Informal economy and urban spatial changes in the border town Baneh. A case study from the Iranian - Iraqi border.
Keywords:Informal economy, border regions, commercial tourism, urban and regional spatial changes, strategic analysis
Considering the various economic and political contexts in different parts of the world, economic relations and integration are performed with different intensity in regions such as the EU or the Middle East. One of the main reasons for the emerging of informal economy at the border regions in the Middle East is the strong barrier function of boundaries in Middle East countries. The Tourism consumption has extended recently in Baneh County, one of the western border regions of Iran neighboring with Iraq. The specific situation of informal economy, low price of smuggled goods, commercial tourism and massive flows of financial capital, all together have caused unpredictable changes in micro and macro levels of the Iran & Iraq border region and specially in Baneh County. The future growth of Baneh County is despite emerging positive spatial changes in Baneh city, doubtful. Unclear policies of local and national government regarding decision making, unclear management of the informal economy and currency instability create an uncertain future. Conventional methods of planning will not have necessary enough impact and effects in order to influence those issues in border regions. The paper is based on the examination of recent spatial changes and economic trends, which were done by descriptive and analytical methods in Baneh city. The research was documented through face to face and video interviews with local stakeholders, photography, field works and visits to the border region. As a result, some strategies were determined which steer recent trends. Further on threats towards a sustainable regional development had been described.
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