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Regime or coalition? Power relations and the urban agenda in Saint John, 1950-2000


  • Greg Marquis


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to examine the forces and actors that shaped urban development in a mid-sized Canadian city over a half century. Design/methodology/approach - This case study adopts a qualitative research approach based on government documents, planning studies, the media and non-governmental organization sources to examine the applicability of regime theory versus growth coalition theory in the Canadian context. Findings - The paper concludes that the broader urban agenda in Saint John, with its focus on economic competitiveness, has been shaped by shifting growth coalitions supported by both the private and public sectors. Research limitations/implications - One limitation is that analysis is based mainly on documentary evidence and the public statements of elected officials and business interests. Future research would attempt to conduct oral interviews with representative informants. Practical implications - One practical implication for urban researchers is the need to look beyond electoral politics and partisanship in order to understand how urban development is shaped in the medium and long term. The research findings suggest also the need for informed citizens to adopt a more critical stance to business and political leaders, and to the local media, in their own communities. Originality/value - This paper is one of the few to address the politics of urban development in Saint John, New Brunswick's largest city. It also contributes to the literature on regionalism and mid-sized cities.

Suggested Citation

  • Greg Marquis, 2009. "Regime or coalition? Power relations and the urban agenda in Saint John, 1950-2000," Journal of Enterprising Communities: People and Places in the Global Economy, Emerald Group Publishing, vol. 3(4), pages 355-368, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eme:jecpps:v:3:y:2009:i:4:p:355-368

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    Canada; Cities; Town planning; Regional development;


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