Iran's Regional Competitiveness Spatial Development Framework Case Study: 30 Provinces of Iran

Document Type : Research Paper



After globalization and advances in information and communications, two conflicting schools of thought in connection with the role of the place and geography emerged: the first school of thought, led to the doctrine of geography and location death parallel to the cyber advances, with a view to the reducing importance of place and physical proximity due to the emergence of virtual interactions. But despite predictions, after 1980s, from the perspective of many such as Porter and new regionalists, globalization and technological changes caused more information and communication mechanism to promote the “place” position in organizing economic cycles. In their beliefs, doctrine of “death of geography” shortcomings would lead to the formation of another school of thought, under the title “the re - emergence of geography and the region”; based on the rationale that “face-to-face” interactions, in relation to virtual ones are more important and required in making trust necessary in economic relations. Moreover, human capital freedom from the place bonds after 1990 s, especially after the integrity of the national economies in the form of trade blocs, such as the European Union, raised the importance of location - based factors in economic growth more than before. Putting the concept of competitive advantage, with emphasis on decisive features of an activity unit, in completion of relative advantage paradigm’s shortcomings in the development literature, also attracted the attention of many economists and pundits in the area of business, to the issues related to the place. Accordingly, “regional competitiveness”, the concept which was only meaningful at the level of activity units for years as well as the countries, since mid-1990s entered in regional studies and spatial development planning dialogues. Unilateral and generalizing common approaches deficiencies in the extension of the answer to the questions in relation to the “nature of regional competitiveness” and either “the reason and drivers of this goal”, has led the research agenda ahead to developing “Iran’s integrated spatial development framework for regional competitiveness”. Hence aimed at containing full dimensions and various components affecting regional competitiveness, after identifying competitiveness drivers from different perspective by archival studies, finally with inductive method using structural equation modeling, the theoretical integrated competitiveness model would be befitted to the provincial areas of Iran. Fitted model indicates that the cognitive - cultural activities through a desire to be clustered are most effective drivers in achieving regional competitiveness in Iran. In regional competitiveness definition proposed in the following research, different from the definition raised from comprehensive study of Porter which is only focused on firms’ level and their businesses productivity, component of individuals (residents, entrepreneurs and tourists) alongside space components and firms ones would be consider. Based on the research findings sustainable competitiveness is the one aimed not only to increasing productivity but also the distribution of wealth and income; also contain the quality issues ( quality of life, quality of goods and services, quality of manpower, etc. ) and include sustainability and integrity in discussion. Consequently would be different with purely economic growth and performance concepts.


