Much of our understanding of local economic development is based on large urban agglomerations as nodes of innovation and competitive advantage, connecting territories to global value chains. However, this framework cannot so easily be applied to peripheral regions and secondary cities in either the Global South or the North.

This book proposes an alternative way of looking at local economic development based on the idea of fragile governance and three variables: associations and networks; learning processes; and leadership and conflict management in six Latin American peripheral regions. The case studies illustrate the challenges of governance in small and intermediate cities in Latin America, and showcase strategies that are being used to achieve a more resilient and territorial vision of local economic development.

This book will be of interest to students and researchers of local economic development, urban and regional studies, and political economy in Latin America as well as to policy-makers and practitioners interested in local and regional economic development policy.

Hardcovers and softcover orders available on the Routledge website


Cities and regions throughout the world are encouraging smarter growth patterns and expanding their transit systems to accommodate this growth, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and satisfy new demands for mobility and accessibility. Yet despite a burgeoning literature and various policy interventions in recent decades, we still understand little about what happens to neighborhoods and residents with the development of transit systems and the trend toward more compact cities. Research has failed to determine why some neighborhoods change both physically and socially while others do not, and how race and class shape change in the twenty-first-century context of growing inequality.

Drawing on novel methodological approaches, this book sheds new light on the question of who benefits and who loses from more compact development around new transit stations. Building on data at multiple levels, it connects quantitative analysis on regional patterns with qualitative research through interviews, field observations, and photographic documentation in twelve different California neighborhoods. From the local to the regional to the global, Chapple and Loukaitou-Sideris examine the phenomena of neighborhood transformation, gentrification, and displacement not only through an empirical lens but also from theoretical and historical perspectives.

Growing out of an in-depth research process that involved close collaboration with dozens of community groups, the book aims to respond to the needs of both advocates and policymakers for ideas that work in the trenches.

“This is a work of careful scholarship, drawing on extensive literature reviews, field interviews, and statistical analysis to bring much-needed clarity to the debate around gentrification and displacement, showing how transit-oriented development has succeeded in some cities and failed in others, both politically and in practice. National and global examples make it a valuable resource for urbanists anywhere.”

–Mary Nichols, Chair, California Air Resources Board

“Chock-full of supporting data and in-depth case reviews, this book’s penetrating analysis of displacement and gentrification fills a long-standing gap in the transit-oriented development literature. Promising pathways for increasing affordable housing and advancing social justice around transit hubs are charted throughout the book.”

–Robert Cervero, Professor Emeritus, Department of City and Regional Planning, University of California, Berkeley

“Chapple and Loukaitou-Sideris refuse to accept the inadequacies of past work on gentrification and displacement. In this superb, must-read book, these two exemplary urban scholars deepen our understanding of how both processes are playing out in supposedly smart cities, with implications for urbanists worldwide.”

–Loretta Lees, Professor of Human Geography, University of Leicester

Hardcovers and softcover orders available from The MIT Press


Planning Sustainable Cities and Regions

As global warming advances, regions around the world are engaging in revolutionary sustainability planning – but with social equity as an afterthought. California is at the cutting edge of this movement, not only because its regulations actively reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also because its pioneering environmental regulation, market innovation, and Left Coast politics show how to blend the “three Es” of sustainability–environment, economy, and equity. Planning Sustainable Cities and Regions is the first book to explain what this grand experiment tells us about the most just path moving forward for cities and regions across the globe.

The book offers chapters about neighborhoods, the economy, and poverty, using stories from practice to help solve puzzles posed by academic research. Based on the most recent demographic and economic trends, it overturns conventional ideas about how to build more livable places and vibrant economies that offer opportunity to all. This thought-provoking book provides a framework to deal with the new inequities created by the movement for more livable – and expensive – cities, so that our best plans for sustainability are promoting more equitable development as well.

This book will appeal to students of urban studies, urban planning, and sustainability, as well as policymakers, planning practitioners, and sustainability advocates around the world.

Sample Chapter: The Challenge of Mixing Uses and the Secret Sauce of Urban Industrial Land

“Finally, a book about sustainability that fully accepts that the future will not be like the past. Boldly proclaiming that cities are inevitably moving toward livability, Chapple notes how traditional planning techniques cannot fully grapple with our changing demographics, the rise of the networked economy, and the shifting preferences of the next America. Utilizing the experience of the Bay Area – while making the appropriate caveats about the transportability of that experience — she charts a different approach, one that addresses our distributional and environmental crises even as it neatly fits into an emerging economy that is both more regional and more entrepreneurial. Deftly shifting between high-level theory, case study empirics, and practical policy – and insisting along the way that equity be a guiding principle for the future – this volume should be required reading for both students and practitioners of sustainability planning for the 21st Century.”
–Manuel Pastor, University of Southern California, USA

“In this exceptional book Karen Chapple develops an argument regarding how planning can be used to achieve justice and sustainability within cities and regions. With great originality Chapple shows how sensitivity to local context is key within a larger goal of enlarging people’s capabilities, not simply broadening their range of choice.”
–Susan S. Fainstein, Harvard University, USA

“Linking economic development, environmental protection and improvement, and equity have long been articulated, but rarely achieved, goals of city sustainability programs. This book takes a critical look at how cities in California have sought to achieve these goals, and offers a new way of thinking about their pursuit. It is a must read for anyone seriously interested in understanding the promise and impediments to making cities and their regions more sustainable.”
–Kent Portney, Tufts University, USA

Hardcovers and softcover orders available on the Routledge website