The scalar arrhythmia of LGBTQ2S social inclusion policies in the peripheral municipalities of a ‘progressive’ city-region.

Alison L. Bain*, Julie A. Podmore

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


LGBTQ2S municipal governance is a contentious policy domain that is often publicly framed as ‘morality’ or ‘niche’ politics, yet urban sexuality scholars have shown its fundamental dissonance and incommensurability across spatial scales. Within polycentric city-regions aspiring to ‘progressiveness’, LGBTQ2S-supportive municipal social inclusion policy is further subject to arrhythmic diffusion. This paper introduces the neologism of scalar arrhythmia (a biomedical metaphor that parallels the pace of diffusion with the irregularities of a heartbeat) in conjunction with scale-contingent coalitional moments (spatio-temporal junctures that bring people together to enact social change) to forward an urban social justice agenda. It argues that the analytical vantage point of scalar arrhythmia reveals differences in the longitudinal temporal (a)synchronicities of peripheral municipal inclusion policy diffusion and locates transformative scale-contingent coalitional moments. Through an analysis of the interplay of diffusion processes and mechanisms across the adjacent peripheral municipalities of Burnaby, New Westminster, and Surrey in Canada’s Vancouver city-region, it demonstrates provincial-municipal hierarchical ‘coercion’, core-periphery metropolitan relocation ‘imitation,’ and suburban intra-municipal contagious ‘competition’. While peripheral patterns of scalar arrhythmia rupture Vancouver’s illusive progressive regionalism, the concept offers civic leaders an inventorying opportunity that redirects attention away from cursory LGBTQ2S policy performances to substantive policy integrations and local innovations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)784-806
JournalInternational Journal of Urban and Regional Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Social inclusion
  • policy diffusion
  • scale
  • coalitional moments
  • suburban governance


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