Asheim, B, Cooke, P, & Martin, R (2006), The rise of the cluster concept in regional analysis and policy A critical assessment, In B. Asheim, P. Cooke, & R. Martin, Clusters and Regional Development, Critical reflections and explorations (pp. 1-30), Routledge, Oxon.
Audretsch, D, & Feldman, M (2003), Knowledge Spillovers and the Geography of Innovation. In ?, Handbook of Urban and Regional Economics (p. ?). ?: ?.
Boschma, R (2004), Competitiveness of Regions from an Evolutionary Perspective, Regional Studies, 38(9), 1001-1014.
Bristow, G(2005), Everyone’s a ‘winner’: problematising the discourse of regional competitiveness, Journal of Economic Geography, 285-304.
Budd, L & Hirmis, A (2004), Conceptual Framework for Regional Competitiveness. Regional Studies, 38(9), 1015-1028.
Camagni, R (2002), On the Concept of Territorial Competitiveness: Sound or Misleading? Urban Studies, 39(13), 2395–2411.
Camagni, R & Capello, R(2013), Regional Competitiveness and Territorial Capital: A Conceptual Approach and Empirical Evidence from the European Union, Regional Studies, 47(9), 1383-1402.
EC (1999), Sixth Periodic Report on the Social and Economic Situation and Development of Regions in the European Union, European Commission, Luxembourg.
EC (2008), European Competitiveness Report, European Commission, Brussels.
Feldman, M & Francis, J (2006), Entrepreneurs as agents in the formation of industrial clusters, In B. Asheim, P. Cooke, & R. Martin, Clusters and Regional Development: Critical reflections and explorations (pp. 115-137, Routledge), Oxon.
Florida, R (1995), Toward the learning region, Futures, 27(5), 527-536.
Florida, R (2003), Cities and the creative class, City and Community, 2(1), ?.
Florida, R (2005), Cities and the creative class, Routledge, Oxon.
Glaeser, E Kolko, J & Saiz, A (2000), Consumer City, Working paper 7790, National Bureau of Economic Research, Massachusetts.
Hall, P (2000), Creative Cities and Economic Development, Urban Studies, 37(4), 639–649.
Kitson, M Martin, R & Tyler, P (2004), Regional Competitiveness: An Elusive yet Key Concept?, Regional Studies, 38(9), 991-999.
Kresl, P & Singh, B(2012), Urban Competitiveness and US Metropolitan Centers, Urban Studies(49(2)), 239-254.
Krugman, P (1994), Competitiveness: A Dangerous Obsession, Foreign Affairs, 73(2), 28-44.
Krugman, P. R(1996), Making sense of the competitiveness debate, Oxford Review Of Economic Policy, 12(3), 17-25.
Krugman, P(2003), Growth on the periphery: Second wind for industrial regions?, Fraser Allander Institute, Glasgow, UK.
Krugman, P (2005), Second winds for industrial regions? In D. Coyle, W. Alexander, & B. Ashcroft, New Wealth for Old Nations: Scotland’s Economic Prospects (pp. 35-47), Princeton University Press, Princeton.
Lengyel, I (2006), An Attempt for the Measurement of Regional Competitiveness in Hungary. Enlargement, Southern Europe and the Mediterranean (p. ?). Volos: European Regional Science Association.
Lengyel, I (2009), Bottom-up Regional Economic Development: Competition, Competitiveness and Clusters, In Z. Bajmócy, I. Lengyel, & (eds), Regional Competitiveness, Innovation and Environment (pp. 13-38, JATEPress), Szeged.
Lever, W. F (1999), Competitive Cities in Europe, Urban Studies, 36, 1029 - 1044.
Lucas, R (1988), On the Mechanics of Economic Development, Journal of Monetary Economics, 22, 1—42.
Malecki, E (2002), Hard and Soft Networks for Urban Competitiveness, Urban Studies, 39(5-6), 929-945.
Malecki, E. J (2004), Jockeying for Position: What It Means and Why It Matters to Regional Development Policy When Places Compete, Regional Studies, 38(9), 1101-1120.
Morgan, K (2001), The Exaggerated Death of Geography: Localized Learning, Innovation and Uneven Development, The Future of Innovation Studies Conference, Eindhoven University of Technology: Eindhoven Centre for Innovation Studies.
Porter, M. E (1990), The competitive advantage of nations, Harvard Business Review, 74-91.
Porter, M (1998), Cluster and the new economics of competition, Harvard Business Review.
Porter, M (1998), On Competition, Harvard Business School Press, Boston.
Porter, M. E (2000), Chapter 13, Locations, Clusters, and Company Strategy, In G. L. Clark, M. P. Feldman, & M. S. Gertler, location and Innovation: The New Economic Geography of Innovation, Spillovers, and Agglomeration (pp. 275-253), Oxford University Press, New York.
Porter, M (2004), Building the Microeconomic Foundations of Prosperity: Findings from the Business Competitiveness Index, In WEF, Global Competitiveness Report 2003-04. ? World Economic Forum.
Porter, M. E (2008), The Competitive Advantages of the Inner City, In M. E. Porter, On Competition: Updated and Expanded Edition (pp. 373-405), Harvard Business Review, USA.
Porter, M. E (2008), The five competitive forces, In M. E. Porter, On competition, updated and expanded edition (Vol. 11, pp. 37-73), United State of America: Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation, Boston.
Romer, P (1990), Endogenous Technological Change, Journal of Political Economy, 98(5), S71—S102.
Scott, J. A (2007),  Development on the Ground: Clusters, Networks, and Regions in Emerging Economies, Routledge, London.
Simmie, J (2006), Do clusters or innovation systems drive competitiveness? In B. Asheim, P. Cooke, & R. Martin, Clusters and Regional Development:Critical reflections and explorations (pp. 164-189), Routledge, Oxon.
Storper, M (1997), The Regional World: Territorial Development in a Global Economy, Guilford Press, New York.
Turok, I (2004), Cities, Regions and Competitiveness, Regional Studies, 38(9), 1069-1083.
Ullman, E (1958), Regional Development and the Geography of Concentration, The Regional Science Association (pp. 179—98). ؟: the Regional Science Association.
Wyly E (2013), Emerging Cities of the Third Wave’ Revisited: Part One The city of cognitive–cultural capitalism, City: analysis of urban trends, culture, theory, policy, action, 17(3).