Cities and their hinterlands: how much do governance structures really matter?

GORE, Tony and FOTHERGILL, Stephen (2007). Cities and their hinterlands: how much do governance structures really matter? People, Place and Policy Online, 1 (2), 55-68.

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Cities and their hinterlands have always had economic, social and cultural links. However, the governance arrangements vary enormously, from fully integrated administrations to separate and often competing political units. Today, with Britain’s cities widely viewed as the main motors of regional economic growth, there are moves towards new structures of city region governance across the UK. These involve increased coordination between existing government bodies and interest groupings, though there are marked geographical variations in progress towards such collaboration. This paper considers whether these variations in governance structures really matter. It is based on new research into the relationship between the UK coalfields and their neighbouring cities. The coalfields are one of the principal areas of industrial restructuring in the UK, having lost virtually all the jobs in the coal industry itself since the early 1980s. In theory, neighbouring cities might offer economic salvation for such areas, which could develop a new future as residential and ancillary service hinterlands. But is this really the emerging trajectory, or are the former coalfields experiencing a revival independent of their neighbouring cities? And do governance structures make a difference to what is happening? Research evidence from three coalfields (Lothian, South Yorkshire and South Wales) and their neighbouring cities (Edinburgh, Sheffield and Cardiff) reveals that collaborative governance structures spanning these areas vary markedly, as do the economic trends. Overall there appears to be no close relationship between the existence of collaborative governance and the strength of coalfield-city economic links. On the contrary, cross-boundary collaboration appears to have greatest relevance in reconciling the competing claims of rival localities and hence in fostering polycentric development, rather than in promoting city-focused growth. Key factors driving area regeneration are underlying economic strengths and weaknesses, the operation of the market, the availability of funding, and the suite of policy tools through which it is allocated.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: City regions, territorial rescaling, labour markets, job search, governance.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research
Departments - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities > Department of Natural and Build Environment
Identification Number:
Page Range: 55-68
Depositing User: Tony Gore
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2018 15:39
Last Modified: 18 Mar 2021 11:00

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