Metropolitan Governance

The Forum’s work on Capital Cities identified challenges related to the governance of fragmented metropolitan regions as a key issue in most capital cities and in doing so anticipated a larger emerging issue in the context of urban local government. This has formed the basis of spin-off work on the topic of metropolitan governance, focusing in particular on institutions and processes for intergovernmental coordination and delivery of services. This has become the Focus of current work on the subject at the Forum.

In December 2010, the Major Cities Unit of Infrastructure Australia hosted an international roundtable in Sydney on metropolitan governance as part of a joint project with the Forum of Federations and the Australian Centre of Excellence on Local Government. The Australian roundtable focused on the governance structures of fragmented metropolitan regions and the relationships between the various orders of government. International speakers from Canada, India, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States shared their experiences with Australian participants – including senior federal, state/territory and local government representatives.

Preliminary findings from this comparative workshop were presented at the World Urban Forum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and shared with the Forum’s partners at the Secretariat of Federative Affairs of the Brazilian Presidency. The final report of the Sydney roundtable is expected to feed into the strategy paper on national urban policy being produced by the Major Cities Unit for the federal government in Australia.

A follow-on international roundtable focusing on issues of horizontal and vertical intergovernmental relations in fragmented metropolitan regions is scheduled in Brisbane in late August 2010. The two day consultations are being organized in partnership with the Major Cities Unit of Infrastructure Australia, the government of Queensland and Southeast Queensland Council of Mayors. The Forum’s work on this subject is expected to result in an edited comparative volume as well as more background materials for the work of the Major Cities Unit.

More recently, the Forum’s Brazilian partners sought the Forum’s support in developing a program on ‘inclusive’ cities. The Forum will also be discussing this topic as part of its cooperation with the European Union’s Committee of the Regions since the issue is both topical and could provide linkages to the Forum’s ongoing work on immigrant integration and on aboriginal issues.