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Volume XII, Number 2, 2016


Regional Development and Territorial Disparities: the Case of the Border Region Between Italy and Slovenia
MILAN BUFON
Pages 3-12

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ABSTRACT – The article is discussing both challenges and problems that emerge from the transformation of the regional structure in the border region between Italy and Slovenia in the period 1991-2015. In this period, Slovenia became first an independent state and a member of the EU and the Schengen space. All these political geographical changes have deeply influenced regional development trends on both sides of the studied border region, providing new opportunities for cross-border cooperation and integration, but have also created new forms of territorial disparities and challenges to common spatial and social planning. The paper will provide an analysis of the statistical data and the related socio-economic transformation processes, discussing thus the various territorial variations and trends within the studied area. It will also present some comparative results of the recent author’s field research related to the people’s attitude towards border perception and cross-border functional co-dependence. As the studied case is showing, cross-border regionalism is not only a system of government, but also a system of ‘grass-rooted’ social and spatial (re)integration of borderlands. This process is closely related to the question of chancing territoriality, preserving on the one hand the regional control and on the other hand re-acting societal and territorial co-dependence and integration.

Keywords: Italian-Slovenian border region, regional development, territorial disparities, cross-border cohesion


Analysis and Assessment of Urban Hierarchy Based on Population. Case Study: the Iranian Cities
OMID MOBARAKI
Pages 13-22

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ABSTRACT – Urban system is the special manifestation of political economy and the land management method of a country. The manner of distribution and the level of balance of the cities’ population get clearer by examining the urban system. The urban system of Iran tended to change from the traditional pattern before 1921 because of the centralization of facilities and services in big cities. This pattern distracted the logical relationships among small, medium and big cities and led to disorder in the urban system. The research purpose is to assess the Iranian urban hierarchy based on population during the period of 1956-2012. To measure the urban hierarchy, the Entropy coefficient, the rank-size rule, the primate city- Lorenz curve and Gini coefficient were employed. The statistical data cover all cities of Iran in six census periods. The findings of the current study show that the urban system is becoming more balanced with regard to the indices of concentration coefficient, rank-size, primate city, and entropy index; but with regard to Gini Coefficient and population distribution in urban classes, there has been an imbalance compared to the situation in 1956. In fact, according to the Lorenz curve, the Iranian cities have been near the normal line in 1956 but got away from this line in 2012. This is because of the increase in number of small cities with little population and the increase in population of big cities. To reach a balance in urban system of Iran, strategies to decentralize metropolises and boost small and medium-sized cities are suggested.

Keywords: urban system, urban hierarchy, urbanization, rank-size rule, Lorenz curve


Transformation of Landscape in the Cerna Basin
GEORGE CRISTIAN SOFIA, IOAN AUREL IRIMUȘ
Pages 23-30

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ABSTRACT – The landscape is a sensitive component of the environment, an indicator of its state. At the same time, it is an important component of the natural and cultural heritage, so that the protection and preservation of the landscape are essential elements of planning development at local and regional level. The Cerna basin landscape has experienced an intense anthropogenic pressure, causing change and even degradation. This study aims to identify the factors modifying the landscape, to assess its quality, as well as to identify the actions required for adequate protection, managing and planning of the landscape.

Keywords: landscape, human pressure, industrial activities, land use, sustainable development


Addressing Multiple Target Audiences through the Place Brand Slogan
RADU COCEAN
Pages 31-38

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ABSTRACT – The paper provides an affirmative answer to a question frequently asked in place branding circles – whether or not a single place brand slogan can target multiple audiences at once. After reviewing the literature on the topic and some best practices at international level, the paper focuses on a case study – that of the Maramureș County’s slogan. The analysis explains the slogan, points out why it is relevant to all targeted markets and underlines how it can be used both to derive further messages, more adapted to the selected audiences, and to identify project ideas, that would make the place brand more operational. The paper integrates the results of a consultancy project into the mainstream academic research and offers an example of how theoretical dilemmas can be successfully answered on the ground.

Keywords: place brand, slogan, multiple target audiences, Maramureș County


The Impact of Sunday Closure on Consumer Behavior
ANDRÁS KOVÁCS, TAMÁS T. SIKOS
Pages 39-50

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ABSTRACT – Our study deals with the characteristics of government regulation limiting the opening hours of retail units. We have outlined the most important international literature on the topic, while focusing on the peculiarities of limiting opening hours, mainly on its effects that influence the economic sector, competition and buying habits. In the empirical part of our research, we carried out a questionnaire survey to find out how the new law – which entered into force on March 15, 2015 and restricts the trading hours on Sundays and at nights – affects customer behavior. In our research, we compared the situation before and after the act came into force. Special emphasis was placed on the time and place of purchases (type of retail unit) and on spending. We found out that customer behavior of the Hungarian shoppers had remarkably changed after the law came into force: although the time available for shopping had been considerably shortened, the amount spent on purchases had not changed. However, the types of retail outlets where this money is spent had. Besides the supermarkets and discount stores, the role of small corner shops significantly increased (the law allows them to trade freely). The society’s attitude to the new system is rather negative – as our research points out. The majority of the population rejects the new, restricted trading hours and would like to re-establish the more liberal opening hours, which were in effect before March 15, 2015.

Keywords: Sunday closing, shopping malls, corner shop


Status of Iran’s Infrastructure Index in Rural Areas
HASSAN ASADIHKOOB, EBRAHIMI MOHAMMAD SADEGH
Pages 51-56

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ABSTRACT – Today it has been proven that creating job opportunity to support the increase in income level is an important factor for rural development. This study investigates the socioeconomic dimensions of rural infrastructure and rural development in Iran. The study was conducted based on a descriptive surveying method that uses field and documentary data. The target population was N=2800 and by the sampling population is estimated n=250 rural resident in Behbahan Township, located in Khozestan Province, Southwest Iran. The reliability of the questionnaire was calculated using a Cronbach’s alpha coefficient (alpha >0.7) for different sections after conducting a pilot study. The result of research showed that although the rural areas of Iran have been provided with infrastructure such as schools, health centres, market places, etc., today it has been proven that creating job opportunities is an important factor for rural development.

Keywords: rural residents, rural development, infrastructure index, Iran