Issues surrounding island development have generated a growing volume of research. What does it mean to develop? How can island communities maintain control over development processes to the benefit of the local economy, rather than seeing economic flows enter and exit the island with little or a primarily negative impact? And how important is local knowledge for edifying local governance and enhancing potentials for innovation in island development? Island histories have repeatedly been forwarded as exemplars and 'lessons' for global learning on (un)sustainability. To consider these issues, we have selected a number of papers from among the presentations given at the International Geographical Union's Commission on Islands Conference, Island Development: Local Economy, Culture, Innovation and Sustainability, which took place in the Penghu Archipelago, Taiwan, 1-5 October 2013. These papers serve as examples of how the processes of globalization have penetrated the borders and changed the political and economic structures of islands. They also explore how island-based innovations in science, technology, culture, and formal or informal governance might contribute to sustainable island development.
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