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Metropolitan Governance in the Federalist Americas

Strategies for Equitable and Integrated Development

Peter K. Spink

Publication Year: 2012

Despite rapid metropolitanization throughout the Americas and widespread interest in “megacities,” few studies have examined the new governance structures needed to address issues of citizen representation and participation and the public service challenges of population expansion and increasing urban inequalities. To fill that void, Peter K. Spink, Peter M. Ward, Robert H. Wilson, and the other contributors to this volume provide original research and analysis of the principal metropolitan areas in six federalist countries of the Americas—Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, the United States, and Venezuela. They find that a common feature of metropolitan expansion is the lack of a unified governmental structure. Using a comparative research framework, they examine the forms, functions, legitimacy, and performance of emerging governmental structures. Their cross-national study shows that existing institutional structures and political systems impede collaboration among governments in metropolitan areas. Given both the relatively few successful models at the local level and the disinterest on the part of federal governments, regional governments—states and provinces—seem to provide the most pragmatic bases for constructing metropolitan governments that are capable of efficiently delivering services. Because there is no direct path to achieve such new structures, the authors urge reform at the state and local levels to address the need to work out the politics and management structures that will function best within their own politics.

Published by: University of Notre Dame Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv


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pp. v-vi

List of Tables

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pp. vii-viii

List of Figures

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pp. ix-x

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

International collaborative research projects can be productive, intellectually stimulating, and rewarding, despite the challenges brought by unique institutional and governmental contexts across countries as well as cultural and disciplinary perspectives...

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Chapter 1: The Challenge of Metropolitan Governance in the Federal Americas

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pp. 1-43

Night photographs of the earth taken from satellites reveal the extensive urban setting of much of the planet’s contemporary population. Although vast expanses are still dark, a mass of pinpricks of light reveals the growing presence of large-scale human settlements...

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Chapter 2: Metropolitan Governance in Canada

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pp. 44-64

Despite the country’s vast territory, Canada’s population is concentrated in a few urban areas not far from the border with the United States. The border is important because the Canadian approach to governing urban...

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Chapter 3: Metropolitan Governance in the United States

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pp. 65-99

As cities grow larger, the nature of demand for public services changes dramatically. During the urbanization process in the United States new forms of local government emerged to meet these demands. The federalist system of government...

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Chapter 4: Metropolitan Governance in Brazil

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pp. 100-140

In Brazil, metropolitan regions emerged as an explicit and debated urban phenomenon in the second quarter of the twentieth century and would later be included in the formal public sector institutional framework in the mid-1970s during military rule...

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Chapter 5: Metropolitan Governance in Mexico

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pp. 141-170

In earlier work one of us discussed a number of the challenges that face metropolitan areas in developing a tiered structure of democratic government and governance both in Latin America generally and in Mexico...

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Chapter 6: Argentina

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pp. 171-208

Argentine federalism is in large part the result of struggles between groups led by provincial caudillos during the first half of the nineteenth century. The new federal structure, consolidated in 1880 with the federalization...

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Chapter 7: Venezuela

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pp. 209-246

Elites describing themselves as democrats have struggled to control Venezuela since the breakup of Gran Colombia in 1823.1 Following periods of dictatorship, they finally gained and held power for four decades from...

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Chapter 8: Directions and Dynamics of Change, and the Prospects for Metropolitan Governance in the Americas

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pp. 247-282

Our study has investigated metropolitan governance in federalist countries in the Americas. To put it simply, we find that while the policy issues of metropolitan areas are a common concern in all the six countries...


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pp. 283-302

About the Contributors

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pp. 303-305


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pp. 306-311

Back Cover

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E-ISBN-13: 9780268092665
E-ISBN-10: 0268092664
Print-ISBN-13: 9780268041410
Print-ISBN-10: 0268041415

Page Count: 360
Illustrations: 27 tables; 23 maps
Publication Year: 2012