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1.    Objective of the research program, basic theoretical questions 


The research program titled “The role of territorial capital and innovative milieux in shaping paths of development of Central and Eastern European regional centers” seeks to provide a novel interpretative framework for exploring the content and manifestations of territorial capital. Our research project based on reviewing and following the dynamics of change of capital types feasible to study through quantitative research methods on the one hand, and complemented with an in-depth exploration of the non-quantifiable elements of territorial capital on the other, carried out in three Hungarian regional centers.
According to our basic hypothesis, territorial capital is the unique combination of socio-economic and cultural-intellectual capital generated in cities over time and varies from one spatial entity to another. The stock of territorial capital, and the points of emphasis of factors influencing it are in permanent evolution in a similar way to urban development processes, and the interactions between the various components are constantly being reshaped. In the background of these shifts we can primarily detect the diverse economic, social, administrative-management, regional functions of cities and their realignment. In order to justify the validity of this basic hypothesis, it is necessary to review and systematize the existing professional literature and the previous results of the regional scientific interpretations of the concept of capital, which will be followed by an evaluation of empirical measurement procedures related to territorial capital, and following their synthesis and criticism, the research will also undertake the elaboration of novel analytical methods.
Territorial capital is a “young” and novel concept in regional scientific literature. The emergence of the concept is linked to the publication of the Territorial Outlook by OECD in 2001, which describes territorial capital as a special combination of endogenous resources deemed as unique in the various spatial units and regions. Its basic components are environmental and physical factors, immaterial factors and the system of socio-economic interactions. This definition of territorial capital reflects primarily a development policy approach, the differentiated development of internal assets targets the amelioration of efficiency and productivity (OECD, 2001). The seminal model which exerted a fundamental influence on regional scientific thinking was developed by Roberto Camagni in 2008. In the background of the concept one can discern the sociological theories on the diverse capital types (Bourdieu 1999; Coleman 1988; Putnam 2000) which place special emphasis on social capital.
According to the model of Camagni, the two key differentiating factors are the degree of rivalry for the possession of goods and resources and the materiality of these goods. In the former case, the scale ranges from public goods characterized by a low degree of rivalry to private goods whose main attribute is scarcity, while in the case of materiality, tangible, mixed and intangible goods can be distinguished. Human, relational and social capital feature among the intangible assets, in the case of the latter two, it is not competition but rather cooperation which is dominant (Camagni 2008). The novelty of the model resides in its significant emphasis on non-material resources as driving forces of regional development. Obviously we do not suggest that this was the first tentative in its genre to establish a connection between territorial development and the overall level of development, nevertheless, the complexity of the model, and the fact that it places the assets in a totally new context deserves special recognition. It must also be noted that the model, in addition to transcending development policy oriented theoretical approaches, is a proper framework for serving as the foundation and a proper taxonomic environment of empirical analyses, and, to a certain extent, it also provides the basis of the current analysis.
Regarding international empirical research related to territorial capital leaning considerably on Camagni’s model, regional level is dominant, the most widely prevalent techniques and models of analysis (MASST, MAN-3) also deals with regions. International scientific literature puts similar emphasis on focusing on certain elements of territorial capital and complex approaches. Relating to our analysis, important to highlight some projects of ESPON dealing with territorial capital, because an accurate picture can be drawn on the applicability of various methods and indicators through quantitative analyses based dominantly on ‘hard’ data. Furthermore, certain projects (FOCI, SGPTD, TOWN) present such paths of analysis, which use cities, towns or functional urban areas as the primary units of analysis (ESPON 2010, 2012, 2014).
During the recent years, the concept of territorial capital has also emerged in domestic regional scientific literature, however, the majority of the studies focus on conceptual and interpretative issues, the presentation of models emerging in international professional literature, and the analysis of components (Bodor-Grünhut 2014, Jóna 2013, Lengyel 2012, Rechnitzer-Smahó 2011, Rechnitzer 2016a; Tóth 2010), while the scope of empirical studies based on the concept is narrower (Jóna-Hajnal 2014; Kovács-Bodnár 2016; Oláh-Szabó-Tóth 2017; Tóth 2013).


