Centre for Urban and Regional Development Studies (CURDS), Newcastle University; University College London (UCL); Université de Strasbourg; Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD)
01/2021 – 12/2023
German Research Foundation (ORA-Programme)
Dr Tim Leibert
Tel.: +49 341 600 55-188
Understanding demographic and socio-economic change in peripheral regions in France, Germany and the UK
Social and spatial inequalities between and within core and peripheral regions have reemerged as a major economic and political issue in developed economies. Such divisions have led to economic and social discontent and growing levels of political support for populist and nationalist parties in peripheral regions, particularly certain old industrial areas. This turmoil fuelled the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Donald Trump in the US as well as support for the Rassemblement National (National Rally) and Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) in France and the Alternative für Deutschland in Germany. In response, researchers, commentators and politicians have voiced concerns about the places ‘left behind’ by globalisation, technological and economic change. While welcome in increasing the political visibility of social and spatial inequalities, the ‘left behind’ category risks hiding and oversimplifying the different experiences and development paths of people and places.
The aim of the project is to develop a new understanding of demographic and socio-economic change in peripheral regions, examining the circumstances and prospects of places and people currently categorised together as ‘left behind’. It will advance understandings of peripheralisation as an on-going process driven by the geographical concentration of people and prosperity in large urban centres alongside the decline or stagnation of other regions. The research will focus particularly on urban regions and intermediate areas close to cities experiencing demographic and socio-economic stagnation or decline.
Taking an approach that compares the experiences of France, Germany and the UK in their Western European context, the research has four objectives:
Using a range of research methods and a cross-national research design, the research team will address these objectives by: