Portland State University. Department of Political Science
Date of Publication
Master of Science (MS)
Regional planning -- Great Britain, Regional planning -- United States
1 online resource (226 p.)
The work is a descriptive and comparative study of the British program for economically lagging regions of the country. The author's special interest was local participation in the central Government activity. Secondary sources of information on local aspects were in short supply, and the writer relied upon interviews and unpublished documents obtained on a visit to England to supplement published material. His extensive experience in the American development program also was utilized.
The study offers a classification of elements in the programs of the two countries and identifies comparable trends which have carried further in the British experience. The study of these trends can therefore be of use in evaluation of the direction and alternatives in the American approach.
Dramatic unemployment in declining basic industries concentrated in Northern England, Scotland, and Wales resulted in pressure on the British Government to create jobs in depressed regions during the 1930’s. The author calls this the “Job Development Era.” The program feature was the creation of central Government trading estates, or industrial parks. Firms were' encouraged to move to suffering regions by the provision of factory sites on advantageous terms, by loans and grants to finance expansion, by loans and grants to local government for needed public improvements, and by retraining programs to prepare indigenous workers to take new employment.
The “Resource Development Era” followed in both countries. In the U. K. it featured the creation of regional development policies, establishment of new towns as favored sites for both industry and workers, resource development grants in the lagging regions, grants to reclaim derelict land, and especially the initiation of a national system of controls on the location of industry and large offices.
The U. S. has not adopted location controls, but in other ways is currently in the "Resource Development Era," in which a depressed region is treated as a whole, rather than concentrating program assistance on particularly severe unemployment pockets.
The chief characteristic of the third and present British stage, the “Balanced Growth Era,” is recognition of the need to restructure regional economies in order to enable them to generate their own growth without further special assistance. Britain utilizes regional councils and government boards to plan the restructuring process, but only in the late 1960’s has major new financing supported implementation. Neither the resources nor the policy commitment has been made in the U. S. to attempt to alter the regional balance of the country.
The author made several forecasts from his comparative study, chief among them being (1) that the U.S. will inevitably but reluctantly move into the “Balanced Growth” period in its programming, and (2) that industrial location controls will not be adopted in the Same way in the U. S. as in the U. K., but may come as environmental preservation measures.
A key premise at the initiation of the study was that there must be some community and citizen participation in the British program, despite the paucity of printed information on these subjects. After a thorough search of the literature, and interviewing in England, the study did disclose an effective but little known role played by the local authorities. However, the author proved himself wrong in the supposition that the British citizenry and local community organizations have any noticeable impact on the program. In this way it is significantly different than the American experience.
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Current, Thomas G., "Lesson for America? England's development areas" (1972). Dissertations and Theses. Paper 1567.