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Over the last two decades, urban regime theory has become one of the most dominant paradigms of thought in urban studies. In particular, regime theory offers a complex account of urban governance, or how local governments, the business communities, and community organizations gain the capacity to shape the policies that affect cities, that is, govern. Although regime theory is a dominant theory in urban studies, it does, nevertheless, have its share of detractors, and one criticism has been its failure to take into account geographical scale. While there is an acknowledgment in urban regime theory of wider economic processes, such as the broad transformations in international and national trade, investment, finance, etc., or the role played by federal or state governments, the bias has remained mostly local, particularly in regards to urban governance. In urban regime theory literature the policies and actions of international and national institutions either nicely conjoin with local interests or are nearly totally absent. Due to this oversight, urban regime theory tends to underemphasize how the capacity to govern a city effectively is sometimes the result of the interaction of actions of people at multiple scales. This article attempts to address this oversight in an analysis of Glasgow, Scotland, during the 1980s. By focusing on the role of the European City of Culture in the revitalization of the city, this article demonstrates how the capacity for a ruling coalition to transform the city and to govern effectively was the consequence of the policy and administrative actions undertaken at other geographical scales.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Texas at Austin

Publication date: 2008-02-01

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