METROCO-OP (2010-2011)

Relating to the Region: City-Region Governance and Multilevel Policy in Cross-Border Regions

This post-doc project is supported by the National Research Fund of Luxembourg (FNR).

City-regions have emerged as crucial policy spaces, thrust even more forcefully into political discourse at the fault line of globalization and processes of state restructuring and rescaling. Mainstream policy discourse also emphasizes the emergence of new "entrepreneurial" paradigms and the importance of exploiting the competitive edge of the city-regional scale in economic development strategies. Meanwhile, states continue to reshape political institutions in response to the impacts of shifting global capitalism. This has resulted, in part, in a parallel shift of responsibility (though not necessarily capacity) to local and regional levels of government. The drive to organize cooperation between local authorities at the city-regional level, therefore, can be a function of both top-down regional policies, and bottom-up initiatives to maximize competitiveness. Yet very little is known about how city-regions function as actors within their regions or as players in systems of multilevel governance – few studies critically explore the capacity of these (new) governance arrangements to function as effective, legitimate, and robust policy actors as expected by their proponents. This is even more complex in cross-border city regions, where international borders add further challenges to cooperation.

Through a qualitative comparative study of three cross-border city-regions (Lille, Luxembourg, and Detroit-Windsor) this project analyses how the strength of cross-border partnerships affects their capacity to act effectively as policy actors. Using a nested three-part design, and building on the doctoral research of the investigator, the proposed project first examines factors affecting the development and strength of intermunicipal partnerships on each side of the border, then uses the same framework to explore the strenght of cross-border links. It then considers the impact of these partnerships on the capacity of the city-region to act in vertical policy environments – in collaboration with or opposition to senior levels of government. These relationships are examined in three policy areas.

Institutional framework
This post-doc project is part of the MetroNet project. It is undertaken between the Department of Geography at CEPS/INSTEAD in Luxembourg and the Innovation Systems Research Network at the University of Toronto, Canada (Dr David A. Wolfe).

Intermunicipal cooperation, cross-border city-regions, institutions, civic capital, multilevel governance, governance capacity, Lille, Luxembourg, Detroit, Windsor, Unites States of America, Canada

Dr Jennifer Nelles

Foundations of Governance? Intermunicipal Cooperation in Metropolitan Regions in Canada and Germany (Paper presented at CEPS/INSTEAD January 19, 2010)

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