Monthly Archives: October 2016

Planning and Governing the Metropolis

International Working Group of ARL starts in December

Different processes of rescaling (up, down, trans-scaling) in the EU countries have multi-faceted impact to the metropolitan governance and planning institutions. There is a variety of institutional forms, planning practices and episodes manifested and experimented recently in the metropolitan regions of Europe, but there is a gap of knowledge about these structures and processes – both in academia and practice (policy makers, planers, politicians).

Despite a diversity of books produced in the last few years on metropolitan governance issues presenting collections of case studies, there is no systematic comparison of factors that influence the institutional form of metropolitan governance, the success factors and the performance of metropolitan governance and especially the role of metropolitan planning.

Nowadays, a distinct set of problems and challenges for the metropolitan planning emerge. Included in these emerging hurdles are: non-regulated competition among municipalities to attract new investments, new fragmentations and contradictions under fiscal and economic crisis, unprecedented external episodes, new environmental and demographic problems, uncontrolled migration and refugees flows, increased inequalities, social and territorial segregation, and new poverty in the cities. All these challenges reformulate new requirements for planners and their planning agendas at different scales.

In the past, academics and planning practitioners gave priorities to the issues of entrepreneurship, competition, performance of metropolitan institutions, “market”-led planning, while they undermined the issues of redistribution, local democracy, social justice, and environmental challenges (green infrastructure). Consequently, open questions as to how and whether these new challenges and problems should be addressed by metropolitan planning practices and institutions remain. A critical appraisal is required which will not only focus on criteria of performance, innovation and efficiency, but also on criteria of democracy, transparency, social justice and social cohesion.

Aims and research questions of the International Working Group

  1. Institutions

How can we explain the variety of forms of metropolitan institutions among the EU countries (or even in the same country) and how to interpret their transformations across time? What are the reasons for change, from consolidated forms to abolishment of metropolitan institutions and then again to resurgence of new forms, e.g. London, Copenhagen, Barcelona, Manchester etc.?

How do metropolitan planning institutions deal with the new challenges and problems?

  1. Actors

How important are actor constellations in the rescaling processes? Do they influence transformations and/or continuities of metropolitan governance and planning?

How are actor’s strategies at different scales reconstructing? How are horizontal and vertical power relations transforming? E. g. between national spatial strategies for metropolitan regions and local actor strategies in the metropolitan areas (juxtaposed or negotiated).

  1. Practices/Discourses/ Cultures

How important is the local context? How important are beliefs, concepts/ideas, frames, narratives and knowledge for the public discourse and the metropolitan governance and planning practices?

How is a prevailing/ hegemonic narrative constructed from different and juxtaposed planning practices in metropolitan areas?