Approaches to Municipalities’ Associations: the Case of the Inter-Municipal Community of Alto Alentejo

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After 1974, Portuguese municipalities witnessed an increase in their responsibilities, political powers and decision’ capabilities.
However, it soon became clear that they did not possess the technical and financial means to implement all these new assignments. Some projects are only achievable from a given range: so from an early age the need for supra-municipal structures became clear. Some examples include intercity road networks, river basins or strategic planning. The question of scale is essential both for the development of certain projects, and for an integrated approach to the problems that cross the municipalities’ boundaries, in which only a larger territorial scale ensure conditions to guarantee its success. This paper seeks to put in evidence that the phenomenon of
municipalities’ clustering emerged in a context in which there were various pressures for its creation, due to the lack of intermediary institutional bodies between central and local administration. It analyses the setting up process of new “meso-entities” (based on voluntary will and recognized by public deed), the impact on local development and the main strategies and approaches to promote economic growth. The case study of the Inter-municipality Community of Alto Alentejo is analysed in detail. The authors argue that this type of local structures present a significant degree of efficiency to overcome the difficulties encountered in establishing administrative regions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings 24th APDR Congress
Subtitle of host publicationIntellectual Capital and Regional Development: New landscapes and challenges for space planning
Place of PublicationCovilhã
PublisherAssociacao Portuguesa para o Desenvolvimento Regional (APDR)
Number of pages7
ISBN (Electronic)978-989-8780-05-8
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Event24th APDR Congress -
Duration: 6 Jul 20177 Jul 2017


Conference24th APDR Congress


  • Municipalities’ Associations
  • Alto Alentejo
  • Local Development


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