HARRISON, J., 2013. Rethinking city-regionalism as the production of new non-state spatial strategies: the case of Peel Holdings Atlantic Gateway Strategy. Urban Studies: an international journal for research in urban studies.
City-regions are widely recognised as key to economic and social revitalization. Hardly surprising then is how policy elites have sought to position their own city-regions strategically within international circuits of capital accumulation. Typically this geopolitics of city-regionalism has been seen to represent a new governmentalised remapping of state space conforming to the prevailing orthodoxy of neoliberal state spatial restructuring. Through a case study of the Atlantic Gateway Strategy, this paper provides a lens on to an alternative vision for city-region development. The brainchild of a private investment group, Peel Holdings, the Atlantic Gateway is important because it points toward the production of new non-state spatial strategies. Examining Peel’s motives for invoking the city-region concept, the paper goes on to explore the tensions which currently surround the strategy to further identify the potential and scope for non-state spatial strategies. Connecting this to emerging debates around the key role of asset ownership and the privatisation of local democracy and the democratic state, the paper concludes by suggesting the key question arising is can and will the state maintain its degree of governmental control over capital investment in major urban regions in an era where persistent under-provision of investment in urban economic infrastructure behoves institutions of the state to become ever more reliant on private investment groups to deliver the deliver the jobs, growth and regeneration of the future.