Prospects for Regional Governance Under the New Regionalism: Economic Imperatives Versus Political Impediments

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Over the past two decades or more, advocates of the new regionalism have called for the creation of new forms of regional governance in America. These writers have shifted the rationale for regional governance from issues of efficiency and equity that characterized an earlier literature on regionalism (i.e., the metropolitan reform school) to that of regional economic competitiveness. In this article, I examine the diagnoses and prescriptions of the metropolitan reformers and the new regionalists. I offer a definition of regional governance more in keeping with the older tradition of political science and distinctly at odds with that of the new regionalist. Then I present what I believe are the principal factors that make the achievement of regional governance in American metropolitan areas very close to impossible. My argument, as indicated by the title of this article, is that political impediments overwhelm economic arguments for achieving meaningful regional governance.

Document Type: Original Article


Affiliations: University of Maryland, Baltimore County

Publication date: December 1, 2001

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