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Transforming governance: Challenges of institutional adaptation and a new politics of space

Lookup NU author(s): Emeritus Professor Patsy Healey OBE


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In the context of the widespread recognition of significant changes in urban and regional governance in Europe, this paper explores the ways of understanding the dynamics of these changes and comments on the implications for recent themes in contemporary debates about urban governance - the extent of the re-scaling of governance arenas and networks, the role of a territorial focus in the new urban governance, the emergence of new forms of politics and the balance of progressive versus regressive potentials in the "new" governance. A brief introduction raises questions about the nature of the perceived experimentation and fragmentation in contemporary urban governance. The paper then outlines an emerging "sociological institutionalist" approach to governance transformation processes which links together the worlds of actors in episodes of governance with the rhythm of established governance processes - networks, discourses and practices, and the deeper cultural assumptions which give authority and legitimacy to actors and processes. The arguments are then illustrated through examples of governance initiatives from different arenas within a particular urban region, all of which to an extent challenge established discourses and practices. The paper concludes with some comments on how to interpret the broader significance and trajectory of transformative shifts in urban governance processes. © 2006 Taylor & Francis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Healey P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: European Planning Studies

Year: 2006

Volume: 14

Issue: 3

Pages: 299-320

ISSN (print): 0965-4313

ISSN (electronic): 1469-5944

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/09654310500420792


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