Research Title: In what sense a new non-state space: the case of the Atlantic Gateway city-region
The overall aim of this research is to use the Atlantic Gateway as a unique lens through which to address current gaps in our knowledge of city-regions, in particular around how they are constructed politically.
Officially launched in March 2010 the Atlantic Gateway Strategy is the brainchild of Peel Holdings, a private investment group based in North West England, and represents a bold and unique vision to establish Liverpool-Manchester as a globally competitive urban area. What marks the AGS out as a pertinent case study is it represents a radical departure from the prevailing orthodoxy of neoliberal state spatial restructuring and governmentalised remappings of state space synonymous with previous, and indeed current, city-region initiatives launched in the UK (e.g. Local Enterprise Partnerships) and elsewhere.
The key innovation of this research will be to critically interrogate the extent to which the Atlantic Gateway presents a genuine alternative non-state vision of city-regionalism as a geopolitical project of late-capitalism.
The main research questions are therefore:
- How did the Atlantic Gateway come to be launched as an alternative vision of city- regionalism as a geopolitical project of late capitalism?
- How does the Atlantic Gateway – as a new networked and functional city-region space – work alongside, and connect to, existing structures of state scalar organisation which are often territorially-embedded?
- In an era where state under investment in urban economic infrastructure behoves institutions of the state to become ever more reliant on private investment groups to deliver the jobs, growth and regeneration of the future, what does the Atlantic Gateway initiative tell us about the state’s continuing capacity to orchestrate economic development and growth in its major urban regions?