Diversity within regions is often considered one way to achieve sustainability and stability in economic growth and development. As a region’s social and economic structure becomes more diverse, it becomes less sensitive to external shocks. Variety in economic activities as well as divergent local cultures within the region is a source of regional strength and resilience. The concept of resilience has often been used in regional development to define robustness, strength, flexibility and the ability to respond to external shocks. Building resilient regions is seen as particularly important in the wake of the global economic crisis as a new source of economic growth. This objective is emphasized both by the OECD’s agenda for stronger, cleaner and fairer economies and by EU2020’s call for smart, inclusive, sustainable economies. The objectives in both agendas are complementary.
The Regional Studies Association European Conference 2014 on ‘Diverse Regions: Building Resilient Communities and Territories’ presents a timely opportunity to discuss these issues, to establish the need and nature of future research imperatives, and to address the concerns and challenges confronting policymakers and practitioners.