Jen Nelles

Regionalism in America: Unpacking the (Surprisingly) Deep Tradition of Regional Governance in America
Jen Nelles
Associate Professor, Hunter College CUNY

How do American regions coordinate policies across local jurisdictional boundaries? A popular answer to this is, outside of the Met Councils in Portland and Minneapolis-St. Paul – they don’t. While a fairly deep pool of research exists on voluntary mechanisms in regional coordination much of it dismisses these organizations as inconsequential. My recent work on the topic challenges this position. It argues that this perception is based on outdated research on a small sample of organizations and is based on inconsistent definitions of what organizations should be included. I will present a new way to conceptualize regional intergovernmental organizations (RIGOs) and an open-source database that will permit scholars to do rigorous research to uncover the role RIGOs play in regional policy coordination, their strengths, weaknesses, and potential for evolution. This talk will summarize some of the data presented in Discovering American Regionalism: An Introduction to Regional Intergovernmental Organizations (Routledge, 2018) and highlights the potential for future research.

The Lectures in Planning Series (LiPS) is an initiative of the Urban Planning program at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation.


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