Journal of Comparative Urban Law and Policy


The exponential demographic increase of the last century and the transformation of the cities, from industrial to service providers, added to the phenomenon of conurbation. In addition, the new social, environmental, economic, political and cultural dynamics of close cities, challenged the traditional municipal power and required a collaborative new management framework. Global cities became metropolitan areas. Issues of local urban interest are now of regional preoccupation. Governmental institutional frameworks and urban planning were not designed to match this new socioeconomic and environmental metropolitan order. This paper deals with the legal challenges of creating metropolitan governance structures comparing France and Brazil. This is a useful comparison in the sense that the demand for metropolitan governance structure is shared by different countries despite the differences in the way their systems of government are structured. France is a unitary State, and Brazil is structured into a federal system. This manuscript aims at demonstrating that not only communes, in the case of France, but also municipalities, in the case of Brazil, need regional solidarity strategies and federative cohesion to overcome common problems in large metropolitan areas such as transportation, sewage collection and treatment facilities, housing, sustainable drainage policies and even public safety policies. As case studies for the comparison proposed in this paper, we examine the metropolitan areas of Aix-Marseille-Provence, in France, with that of Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil.

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