Tales of the suburbs: the local politics of growth in the South-east of England

Charlesworth, Julie and Cochrane, Allan (1994). Tales of the suburbs: the local politics of growth in the South-east of England. Urban Studies, 31(10) pp. 1723–1738.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/00420989420081601


The operation of local politics in Britain is changing. With the help of three case studies, this paper explores some of the implications of these changes. One key aspect of change is the increased salience of 'network' and 'partnership' arrangements associated with the rise of local economic policy-making. The importance of this shift has been widely recognised in areas of economic decline or stagnation and in what are generally analysed as more or less free-standing localities. Here the focus is on change within the south-east of England, which has largely been defined in terms of 'growth', and in which regional and sub-regional linkages make it very difficult to identify 'localities': instead, the moves beyond suburbanisation, towards what some have labelled 'edge cities', highlight the importance of 'imaginary' geographies to the shaping and reshaping of local political processes. The local politics of growth help to construct an apparently cosy world of consensus which in practice serves to reinforce the power of some groups at the expense of others.

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