Article Type



Various modes of regional engagement are being developed at an increasing rate across the United States (US). The purpose of this article is to highlight a theoretical tension that currently informs the way conceptions of access are being produced in regional engagement practice. Generally, regional engagement has been organized within larger movements to improve democratic capacity. However, the practical expression of regional engagement has failed to seriously consider how the context of a market-based society shapes theoretical conceptions of access. This article distinguishes the differences between access to new markets and democratic access for social, political, and economic inclusion. This theoretical framework will help practitioners maintain forms of regional engagement that support the larger democratic engagement movement well into the 21st century.