Analysing urban governance networks: Bringing regime theory back in

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A substantial body of literature has addressed the emergence of new forms of network governance in the urban realm. Whilst some authors tend to consider network governance practices as intimately linked to neoliberalism, others celebrate them as a Third Way between markets and hierarchies. Bringing urban regime analysis back into this debate can be important for three main reasons: first, this theoretical approach invites us to interrogate narratives of transformation, arguing that 'governance' and 'networks' have always been integral to governing and, therefore, forcing governance theory to clarify what is new in the network paradigm; second, urban regime analysis highlights a fact that is often neglected in the network governance literature-that, in reality, the agendas and participants of governance networks can be very different in different places and that this can lead to different types of socioeconomic outcomes; third, urban regime analysis focuses our attention on the interplay between political economic structures and local political activities in particular places, helping us to understand how local governance decisions are taken in the face of global structural pressures. The comparison between two cases of neighbourhood regeneration in Barcelona permits us to illustrate what is new in the 'network governance' era; the diversity of urban policy practices that the 'network paradigm' can encompass; as well the influence of locally specific circumstances and of local actors' policy choices on the practice of network governance. © 2013 Pion and its Licensors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)276-291
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Government and Policy
Publication statusPublished - 3 May 2013


  • Barcelona
  • Governance networks
  • Urban governance
  • Urban regeneration
  • Urban regime theory


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