Advantageous fragmentation? Reimagining metropolitan governance and spatial planning in Rhine-Main

This paper traces the latest round of debates about appropriate scales and scopes of government and governance in Rhine-Main - an economically highly integrated but politically, territorially and emotionally divided region. We identify a downscaling of political power from the regional to the municipal level, and an upscaling of informal networking and image building to an extended regional scale. These countertrends are signs of a more complex geographical rearrangement in municipal and institutional relations. The inherent contradictions in the rescaling and reimagining of Rhine-Main are evident in the Strategic Vision for Frankfurt/Rhein-Main 2020. Its new conceptualization of Rhine-Main postulates complementary polycentricity as a competitive asset but remains firmly grounded in an institutional territorial logic that contravenes its own economically-driven agenda.