Convergence Planning & Perspectives



Interest Convergence as Transaction, Justin Driver

This article experiments with an application of Professor Derrick Bell’s interest convergence theory by framing it in a transactional context to promote regional equity. The article asserts that the interest convergence theory has limitations when applied in rights-based contexts (such as access to public education) that may not exist where the theory is deployed in transactional contexts where value creation is the dominant motivation of the involved parties. While Professor Bell developed the interest convergence theory to explain the Supreme Court’s decision to desegregate public education in Brown by essentially arguing that the Court reached its decision because of a convergence of social interests held by white elites and blacks, the article charts how many of those interests identified by Bell no longer seem to exist today, as evidenced by our rapidly desegregating public school system. Employing an equitable economic development framework, the article then suggests that the application of the interest convergence theory is a transactional context could lead to more fluid interest convergences that, as a result of their fluidity, could stretch to accommodate changes in interests while fundamentally remaining aligned—an outcome that is not possible in a rights-based context where zero sum game dominates.




(Sub)Urban Poverty and Regional Interest Convergence, Patience Crowder

Poverty has expanded from America’s urban cores to its inner and outer suburban rings. In the midst of spreading hardship, new opportunities for confronting questions of regional equity are emerging, such as how best to govern our regional spaces for the benefit of all regional constituents, including the poor, middle class, and affluent. To date, governance theories have proven inadequate to this task. In the parlance of the current regional governance discourse, localists, regionalists, and new regionalists need a framework to make a reality of their seemingly disparate and inconsistent visions of local versus regional interests. Localists champion the autonomy of local governments as the appropriate form of regional management. Regionalists, on the other hand, advocate for mechanisms of regional governance to manage the maintenance and development of regional spaces. While new regionalists have advocated practical steps to eliminate the causes of regional inequities, encouraging more efficient fiscal and land use planning cooperation between local governments in a metropolitan region, new regionalism as a social movement is stalled largely because it has existed as a set of ideals without a framework for effectuating those ideals. This Article introduces a new strategy, regional interest convergence, as a new social justice framework to effectuate new regionalism and revive the movement. Regional interest convergence, a reconceptualization of the interest convergence theory first articulated by Professor Derrick Bell, provides a framework for beginning to address both urban and suburban poverty