An attempt to provide a procedure for the assessment of the efficiency of various regional systems for the purposes of spatial analysis is presented in this paper. Functional regions as well as approximated functional regions and the existing administrative regions in the Czech Republic are evaluated, as examples of regional systems to be compared and assessed. Functional regions and approximated functional regions are defined according to the adjusted third variant of the CURDS regionalisation algorithm, using the latest knowledge on the operation of the constraint function. The comparisons of individual regional systems are based on LISA maps and particularly on the assessment of regional variability, including the measures of internal homogeneity and external variability in the regional systems.
The definition of functional meso regions for the territory of the Czech Republic is articulated in this article. Functional regions reflect horizontal interactions in space and are presented as a useful tool for various types of geographical analyses, and also for spatial planning, economic policy designs, etc. This paper attempts to add to the discussion on the need to delineate areal units at different hierarchical levels, and to understand the functional flows and spatial behaviours of the population in a given space. Three agglomerative methods are applied in the paper (the CURDS regionalisation algorithm, Intramax, and cluster analysis), and they have not been used previously in Czech geography for the delineation of functional meso regions. Existing functional regions at the micro-level, based on daily travel-to-work flows from the 2001 census, have served as the building blocks. The analyses have produced five regional systems at the meso level, based on daily labour commuting movements of the population. Basic statistics and a characterisation of these systems are provided in this paper.
Accessibility measures are useful for studies in Economic Geography. For example, accessibility to potential customers can be used in a study of firm behaviour. In such a study, it would be relevant to consider where potential customers live. This can be accomplished by splitting the accessibility measure into three parts: accessibility within the municipality, in other municipalities within the functional region, and in other regions. Many studies have proved this to be a very useful way to incorporate the spatial structure of the economy into economic studies. This paper deals with the issue of finding the distance-friction parameters needed to calculate such accessibility measures. There is a particular distance-friction parameter for interaction within the municipality, between municipalities within the functional region, and between regions. One way to find the distance-friction parameters is to solve a constrained gravity model, in which the functional regions are used as constraints. Both the models and the optimisation procedures in matrix form, and the Matlab programs used in the research are presented. The spatial constraints are gradually introduced into the models, which empowers the researcher to make such adjustments on their own. The data set used is available for downloading, and the reader can then try the models before creating a data set of their own.
The use of different objective functions in hierarchical aggregation procedures is examined in this paper. Specifically, we analyse the use of the original Intramax objective function, the sum-of-flows objective function, the sum-of-proportions-to-intra-regional-flows objective function, Smart’s weighted interaction index, the first and second CURDS weighted interaction indices, and Tolbert and Killian’s interaction index. The results of the functional regionalisation have been evaluated by self-containment statistics, and they show that the use of the original Intramax procedure tends to delineate operationally the most persuasive and balanced regions that, regarding the intra-regional flows, homogeneously cover the analysed territory. The other objective functions give statistically better but operationally less suitable results. Functional regions modelled using the original Intramax procedure were compared to the regions at NUTS 2 and NUTS 3 levels, as well as to administrative units in Slovenia. We conclude that there are some promising directions for further research on functional regionalisation using hierarchical aggregation procedures.
The measurement and evaluation of the attractiveness of shopping centres in the Czech and the Slovak Republics is examined in this paper, countries which had experienced seventy years of development within a single state. The methodological basis for measuring the attractiveness of 130 shopping centres is an evaluation of the factors that can be described as objective (exogenous and endogenous) and subjective (in vivo and in vitro approach). An aggregate indicator of the overall attractiveness of each shopping centre was computed as a combination of the sub-variables. Based on previous international studies, the factors (variables influencing attractiveness) that are typical for shopping malls anywhere in the world, as well as for the original specific information for the Czech-Slovak retail environment, enable a generalization of the results at least to the East Central European level, and to carry out a comparison with any other market environment.
