Global segmentation and the liveability response : an Australian regional challenge
Globalisation research draws attention to spatial identities. Globalizing processes are nevertheless influential in the formation of regional identity. Global changes in the way economic activities are organised and well documented. Understanding and predicting these changes and the interplay with regional identity is not easy. As such improved regional competitiveness and with it increased liveability is a much sought after property of most economies. There does however remain little agreement either on what regional competitiveness or liveability means or on how regions can generate interventions to enhance it. The range of factors influencing the liveability of regions is potentially very wide, with many areas collectively capable of providing for the 'right business environment'. This paper discusses the concern over the liveability of regions and its relationship with fundamental shifts in 21st century capitalist economies. The drivers behind what is essentially a complex re-focusing onto regions manifest in two main areas; a redefining of the importance and role of regions in the global economy and with this redefinition a focus on the competitiveness between not only regions but also within localities in regions. The paper draws on a recent study of the performance of liveability within the ‘Mackay-Whitsunday-Isaac’ region in Australia. It discusses the challenges presented by localised responses to the global segmentation of regions and the capacity of such responses to alleviate developmental pressures within communities and to ensure the liveability of regions.