Metropolitan Governance


By URBACT, on January 7th, 2011

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NeT-TOPIC Project cities share a set of common challenges. All of them are peripheral territories located in different European metropolitan areas. These cities have developed and continue to develop strategies to transform their nature as urban slums, which were created and evolved in the context of the industrialisation process some decades ago. This peripheral character generated fragmented cities, typified as dormitory cities, far away from the main city’s central spaces and core functions. In this framework, these cities have worked to become territories with greater urban integration, better public spaces and which provide better living conditions for their citizens.

Nowadays, metropolitan areas are configured as polycentric cities, overcoming the old dichotomy between the dynamic and traditional central city and suburban municipalities. The old, hierarchical division of narrowly defined urban functions is giving way to multi-functional territories, the establishment of new centres and, above all, new flows and mobility that generate interdependency and complementarity between territories.

City-In any case, this new urban configuration is giving place to real city-regions, where the whole and its parts establish new links to ensure the metropolitan area’s development, social cohesion and environmental sustainability. That is why “new metropolitan governance” is one of the key elements in addressing the challenges of the old peripheries, as it requires, among other things, the formation of new alliances, pacts and institutional systems that allow flexible decisions and recognise this new urban geography, which goes beyond inherited administrative boundaries within the city-region.

NeT-TOPIC cities, in one way or another, actively participate in this new metropolitan governance dynamic in order to position the metropolitan peripheries in a diverse, cohesive polycentric city. NeT-TOPIC provides an opportunity for reflection, sharing and learning, so that its cities can strengthen their role in their own metropolitan governance. The seminar on metropolitan governance held in Nanterre recently was a good example of these concerns, and revealed the evolution of different forms of metropolitan governance in the cities that comprise the network.

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Fernando Barreiro,
NeT TOPIC URBACT Project Lead Expert

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