has increased during the last 20 years and is expected to further grow. The enlargement process, adaptation towards functional collaborations and increased regional leadership do however signify possibilities for increased participation and inclusion in regional development. Simultaneously a challenge as peripheral areas sometimes experience serving as ‘nursery’ for high human capital centre labour migration and identifies a negligence of disparities within regional development. Regional development is in this thesis understood and described as a participatory process of local and regional synergetic development. This conceptualizes growth as one subcomponent, but development was found to be richer in application. Furthermore, functional regional development was deemed increasingly important. Leading to institutional issues in governing and stimulating collaboration. Centre-peripheral development is described as an active process in and by regional development. Rather than a natural and necessary pre-condition. This is tied to a gradual disconnection from centre-periphery as one system to centre and periphery as disjoint. Being classified as peripheral can serve as a lock-in and explain continuous negligence of peripheral economic opportunity. Concludingly, the findings and theoretical discussion is tied to geography of discontent and continuous uneven development as expected outcomes rather than place-specific anomalies.

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