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Li Chunfen(Chun-fen Lee)(Institute of Western European and North American Studies, East China Normal University, Shanghai 200062)  
This paper is intended to discuss the research frontier of regional geography. A brief review of the main defects ever present in the discipline is made with a view to revealing the crux responsible for the decline of the discipline since late fifties. From the standpoint of development of the discipline, it is critical of its satisfaction merely with the uniqueness of the region and their areal differentiation which were regarded as the ultimate goal of research. This is tantamount to a tacit consent to the status quo of the field as a closed system. There in lies the crux of the problem that prevents it from seeking a research frontier. Today it has become known that a region is an open system. 'External, relations are often seen as more important than 'internal' relations. i. e. relations between the components of the regional system. Since fifties numerous geographers became much interested in spatial relations and sought to establish a new concept of regions based primarily on interregional connections. This is the concept of functional regions which suggests a dynamic picture as against the static one of formal regions. As regional economic development involves not only the internal relations but the interregional relations as well, the latter are often seen as more omportant. The causal. historical and morphological approaches of regions were replaced by functional ones. In a large spatial organization of areas or regions the component parts with their own respective advantages and resources are mutually complementary, thereby promoting development separately and jointly and contributing their share to the overall interests of the whole spatial organization. Therein lies the research frontier of regional geography. It is, therefore, imperative to shift our emphasis of research to interregional relationship and connectivity, which involves theoretical and pratical significance. indispensable for healthy and promising development. The shift from emphasis on uniqueness of regions to that on areal differentiation and recently to that on interregional relationships is an inexorable trend.
【CateGory Index】: P94
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