Regional Science is an interdisciplinary field that promotes academic scholarship in thetheoretical, methodological and empirical analysis of cities and regions. The sub-discipline is characterized by the use of systematic and analytic methods for studying spatial processes. Topics that fall under the scope of interest of regional science include, industrial location modeling, transportation and land use modeling, environmental analysis, migration behavior, regional economic development, urban and regional policy analysis. Regional science techniques are extensively applied in the planning process and make an important contribution to the understanding of physical, economic and social changes in cities and regions.
The Israeli Regional Science Association provides a forum for academic and professional interchange between economists, transportation specialists, economic geographers, urban and regional planners and others with an interest in the development of urban and rural areas and national regions. It aims to further the knowledge and practice of regional science in Israel through these exchanges.
The Israeli Regional Science Association is an affiliate of both the European Association and the world body of Regional Science, the Regional Science Association International, located in Leeds, UK. The Israeli section conducts a series of bi-national regional science workshops with both the British/Irish and the Netherlands sections of the Regional Science Association International. These are held roughly every two years in Israel and at alternate UK and Dutch locations. In the interim years, local conferences are held. The most recent local conference was held at Tel Aviv University in January 10th 2010.
Bi-National Regional Science Workshops constitute a core activity of the Israeli Regional Science Association. They bring together the Israeli section with national sections from other countries. The workshop provides a forum for the exchange and presentation of cutting-edge research in regional science and for consolidating bi-national research links. This series has been conducted for over two decades involving different European sections. In recent years reciprocal workshops have been conducted with British/Irish section and the Netherlands section. The most recent workshops were held with the Netherlands section in Jerusalem November 2008 and with the British and Irish section in April 2007 in Ramat Gan. We plan to have a tripartite workshop with the UK/Irish and the Netherlands sections in May 2011 in the UK under the title: ‘Promoting Development: Equality, Environment and Space’.
These meetings are an ideal opportunity to forge links and many productive collaborations have resulted in terms of joint research, publications, return visits and research proposals to external funding agencies. Most meetings generally result in a jointly-edited volume or special issue in a journal. For example, the workshop with the British / Irish section held in Jerusalem in 2000 resulted in a bi-national book published by Edward Elgar (2001) entitled ‘Public Investment and Regional Economic Development’ and built solely around the papers presented by the UK and Israeli researchers. The binational workshop in Edinburgh in 2003 resulted in a special Issue of Annals of Regional Science on the topic of ‘Linking Demand and Supply in Local Labor Market Research’. Similar publications have resulted from the bi-national workshops with the Netherlands section. The Utrecht workshop (1999) has resulted in a volume (2005) on ‘Regions, Land Consumption and Sustainable Growth; Assessing the Impact of the Public and Private Sectors (Edward Elgar)’ . The joint Israel-Netherlands meeting held in Tel Aviv in 1997 produced a publication entitled ‘Regional Development in an Age of Structural Economic Change’ (Ashgate).