(Sub)Urban Poverty and Regional Interest Convergence
69 Pages Posted: 27 Apr 2016
Date Written: 2014
Poverty has expanded from America’s urban cores to its inner and outer suburban rings. In the midst of spreading hardship, new opportunities for confronting questions of regional equity are emerging, such as how best to govern our regional spaces for the benefit of all regional constituents, including the poor, middle class, and affluent. To date, governance theories have proven inadequate to this task. In the parlance of the current regional governance discourse localists, regionalists, and new regionalists need a framework to make a reality of their seemingly disparate and inconsistent visions of local versus regional interests. Localists champion the autonomy of local governments as the appropriate form of regional management. Regionalists, on the other hand, advocate for mechanisms of regional governance to manage the maintenance and development of regional spaces. While new regionalists have advocated practical steps to eliminate the causes of regional inequities, encouraging more efficient fiscal and land use planning cooperation between local governments in a metropolitan region, new regionalism as a social movement is stalled largely because it has existed as a set of ideals without a framework for effectuating those ideals. This Article introduces a new strategy, regional interest convergence, as a new social justice framework to effectuate new regionalism and revive the movement. Regional interest convergence, a reconceptualization of the interest convergence theory first articulated by Professor Derrick Bell, provides a framework for beginning to address both urban and suburban poverty.
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