The Rise of Localism in Railway Infrastructural Development
This chapter explores the potential impacts of an increasing emphasis on Localism upon railway infrastructural development. A brief exploration of the context for railway infrastructural development and Localism in China, the United States and Western Europe sets the context for a closer exploration of the changing roles and participation of local actors in government, governance and planning in the UK where the idea of Localism has been promoted as a major goal of public policy in recent years. Three small scale case studies are then used to explore how railway projects may be affected by increasing local engagement in decision-making and how local communities can collaborate with private stakeholders in shaping railway infrastructure development; possibly constructing alternative development trajectories and stimulating citizen engagement in the political life of local communities. The chapter concludes that, while a focus upon the local level has clear value for engagement within communities, there are a number of important spatial scales and sectors of policy making that deserve equal consideration and involvement, especially for services of strategic significance beyond the locality. Nevertheless the value of local creativity and volunteering to railway operations is potentially great and it is concluded that citizen engagement could become part of a wider process of social learning and infrastructure development.