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Bridging the City-Suburb Divide: States and the Politics of Regional Cooperation

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Abstract:

This article explores the politics of regional cooperation in Houston and in Los Angeles, focusing in particular on the role of the state in facilitating or inhibiting metropolitan-wide approaches to urban problems. In both California and Texas, the state can play a significant role in facilitating regional cooperation. However, important limits exist on the extent to which this happens. While generous annexation rules have facilitated regionalism in Houston, these rules are themselves only as strong as the political consensus to use and maintain them. Similarly, regional agencies in Los Angeles have been reluctant to fully utilize their powers in the face of strong political opposition from local governments. Finally, in both Houston and Los Angeles regionalism is more often defined in terms of systems maintenance functions rather than lifestyle functions. The use of state-level rules to promote regionalism may suffer from the same political liabilities as earlier attempts to form regional governments.

Document Type: Original Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/0735-2166.00103

Affiliations: University of Miami

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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