Walter Isard (1919-2010) lived a long and very productive life. His interest in spatial phenomena started some 60 years ago. He started to use the term Regional Science quite early, during his early years at MIT and before he moved to Philadelphia and established there the Department of Regional Science.
There is no doubt that the modern interest in spatial economics owes much to Walter. At the last congress of the European Regional Science Association in August there were over 1,000 people. In Denver, at the North American conference in November there were some 900 people. The field is in bloom. And yet, Walter did not receive the Nobel Prize in economics. He should have.
While there is no doubt about his impact on the field, I suspect that Walter’s contribution was mainly to place a spot light on the field and to organize what today we call Regional Science International. He was stubborn and skilled at persuading people to join his causes.
I cannot be sure what persuaded me to study urban economics. I have no doubt that Walter had at least a small part in it from the time I was in high school and copied numbers for the Philadelphia I-O table.