Governing Urban Regions Through Collaboration: A View from North America, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Governing Urban Regions Through Collaboration

A View from North America, 1st Edition

By Joël Thibert


280 pages

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With the demise of the Old Regionalist project of achieving good regional governance through amalgamation, voluntary collaboration has become the modus operandi of a large number of North American metropolitan regions. Although many researchers have become interested in regional collaboration and its determinants, few have specifically studied its outcomes. This book contributes to filling this gap by critically re-evaluating the fundamental premise of the New Regionalism, which is that regional problems can be solved without regional/higher government. In particular, this research asks: to what extent does regional collaboration have a significant independent influence on the determinants of regional resilience? Using a comparative (Canada-U.S.) mixed-method approach, with detailed case studies of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Greater Montreal and trans-national Niagara-Buffalo regions, the book examines the direct and indirect impacts of inter-local collaboration on policy and policy outcomes at the regional and State/Provincial levels. The book research concentrates on the effects of bottom-up, state-mandated and functional collaboration and the moderating role of regional awareness, higher governmental initiative and civic capital on three outcomes: environmental preservation, socio-economic integration and economic competitiveness. In short, the book seeks to highlight those conditions that favor collaboration and might help avoid the collaborative trap of collaboration for its own sake. More specifically, this research concentrates on the effect of bottom-up, state-mandated and functional collaboration, the moderating role of regional awareness, governmental initiative and civic capital on environmental preservation, socio-economic integration and economic competitiveness. In short, the book seeks to understand whether and how urban regional collaboration contributes to regional resilience.


’Joel Thibert’s ambitious new book blends large-N statistical analyses of the effects of regional collaboration on American and Canadian metropolitan issues with careful case studies of the San Francisco Bay Area, the Montreal archipelago, and cross-border Niagara. Notwithstanding an appropriate degree of caution and modesty, he arrives at some memorable counter-intuitive conclusions: voluntary collaboration can be counter-productive; imposed metropolitan structures can undermine regional problem-solving.’ Andrew Sancton, The University of Western Ontario, Canada ’Into a field long on presumption and short on actionable evidence comes Joël Thibert’s ambitious and meticulous study of how regional collaboration matters - or not - to regional economic, social and environmental outcomes. Combine his original database of metropolitan collaborations with theoretically fair-minded and empirically forthright insights from the field: et voilà, a worthy new voice in regional analysis.’ Kathryn A. Foster, University of Maine at Farmington, USA ’The Region is a blurry and fuzzy concept, in particular when one looks at it from a policy perspective. Joël Thibert’s book explores the case for studying regional collaboration, focusing in particular on its extrinsic importance�: does it make a difference in terms of providing public goods and how and under what conditions can urban regions be successfully governed? The author presents critical evidences based on an original mix of quantitative and qualitative research methodology which deals with central research questions in the field.’ Valeria Fedeli, Politecnico di Milano, Italy

Table of Contents

Contents: Foreword, Jameson W. Doig; Preface; From the local to the regional: an introduction; Conceptual and methodological framework; Measuring regional collaboration and its effects; Regional collaboration from cradle to cradle: the case of the Bay Area; Region-hood without regionalism: the case of Greater Montreal; Regionalism, governance and resilience across borders: the Niagara cross-laboratory; Regional collaboration across borders: a comparative analysis; Convening for the future: the distant impacts of regional collaboration; Appendices; Index.

About the Author

Joël Thibert is an Urban Planner, Consultant and Co-founder of Walk the region.

About the Series

Global Urban Studies

Global Urban Studies

This series is published in conjunction with the School of Planning, Design, and Construction at Michigan State University, USA.

Providing cutting edge interdisciplinary research on spatial, political, cultural and economic processes and issues in urban areas across the US and the world, books in this series examine the global processes that impact and unite urban areas. The organizing theme of the book series is the reality that behavior within and between cities and urban regions must be understood in a larger domestic and international context. An explicitly comparative approach to understanding urban issues and problems allows scholars and students to consider and analyse new ways in which urban areas across different societies and within the same society interact with each other and address a common set of challenges or issues. Books in the series cover topics which are common to urban areas globally, yet illustrate the similarities and differences in conditions, approaches, and solutions across the world, such as environment/brownfields, sustainability, health, economic development, culture, governance and national security. In short, the Global Urban Studies book series takes an interdisciplinary approach to emergent urban issues using a global or comparative perspective.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / City Planning & Urban Development
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Regional Planning