Experimentalist Regional Governance

Policy Analysis in Geographic-Functional Regions

by Jens Sorg (Author)
©2021 Thesis 432 Pages


Today, decision-making increasingly takes place in highly complex situations where the optimal solution is unclear upfront. If the decision-making process extends over several years – as in cases of large infrastructure projects – best available technologies, the group of people affected, and the institutions involved change over time. The presented research provides a decision-making concept for such situations. Based on a sound content analysis with over 400 documents and more than 31,000 pages, the regulatory structure of governance of the extension of Frankfurt Airport since the 1960s is analyzed. As a result, the theoretically derived concept of Experimentalist Regional Governance to analyze regulatory structures of governance in highly complex decision-making processes is confirmed.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title Page
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Dedication
  • Contents
  • Abstract
  • Kurzfassung
  • List of acronyms and symbols
  • 1 Introduction
  • 1.1 Presentation of the problem
  • 1.2 Governance of geographic-functional regions and policy analysis – naming the white spots
  • 1.3 Contribution to contemporary political science
  • 1.4 Structure
  • 2 Governance
  • 2.1 From government to governance
  • 2.2 Governance – a political scientist’s perspective
  • 2.3 Multilevel governance
  • 2.4 Governance in geographic-functional regions
  • 2.4.1 Regional governance
  • 2.4.2 Metropolitan governance
  • 2.5 Interim conclusion – governance
  • 2.6 Experimentalist regional governance
  • 2.6.1 Experimentalist governance and governance learning
  • 2.6.2 Experimentalist regional governance: a theoretical deduced concept to analyze regulatory structures of governance
  • Discussion of shared perceptions of joint challenges
  • Definition of goals and the measurement system
  • Implementation
  • Report and peer review
  • Review of the measurement system, the decision-making processes, and the stakeholder
  • The 5 aspects of ERG
  • 2.7 Research questions and hypothesis
  • 3 Approach and method
  • 4 The case: analyzing the extension of Frankfurt Airport since the 1960s
  • 4.1 The German federal system
  • 4.2 FrankfurtRhineMain and the city of Frankfurt
  • 4.2.1 The geographic-functional region of FrankfurtRhineMain
  • 4.2.2 Institutional arrangement of FrankfurtRhineMain
  • Non-private institutions
  • Private institutions
  • 4.3 Frankfurt Airport and the governance of the extension process
  • 4.3.1 Frankfurt Airport
  • 4.3.2 Airport extension: the official proceedings
  • 4.3.3 Airport extension, the 1960s–1980s
  • Runway 18-West
  • Interim findings: airport extension, the 1960s–1980s
  • 4.3.4 Mediation process, since 1997
  • Gesprächskreis Flughafen, 1997–1998
  • Mediationsgruppe Frankfurt Flughafen, 1998–2000
  • Regionales Dialogforum, 2000–2008
  • Forum Flughafen & region, since 2008
  • Interim findings: mediation process, since 1997
  • 4.3.5 Regional planning procedure and regional planning decision, 2000–2002
  • RPP Frankfurt Airport
  • Interim findings: RPP and RPD
  • 4.3.6 Road scheme evaluation and approval of plans, 2002–2004
  • RSE A380 Shipyard
  • Interim findings: RSE and AoP, 2002–2004
  • 4.3.7 Road scheme evaluation and approval of plans, 2004–2007
  • RSE Runway North-West/Terminal 3
  • Interim findings: RSE and AoP, 2004–2007
  • 4.3.8 Adjustment of plans, 2007 and beyond
  • Adjustment 66p 01.03.04/27, April 30, 2013
  • Adjustment 66p 01.03.04/29, May 10, 2013
  • Adjustment 66p 01.03.04/26, September 6, 2013
  • Adjustment 66p 01.03.04/31, May 26, 2014
  • Interim findings: adjustment of plans, 2007 and beyond
  • 5 Discussion
  • 5.1 ERG: an analytical framework in policy analysis
  • 5.2 Metropolitan governance bodies in FRM
  • 5.3 Governance learning in FRM
  • 5.3.1 Governance learning during mediation
  • 5.3.2 Governance learning during the official proceedings
  • 5.3.3 Governance learning: conclusion
  • 5.4 Further findings and deductions – ERG
  • 5.5 Future research areas: ERG in political science
  • 5.6 Conclusion
  • A Appendix
  • A.1 Keywords of content analysis
  • A.2 Further regional institutions FRM
  • A.3 Involved institutions of the RSE Runway 18-West
  • A.4 Members of Gesprächskreis Flughafen 1998
  • A.5 Members of “Mediationsgruppe” 1998–2000
  • A.6 Members of task forces
  • A.7 Members of Regionales Dialogforum Flughafen Frankfurt
  • A.8 Members of forum flughafen & region
  • A.9 Involved institutions of the RPP Frankfurt Airport
  • A.10 Involved institutions of the RSE A380 Shipyard, 1st evaluation
  • A.11 Involved institutions of the RSE A380 Shipyard, 2nd evaluation
  • A.12 Involved institutions of the RSE Runway North-West/Terminal 3, 1st Evaluation
  • A.13 Involved institutions of the RSE Runway North-West/Terminal 3, 2nd Evaluation
  • A. 14 Responding Institutions of the RSE Runway North-West/Terminal 3, 2nd Evaluation
  • A.15 Clarification letters of Fraport AG
  • Bibliography

