The case of Lisbon as a starting point to understand the state of international academic debate on governance models for metropolitan areas

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The term “city region” designates a spatial entity where traditional city dominance beyond its physical boundaries is viewed in combination with the notion of globalization and worldwide urban competition. Regional administrative boundaries have demonstrated their inertia in spite of all literature pointing towards an urban-based rescaling of governance, perhaps an understandable fact in sight of the difficulties in making this an operative concept. Nevertheless, it is undeniable that a unit of some sort is needed to address the problems that are specific of scales between local and regional (or, in centralized countries, national) government. And this is a need associated with global competitiveness but first and foremost with the quality of life of metropolitan populations. The most experimented of intermediate scales of government/governance is the metropolitan area which is normally defined by urban continuum combined with transport systems operation. Although the resulting territories are changeable, they provide a good starting point for achieving more balanced and coherent urban spaces. Not all metropolitan areas that developed such structures have ensured effective and durable governance, as the compared study of the case of Lisbon confirmed (Branco, 2010). One of the more enlightening tools of the study was a consultation of international academic experts on these subjects. It showed the fragility of recent urban form concepts and the diverseness of approaches that can be used to build adequate metropolitan governance. A summary of these answers and their interpretation is the main focus of the proposed paper.
Original languageUnknown
Pages (from-to)267-275
JournalSpaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012

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