What Is at Stake for Metropolitan Regions and Their Governance Institutions?

  • Karsten ZimmermannEmail author


This chapter asks what drives contemporary institutional change in metropolitan regions. On the one hand, the rise of metropolitan regions as competitive territories par excellence is generating increasing interest in the question of how best to plan and govern the modern metropolis. Indeed, widespread metropolitan institutional reforms are held up by many urbanists as evidence that metropolitan regions matter and that they increasingly have the institutional capacity to set free from the regulatory control of the nation-state. On the other hand, many are currently questioning the capacity that these institutions really must (re)act. From arguments that the state is actually devolving austerity rather than empowering metropolitan regions, to the imposition of metropolitan reforms and certain types of institutional models (e.g. the growing prominence of deal-making, the mayoral model), there is a growing body of work contending that the perceived institutional power of metropolitan regions vis-à-vis a declining role for state-level institutions is a matter of myth rather than reality. With this as a point of departure, this chapter addresses a series of key questions holding both intellectual and practical implications: What are the current issues faced by metro regions? What is currently being proposed—and critically by whom—for the next stage(s) of metropolitan reform? Where does metropolitan governance reform sit within current developments and debates around governance per se? What are the implications of current initiatives? In the final section, these questions are used to outline the likely future direction(s) through which metropolitan governance will/should develop and what the implications of recent changes might be.


Regionalisation Decentralisation Metropolitan governance Polarisation Citizenship 


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dortmund Technical UniversityDortmundGermany

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