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The rise of urban growth coalitions, UK-style?

By A Harding

Abstract

The extent to which the period since the mid-1980s has seen the development, in UK towns and cities, of organisations comparable to the urban growth coalitions common to the USA is examined. The focus is particularly on property interests which are the dominant players in US coalitions. An attempt is first made to disaggregate the interests making up the UK property sector into its component parts. The growth-coalition concept, as applied in the USA, is then examined and brief comment made on the extent of its relevance for the contemporary United Kingdom. The third section is an examination of the key contextual factors which have triggered the development of UK variants of growth coalitions. Fourth, recent empirical work is drawn on to examine the part which various property interests have played and the strategic weight which is attached to property development in a number of recent UK public - private partnership organisations. Last, the implications for the process and impact of urban change are examined and it is asked whether the growth-coalition model, and the role of property within it, is likely to be an enduring feature of UK urban economic and political life through the 1990s.

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