by Michaela Trippl, Sebastian Fastenrath and Arne Isaksen
The unpredictable impacts of slow-burn processes such as climate change and sudden shocks such as the current COVID-19 crisis have led to a renewed interest into regional economic resilience. Much of the literature focuses attention on how regional economies and industries could bounce back, that is, how they could return to their pre-shock conditions. Other scholars have proposed to construe resilience as bouncing forward to capture the mechanisms and processes that underpin positive adaptation and structural change in response to a crisis. In this article, we argue that both conceptualisations fail to consider shocks and crises as a window of opportunity for regional economies to transform to a radically different and more desirable trajectory. This paper brings a new perspective into play, that is, transformative resilience which places shifts towards more sustainable pathways centre stage. This understanding of regional economic resilience acknowledges that a crisis may bring about permanent structural change and it considers to what extent these transformations are to the benefit of society and the environment. This article seeks to identify in a conceptual way what factors and dynamics are vital for enhancing the transformative resilience of regions. To this end, we link recent insights from the debate on regional economic resilience to challenge-oriented regional innovation systems and elaborate on the role of pre-shock conditions and various core processes in building up regional transformative resilience.
Cite as: Trippl M., Fastenrath S. and Isaksen A. (2022) Rethinking regional economic resilience: Preconditions and processes shaping transformative resilience. GEIST – Geography of Innovation and Sustainability Transitions, 2022(02), GEIST Working Paper series.