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City-regionalism: a case study of South East Wales

Allan, James 2011. City-regionalism: a case study of South East Wales. PhD Thesis, Cardiff University.
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Within the UK the concept of the ‘city-region’ has gained increasing prominence in both academic and policy realms, particularly within the inter-related domains of spatial planning, public service delivery and economic development. However, our knowledge on the concept is currently limited in several respects. This includes a paucity of de-tailed accounts of how city-regions are formed and an over-reliance in existing analyses which consider city-regions as contingent responses to globalising economic impera-tives. The main aim of the thesis is to show how powerful city-regional narratives are materal-ised. To achieve this aim the research considers three key theoretical, methodological and empirical issues. In terms of theory, the research considers the role played by processes of narrative construction and institutionalisation in mediating the development of city-region agendas and subsequent material change. Methodologically, it asks how research can be designed to understand the relationship between these processes. Empirically, the research looks to increase our knowledge and understanding of these processes and events within South East Wales. South East Wales was identified as a fertile geographic location for research attention in light of the significant progression of a city-regional debate and the unique social, historical, institutional, and economic characteristics of the area. The research covers a period between 1992 and 2008 and explores the changing geographies of state spatiality and region-building processes operating in and around the case study area. The research approach draws on literature from several disciplines including human geography, political economy, international relations, and urban and regional planning. A three-stage analytical framework was developed to focus attention on particular elements of city-regionalism: i) the narrative construction of the city-region by key stakeholders; ii) institutionalisation of the narratives; and iii) materialisation of the city-region concept. Evidence was generated through the use of semi-structured interviews, documentary analysis and participant observation. The results indicate that greater attention should be given to the specific contexts in which city-regional agendas are promoted, including the roles played by personal relationships and the socio-economic conditions in the hinterland. The results also highlight the role played by the politics of scale as part of city-regional contestation and the tangible links which exist between discursive processes and the materialisation of city-regions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Uncontrolled Keywords: Urban and regional planning; City-regions; South East Wales
Funders: Cardiff City Council, Cardiff University. School of City and Regional Planning
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:06

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