Urban and regional development policy emerges as a clear government focus after the Second World War. Legitimated by the earlier emergence of city and regional planning, it based itself on a new mobility of firms and people in the space economy, albeit mediated by a newly emergent property capital. It would assume very different forms in the countries of Western Europe and the USA. In the former, central states would play an important role, facilitating the movement of employment to backward areas and those of high unemployment. New towns were constructed to take the pressure off major metropolitan centres. In the US, the emphasis would be bottom-up. Local governments competed for inward investment in a market for locations. Immediate reasons for this difference include contrasting state structures, particularly in their territorial aspects. These structures, though, are one aspect of more fundamental variations in social formations relating to the fact that in Western Europe, capitalism emerged from pre-capitalist social relations, accompanied by the absolutist state. In the US this was not the case.