2001 volume 33(3) pages 551 – 565

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Wood L E, 2001, "From theory to implementation: an analysis of the Appalachian Regional Commission's growth center policy" Environment and Planning A 33(3) 551 – 565

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From theory to implementation: an analysis of the Appalachian Regional Commission's growth center policy

Lawrence E Wood

Received 27 June 2000; in revised form 28 December 2000

Abstract. In the 1960s and early 1970s growth center policies were included in the regional policies of countries throughout much of the world. However, by the mid-1970s, many academics and government agencies believed that growth center policies were not successful in encouraging regional development, and since that time growth center theory has remained, in general, poorly regarded. In the 1960s, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) implemented a growth center policy. Though much has been written about the ARC, there is little research on the Commission's experience in implementing its growth center policy. The author uses historical documentation from the ARC to assess the Commission's growth center policy, particularly in the context of growth center theory. He then utilizes ARC expenditure data to determine the extent to which the ARC was able to implement what is best termed a 'modified growth center strategy'. It is concluded that the ARC did not implement a policy that was particularly akin to growth center policy as presented in the theoretical literature; however, it is also concluded that the ARC did implement a modified version of a growth center strategy with some success.

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