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RSA Plenary Session: 100 Years of Infrastructural Regionalism

Check out the RSA Regions in Recovery 2022 Global e-Festival NOIR Plenary Session

"100 Years of Infrastructural Regionalism: Exploring the dynamic interaction between infrastructure and regional governance in metropolitan New York"

March 31, 2022 - 14:00-16:00 BST

The Network on Infrastructural Regionalism (NOIR) launched with a call for a new research agenda focusing on exploring the intersection between infrastructure and regionalism centered on four interrelated themes: interdisciplinarity; infrastructure and regional governance; seeing like a region; and infrastructure and regional lives. NOIR member Jen Nelles brings the topic of infrastructure governance to the fore examining the synergies between how infrastructure shapes governance structures, and how actors involved in regional governance determine the development of regions.

This talk explores this theme through the lens of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey (PANYNJ) and the infrastructural development of the New York metropolitan region, based on research from her forthcoming book with Phil Plotch, Mobilizing the Metropolis (University of Michigan Press, 2023). While the PANYNJ is in some ways a unique organization – a vast, well-established, financially self-sustaining, multipurpose, bistate agency – exploring its evolution in parallel with infrastructural sinews that fueled the region’s growth and bound it together reveals some of the tensions inherent in regional governance. Come for the conflict, the fragmentation, the scandal, and the political struggles. Stay for lessons about the importance of coalition building, collaboration, and creativity required to pull off a hundred years of infrastructure innovation, growth, and development!

The session concludes with contributions by discussants (see below) who offer their own perspectives on the theme of infrastructure and regional governance and stimulate a lively discussion by placing the New York metropolitan case in conversation with international examples.

Event recording available here:

Clockwise from top left:

Jen Nelles (Oxford Brookes Business School)


John Harrison (Loughborough University)

Markus Hesse (University of Luxembourg)

Julie Cidell (University of Illinois)


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