Metropolitan Governance and Spatial Planning: Comparative Case Studies of European City-Regions

By Willem Salet; Andy Thornley et al. | Go to book overview

22

Practices of metropolitan governance in Europe

Experiences and lessons

Willem Salet, Andy Thornley and Anton Kreukels


Metropolitan coordination as the challenge of 'organising connectivity'

Metropolitan coordination is not created from a product-approach of separate territorial governments but should be perceived as a process of learning in private and public coalitions of governance. The introductory chapter characterised the challenge of metropolitan coordination as a fascinating multi-actor and multilevel game with manifold conflicting and cooperating powers. It is a complicated game with many impediments and differing values, interests and resources of power and authority. If the idea of metropolitan governance is to teach us anything, it is undoubtedly that solutions to the problems of coordination and spatial planning are not to be found in the mere establishment of new encompassing territorial government but in new methods of 'organising connectivity'. The institutional problem is not so much the fragmentation of policy actors as the disconnectedness of learning practices and policies. Metropolitan policies are made in private sector domains (in the cultural and economic diversity of international and local networks), in European programmes, in national policies and in manifold initiatives within the metropolitan setting. There is of course a lot of power asymmetry in these relationships, but they are not structured according to a one-dimensional top-down format. The main challenge to metropolitan policies is to find the keys to unlock the connections between different spheres of action.

Focusing on strategies of connectivity is not to say that formal reorganisation of local and meso-level (regional) government is necessarily irrelevant. On the contrary, many metropolitan regions are experiencing governmental innovation and many are preparing further new experiments. The formal structures of local and meso-level government encompass the governmental competences and contain many conditions that facilitate or hamper strategies of interaction and coordination. In this book, we have examined the ways governmental structures in metropolitan

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