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It Takes a Region: A Case Study of Growth and Governance in the St. John’s city-region of Newfoundland and Labrador

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This study is about understanding a less typical Canadian response to metropolitan regional governance in the St. John’s city-region of Newfoundland and Labrador. Governance of city-regions has become a prominent concern of urbanizing areas around the globe, yet the political dynamics of the local context significantly impact adoption of regional solutions to this challenge. In this research, content analysis of policy reports and consulting studies were combined with interviews of provincial and municipal leaders, planners and regional organizations. The study found that despite a number of operationally effective single-purpose regional bodies there is a high level of power imbalance, distrust of the centre city, and a history of relations that are not conducive to advancing regionalism. Still, there are ongoing forums that continue to advance the region as a legitimate scale for action and participants see value in the regional approach. This study concludes that Provincial intervention is necessary to steer the leadership of the region toward workable regional solutions. In order to enhance inter-municipal collaboration in regional governance the Province needs to act as a facilitator to move beyond historical power dynamics and build trust. Furthermore, in order to improve relations with its neighbours, the City of St. John’s has to seek collaborative solutions and put the amalgamation ghost to rest.
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