Regional development agencies : Origins, theory and practice

Gee, Paul R (1981) Regional development agencies : Origins, theory and practice. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis seeks to explore some of the main origins, strengths and weaknesses of regional development agencies both at a theoretical and practical level, and to examine how these conceptual issues have been translated within Britain where they have to take account of social, political and administrative constraints. Chapter one begins with a general discussion on the nature of the regional problem. The variety of types of government action at the level of the region are discussed and their institutional requirements outlined. Out of this the regional development agency emerges as the central concern of the paper. In chapter two the origins of the development agency idea are explored by examining two of its earliest applications - the Tennessee Valley Authority and the Cassa per il Mezzogiorno. Several features emerge as common to both agencies. In the third chapter it is contended that the creation of 'ad hoc' regional development agencies represents an attempt to establish at the level of the region a new and more powerful form of planning i.e. 'innovative' planning. This demands that development agencies are created in a form which can avoid the inherent inflexibility and constraints of the traditional government bureaucracy. In chapter four, the background to the creation of regional development agencies in Britain, and in particular Scotland, is discussed. Their emergence is seen in terms of an evolving regional planning machinery and a changing attitude towards regional affairs. Chapter five looks at the Highlands and Islands Development Board as the first large-scale application of the development agency idea in Britain. It is contended that much of its 'success', compared to previous attempts at development, can be attributed to its institutional form. Chapter six focusses attention on the Scottish Development Agency as one of the new generation of development agencies created by the Labour Government in 1975- Although relatively new its operations serve to illustrate many of the constraints and problems facing this type of institution. The concluding chapter draws together some of the main problems inherent in the development agency concept and those problems particular to the way it has been applied in Britain. It is proposed that there is a clear need to determine when it is an appropriate institutional solution and that more work is needed to improve the institutions of the future.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: Douglas McCallum
Keywords: Area planning & development
Date of Award: 1981
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1981-74128
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 15:33

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