Spring 2010 Course Description

Topics in Global Policy Studies

Section Title: Metropolitan Governance in the Americas
Instructor(s): Robert Wilson
Course: P A 188G - Topics in Global Policy Studies
Unique Number: 62410
Day & Time: Mondays, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Room: SRH 3.360
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Notes: Meets 4/5/10 through 5/3/10

This course fulfills requirements for the following specialization(s):

Description: A majority of the world’s population will soon live in cities. In the Americas developed world the share increases to 75 to 80 percent. But today’s world is also witnessing the increasing presence of large metropolitan areas, where a single city achieves a population of 500,000 or more, or where a number of cities in close proximity to one another merge into a single conurbation. These various forms of conurbation not only house an increasing share of the world’s population, but are increasingly the locus of wealth generation.

New governance systems are being constructed to meet the challenges of collective life in the large and complex metropolitan areas. The success of these new governance systems depends on four issues. First is the ability of government to provide adequate public services in an efficient manner. Second is a concern with the institutional complexity of planning for and providing those services in metropolitan areas where multiple governments coexist. Third is the capacity of political systems to incorporate citizen preferences and participation in metropolitan government. Finally, given the high levels of socioeconomic and tax-base disparities in the metropolis, is the overriding concern with the extent to which emerging practices of governance address issues of social equity.

This course will begin with a discussion of theoretical concerns and principles related to the provision of public services in metropolitan and intergovernmental relations. Case studies of the federalist countries in the Americas will then be examined. The course concludes with (1) cross-country comparisons in order to establish general trends and (2) the identification of pathways for the future.

Students will be evaluated on class participation and an essay style final exam.

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