Cross-Border Urban Governance and the informal Mechanisms of Space Production

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Abstract Summary
The globalization of economic as well as cultural exchanges has led to the emergence of a new geography of capitalism, with a network of extended urban territories as its assumed structural basis (Brenner 2016, Sohn 2014). Driven by regional and global geo-economic forces, these emergent regional spaces tend to transcend the jurisdictional and territorially defined borders (Soja 2015, Addie 2013). Indeed, the increasing permeability of political boundaries to the thickening flows of goods, people and resources has pushed beyond the very notions of space, place, city and governance as we know them. Such has turned the process of extended urbanization into an arena of continuous conflict, but also of wide opportunities for cooperation. This has been most relevant for the discourse on cross-border regionalism, where local and global processes of economic/functional integration come strongly into play. Within this model of regionalisation, actors engage actively and strategically to mobilise the borders as deferential benefit to generate value out of asymmetric cross-border interactions. Though functionally integrated from an economic point of view, the emergent regional spaces are usually" riddled with inequalities and fracture lines of a political as well as of a social and economic nature" (Sohn 2014). It can be argued that these socio-spatial vulnerabilities are the manifestations of rising tensions between the unbounded and networked nature of the region on the one hand, and on the other hand, the geographies of governance that emerge from unbalanced politics of regionalism. Against this background, this research takes the case study of the SIJORI Growth Triangle, a term that refers to the strategic interweaving of the comparative advantages between the city state of Singapore, the Province of Johor (Malaysia), and the Province of Riau islands (Indonesia). However, there is much more to this Growth Triangle than just comparative advantages and economic growth; this transnational policy intervention has had a tremendous impact on the spatial, ecologic and social structure of the region. The absence of a regional governance strategy to manage the externalities of economic growth and urbanization has left the region vulnerable to multiple risks. In this regard, the current research investigates the mechanisms and processes of space production and urban governance in the SIJORI extended urban region, which emerge in the absence of a state-driven territorial project. By looking at the region not only as functional space, but also a socio-territorial unit equipped with a certain degree of strategic capacity (Perkmann 2003), the research explores how non-state actors and alliances shape the socio-spatial geography of the extended urban region, and what are the emerging urban governance mechanisms that derive from the existing non-state politics of regionalism. It also looks at whether the existing "informal" mechanisms could be the basis for a territorial project that deals with spatial, social and environmental risks on a regional scale.
Abstract ID :
ISO680
Submission Type
Lecturer and researcher
,
University of Stuttgart

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