Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A model for regional governance: The case of Envision Utah
by Carrier, Amy L., Ph.D., University of Colorado at Denver, 2015, 293; 3739577
Abstract (Summary)

As regions grow, they face increasing demands on their limited resources to solve problems ranging from environmental preservation to health care access, from transit challenges to education quality. While some regions chose to address these demands on a fragmented basis, or rely on government or sector-specific organizations to come up with solutions, many regions are now employing comprehensive, collaborative approaches. This thesis focused on the effectiveness of one such regional governance model—Envision Utah—and that model’s success in achieving growth management goals.

This dissertation seeks to answer the following questions: 1. What factors lead to the formation of new regional coalitions, particularly for the purpose of managing growth? 2. What resources do those coalitions draw upon to initiate action? 3. How do regional coalitions successfully transition from initial formation to planning to execution? 4. How do regional coalitions focused on growth management measure success? 5. What determines whether a regional coalition becomes a formal institution, shifts its focus and/or adapts its purpose, or dissolves entirely?

This dissertation uses a single case study design, examining the efforts of Envision Utah, a regional coalition based in the Greater Wasatch region of Utah. Three methods of data gathering were employed—an archival review of selected documents, a set of in-depth semi-structure interviews, and an online survey—resulting in an analysis employing a triangulation of data. Additionally, a regional typology was developed using examples of three additional regional coalitions to provide a comparison for the primary case study.

The analysis found that recognizing a region’s history is critical when considering growth management policy. Each region’s history is unique, and that history plays a significant role in directing how a region evolves and responds to new opportunities. The informal institutions within a region—including culture and shared values—directly impact the effectiveness of growth management in the region, and inform whether growth management policies can change, and how. The analysis also found that civic capital—particularly strong leadership, effective citizen engagement, and high levels of trust—is essential to the development and implementation of successful growth management policies. More importantly, however, is how regional coalitions harness that civic capital and use it to build consensus and collaboration.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Wallis, Allan
Commitee: Fosler, Scott, Goldstein, Bruce, Heikkila, Tanya, Sowa, Jessica
School: University of Colorado at Denver
Department: Public Affairs
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 77/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Public administration, Public policy, Urban planning
Keywords: Civic capital, Coalitions, Envision Utah, Growth management, Historic institutionalism, Regional governance
Publication Number: 3739577
ISBN: 978-1-339-30451-9
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