Institutions for Metropolitan Governance: Lessons for Nations and Stakeholders


Metropolitan governance is a critically important vehicle for the implementation of global agreements on disaster risk reduction, financing for development, sustainable development, climate change, and urbanization, recently approved by the United Nations Member States. Within a subsidiarity framework, it can provide an equitable and efficient means to deliver services essential to leaving no one behind, ensuring inclusive economies, and supporting environmental sustainability. This chapter explores the theories and practices of metropolitan governance, outlining the requirements of successful metropolitan governance structures and their differing forms, based on the findings of scholars, experts, and practitioners. It traces its inclusion in the “New Urban Agenda”, the outcome document of the Conference on Housing and Sustainable Development (Habitat III), which argues that well-governed urban areas can be engines of sustainability. This a stance is confirmed by evidence-based research which holds that Member States and their multi-party stakeholder partners must tailor such arrangements to local contexts.


Eugénie L. Birch is Co-Director of the Penn Institute for Urban Research and President of the General Assembly of Partners of the World Urban Campaign. She is Lawrence C. Nussdorf Professor of Urban Research and Education, Chair of the Graduate Group in City and Regional Planning, and Co-Director of Penn Institute for Urban Research (PennIUR). Birch has been active in the field of city planning’s professional organizations and in academia in the United States and abroad. In 2000, she was elected to the College of Fellows of the American Institute of Certified Planners and made an honorary member of the Royal Town Planning Institute. She has been a member of the Planning Accreditation Board, serving as its chair from 2004 to 2006. She has been President of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning; President, Society of American City and Regional Planning History; and Co- editor, Journal of the American Planning Association. She was recently appointed President of the General Assembly of Partners for Habitat III of the World Urban Campaign.