This book is the first such study to emerge. Working with the Joint Center for Urban Studies of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard, which was called upon to advise the Venezuelan government and the Corporación Venezolana de Guayana, Mr. Friedmann has been an active participant in the Ciudad Guayana enterprise, as well as its student.
But this work aims at – and achieves – an overview of a much broader field: the regional development of emerging nations and the integration of regional economies with over-all national goals. Indeed, Part I is devoted to an elaboration of analytic methods which attain a high degree of generality, but which are especially useful in planning the transformation of a capital-hinterlands structure into a more complex network of regional cores tied to one another in economic equilibrium by a carefully developed spatial organization and resource optimization. In seeking to “incorporate the dimension of space into a discussion of the strategy for national development,” Mr. Friedmann develops a kind of “national geometry” whose elements consist of development areas, cores, growth points, and connecting corridors. This approach is enhanced by a considerable use of maps for the analysis and simulation of conditions and the synthesis of possibilities. These topographic-demographic concerns are, of course, related to the social and economic factors of development.
Part II treats Eastern Venezuela, and Ciudad Guayana in particular, as a special case in the application of these principles. After examining the reginal pattern of Venezuelan socioeconomic development from precolonial times to present, the author considers the need and prospects for industrial diversification and the penetration of the backlands. He rehearses the brief history of Ciudad Guayana, describes the two-way relation between the region's economy and the national economic aims, and offers projections into the twenty-first century.