Regionalisation, “virtual” spaces and “real” territories: a view from Europe and North America

Herrschel, Tassilo (2009) Regionalisation, “virtual” spaces and “real” territories: a view from Europe and North America. International Journal of Public Sector Management, 22 (3). pp. 272-285. ISSN 0951-3558


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Purpose – This paper seeks to examine evidence of new forms of regionalisation in both theory and practice, and the relationship between the two. In so doing, it aims to demonstrate the essential complementarity, rather than widely argued alternativeness, of both conventional and new forms of inter-local collaboration at the regional level. The paper also seeks to demonstrate the importance of institutional and local legacies for the nature of regionalisation. Design/methodology/approach – The paper is based on interviews by the author with economic policy makers in several city regions in Europe and North America over the last three years, and the results of a series of workshops involving many of these very policy makers. Findings – There is growing evidence of new forms of inter-local region building being adopted by policy makers in response to a perceived need to maintain/improve economic competitiveness. Concerns about “giving away” powers and resources when engaging in usual conventional, formalised, fixed forms of regionalisation have created reluctance among many local actors to do so. The need to be more responsive to rapidly changing economic conditions, coupled to a realisation of the need for concerted action, have encouraged economic policy makers to adopt new, more experimental forms of region-wide collaboration. Practical implications – The findings not only challenge established practices and a conventional focus on planning and technocratic views of “regions”, but also raise questions about the prevalent regulation theory-inspired arguments in academic debate. Instead, “virtual regionalisation” seems to open new opportunities for defining meaning and operation of “regions” and “regionalism”, with the different backgrounds in Europe and North America allowing a somewhat more “open mind” in the latter than the former. Originality/value – The paper illustrates that in many regions in Europe and North America there is now a multitude of actors and organisations seeking to promote regional competitiveness and growth.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: University of Westminster > Social Sciences and Humanities
Depositing User: Miss Nina Watts
Date Deposited: 12 Jul 2010 14:46
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2013 13:33

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