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2019 RSA Annual Conference Plenary Speakers

Pushing Regions beyond their Borders

Urban and Regional Horizons Plenary Panel – Pushing Regional Studies beyond its Borders?


Mercedes Delgado, MIT, USA

Mercedes Delgado is the Research Director and Research Scientist of the MIT Innovation Initiative Lab for Innovation Science and Policy. Delgado also serves as Senior Associate at the Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness at Harvard Business School. Delgado’s research focuses on the relationship between the regional business environment and the performance of firms, regions, and countries. She examines the role of regional clusters—geographic concentrations of related industries, firms, and supporting institutions —in job creation, innovation, entrepreneurship, inclusivity, and resilience. Delgado has developed new methods for defining and mapping clusters, providing tools to help firms, practitioners, and policymakers create regional strategies. In recent work she explores the interaction between the spatial organization of firms, their location choices through the value chain, and firm performance. Delgado’s work has been published in top economic, policy, and strategy journals. She has received a number of prestigious fellowships and research grants, including a recent National Science Foundation grant on Mapping the Inventor Gender Gap. She served as a lead researcher on the US Cluster Mapping Project: Mapping a Nation of Regional Clusters. More information at

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Isabelle Anguelovski, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

Isabelle Anguelovski obtained a PhD in Urban Studies and Planning from MIT before returning to Europe in 2011 with a Marie Curie International Incoming Fellowship. Situated at the intersection of urban planning and policy, social inequality and development studies, her research examines the extent to which urban plans and policy decisions contribute to more just, resilient, healthy, and sustainable cities, and how community groups in distressed neighborhoods contest the existence, creation, or exacerbation of environmental inequities as a result of urban (re)development processes and policies. She is currently an ICREA Research Professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) within the Institute for Environmental Science and Technology (ICTA) and the coordinator of the research group Healthy Cities and Environmental Justice at the Medical Research Institute-Hospital del Mar (IMIM). Since 2016, she is the PI of a five-year ERC-funded project called GreenLULUs which examines green inequalities in 40 cities in Europe, the US, and Canada.

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Ben Derudder, Ghent University, Belgium

Ben Derudder is Professor of Urban Geography at Ghent University’s (Belgium) Department of Geography, an Associate Director of the Globalization and World Cities (GaWC) research network, and a Senior Visiting Professor at Shanghai Normal University. His main research interests are (1) the conceptualization and analysis of transnational urban networks and (2) the (putative) emergence of polycentric urban regions. In both cases, a main empirical focus of his research is the fast-evolving landscape of Chinese cities and regions. His research has been published in major scientific journals dealing with urban and regional questions. He has co-edited a number of books on voth topics, including the ‘International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities’ (Edward Elgar, 2011, with P.J. Taylor, F. Witlox & M. Hoyler). A second edition of the ‘World City Network: a Global Urban Analysis’ (Routledge, 2016, together with P. Taylor) was published with Routledge in 2016, and later translated and published in Chinese with Phoenix Education Publishing in 2018. He is currently one of the Associate editors of Regional Studies, and co-coordinates a Regional Studies Association Research Network on ‘polycentric urban regions’.

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Spatial Economics Annual Lecture

Rachel Franklin, CURDS, Newcastle University, UK

Rachel Franklin Professor of Geographical Analysis in the Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS) and the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology at Newcastle University. She is also one of four chairs appointed to expand Newcastle’s international, cross-disciplinary reputation in Spatial Analytics and Modeling (SAM@Newcastle).

Franklin’s primary research focus is in spatial demography and the interplay between spatial analytics and demographic change, in particular quantifying patterns, sources and impacts of spatial inequality. Current projects, for example, study the role of spatial scale and context in understanding the manifestation and impacts of depopulation across neighborhoods, cities, and regions in the United States. She also maintains an ongoing interest in pedagogy, especially the teaching of methods. She has taught spatial analysis, GIS, and quantitative methods for well over a decade, with a pedagogic orientation towards policy applications and the social sciences and humanities. With Dimitris Ballas, Graham Clarke and Andy Newing, she is co-author of a recent textbook aimed at teaching GIS for the social sciences.

Franklin is the current editor of the journal, Geographical Analysis, previous book review editor of the Journal of Regional Science, and a member of the editorial boards of Population, Space and PlaceUrban Climate, and Spatial Research and Planning. For eight years (2010–2018), she was the Associate Director of the Spatial Structures in the Social Sciences (S4) initiative at Brown University and also held an academic appointment in Population Studies. Other professional experience includes the U.S. Census Bureau and the American Association of Geographers (AAG).

She received her PhD in Geography from the University of Arizona (2004). Her previous degrees are from Indiana University: BA in French and Political Science and MA in West European Studies.

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Anssi Paasi, University of Oulu, Finland

Anssi Paasi has been Professor of Geography at the University of Oulu, Finland since 1990. His research aims at combining political and regional geographic perspectives. He has focused on theoretical issues related to territory/region-building processes, political borders and spatial identities at various spatial scales. He has also been interested in how these ideas are mobilized in regional planning/development. He has recently co-edited (with Martin Jones) Regional Worlds: Advancing the Geography of Regions (Routledge 2015) and (with John Harrison and Martin Jones) “Handbook on the Geographies of Regions and Territories” (Elgar 2018).

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Territory Politics Governance Annual Lecture – “Taking Back Control? The Myth of Territorial Sovereignty and the Brexit Fiasco.” 

John Agnew, UCLA, USA

John Agnew (Ph.D., Ohio State University, 1976) is Distinguished Professor of Geography with research interests in Political Geography, International Political Economy, European Urbanization, and Italy. Professor Agnew teaches courses in Political and European Geography. He is also a Professor in UCLA’s Department of Italian and was Visiting Professor of Political Geography at Queen’s University, Belfast, 2012-14. Editor-in-Chief, Territory, Politics, Governance.

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