The scalar politics of economic planning

Lee Pugalis, Alan Townsend

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Downloads (Pure)


Across England, modes of governing larger-than-local development strategies are undergoing far-reaching change. In particular, the new government of 2010 has a political and financial mission of rescaling and simplifying sub-national economic planning. Alongside the revocation of myriad and sometimes unpopular regional strategies, their supportive institutional structures are being rapidly disbanded, opening up a strategic leadership gap or fissure between national and local scales of policy. Analysing the theory and processes of spatial rescaling, including the emergence of new geographies of governance at the sub-regional scale, the paper draws attention to some of the key opportunities and dilemmas arising from these ‘scalar shifts’. The economic planning roles of the new, cross-boundary entrepreneurial governance entities – Local Enterprise Partnerships – are explored. A key question is whether these public-private arrangements, across what were intended as ‘functional’ economic areas, present a pragmatic way of resolving the strategic tensions between local authority areas that would otherwise be neglected in a post-regional era. The research is based on national monitoring of policy shifts and draws upon participatory observation as an instrument to enrich more formal policy narratives. The paper finds these new bodies lack powers and funding, and concludes that state-led rescaling in effect provides a new ‘cover’ for some old politics; namely neoliberalism including the deepening of entrepreneurial forms of governance. Key words: Strategic planning, sub-national development, economic planning, entrepreneurial governance and Local Enterprise Partnerships
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-207
JournalBuilt and Natural Environment Research Papers
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2011


Dive into the research topics of 'The scalar politics of economic planning'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this