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Following their predicted death in the 1980s, cities and geographic-functional regions such as metropolitan regions like FrankfurtRhineMain (FRM) becoming increasingly popular again (Newton 2012) – economical and space-wise, but especially regarding their regulatory structure of governance and political decision-making processes, because political boundaries in which involved institutions operate do not necessarily follow geographic borders. The regulatory structure of governance, the decision-making processes, and the institutional arrangement in geographic-functional regions are the focus of the following research. Current approaches of policy analysis seem to lack a sound analytical framework addressing the functional character of metropolitan regions and linking the structural perspective of political science and the procedural character of policy-making, which Mayntz already proclaimed in the 1980s (Mayntz 1983). The presented research intends to help closing the identified gaps in current governance research.

Coming from the field of jurisprudence and focusing on the European Union (EU), a promising approach seems to be Sabel and Zeitlin’s idea of experimentalist governance. It focuses on the regulatory framework of governance described by five consecutive elements – discussion of shared perceptions of joint challenges; definition of goals and measurement systems; implementation; report and review; review of the measurement system, the decision-making process, and the stakeholders (Sabel and Zeitlin 2012b; Sabel and Zeitlin 2010a).

By applying Sabel and Zeitlin’s approach to geographic-functional regions below EU-level, the presented research sets the center of attention on regional aspects. Focusing on the regulatory framework of governance, the decision-making process, and the institutional arrangements in the geographic-functional regions of FRM, the concept of experimentalist governance is analyzed in political science for the first time. That enhances the original idea and leads to a focus on the region. With that, experimentalist regional governance (ERG) is derived as a theoretical-analytical framework focusing on the examination of the regulatory ←11 | 12→framework of governance, the decision-making process, and the institutional arrangement in geographic-functional regions.

The presented research will analyze the assumptions and assertion of Sabel and Zeitlin by evaluating the governance processes of the airport extension in the geographic-functional regions like metropolitan FRM.

Based on a sound scientific approach more than 400 documents with over 31,000 pages are analyzed by content analysis – including decisions, memoranda, minutes, reports, and transcripts. With that, the regulatory structure of governance, the decision-making processes, and the institutional arrangments during the airport extensions of Frankfurt Airport are traced by applying the theoretical derived concept of ERG.

The findings of the presented research have three major aspects. First, the assumptions and assertion lying in the five aspects of the theoretical derived concept of ERG are tested against the social reality in the metropolitan region of FRM, namely the regulatory structure of governance and the decision-making process of the official proceedings of the extension of Frankfurt Airport since the 1960s – the regional planning procedure (RPP) and the road scheme evaluation (RSE) – and the mediation process since 1997. Second, the institutional arrangements including the involved stakeholder of the extension processes are presented. Finally, the research will conclude on governance learning.

Overall, the presented research contributes to a better understanding of governance in geographic-functional regions, like FRM.

