1. Metropolitan Governance and the Urban Economy


The study of metropolitan governance has normally focused on the challenges of managing multiple jurisdictions within a broader urban institutional framework that can address issues such as spillover and cross-jurisdictional problems. Much of this literature and the policy debates on metropolitan government have ignored the need for effective management of the urban economy at the metropolitan and regional scale. This is surprising as the revenue base of municipalities depends on the buoyancy of municipal revenue. Too often, urban economic management has focused on firms and sectors through the lens of competitiveness rather than from a broader understanding of urban productivity. A more comprehensive understanding of productivity would necessarily involve assessments of the interactions of the metropolitan economy with urban form, the urban environment, and sustainable development.


Michael Cohen is Professor of International Affairs at the Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy. He is the Founding Director of the Studley Graduate Program in International Affairs at the New School and Director of The New School’s Observatory on Latin America. He holds a Ph.D. in political economy from the University of Chicago and is an urban and development policy specialist. He worked at the World Bank from 1972 to 1999 and was responsible for much of the bank’s urban policy development during that period. He has worked in 55 countries and was heavily involved in the World Bank’s work on infrastructure, environment, and sustainable development. He has advised governments, NGOs, and academic institutions around the world, including in the preparation of the UN-Habitat Global Report on Human Settlements (2005-2012).