Spatial analysis: new ROBUST tools for better regional policymaking

Fri 12 Apr 2019

ROBUST project partner, PRAC, and the RWI-Leibniz-Institute for Economic Research hosted a one-day training workshop in Essen, Germany, on methods for measuring and evaluating socio-economic development at a small spatial scale.

This participatory workshop was developed to help ROBUST partners better understand the concepts, data, and application of specific statistical procedures developed as part of the ROBUST publications, “Socio-economic analysis of the urban-rural continuum of the Frankfurt / Rhine-Main region: An in-depth exploration at small spatial scale” and “What do night satellite images and small-scale grid data tell us about functional changes in the rural-urban environment and the economy? Case studies Frankfurt-Rhein/Main and Ljubljana Urban Region”.

The goal of the workshop, which was held in February 2019, was to introduce project partners to these innovative quantitative methods so that they could be incorporated into the individual Living Lab Research and Innovation Agendas.

Participatory spatial data analysis is a way of jointly identifying, collecting, interpreting and processing data. Spatial statistical analysis can help better classify the continuum between “urban” and “rural” and segment natural urban and non-urban space (functional space). Spatial econometrics – where spatial analysis and econometrics are combined - can also highlight important social, economic, cultural and environmental relationships. It offers a powerful tool to effectively inform the regional and local policymaking process. However, the complexity of spatial econometrics and related statistical analysis needs to be accounted for to avoid misleading conclusions.

The workshop received very positive feedback, particularly as it relates to future research in ROBUST:

"Interesting workshop explaining potential methods for measuring socio-economic development. It [shed] light on the potential and the data availability in the EU. The combination of night satellite images and Zipf’s law is a convincing tool for segmentation. It could allow all ROBUST partners to easily use this kind of spatial analysis and to compare conclusions."

"Very interesting presentations with lots of new ideas … Thank you!"

Visit the ROBUST Publication Library to view and download the presentations from the workshop.

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News about Rural-Urban Europe and the ROBUST project is published regularly in the INFORMED CITIES newsletter.

ROBUST is a European research project involving 24 partners from 11 countries. ROBUST receives funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 727988.

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