Global value chains and regimes of urban governance: A comparison of four Canadian gateway cities


  • Dorval Brunelle Sociologie, Université du Québec à Montréal
  • Claudia De Fuentes Management, Saint Mary’s University
  • Peter V. Hall Urban Studies, Simon Fraser University
  • Jean Michel Montsion Canadian Studies, York University


Canada, Gateway city, Global value chain, Urban regime


Gateway cities are connected systems of transportation infrastructure that support the insertion of the urban region in international production, distribution and consumption networks. In this article, we propose a framework through which to grasp how the governance of gateway cities shapes their physical positioning in global value chains. We argue that specific urban governance configurations are best understood through the dynamic relationships between global economic requirements, local infrastructure assets, institutional arrangements, and the communities directly implicated. We put urban regimes, which are composed of urban coalitions of public and private actors acting at a variety of scales, and their sets of goals and norms, at the centre of these configurations. Focusing on the case of four Canadian city-regions, we use this framework to compare the ways in which the governance of these gateway cities occurs as it pertains to the development of physical infrastructure in support of international trade and global value chains.