Regional Development and Planning: An Overview

  • Ashok K. Dutt
  • Debnath Mookherjee
  • Rajiv R. ThakurEmail author
  • Brian Sommers
  • Jack Benhart


This chapter reviews the changing nature of regional development and planning, with an emphasis on research between 1990 and 2018. Regional development and planning has emerged as a major interdisciplinary field with active researchers—regional scientists, planners, geographers, and economists at its frontier. The transition from pre-1990s to the early years of the present century has been characterized by a shift in approach from Keynesianism to neoliberalism. This shift also accompanies with a broadening of the traditional focus on the economic to encompass the social and the ecological. Nevertheless, regional development and planning has found its significance renewed as the global scenario comes to be influenced by rising inequality resulting in local economic insecurity compounded by new global threats through unregulated markets and climate change, not to forget the continuing impact of the financial crisis of 2007–08. Influenced by themes such as underdevelopment, uneven development, and globalization, regional development and planning is in the middle of changing and challenging context. The driver of regional development and planning now includes environmental sustainability, technological innovations, and the consequences of spatial restructuring. Regional development and planning is not only alive at multiple scales but remains popular in recent times for as long as economic growth will be unbalanced.


Planning Regional development Regional policy Regional science Regionalism SDGs Spatial inequality Sustainable development 



This chapter represents significant re-writing of an earlier version by Dutt, Mookherjee, Sommers, and Benhart in 1999. The authors reviewed an enormous amount of published literature from geography and related spatial sciences. Substantial editing occurred, and new material has been added to reflect recent developments in the last few decades. Even though every care was taken to do justice in including relevant new publications, we apologize if we missed what may be considered more relevant by readers.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashok K. Dutt
    • 1
  • Debnath Mookherjee
    • 2
  • Rajiv R. Thakur
    • 3
    Email author
  • Brian Sommers
    • 4
  • Jack Benhart
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Geography and PlanningThe University of AkronAkronUSA
  2. 2.Department of Geography and Regional PlanningWestern Washington UniversityBellinghamUSA
  3. 3.Department of GeosciencesMissouri State UniversityWest PlainsUSA
  4. 4.Department of GeographyCentral Connecticut State UniversityNew BritainUSA
  5. 5.Department of Geography-Earth SciencesShippensburg UniversityShippensburgUSA

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