Successful metropolitan (or city-regional) governance requires strategic planning, effective integration across policy sectors and perhaps most importantly, cooperation between cities and their peri-urban hinterlands. Recent decades a shift from inward-oriented city-regional governance focussed on infrastructure provision and the land-use planning to an outward orientation characterised by focus on international competitiveness and city branding.
Issues of environmental sustainability and climate policy nevertheless require closer attention to the functional workings of cities within their socio-economic and environmental contexts, bringing together strategic landscape planning, urban development and social cohesion policy priorities and their respective areas of professional expertise.
My research to date has focussed on the capacity for city and hinterland municipalities to work work together to develop integrated, future-orientated spatial strategies. In my work on the Dublin and Hamburg metropolitan regions I have examined the following issues:
– the governance capacity of spatial and land-use planning systems to direct the course of urban development;
– the role of semi-formal / informal spatial visions or Leitbilder in informing an agenda for city-regional development across political-administrative boundaries;
– the potential for municipalities to work with informal, ‘soft’ governance spaces based around functional relations and opportunities for synergy
– variable geometry as a model for flexible, project-oriented city-regional governance.