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Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17808

Title: Civic Capital and the Dynamics of Intermunicipal Cooperation for Regional Economic Development
Authors: Nelles, Jen
Advisor: Wolfe, David A.
Department: Political Science
Keywords: regional governance
economic development
intergovernmental relations
local government
Issue Date: 25-Sep-2009
Abstract: This thesis concentrates on the interplay of structural and societal factors in the development of regional governance though a comparative study of two Canadian (Toronto and Waterloo) and two German (Frankfurt and the Rhein-Neckar) city regions. It was inspired by the tendency, in both scholarship and practice, to turn to formal institutional reform to solve problems of regional coordination. Debates of new regionalism advocate a role for governance solutions, which encourage a broader spectrum of actors to engage in the policy process. However, the emphasis in most jurisdictions has remained on formal, institutionalized structures, imposed by senior levels of government. As a result, the construction and potential for bottom-up and collectively negotiated regional solutions are typically under-explored. This thesis builds a case for intermunicipal cooperation as an alternative approach to regional coordination, uniting the participatory concept of regional governance with functional flexibility of cooperative networks. It analyses what factors affect the emergence of these networks for governance in three areas of regional economic development: regional marketing, cultural policy and regional transportation. It argues that while regional structural, institutional and contextual variables are useful in understanding the emergence of development partnerships, they tend to have different effects in different cases. The thesis formulates and applies an innovative concept – civic capital – to capture the dynamics of building and sustaining regional governance networks. It is both a critique and extension of social capital approaches to regional development. Using the four cases the thesis argues that, where civic capital is high intermunicipal cooperation is more likely regardless of institutional and structural contexts. Consequently, the thesis makes a theoretical contribution to both literature on intermunicipal cooperation and broader debates on the dynamics of regional governance, development and social networks.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1807/17808
Appears in Collections:Doctoral
Department of Political Science - Doctoral theses

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