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Scalar tensions in the governance of waste: the resilience of state spatial Keynesianism

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Simin Davoudi



Since the late 1990s, there has been a heightened academic and policy interest in the ‘region’ as a key site of economic, political and social activities. However, while the resurgence in English regionalisation is often explained as part of the wider process of state scalar strategy in response to global economic restructuring, less attention has been paid on the role of the region in rescaling of environmental governance, and in state strategy for addressing environmental problems such as waste management. By drawing on the evidence gathered for research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), this paper aims to advance the debate by examining the re-scaling of environmental governance with particular emphasis on municipal waste planning in the UK. It is argued that such a focus adds a new dimension to current discussions on state spatiality. The central proposition is that, key elements of ‘spatial Keynesianism’ have been carried through, rather then being superseded in ‘the new metropolitan reform’. Following a brief summary of the municipal waste problem and the influence of the EU regulatory measures in changing waste policy discourses and practices in the UK, the paper situates the regional institution building for waste planning in its historical context and outlines the broader debate about state rescaling strategies. The paper will then discuss the key rationales for regionalisation of waste to substantiate the central argument of this paper; i.e. the resilience of some of the key features of spatial Keynesianism in the new wave of metropolitan reforms. The final part of the paper unpicks the inherent tensions in state rescaling strategy as manifested in the newly established regional institutions in England. It outlines the key factors which have undermined the capacity of the state’s reconfigured regional institutions to achieve their prescribed goals.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Davoudi S

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Environmental Planning and Management

Year: 2009

Volume: 52

Issue: 2

Pages: 137-156

Date deposited: 30/01/2009

ISSN (print): 0964-0568

ISSN (electronic): 1360-0559

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/09640560802666495


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