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Nach ihrem prognostizierten Tod in den 1980er Jahren erfreuen sich Städte und geographisch-funktionale Regionen, wie Metropolregionen, zum Beispiel FrankfurtRheinMain (FRM) wieder zunehmender Aufmerksamkeit (Newton 2012) – wirtschaftlich und räumlich, aber vor allem aber auch hinsichtlich ihrer ordnungspolitischen Strukturen von Governance und politischen Entscheidungsprozessen, denn politische Grenzen, in denen die beteiligten Institutionen agieren, folgen nicht notwendigerweise geographisch-funktionalen Grenzen. Die Regulierungsstrukturen von Regierungsführung, die Entscheidungsprozesse und die Anordnung beteiligert Institutionen in geographisch-funktionalen Regionen stehen im Mittelpunkt der folgenden Forschung. Gegenwärtigen Ansätzen in der Governanceforschung, die sich mit dem funktionalen Charakter von Metropolregionen befassen und die strukturelle Perspektive der Politikwissenschaft mit dem prozeduralen Charakter der Politikgestaltung verbindet, den Mayntz bereits in den 1980er Jahren proklamierte (Mayntz 1983), scheint ein fundierter analytischer Rahmen zu fehlen. Die vorligende Forschung soll dazu beitragen, die identifizierten Lücken in der aktuellen Governanceforschung zu schließen.

Aus dem Bereich der Rechtswissenschaft kommend und auf die Europäische Union (EU) fokussiert, scheint die Idee von Sabel und Zeitlin zu Experimentalist Governance ein vielversprechender Ansatz. Die Idee konzentriert sich auf den regulatorischen Rahmen von Governance, der durch fünf aufeinander folgende Elemente beschrieben wird: Diskussion der gemeinsamen Wahrnehmung gemeinsamer Herausforderungen; Definition von Zielen und Messsystemen; Umsetzung; Bericht und Überprüfung; Überprüfung des Messsystems, des Entscheidungsprozesses und der Interessenvertreter (Sabel and Zeitlin 2012b; Sabel and Zeitlin 2010a).

Durch die Anwendung des Ansatzes von Sabel und Zeitlin auf geographisch-funktionale Regionen unterhalb der EU-Ebene stellt die vorgestellte Forschung regionale Aspekte in den Mittelpunkt des Interesses. Mit dem Fokus auf den regulatorischen Rahmen von Governance, die Entscheidungsprozesse und die beteiligten Institutionen in der geographisch-funktionalen Region von FRM wird das Konzept ←13 | 14→von Experimentalist Governance erstmals in der Politikwissenschaft analysiert. Das Fokus erweitert die ursprüngliche Idee und führt zu einer Fokussierung auf die Region. Damit wird Experimentalist Regional Governance (ERG) als theoretischer Analyserahmen abgeleitet, der sich auf die Untersuchung des regulatorischen Rahmens von Governance, der Entscheidungsprozesses und der beteiligen Institutionen in geographisch-funktionalen Regionen konzentriert. In der vorliegenden Untersuchung werden die Annahmen und Thesen von Sabel und Zeitlin analysiert, indem die Entscheidungsprozesses des Flughafenausbaus in der geographisch-funktionalen FRM analysiert werden.

Auf der Grundlage eines fundierten wissenschaftlichen Ansatzes der Inhaltsanalyse werden mehr als 400 Dokumente mit über 31.000 Seiten analysiert – einschließlich Entscheidungen, Memoranden, Protokolle, Berichte und Transkripte. Dabei werden der regulatorische Rahmen von Governance, ddie Entscheidungsprozesse und die beteiligen Institutionen beim Flughafenausbau des Frankfurter Flughafens unter Anwendung des theoretisch abgeleiteten Konzepts von ERG nachgezeichnet.

Die Ergebnisse der vorgestellten Forschung haben drei wesentliche Aspekte. Zunächst werden die Annahmen und Thesen, die in den fünf Aspekten des theoretisch abgeleiteten Konzepts von ERG liegen, an der sozialen Realität in der Metropolregion FRM getestet, nämlich an den Regulierungsstrukturen und Entscheidungsprozessen der offiziellen Verfahren zum Ausbau des Frankfurter Flughafens seit den 1960er Jahren – dem Raumordnungsverfahren und dem Planfeststellungsverfahren – sowie dem Mediationsverfahren seit 1997. Zweitens werden die am Ausbauprozessen beteiligten beteiligen Institutionen dargelegt. Abschließend wird die Forschung zum Thema Governance Learning Ergebnisse liefern. Insgesamt trägt die vorgestellte Forschung zu einem besseren Verständnis von Governance in geographisch-funktionalen Regionen wie FRM bei.


ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2021 (January)
Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Warszawa, Wien, 2021. 432 pp., 4 fig. col., 85 fig. b/w.

Biographical notes

Jens Sorg (Author)

Jens Matthias Sorg studied political science at the Johann Wolfgang Goethe University in Frankfurt am Main, where he also received his doctorate.


Title: Experimentalist Regional Governance
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433 pages