‘Reconstructing Centrality and Peripherality in the North Denmark Region: A Question of Scale and Typology’

Jens Kaae Fisker

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Abstract

Peripherality and centrality, as labels attached to places, have become fluent denominators. Their use is contingent upon the applied scalar perspective and the specific spatial features of place that are taken into consideration. If a multiscalar and multimodal perspective is applied, it has the implication that a locality can be considered simultaneously central and peripheral. In definitional terms, then, absolute delineations of centres and peripheries cannot be meaningfully carried out, unless the issue at stake is of a very specific and bounded nature. Rarely can a locality as a whole be labelled as peripheral, as this would imply peripherality independently of scalar perspective and across all defining aspects. Beyond definitional issues, this situation makes it appropriate to wonder, how a multiscalar and multimodal reading of place can contribute to a more nuanced understanding of centre-periphery relations and their associated societal issues. The paper presents insights derived from the North Denmark Region, where the Frederikshavn municipality has been research subject of a broader case study on the roles of the local state in locality development and change. This broader study includes historical analysis of Frederikshavns positioning through time as a small city in the Danish urban system. A multimodal perspective is applied, inspired by the dual model of urban systems developed by Hohenberg & Lees (1995, 2005), and is combined with a multiscalar perspective that illuminates, how images of peripherality and centrality change across local, regional, national and international scales.
Empirically the paper is based on document analysis (place descriptions, planning and strategy documents, media reports, historical accounts etc.), qualitative interviews (municipal officials and a local historian), as well as quantitative data for more descriptional purposes (i.e. commuting patterns as an indicator of functional peripherality/centrality for the laborforce). The contribution of the paper is to show, how the application of a multiscalar and multimodal perspective can produce contextualised knowledge that go beyond simple centre/periphery labelling. Instead, considerations of the intertwined nature of peripherality and centrality can assist in illuminating the spaces of possibility for local futures.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe “new peripherality”: scaled, contested and relational : Book of abstracts
Number of pages1
Volume1
PublisherPapers in Local and Regional Development
Publication date2013
Edition1
Pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2013
EventThe 'new peripherality': scaled, contested and relational - Aalborg Universitet, Skibbrogade 5, Aalborg, Denmark
Duration: 28 Oct 201330 Oct 2013

Conference

ConferenceThe 'new peripherality': scaled, contested and relational
LocationAalborg Universitet, Skibbrogade 5
CountryDenmark
CityAalborg
Period28/10/201330/10/2013

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