Metropolitics: Comparative Metropolitan Governance

More than 50% of the world population lives in cities, and will reach two thirds by 2060. Almost half of the urban population lives in cities above 500,000 people, and 12% in Megacities beyond 10 million. These large cities extend from densely populated urban cores towards a wider number of jurisdictions and ecosystems, including suburbs, villages, towns and cities, on what is known as Metropolitan Areas. 

Rapid metropolization is adding pressure in local governments to cope with deteriorating infrastructure, air and water pollution, stressed ecological networks, transportation gridlock, rising poverty, immigration and social inequities while providing sound public services such as water, sewage, energy, transit, social services, education and health. 

Metropolitan Areas are also sources of opportunities and prosperity, providing the critical mass required to become engines of national economies and centers of global trade and investment; sometimes challenging traditional federal or unitarian government structures, hegemony and restrictions.

In a context of emerging national populism and protectionism, 21st century metropolises are no longer playing by conventional top-down rules of the 20th century. Political and economic power is shifting and devolving: downward from national governments to cities; horizontally on new platforms of public-private and civic collaboration; and globally along networks such as C40 or 100 Resilient Cities. A new metropolitan leadership is emerging by necessity to solve the grand challenges characteristic of modern cities.

This course will identify a range of current governance innovations and mechanisms to provide efficient and equitable urban services, develop sustainable megaprojects and improve policy coordination.

We will define metropolitan governance and its implications, describe its various models around the world and study emerging metro drivers such as: Innovation, Infrastructure, Inclusion, Urban Mobility, Security, Environment, Risk Management, Economic Development and Technological Change, exemplified by cases of cities that have moved from planning to implementation.

The course is in a lecture-seminar format, with evaluations based on a research-oriented paper and class participation. At the end of the semester we will present the findings as part of the Santiago de Chile Metropolitan Government devolving plan.