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Scalar tensions in the governance of waste: the resilience of state spatial Keynesianism

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There has been a heightened interest in the 'region' as a key site of economic activities. While regionalisation is often explained as part of the wider process of state scalar strategy in response to global economic restructuring, less attention has been paid to the role of the region in rescaling of environmental governance. This paper aims to fill the gap by drawing on the changing governance of municipal waste planning in the UK. Such a focus demonstrates that key elements of 'spatial Keynesianism' have been carried through, rather than superseded, in 'the new metropolitan reform'. Following a brief summary of the municipal waste problem and the influence of the EU regulatory measures in changing waste policy in the UK, the paper situates the regional institution building for waste planning in its historical and conceptual context. It then discusses the key rationales for regionalisation of waste in order to substantiate the central argument of the paper which is: the resilience of some of the key features of spatial Keynesianism in the new wave of metropolitan reforms. The final part of the paper unpicks the inherent tensions in state rescaling strategy and outlines the key factors that undermine the capacity of the state's reconfigured regional institutions to achieve their prescribed goals.
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Keywords: Regional Technical Advisory Bodies (RTABs); governance; regionalisation; spatial Keynesianism; state rescaling; waste management

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

Publication date: March 1, 2009

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