Cities and Regions in Crisis
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Cities and Regions in Crisis

The Political Economy of Sub-National Economic Development

Martin Jones

This book offers a new geographical political economy approach to our understanding of regional and local economic development in Western Europe over the last twenty years. It suggests that governance failure is occurring at a variety of spatial scales and an ‘impedimenta state’ is emerging. This is derived from the state responding to state intervention and economic development that has become irrational, ambivalent and disoriented. The book blends theoretical approaches to crisis and contradiction theory with empirical examples from cities and regions.
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Chapter 7: City-region building

Martin Jones


This chapter is concerned with new regionalist city-region building through state and policy interventions such as the Northern Way. It uses the Sheffield City Region as a case study: a British city struggling with the policy discourses of city regional competitiveness. Sheffield’s occupational structure has been transformed over the past 20 years from a high paid employment economy with a plentiful supply of skilled jobs in the steel and engineering industries, to a de-industrialised economy where many of the new jobs created in the service sector tend to be low paid. The chapter shows how the creation of city regions hides qualitative micro-economic and social geographies and specifically glosses over issues such as the quality and sustainability of the employment base and inequality more broadly. The chapter suggests that city-regions reinforce, and have the potential to increase, rather than resolve, uneven development and socio-spatial inequalities.

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