By Stan Paul
For Michael Storper, one way to make the world a better place is by understanding its geographies — something he has spent a career in academia pursuing.
Storper’s efforts and achievements in the field of geography were rewarded this month in London. The Distinguished Professor of Regional and International Development in the UCLA Luskin Department of Urban Planning received the 2016 Gold “Founder’s Medal” from the Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers, IBG).
Storper received the award, considered one of the most prestigious in the field of geography worldwide — and approved by Queen Elizabeth II — for his “pioneering” research in economic geography. The international honor, which has been awarded since the 1830s, includes a long list of famous names in exploration and world geography.
“Michael Storper’s research has enhanced our understanding of the significance of the region and the importance of regional economies,” Nicholas Crane, president of the Royal Geographical Society (with IGB), said earlier this spring when he announced the society’s award recipients.
At the awards ceremony, held at the society’s annual meeting, Storper spoke about the honor and continuing importance of geography today.
“Geography’s scientific progress in explaining both differentiation and exchange has been nothing short of astonishing in the last few decades,” Storper said. “We can tease out people and place relationships with models and evidence we never had before. And this links our purpose in this world.”