2.     The investigation of the urban network and the cities – previous domestic research


Domestic regional science addresses the issue of cities as prominent spatial entities and their networks on various levels and in several dimensions. Our brief review of professional literature will focus on principal trends of urban research, more specifically, on analyses related to network building which serve as orienting frameworks in this area or on studies exploring the structure of cities, their entire group, various sub-groups or individual members. The first group is comprised of studies on the genesis and development of cities, urban networks, and the various elements and manifestations of the process of urbanization. The most recent classic is the monograph of György Enyedi (2012) which provides an exciting presentation of the worldwide phenomenon of urbanization in various macro-regions, presenting utterly diverging development paths. One main focus of his research is the issue of urban networks, their genesis and development specifics, yet it lacks an in-depth analysis of the specifics of the Hungarian network. The historical segments and evolution of this latter is analyzed by Pál Beluszky (1999) in his classic work, in which he also pays special attention to the network of cities with regional functions and the historical, economic factors forming the background of its transformation. It must be highlighted that there is a relative scarcity of studies comparing Hungarian cities with their European and Central European homologues and determining their position and status in these networks (Horváth 1998, Enyedi 2010, Tagai 2010). Works focusing on the evolution of the spatial structure of Central Eastern Europe and the determining role of big cities are also have some relevance to our topic (Egri-Tánczos 2015; Farkas-Szabó 2014; Rechnitzer 2016b). While the development trends of the urban network in Central Eastern Europe are mainly neglected in Hungarian literature, publications on the subject of the management and organization of urban society and the urban system are abundant. Outstanding are those analyses which review the transformation of urban societies, highlighting the major factors behind the processes (Szirmai 2009, 2013). Significant results were achieved in the area of urban governance (Kovács Pálné 2010), cooperations between the city and the countryside or between urban centers and their agglomerations, and the institutional frameworks of the organization of space (Somlyódyné Pfeil 2012). An exciting debate was conducted on the “making” of cities and the determining factors in the development of urban systems (Tóth 2008, Csapó - Kocsis 2008, Kulcsár 2008, Dövényi 2009, Pirisi - Trócsányi 2009, Pirisi 2009). From the aspect of our research, the lessons to be learned from this block are that we must strive to present the most accurate description of the structure and transformation of urban societies possible, and it is also important to note that the analysis of institutional frameworks in itself does not enable the comparison of networks and groups contained therein each of which are characterized and recognized by their unique and distinctive features.
Studies investigating urban functions (resources, institutions, structures) and their spatial impacts, providing a thorough methodological knowledge (Bajmócy - Kiss 1999, Szigeti 2002, Nagy 2011, Tóth 2011) were used in the delimitation of regional functions and the designation or strengthening of those functions which serve as the mediators of the spatial impacts of cities.
Our last block contains the literature and analyses related to urban networks. Several topics can be discerned within the realm of network analyses. The first constitutes the block of development strategies, where the fundamental challenge is to select the appropriate structure to be developed within the network, to trace the roles and functions that the various nodes (regional centers) may assume and to define the system of relations that they maintain with other macro-centers of Europe and the rest of the Hungarian towns and cities (Faragó 2006, Faragó 2008, Faragó 2009, Barta 2009). This section is accompanied by the definition of regional centers, an analysis of their position and role, the description of spatial growth poles, the characterization of their functioning and the designation of the related developments (Rechnitzer 2007, Horváth 2007, Lengyel 2007; Faragó-Lux 2014). The next major focus area is the exploration of the structural specifics of the urban network where two main trends can be discerned; the first is a general structural analysis encompassing the evaluation of development trends as a support to planning (Salamin – Radvánszki - Nagy 2008), the second is the investigation of the status and various functions of cities and regional centers as principal agents of structural transformation and the definition of the orientations of network organization on their basis (Csomós 2013, 2017; Tóth - Nagy 2013).
Last but not least, a relevant issue from the aspect of our research is the emergence of innovations and modernizations in the evolution of the urban network, the mutual interdependence of their characteristic features and further factors of restructuring (economy, society, population, institutions) (Rechnitzer 1993, 2016a; Lengyel - Rechnitzer 2000; Rechnitzer – Csizmadia - Grosz 2004; Grosz - Rechnitzer 2005; Rechnitzer - Páthy - Berkes 2014). The linkage analyses enable us to detect various city types, within the framework of which we attempt to detect clusters of cities characterized by homogenous development paths where the multitude of the analyzed factors reveal a certain degree of similarity permitting them to fulfil an identical role not only in shaping the network as a whole but also in the transformation of the spatial structure.
On the basis of domestic research trends, it can be stated that significant results have been achieved in diverse dimensions in the analysis of the role of cities in the urban network. These rely decisively on extensive statistical sources or individual data assembly which serve the general description of urban functions and are constrained to a specific point in history or occasionally undertook the comparison of two distinct periods of time. Domestic research reveals a shortage of comparisons of the Hungarian urban network with East-Central Europe, the scientific evaluation of the position and transformation of cities in this macro-region. Analyses oriented at the factors influencing the long-term development of cities and their systematization which can be included under the umbrella term of territorial capital are also lacking.


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