For What Its Worth Regional Equity Community Organizing And Metropolitan America

Regional equity has taken off as a field of research and activism in recent years. Within the general field, three important variants have emerged: community development regionalism, in which the main interest is in using regional levers to promote a new form of community revitalization; policy change regionalism, in which the main emphasis is on shifting government rules to better distribute metropolitan resources; and social movement regionalism, in which the focus is on mobilizing communities for collective action at a regional level. Drawing on a series of case studies from across the country, we argue that all these variants have a role but that social movement regionalism may be particularly effective in productively addressing the inevitable tensions and conflicts that emerge in regional equity strategies, including the relationship to business-oriented regionalism, labor–community alliances, and the role of race. We conclude by speculating on the recent efforts of social movement regionalism to scale up, suggesting that this could present an important contribution to a broader and deeper movement for progressive social change in the United States.