The effect of geographical distance on the extent of socioeconomic impacts of the Dukovany nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic is assessed by combining two different research approaches. First, we survey how people living in municipalities in the vicinity of the power plant perceive impacts on their personal quality of life. Second, we explore the effects of the power plant on regional development by analysing long-term statistical data about the unemployment rate, the share of workers in the energy sector and overall job opportunities in the respective municipalities. The results indicate that the power plant has had significant positive impacts on surrounding communities both as perceived by residents and as evidenced by the statistical data. The level of impacts is, however, significantly influenced by the spatial and social distances of communities and individuals from the power plant. The perception of positive impacts correlates with geographical proximity to the power plant, while the hypothetical distance where positive effects on the quality of life are no longer perceived was estimated at about 15 km. Positive effects are also more likely to be reported by highly educated, young and middle-aged and economically active persons, whose work is connected to the power plant.
Contemporary EU territorial cohesion policy presents some striking reminders of features of socialist central planning. The objective of socio-spatial solidarity aimed at balanced spatial development is a core principle of both spatial planning doctrines. Reviewing key planning documents, this article compares territorial cohesion discourses in terms of their normative and analytical natures in order to critically evaluate the uniqueness and novelty of the current modern concept. In spite of ideological contradictions, a commonly-shared realisation of the importance of urban agglomerations as specific integrated spatial units and the need to improve living conditions in disadvantaged areas, are crucial characteristics for both spatial planning policies. Moreover, analytical spatial planning procedures are based on similar methods and lead to nearly identical results concerning the spatial pattern for one specific case settlement system (the South Moravian Region, Czech Republic). In this respect, the currently-emphasised territorial cohesion discourse is familiar to that in former socialist areas in Central and Eastern Europe. Based on these findings, spatial planning authorities should learn from the past in reflecting on the limitations and advantages of spatial planning in the socialist era.
The problem of using the concept of post-industrialism to define regions with traditional industries is addressed in this article. It focuses on the diversity of industrial development in the Katowice conurbation (Poland) and the difficulties of situating the region in the widely-used taxonomy by Phelps and Ozawa, which assumes a one-way transition from the late-industrial to post-industrial stage. The authors point to the fact that only some of the towns can be described as post-industrial, since there are also towns in which traditional industries continue to develop relatively well and others at an advanced stage of re-industrialisation. The proposal is made that the Katowice conurbation can be described as a “trans-industrial region” in order to account for the various stages of development in the industrial sector in the towns of the conurbation, and to underline the dynamic nature and temporal variability of the industrialisation factor in the region.
Child overweight and obesity represent a serious health problem worldwide. The Czech Republic now ranks the fourth most obese country in Europe and obesity and overweight is becoming more and more frequent in children and teenagers. This pilot study estimates the prevalence of obesity and overweight among Czech teenagers aged 14–15 years in terms of neighbourhood characteristics, and assesses the effects of neighbourhood environmental quality versus family or personal-level factors on teenage obesity and overweight. The results show that unsafe environments result in the risk of lesser physical activity of their inhabitants, but since the vast majority (92%) of the students felt safe in their neighbourhoods, mediation through safety of the neighbourhood is not at stake. Second, the housing estates demonstrate the most severe problems with both obesity and overweight and their built environments, but when perceptions of sporting facilities and similar opportunities for physical activity are factored in, they do not have low scores; therefore, mediation by physical activity is not a relevant response to the obesity problem. These findings imply that the most important obesogenic and obesoprotective factors are likely to be found within the family environment and personal life styles.
Climate change and environmental policies are widely discussed, but much less is known about emissions embodied in goods traded internationally, and the distinction between emission producers and consumers. The carbon dioxide emissions embodied in international trade in Central European countries are subject to examination in this paper. As a result of industrial restructuring and environmental legislation, air pollution has improved significantly in Central European countries since the 1989 transition. On the other hand, economic growth has been accompanied by a rise in consumerism. Despite the increasing role of exports, the Visegrad group countries have become net importers of carbon dioxide emissions between 1995 and 2008. This seems to be the ‘standard trajectory’ of a country’s transition toward a more developed and consumption-oriented economy. The global patterns of carbon dioxide emissions embodied in manufacturing exports are also mapped, using network analysis and constructing ‘product space’. The analysis confirms that industrial re-structuring played an important role in lowering the production of carbon dioxide emissions in the Visegrad countries.