Throughout the world more policy making and the politics that shape it take place in the urban regions where most people live. This book draws on eleven case studies of similar but disparate urban regions in France, Germany and the United States from the 1960s to the 1990s. It documents the growth of this urban governance and develops a pioneering analysis of its causes and consequences. It traces the origins to the expansion and devolution of policy making, to local business mobilization and institutional interests in high-tech and service activities, and the incorporation of local social movements. Nation-states shape the possibilities for this urban governance, but operate increasingly as infrastructures for local initiatives. Where urban governance has succeeded in combining environmental quality and social inclusion with local prosperity, local officials have built on supportive infrastructures from higher levels, the local economy, civil society, and favourable positions in the global economy.