Balázs’ current teaching activities are mainly related to regional studies – regional economics, policy, programming. His current research is focused on regional policy in the EU after 2014, locally based economic development and theories of economic growth and development at the regional level, including:
- financial geography: financial centres and the spatial aspects of capital flows in the new millennium, the mechanisms governing the spatial spread of the financial crisis
- economic and regional development and regional policies of Germany, the USA, Great Britain, Spain, Romania, Poland and China
- regional policy of the EU after 2014
- regional economics: endogenous and competitive development theories.
Balázs is currently writing a book on the relationship between economic modernization, crisis management and urbanization, analysing a number of countries as examples.
You can also click here to read Balazs’ blog on the urban/rural polarisation in the 2022 Hungarian election.
RSA WebinarOn September 21, 2022, an online webinar was organized jointly by the Regional Studies Association and John von Neumann University. The main organizer of the event was Balázs Forman, who is the RSA Ambassador to Hungary. The topic of the webinar is Hungary in the 21st century. Despite the initial organizational difficulties, a total of 26 speakers applied to hold a presentation. The speakers represent many Hungarian universities. The topic and content of the presentations they gave also drew attention to the very diverse areas of regional science and possible connections. The presentations were about exchange rate policy, health issues, sustainability, competitiveness, and many dimensions of urbanization. The 26 lectures were finally organized into 4 sections. In addition to the greeting from the Rector of John von Neumann University (JvNU), the plenary session included 4 presentations. The presentation by Kristóf Lehmann (Hungarian National Bank, JvNU) was about the challenges of the global financial system and exchange rate policy. In his presentation, Miklós Losoncz (Budapest Business School) presented the adaptation of the Hungarian economy in relation to the crises since 2020. Zoltán Gál, the president of the Hungarian Association of Regional Science, spoke about the path dependence of the development paths of Central Europe and Hungary, the historical perspectives of catching up, and the half-assed results of modernization based on FDI. István Kósa (Szeged University), who is a practicing heart surgeon and an expert in health economics, spoke about the financing of Hungarian health care and the territorial dimension of the services and their social effects.
The presentations of the section on sustainability covered many issues that are very important for the 21st century. The first speaker of the session was Szandra Köves (BCE), who presented the basics of sustainability, the need to change the paradigm of our thinking, the functioning of the economy and society. Climate researcher Attila Sütő presented the parts of the effects of climate change affecting Hungary and its immediate environment based on various climate models. The third speaker of the session, Zsófia Benedek (JvNU, CERS), drew attention to her presentation with the provocative title “Adapt or perish”. Here, the speaker drew attention to the importance of the existence and adaptability of local markets and local food chains. The next speaker, Attila Jámbor (Corvinus University of Budapest), actually presented the agrarian economic consequences of the adaptation of the agriculture of the Central European countries, a simpler change compared to the complexity of climate change, and the entry into the European Union. After the first four presentations of the section, the question rightly arises as to how Hungary’s agriculture will be able to adapt to the risks and uncertainty factors caused by climate change, the changing climate and landscape, and its manifold and unpredictable economic and social effects, if the much simpler and more predictable conditions did not succeed in creating a common agricultural policy.The presentation of Katalin Lipták (University of Miskolc) was about the possibilities of a green economic and sustainable solution to the unemployment problems of peripheral and rural areas. Is it possible to try to find solutions to serious environmental and social disasters not separately, but at the same time? Eszter Tóth (University of Debrecen) gave a lecture on the compatibility of sustainability, sustainable development goals, fair trade and Hungarian foreign trade. At the end of the session, Tünde Szabó, CEO of GeoInsight, presented their self-developed mobile application, which helps people’s mobility. A special consideration in the design of the application was to be able to effectively help road users even in the event of unexpected disaster situations (COVID, hurricanes, accidents, etc.).
The Chair of the Competitiveness section was Attila Korompai, head of the Hungarian section of the RSA.The first presentation of the section was given by Zsolt Becsey (Károli Gáspár University of the Reformed Church ), former member of the European Parliament, about Hungary’s foreign trade and competitiveness in comparison with Central European countries. József Kárpáti (JvNU) analyzed the labor market of the European Union comparing the situation before and after the COVID epidemic. Attila Korompai (Corvinus University of Budapest, JvNU) presented and analyzed changes in territorial differences within Hungary between 2000 and 2022. Dániel Kuttor (University of Miskolc) has already researched and presented ways to reduce regional differences. In his presentation, he examined two dimensions of FDI opportunities in Northern Hungary and the possible means and potential results of implementing an R&D policy following the Chinese model. Following him, Viktória Józsa, CEO, Nord Consult, already spoke about the effects of direct and indirect state subsidies on the economy and regional development. Boglárka Koller, the vice chancellor of University of Public Service, also gave a provocative lecture. The question is, is the European Union developing or is it in a permanent crisis? What can a country, as a member of the European Union, do if global geopolitical conditions radically change? The session was closed by Miklós Rosta (Corvinus University of Budapest), a recognized lecturer and researcher in comparative economics.
The Urban Development section was headed by Katalin Döbrönte. In the first lecture of the section, he analyzed the climate adaptation strategy of Hungarian cities. In his presentation, she raised the question and problem of whether we really take it seriously enough, do we know enough about the expected effects of climate change? Is it possible to prepare at the local level to mitigate at least the applicant’s negative environment?The second speaker of the section, Szilárd Rácz (KRTK), analyzed the urban network of Hungary and other Central European countries in addition to changing geopolitical conditions, national borders, national development goals and policies. In his presentation, he analyzed the Central European city network and its 100 largest cities using a number of quantitative and qualitative variables. The third speaker of the section, Ágnes Bernek (NJE), generalized the issue. He raised his tests to a global level, but only presented the gateway functions. Does Hungary and Central Europe have a gate or gates and how do they fit into the hinterland and the regional city network? Sára Farkas (NJE) presented the partners involved in urban development and the technologies that can be used. Kaiser Tamás (NKE) presented the Smart village concept and its application in Hungary, its possibilities and experiences. Júlia Schuchmann (NJE) presented the operation of the public transport system of Budapest and its agglomeration during the period of the COVID epidemic. The presentation is also important because it examined the flexibility and resilience of the transport system in the event of an external shock. The experience of his research could be put to good use during the current energy crisis. István Tózsa (NJE) closed the session and the conference. He spoke about the educational and research programs and plans of the NJE MNB Economic Geography and Settlement Marketing Knowledge Center.