Skip to main navigationSkip to main content
The University of Southampton

GEOG3049 Evolutionary Economic Geography

Module Overview

There has been growing interest in the past few years in how cities and regions respond and adapt to rapid, and often turbulent, economic change, and why some cities and regions appear much more successful than others in coping with and taking advantage of such change. The aim of this module is to examine a new evolutionary economic geography which explores how ideas and concepts from a number of sciences concerned with the evolution of complex systems can be used to explain regional change and adaptability. The course considers how the economic structures and activities of cities and regions economies are shaped by rapidly changing global market conditions and competition, technological change, and shifts in public policy and modes of political–economic governance. How relevant are the ideas of emergence, self-organisation, path creation, adaptive cycles, robustness and resilience to the study of city and regional economies? Using a range of examples from different types of economy, it examines how processes of creative destruction produce the rise of new industries and the decline of others. It compares different types of regional innovation systems and their knowledge networks. It outlines some of the recent dynamics of global production networks, and it reviews the consequences of these processes for different economic regions. It considers some of the ways in which economic processes are set within variegated and differentiated regulatory contexts and how these result in varied experiences.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand the processes underlying regional economic evolution in a global era
  • Evaluate the merits of alternative theories and concepts in economic geography
  • Abstract and utilise information on regional and urban economic change from a range of different sources
  • Structure conceptual and empirical geographical material into a reasoned and justified argument.
  • Understand theoretical perspectives on the growth and decline of urban and regional economies at several scales
  • Demonstrate empirical knowledge of contrasting regions and innovation systems in different types of economy
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the degree and diversity of regional economic adaptation to global and environmental pressures
  • Pursue knowledge in an in-depth, organised and logical way
  • Produce a well-researched, fluent and comprehensive written project
  • Produce informed, reasoned and reflective written evaluations of key topics in a limited period of time.
  • Design and carry out a project in economic geography to a high standard.
  • Understand and analyse critically literature in evolutionary and institutional economic geography


A provisional list of the main topics (NB – this list may be subject to change): • Introduction: Regions and economic globalization • Approaches to evolution in economic geography • Recessions and resilience • Path dependence and manufacturing • Path creation and the emergence of new industries • Life cycles and industrial clusters • Production networks and coupling • Transition and environmental industries • The dynamics of regional innovations systems

Learning and Teaching

Independent Study120
Total study time150



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (2500 words) 50%
Essay  (2000 words) 40%
Seminar presentation 10%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Share this module Share this on Facebook Share this on Twitter Share this on Weibo
Privacy Settings