We would like to share the impact report of our FeRSA grant holder Andy Jonas, University of Hull, UK. He received our grant in May 2015 and his research lasted for 18 months.
Urban and regional authorities in advanced industrialised countries are turning to a new generation of global infrastructure public-private partnerships (GIP3s) in order to leverage private investment for transportation and social infrastructure projects. National and provincial governments in different countries have, in turn, promoted a variety of GIP3 arrangements as part of wider efforts to promote domestic city-regional growth and forge new geopolitical relationships at the international scale. The research aims were: (1) to enhance knowledge of the necessary and contingent conditions surrounding the construction of new institutions of city-regional governance involved in the delivery of transportation and related social infrastructure; and (2) to identify and explain the range of economic and political actors involved in the geopolitical orchestration of city-regionalism domestically and internationally. Between 2015 and 2017, in-depth case studies and collaborations were undertaken in the following city-regions: Denver and Seattle-Tacoma regions (USA), Shanghai and Yangtze River Delta (YRD) region (China), Helsinki city-region (Finland), and London and Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford (CMKO) region (UK).
The research found evidence for new forms of city-regional collaboration emerging around the strategic delivery of infrastructure in Finland, the USA, China, and the UK. Each country is associated with increasing stakeholder interest in the use of GIP3s alongside new collaborative forms of city-regional governance which are designed to leverage additional funds and financing for the strategic delivery of transportation and social infrastructure. Although the findings confirm arguments that globalization is associated with the rise of new city-regional territories, this in turn is dependent upon the geopolitical reconfiguration and reimagining of nation-state territory as selectively comprised of internationally competitive city-regions. The findings further demonstrate that emergent collaborative forms of city-regionalism enable national governments in different countries to balance growing pressures to compete globally with new ways of financing and delivering nationally strategic investments in urban and regional infrastructure.
The project has had an interdisciplinary impact: it conjoins insights from geography, planning and urban studies on the governance of urban and regional infrastructure with literatures in sociology, politics and international relations on the competition state and the rise of city-regions. The novel aspect of the project methods involved mapping the strategic interests of a range of economic and political actors involved in the delivery of urban and regional infrastructure against domestic political priorities and international competitiveness agendas. The overall aim was not to draw direct comparisons between city regions but rather to use evidence from different city regions to generate insights into the variegated character of contemporary geopolitical processes.
Further information on the case studies will be updated and new publications will be added at the project website: https://gip3cityreg.wordpress.com/