Under the banner of the new regionalism, the past decade has witnessed a revival of academic and political interest in the region as a strategic site for economic activity and scale for socially integrating civil society. What remains unclear, however, are the ‘actual mechanisms’ that connect this new politics of economic development with transitions in the regulation and governance of contemporary capitalism and its territorial form. This article seeks further connection by distinguishing between the processes of centrally orchestrated regionalism and regionally orchestrated centralism in the production of regions. While sympathetic to the general tenor of the new regionalism, this article presents an account of England’s unique new regionalist policy experiment to pose searching questions relating to the future direction of the new regionalism. Arguing that the new regionalism remains a fruitful avenue for unravelling the processes involved in the production of spatial scale(s), the article concludes that uncovering the politically charged processes involved in the production of subnational space remains an urgent task for urban and regional scholars.