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Metropolitan government and governance in western countries: a critical review


  • Christian Lefèvre


The failure of top-down imposed institutional reform for metropolitan areas in the western world has called for new conceptions of institution-building. A bottom up, governance type approach is now considered in various countries which focuses on flexible, voluntary and partnership elements of collective action through which institution is no longer considered as a ready-made object but as a process. A large part of the literature insists upon the effectiveness of this approach through the search for consensus and highlights its internal elements as conditions of success. However, this conception forgets the political and ideological dimensions of institution-building and, consequently, the likely conflicts and obstacles unresolved by governance. This article discusses the relationships between metropolitan government and governance taking a few western urban areas as examples and questions the apparent success of the ongoing metropolitan experiences. Copyright Joint Editors and Blackwell Publishers Ltd 1998.

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  • Christian Lefèvre, 1998. "Metropolitan government and governance in western countries: a critical review," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 22(1), pages 9-25, March.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ijurrs:v:22:y:1998:i:1:p:9-25

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    Cited by:

    1. Slack, Enid, 2007. "Managing the coordination of service delivery in metropolitan cities : the role of metropolitan governance," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4317, The World Bank.

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