The Boundary Bargain: Growth, Development, and the Future of City-County Separation

By Hallsworth, Alan | British Journal of Canadian Studies, January 1, 2018 | Go to article overview

The Boundary Bargain: Growth, Development, and the Future of City-County Separation


Hallsworth, Alan, British Journal of Canadian Studies


Zachary Spicer, The Boundary Bargain: Growth, Development, and the Future of City-County Separation (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2016), 208 pp. Cased. $100. ISBN 978-0-7735-4748-3. Paper. $29.95. ISBN 978-0-7735-4749-0.

British Canadianists with a social sciences background often draw lessons from Canada on the depth of democracy. This should hardly surprise us - especially for residents of England and Wales outside of London and a few other conurbations such as Greater Manchester. Instead of devolved power they live with a slowly-increasing centralisation of power and what Jamie Peck - Professor of Geography at University of British Columbia - referred to as a 'hollowing-out' of democracy. In 2011 the British Conservatives' 'reforms' effectively removed the intervening, regional, tier from land-use planning. As a result, central government in Whitehall, which holds a higher percentage of national tax take than almost any other in the world, hands down its demands directly to localities. Typically, advising them of, say, the number of houses that they must - without question - get on with building: or rather, permit to be built; local 'Neighbourhood Plans' for this system are being driven by local residents themselves - many with little experience of such issues. The once-powerful county councils with the skills, knowledge, and ability to take an overarching and sometimes countervailing, view are, to some, sadly missed. …

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