AAG Annual Meeting 2009

Association of American Geographers (AAG) Annual Meeting 2009
Las Vegas, USA
22-27 March2009

Paper session organized by CEPS/INSTEAD, Luxembourg

"Cross-border metropolitan integration:
towards a comparative perspective"

This session seeks research papers that address issues of cross-border metropolitan regions, particularly their functional and institutional integration processes. Case studies from different regions are welcomed in a comparative perspective.

Antoine Decoville, Christophe Sohn & Olivier Walther
Centre for Population, Poverty and Public Policy Studies (CEPS/INSTEAD)
3, avenue de la Fonte, L-4364 Esch-sur-Alzette, Luxembourg

The concentration of economic activity in metropolitan regions is without doubt one of the most striking aspects of contemporary economic geography. This process of metropolisation goes hand in hand with a redefinition of the traditional prerogatives of States in relation to urban centres and with a regeneration of cities as territorial actors.

In the particular case of the cross-border metropolitan regions, the presence of a State border represents a specific geographic configuration where the function of the metropolitan node connected into world networks is combined with the double function of interface and barrier specific to the border. The opening of the borders, notably in Europe and North America, constitutes an opportunity for cities to exploit the border differentials and flourish from the positive effects that they represent for businesses and workers. The cross-border metropolitan space which results from this can testify to a functional integration that extends beyond the border. If the border remains a political and institutional discontinuity likely to slow down certain interactions between actors, the multiplicity of cooperation projects at the cross-border level has shown that it is not necessarily a limiting factor. The promotion of legal tools and the provision of financial resources aimed at formalising cross-border projects constitute a strong incentive for cities and cross-border regions to cooperate. Though borders are likely to play a restrictive role in the contacts and exchanges between actors, the territorial, political and cultural differentials may also represent a source of new opportunities contributing to accelerating awareness of the interest (or the necessity) of cooperating with the territories located on the other side of the border.

Therefore, the purpose of this paper session is to investigate the ambivalent interactions between border and metropolitan regions. One question seems essential in this regard: in the context of international competition which metropolises are now turning towards, to what extent does the presence of a nearby border constitute comparative added value? Case studies from different regions and contexts are expected.

<< back