colloquium

Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in Philadelphia and their Potential as Regional Actors

By Richardson Dilworth (Drexel University) | Business improvement districts (BIDs) are special service and assessment districts that typically cover territories as large as the downtown of a central city or as small as the commercial corridor of an outlying neighborhood. These organizations typically collect mandatory fees – assessments – from property owners within their areas to fund projects and provide services such as cleaning streets, providing security, installing streetscape improvements, and marketing the area. BIDs operate at a highly localized scale but, like many regional entities, they are a form of collective action that can cross jurisdictional boundaries. So, while they are rarely considered as a form of regionalism, they may have an overlooked role in cross-boundary governance. Furthermore, these cross-boundary BIDs are among the constellation of actors involved in governing American regions. In the context of this colloquium on American regionalism it is worth exploring the experience of BIDs, and their cross-boundary variants, and reflect on their place in urban and regional development. Read More

November 23, 2021 // 1 Comment

Elevating the Scale of Cross-Boundary Cooperation: Mechanisms for Cross-Regional Policy Coordination

By Soyoung Kim (Seoul National University of Science and Technology) | Around the globe, metropolitan regions provide increasingly important policy venues.  Metropolitan-level action has been deemed necessary to govern the fragmented landscape of cities, special districts, townships, counties, and other authorities.  An array of mechanisms are  available to address cross-boundary institutional collective action (ICA) problems that arise from the fragmentation of governmental authority in metropolitan regions (Feiock 2013).  The scale of these mechanisms is generally at the metro level or smaller, yet the geographic footprint of the urban problems these mechanisms are intended to address often extend far beyond the metropolitan region and impact multiple metropolitan areas.   Read More

November 23, 2021 // 1 Comment

Race, Activism, and Localism in the Metropolis: Metropolitan Planning Organizations in Atlanta and Chicago

By Margaret Weir (Brown University) | Generations of research by political scientists and historians paint a consistent – and deeply disturbing -- picture of the American metropolis.  From different directions, their work depicts a political patchwork designed to facilitate resource hoarding and enforce segregation by race and income. Long entrenched local government powers over land use have made racial and spatial inequality the defining feature of the American metropolis. Special districts, the most numerous boundary-spanning organizations, help the patchwork metropolis function but they are not known for challenging the economic and racial inequalities it protects (Savitch and Adhikari 2017). Are Metropolitan Planning Organizations, responsible for transportation planning and a variety of other regional responsibilities, any different? Have MPOs pushed against metropolitan inequalities and do they have the potential to do more? Read More

November 23, 2021 // 1 Comment

The Future of Collaborative Leadership in Contemporary Regional Entities

By George Dougherty (University of Pittsburgh) and Suzanne Leland (University of North Carolina at Charlotte) | Preserving leadership, institutional knowledge, and intergovernmental relationships are key to solving the wicked problems that do not stop at jurisdictional boundaries. Talent is a valued commodity and high turnover is a problem. Regional Intergovernmental Organizations (RIGOs) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) are no exception. To continue leading collaboration in our regions, it is important to invest in future leadership and talent for future generations. As the population ages, contemporary organizations need to recruit and mentor new talent. However, we know little about the succession planning process in these organizations. So how do we know where to invest or if we are investing enough in public employees if there are no benchmarks? And to what extent is this a problem for the future of these organizations?  Read More

November 23, 2021 // 1 Comment

STATE OF THE FIELD – American Regionalism and the Constellation of Mechanisms for Cross-Boundary Cooperation

By Jen Nelles and Jay Rickabaugh | In this colloquium, we explore the variety of actors involved in the cross-boundary cooperation that we associate with American regional governance and the evolving connections and relationships between them. We aim to produce a cutting-edge review of the state of the field of American regionalism that is accessible, thought provoking, and forward looking. In bringing together scholarship on different mechanisms for cross-boundary cooperation, and highlighting common themes, we hope to transcend some of the barriers in our field and begin to develop a comprehensive, grounded, and modern understanding of the dimensions of regional governance. The contributing scholars approach this broad question of regional activity with original quantitative data, case studies, interviews, and new arguments for theory development or research. We further hope to spark some lively debate that can generate sustained interest in the important work happening in American regions.  Read More

November 23, 2021 // 4 Comments

STATE OF THE FIELD – American Regionalism and the Constellation of Mechanisms for Cross-Boundary Cooperation

Call for Contributions: Urban Affairs Forum Colloquium | Guest Editors: Jen Nelles and Jay Rickabaugh | The question of how local governments coordinate policies and projects across jurisdictional boundaries fascinates a small subset of scholars across a broad range of disciplines. In the social sciences, research focuses on (among other things) governance, institutions, the consequences of political fragmentation, collective action, and the practicalities of service and infrastructure provision. Much of the literature questions the suitability of the institutions that have emerged in response to multiplying cross-boundary problems and highlights concerns of effectiveness, equity, and accountability. Most scholars active in this field are aware of the range of instruments available to tackle regional issues and grasp collective opportunities; the existing literature, however, reveals a field rife with both explicit and unconscious biases. Read More

September 4, 2020 // 0 Comments