Cross-border hostilities and regional planning in the United States and Canada: What role for expertise, insulated from the “Hurry and Strife of Politics”?

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Department of Social Sciences


Woodrow Wilson argued in a celebrated essay that governmental agencies could be insulated from political pressures, so regional planners and other experts could identify social problems systematically and implement desirable solutions efficiently. That goal is unrealistic under most circumstances. But are there conditions under which Wilson’s aspiration might be achieved? We argue that public agencies with divided “sovereignty” may, under certain conditions, insulate experts who can meet these goals. We specify factors that led to the creation of two such agencies and the variables that have permitted them to achieve significant success, but that have led, at times, to disappointment.

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© 2018 The Author(s). Publisher’s version of record:

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Journal of Planning History