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Delineating Africa as a region is a complex feat. Delineating regionalisms within Africa is all the more challenging. There are multiple fragmentations of Africa into sub-regions and most of them remain very porous and ambivalent. To contextualise these processes, this chapters starts by examining how pan-Africanism and the ideal of national sovereignty have defined African regionalism during the twentieth century. This is followed by an overview of the characteristics of both formal and informal forms of African regionalism as well as the respective logics that underpin their existence. Individual sections of this chapter are dedicated to three trends that result from the juncture of fragmentation and institutionalisation in African regionalism: overlapping regionalism, interregionalism and maritime regionalism. The chapter closes by outlining future avenues for research on African regionalism.
The New Urban Agenda maintains that urbanisation in Africa is a one-off opportunity to restructure national economies, eliminate poverty and enhance environmental resilience. The key to unlock the transformative power of urban growth is a compact and connected spatial form that facilitates economic interactions, reduces infrastructure costs and protects surrounding ecosystems and biodiversity. This chapter reflects on whether these propositions accord with current evidence and understanding of urbanisation dynamics, encapsulated within four broad narratives. The simple conclusion is that a more integrated urban form would confer important economic and environmental advantages, but probably at the expense of equity and inclusion because buoyant land markets tend to displace low income groups. There are additional complications surrounding the political realities of anti-urbanism and the lengthy timescales required to transform urban trajectories.
Klaus Dodds and Alan D. Hemmings
The Arctic and Antarctic have attracted their own distinct regional projects and expressions of regionalism. At a conceptual level, our discussion is informed by a desire to better understand how ‘territory’ and ‘region’ are put to work discursively and acted out and upon geopolitically. In the Polar Regions, in particular, the intersection of ice, rock and water is particularly distinct in terms of how territorial and regional management is expressed. Working off a volumetric, rather than areal, focus, recent work alerts us to how region-making projects have worked through height, depth and subterranean domains none more so than in the Arctic and Antarctic. It is also axiomatic that the regional boundaries of the Arctic and Antarctic are fluid so that it is imperative that we appreciate that regional and international actors such as the European Union (EU) and UN agencies such as the International Maritime Organization (IMO) play a part in shaping polar regionalism in the water, air, and on the land.
This chapter examines regionalism in Australia and New Zealand and argues there are both profound similarities and differences between the two in their approach to regions, and the communities that live within them. In both nations neoliberal policies over the past three decades have eroded government support for regional policies, with decision makers favouring national economic growth over a concern for the spatial distribution of economic opportunities. In Australia this policy framework has been enacted within a federal system of government, while New Zealand has a unitary system of government. In both instances, regional policies have emerged episodically and have not found systematic translation to programmes and actions. The chapter goes on to demonstrate that in Australia over the past 20 years governments have given greater political priority to questions of regional well-being, and this renewed focus has emerged as a response to voter dis-satisfaction outside the capitals. It argues that this new political landscape has generated new opportunities for regions to gain access to resources and make representations to central governments for resources.
Michael Dunford and Weidong Liu
In this chapter Chinese regionalism is examined from two perspectives. First, accounts of China’s system of national and territorial governance, of China’s territorial development and of the position of minorities, questions of autonomy and regional conflict explore sub-national economic, political and cultural variation, the normative interests of sub-national entities and the dialectic of centralization and decentralization within China. Second, China’s role in Eurasian regionalism is examined as China seeks to establish shared interests, to foster closer economic and political co-operation with its neighbours and to promote a new model of ‘inclusive globalization’.
Sami Moisio and Andrew E.G. Jonas
The terms city-region and city-regionalism are today widely used by urban managers, planners, representatives of businesses associations and international organizations, real estate and property developers and state officials and politicians. These terms disclose the complex intertwining of contemporary urbanization, world economy and world politics. In this chapter we first review the economic geographical literature on city-regionalism. Second, we interrogate city regionalism as a set of political-administrative and/or geopolitical processes in more detail. We suggest that city-regions should not be understood as discrete spatial units that operate as ‘agents’ or ‘actor-scales’ in themselves. Nor should city-regions be considered as passive backdrops on which economy, politics or social reproduction simply happen. Rather city-regions may be conceptualized as dynamic sites of policy experimentation and political struggle, which are produced from various political processes operating within and around the national state and its institutions.
Luk Van Langenhove
The concept of region is since long frequently used within the epistemic real of International Relations (IR) and the study of world politics. Today, entities such as the European Union, are referred to as a regional organization. But, common as it might be used by policy-makers and scholars, it is not always very clear what is referred to when regions are mentioned in the framework of world politics. This chapter discusses how different literatures in IR and beyond have dealt with the notion of region at supra-national level. It will be argued that in order to advance scholarly understanding of such regionalisms, regions need to be looked at as governance entities with statehood properties. Finally, the implications of such a position for the comparative study of supra-national regionalisms will be discussed.
Roberta Comunian and Lauren England
The chapter explores the evolution of definitions and research developed in the last two decades on ‘creative regions’ in the UK and considers the shift from practices of regeneration and creative-placemaking to the development of creative production hubs. Following this development from a complexity perspective it argues for the importance of considering creative ecosystems, including consumption but also knowledge of human capital and creative learning opportunities in specific locations. The chapter highlights the limitations of previous research that adopts a single perspective to define this concept and outlines the value of using a creative ecology perspective and complexity thinking to take forward the research agenda on creative regions in the future.
Beyond the bewildering variety of cross-border regions that have emerged in different parts of the world, the presence of a state border is what constitutes their common denominator and justifies their existence. The objective of this chapter is to examine the role and significance borders are likely to play in the process of cross-border regionalization. The main idea is that cross-border regions do not only emerge in spite of the borders they cross or undermine but also thanks to them. Based on a conceptualization that acknowledges the multiple and open-ended nature of borders, the hypothesis that borders are not necessarily barriers, but can also represent resources for cross-border regions that have the strategic capacity to mobilize them is highlighted. An overview of the various cross-border regionalization initiatives in Europe, North America and Southeast Asia suggests a specific role for cities and urban actors in mobilizing their border-context to their advantage.