The Baltic Region

2017 Vol. 9 № 2

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The influence of the sea on the economic development and settlement structure in the Baltic Sea region

DOI
https://doi.org/10.5922/2079-8555-2017-2-1
Pages
4-18

Abstract

Earliest studies into the influence of the sea on the economy and settlement structure date back to the mid-19th century. They became common in the 20th century. Researchers have come to a general understanding that a coastal position has a beneficial effect on the development of regions. Such areas have a denser population and develop more rapidly than inland regions. At the same time, the effect of environmental, socioeconomic, demographic, and political factors is often stronger than the influence of the sea. Thus, an inland position can be more beneficial than a coastal one. Both trends are observed in the Baltic Sea macroregion. However, the ‘gravitational force’ of the sea varies from place to place. This article focuses on the most significant differences between territories and countries. These differences reflect the uneven influence of the proximity of the Baltic Sea on the development of population and national economies. Qualitative differences between mesoregions are measured using a combination of theoretical and empirical typologies. An economic, statistical, and cartographic analysis helps to identify a special type of mesoregions — coastal development corridors, which make an important contribution to the economic development and consolidation of the Baltic macroregion. In transnational macroregions, such typological differences must be taken into account in strategic and spatial planning at the intergovernmental level.

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