Urban economic policy networks in Britain and France: a sociometric approach
Local economic development policy networks in four cities in Britain and France (Leeds, Southampton, Lille, and Rennes) are compared by means of the technique of sociometric network analysis. The author's objective was to find out if, in an age of internationalisation and urban competition, networks still conform to the structure suggested by the classic Franco-British comparative studies, or whether they resemble the more open and interorganisational pattern characteristic of the new urban governance. After setting out the methods and the sociometric approach, the author identifies actors who have the ten highest centrality scores in the four cities. The author concludes that, in spite of continuing contrasts in the national institutional structures and differences in the politics and cultures of the four cities, there is a surprising similarity in the key actors involved in urban economic development; these actors include individuals from the locally elected authorities, central government bodies, and businesses. The new urban governance is based on the range of agencies responsible for economic development and upon the growing importance of business in policy formulation and implementation.
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