Washington Law Review


Laurie Reynolds


The economic gap between affluent suburbia and the urban core has recently received widespread attention among state and local government law scholars. Although the underlying normative arguments rest on very different rationales, scholars with a wide range of doctrinal approaches appear to have formed a consensus that the current concentration of wealth and resources in metropolitan areas is unacceptable. Their common goal of reducing regional disparities has made the scholarly dialogue a dispute over how, rather than whether, to achieve a better distribution. For many of what can be described as the "New Regionalist" scholars, voluntary intergovernmental cooperative efforts may appear to offer the potential to accomplish many of their stated goals. This Article examines the common types of intergovernmental cooperative efforts and concludes that they fail to correct, and often exacerbate, the socioeconomic gap. Thus, the regionalist agenda must be reworked to take account of the negative impacts that many of the highly touted regional governance efforts actually produce in metropolitan areas.

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