Exploring how governing matters to regional resilience.

Key Publications
The Delegated State and the Politics of Federal Grants
The Delegated State and the Politics of Federal Grants,  by Sarah Reckhow (BRR working paper, September 2013] Although many believe “pork barrel politics” is how federal money is distributed,  this paper shows that the “delegated state”–contracting out public function to the private sector—plays a large role in explaining which metro areas get a large share […]Read more
Toward a More Useful Way of Understanding Regional Governance
Toward a more useful way of understanding regional governance, by Bill Barnes and Katherine Foster. (Paper presented at the European Urban Research Association, Vienna, Austria, September 2012). The paper proposes a framework to clarify and specify regional governance for scholars and practitioners. Using capacity and purpose rather than forms of governance or government as a foundation, […]Read more
Regional Problem-Solving: A Fresh Look at What Works
Regional Problem-Solving: A Fresh Look at What Works, [pdf] by Kathryn Foster and Bill Barnes (National League of Cities/ BRR, 2011). This essay, adapted from an article we wrote for Urban Affairs Review, proposes a new way of thinking about what it takes to solve problems at the regional level. The framework, which emphasizes regional […]Read more
Reframing Regional Governance for Research and Practice
Foster, Kathryn A., and William R. Barnes. 2012. “Reframing Regional Governance for Research and Practice.” Urban Affairs Review 48(2): 273-284. The article proposes a framework to clarify and specify regional governance, a concept widely used but as yet inadequately formulated for research and practice. Using capacity and purpose rather than governance or governmental forms as a […]Read more
Regional Resilience: Building Understanding of the Metaphor
By Kathryn Foster, Rolf Pendall, and Margaret Cowell (Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economics and Society 2010). This article examines how disciplines including ecology, psychology, disaster studies, geography, political science, and economics view resilience. Some describe resilience as a return to conditions before a shock. Others embrace a complex systems perspective. For other fields, resilience describes […]Read more
Key Questions

  • What does a multifaceted concept of regional governance look like?
  • How can we develop models for a cross-metropolitan index of resilience?
  • How does regional governance influence a region’s resiliency?

Key Findings

  • Regions whose leaders adopt more creative responses to regional changes are more likely to successfully adapt than are those who attempt to only recreate the past.
  • Regions that “Bet on the Basics” are less resilient that those that “Bow Out” and diversify their economy.
  • Timing matters.  Many of the regions that responded swiftly to changes were more adaptive.
  • Regional governance has five dimensions—the actor group, the agenda, internal capacity, external capacity, and regional track record. New work is creating a quantifiable way to compare regional governance.