Obituaries

Wednesday, 13 February 2008 00:00

Moss Madden

Moss Madden, a long-standing member of RSAI and the immediate past Chairman of the British and Irish Section, died suddenly on 16 February at the age of 53. It was typical of Moss's commitment to participation in international regional science activities that, at the time of his tragic death, he had only recently returned from the South African Symposium on Regional Development in Port Elizabeth, was on the point of leaving to join the Anglo-Irish/Israeli Workshop that he had done so much to co-organise in Jerusalem, and two weeks later was due to present a paper at the Western Regional Science Association meeting in Hawaii. Moss was brought up and went to school in Falmouth and retained his Cornish roots. He took great pleasure in organising the 1997 Annual Conference of the British and Irish Section in Falmouth, a venue that was much appreciated by those that attended. He spent the whole of his academic career at the University of Liverpool, first as a student of engineering and then as a staff member of the Department of Civic Design. He was appointed to a Chair in Planning and Regional Science in 1993.

 

 

Moss first came to appreciate the benefits of presenting his ideas and research output before an international regional science audience at the European RSA Congress in London in 1979. After that first taste of the conference circuit, Moss soon became a regular participant in RSAI conferences and workshops both in Europe and in North America, following his attendance of the First World Congress in Regional Science in Boston in 1980.

 

Moss also soon became involved in the development of the activities of the then British Section of the RSA, joining the committee in 1982. His early contributions included involvement in the organisation of the European Workshops on Strategic Planning and later the establishment, in 1990, of the UK Inter-Regional Input-Output Table Workshop and its subsequent convenorship. However, it was in the establishment of the Anglo-Israeli Regional Science Workshops series, initiated in 1991 in collaboration with Dani Shefer, that Moss made a major contribution to the development of international networks of regional science research cooperation.

Moss's increasingly influential role in the British Section was reflected in his election as Section Chairman between 1993 and 1997. It was in this capacity that Moss was largely responsible for the renaming of the Section as the British and Irish Section and was the leading force in initiating the Section's hosting of the European RSA Congress in Dublin in 1999.

These events provided a fertile environment in which to cultivate his research contributions and to establish and foster his collaborative links. These mainly focused upon furthering the development of innovative new approaches to the handling of interactions between demographic and economic elements of the traditional input-output modelling framework that he mapped out and explored in particular with Peter Batey. There were perhaps, two underlying principles that underpinned much of his research. First, he believed that the focus of research should be to understand and lead towards the solving of real problems and that theory by itself was not sufficient - it had to be applicable. Second, although he concentrated on applied work, he was always eager to introduce and develop new techniques in his analyses. He recognised that policy choices could be best informed by a careful application of the latest theoretical developments to real world problems.


Not only did Moss demonstrate his own abilities in this area; he also encouraged others to demonstrate theirs'. At meetings he was keen to engage in academic debate with others. He was always ready to help to convene sessions at conferences in order to bring together scholars, often with quite differing backgrounds to exchange ideas on a given topic. His wide range of interests and contacts made him the ideal person for this. He also recognised the importance of disseminating the ideas raised at such sessions to a wider audience as is evidenced by the number of edited volumes he collated and contributed to. It is appropriate that a lasting testament to Moss's contribution to the field of regional science will be his many individually authored and collaborative publications - not least those volumes to which he devoted so much time and effort in helping to organise and subsequently to co-edit. To the earlier individual volumes co-edited with Peter Batey, Luc Anselin and Geoff Hewings, has recently been added 'Regional Science in Business', co-edited with Graham Clarke - with further volumes close to completion at the time of his death.

Moss's outstanding work in the fields of planning and regional science was recognised last year with his election as one of the founding Academicians of the Association of Learned Societies for the Social Sciences.

There can be no doubt that those of us who were privileged to know him will continue to recall and appreciate the many ways in which Moss's presence made involvement in the organisation and attendance of regional science events, and associated activities, all the more rewarding and enjoyable. We can count ourselves fortunate that we were able to benefit from his infectious enthusiasm for his subject, his illuminating grasp of technical detail, his incisive questioning from the chair or the floor and, perhaps above all, from his humour, wit and wholehearted commitment to engaging in, and enjoying, the social interaction and networking upon which the healthy future development of the regional science community will continue to depend. The world of regional science, to which he made so many valuable contributions, will be so much the poorer for his passing.

- Peter Batey, Peter Brown & John Dewhurst - April 2000

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