All urban and most rural regions of the United States have seen the formation of Regional Intergovernmental Organizations (RIGOs). These organizations are constituted by the local governments within that region and supported by active engagement of that region’s civic sector, its’ business community, and citizens and citizen groups.
Even though they are ubiquitous, little is known in theory and practice about how these organizations developed, how they have reshaped public discourse practices or how they can be enhanced to better address a wide variety of public policy issues.
To gain insight into this, we have developed and maintain an inventory of more than 500 cross boundary governmental organizations in all 50 states utilizing a database US counties in 45 states and municipalities in five states. This database is available to researchers and allows those counties and municipalities to be aggregated by RIGO. For each organization, we have collected detailed information on their activities, staffing, mission and vision, among other features. More importantly, this database can be linked to the American Community Survey.
We are currently working on governing and voting structures (based on by-laws) with specific interest in the collective choice arrangements between governments and the formal role of non-governmental actors in decision-making.
The Center for Metropolitan Studies, with the help of our affiliated researchers, has become the lead institute in the United States in developing knowledge on RIGOs. We are proud to be at the forefront of better insight into what will be seen as the major local governing innovation of the first quarter of the 21st century.