A regional regime? : regeneration in the North East of England
This dissertation is set in the North East (NE) of England and demonstrates how an experimental form of elite governance, characterised by multi-level, intra and inter-agency negotiation and co-ordination developed within complex and ambiguous socio-political structures and traditional hierarchies to deal with unmet social and economic needs. This emergent form of entrepreneurial governance has resulted from a poorly institutionalised field of regeneration, and allowed elites to seek autonomy by adapting national policies to specifically regional projects. A top-down, managerialist form of governance, it is not entirely democratic or open to public participation, but strategically contingent on global and other constraints. Central to an understanding of regeneration is the way strategies are formulated and implemented. This regime, with a broader mix of enterprising public servants and politically minded business and other interests, has coalesced over a long period to respond entrepreneurially to the consequences of globalisation and uneven development, and the failure of national and regional policies. A legacy of decline has created a strategic, cohesive and identifiably exclusive regime of actors, who act in the region’s interests. This regime is unlike the static or re-constructive regimes prevalent in other regions, rather it blends the positive aspects of traditional regional decision making with a more innovative approach. Democratic forms of managing regional space have gradually been replaced by a more adaptable and flexible form more suited to modern day and future needs. Power and influence shift dynamically over time, space and initiative, activities are legitimised by absorbing state officials into activities, and being in close proximity to civic society. As part of the history of change, and embedded in the social system, elites interact formally and informally.