After fifty years of its existence, regional economics embraces a large number of approaches, theories and models for the interpretation of location choices and regional development trajectories. Assuming an historical perspective, this paper has the aim to underline the way in which the concept of growth and space has developed in theories of regional economics, leading to a higher interpretative capacity of theories and models. The work covers both regional growth theories and local development theories. Advances in theoretical approaches are highlighted. Aspects that run counter to general beliefs emerge by reading the original contributions of well-known theoreticians, and are presented. Future
challenges emerge from a critical approach to the milestones achieved so far.
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