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Spatial and Social Dimensions of Regional and Urban Economic and Community Development Networks

Authors: Dayne Walling*, University of Minnesota - Minneapolis
Topics: Urban Geography, Regional Geography, Economic Geography
Keywords: urban geography, urban development, development networks, deindustrialization, regional equity
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Regional leadership and community capacity are typically included in explanations for differing urban development success, yet the interaction of social and spatial conditions with multi-level governance and development processes is under-researched. The vast variability in the trajectories of the 25 counties that experienced the most extreme deindustrialization since 1970, measured by the greatest loss in share of manufacturing employment, offers an opportunity to compare how the economic and community development institutions and networks operating across the various metropolitan, county, city and neighborhood scales and governmental levels within a region shape the patterns and rates of redevelopment. Data on the board membership of economic and community development organizations is analyzed in the context of applicable state, regional, county, and city public policy and fiscal frameworks along with economic and population indicators. Evidence points towards the redevelopment process in cities marred by a failure to rebound as being controlled by exclusive metropolitan institutions and limited by restrictive state policies. At the same time, networks of civic and community organizations continue to project out their own visions for redevelopment, which are rooted in place-based pride and identity at the neighborhood and city scales. In places where there is an effective linkage between the local civic and community organizations acting as the catalytic agents of equitable revitalization and the intergovernmental relationships to leverage local capacities, there is effective redevelopment. The paper contributes to conceptualizing a framework for improving development practices and reforming public policies that will advance equity and prosperity.

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