About the Central Topic

"Spatial challenges for the New World"

The major health crisis caused by Covid 19 and its rapid spread have placed the World in an unprecedented situation, between total lock-down, barrier gestures and social distancing modalities. The Governments and Public Authorities have multiplied emergency measures and decisions, guided by health safety considerations or more simply forced by the lack of anticipation and of necessary materials.

The Coronavirus pandemic has produced multiple social and spatial fractures, separating people, building distance between individuals, stopping all forms of air transport, slowing down trade and car traffic, closing borders, setting up mistrust in the most populated areas of the big cities, isolating the poorest in their ghettos, causing a rural exodus to the countryside or a return of workers to their homeland.

Nowadays, the health disease is compounded by an economic crisis of unprecedented magnitude. At the same time a shock of supply and demand it is affecting all the world’s economies and causing a major recession. The stakes are huge. The expected impacts and the solutions to be built have obvious spatial implications. We must rethink our future, around questions that involve all regions and territories, and lead to reconsider the spatial dimensions of economic and social relations.

What are the manifestations and the spatial, social and economic impacts of the pandemic, the different rates of spread of the virus according to the areas, the territorial implications, the importance of social distances, the question of borders, the local health strategies, and the role of public services? How do social inequalities and exposure to health risks and well-being problems manifest in densely populated areas? What is the ever increasing role played by the digitization and rise of ICTs in terms of teleworking and remote exchanges?

What is the impact of the crisis on global value chains? What will be the importance of the strategies of de-globalisation or re-territorialisation of productions? How and what productions to relocate? What are the consequences of the crisis on the economy, politics, democracy, environment, social, culture, mobility, social interaction or public space? What impacts on local, national and European territories and their governance? Should we expect a new shock in terms of the geography of discontent or even more important protestations and troubles?

When the social and climate emergencies become stronger every day, the spatial dimensions of the current transitions as well as their impacts on the territories must be scrutinized and analyzed, based on the various disciplines of regional science. We invite you to reflect with us on the spatial, social and economic consequences of the pandemic, but most of all to think about the construction of the New Worlds to come and the future solutions for Regions and territories.