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Governing the metropolis cover

Governing the metropolis: principles and cases

Eduardo Rojas et al. (ed.)
Publication year: 
Source of the information: 
Inter-American Development Bank


This book is based on a study that analysed recent advances in research and practice on the management of metropolitan areas in Latin America. It discusses options to improve democratic governance of the territories under the jurisdiction of diverse sub-national governments and identifies different ways to tackle the fiscal problems they face.
It brings out the theoretical problems as well as concrete experiences of cities in Latin America, North America, and Europe which offer a broad panorama of these problematic questions and discuss numerous successful and unsuccessful metropolitan management cases.



The book emphasises the following key ideas for urban governance:
  • Any strategy focused on competitiveness must articulate both the local and global development realms
  • Social and environmental concerns must be integrated into the economic development strategy
  • When considering large investments and projects in the metropolitan space, the city should be regarded as a space that extends beyond its institutional Limits
  • It is necessary to attract foreign investments, but not at any cost
  • The reduction of transaction costs is necessary to attract and retain productive activities
  • The role and intensity of public support in the metropolitan economy should be clarified
  • The anchor institutions for economic activity in the territory should be reinforced.
The book proposes the following steps to the metropolitan phenomenon:
  • Defining the economic profile and social problems in the metropolitan area
  • Adopting development strategies for growth and to improve competitiveness
  • Choosing a model of governance based on the local context.
The book identifies the following basic conditions and qualities of metropolitan governance:
  • There must be a reduction of negative externalities, creation of economies of scale, and provision of specific metropolitan services. It must be participatory, transparent and have political legitimacy
  • Mechanisms must be created to enhance cooperation between urban agents through the creation of horizontal and vertical networks between public and private agents operating within the urban, regional, and national systems
  • The new model of metropolitan governance should be supported by existing formal and informal institutional arrangements
  • Ample and flexible frameworks for the policy networks should be complemented with managerial and financial structures that stimulate cooperation arrangements aimed at establishing a collective decision-making process among local actors.