Metropolitan Governance and Urban-Rural Relations

Hamburg cityscape: (c) Mark Nieno, Creative Commons license

Successful metropolitan (or city-regional) governance requires strategic planning, effective integration across policy sectors and perhaps most importantly, cooperation between cities and their peri-urban hinterlands. Recent decades a shift from inward-oriented city-regional governance focussed on infrastructure provision and the land-use planning to an outward orientation characterised by focus on international competitiveness and city branding.

Issues of environmental sustainability and climate policy nevertheless require closer attention to the functional workings of cities within their socio-economic and environmental contexts, bringing together strategic landscape planning, urban development and social cohesion policy priorities and their respective areas of professional expertise.

My research to date has focussed on the capacity for city and hinterland municipalities to work work together to develop integrated, future-orientated spatial strategies. In my work on the Dublin and Hamburg metropolitan regions I have examined the following issues:

– the governance capacity of spatial and land-use planning systems to direct the course of urban development;

– the role of semi-formal / informal spatial visions or Leitbilder in informing an agenda for city-regional development across political-administrative boundaries;

– the potential for municipalities to work with informal, ‘soft’ governance spaces based around functional relations and opportunities for synergy

variable geometry as a model for flexible, project-oriented city-regional governance.

Current and Recent activities

In winter 2019/2020, I initiated and led an interactive teaching module under the title of “Planning Workshop: Hamburg Metropolitan Region” which examined diverse facets of sustainable urban and regional development through practice case studies (University of Hamburg, Institute for Geography).

Publications in this field include the following:

  1. Walsh, C., Creamer, C. & Driscoll, J. (2016) Applying the Functional Territories Concept: Planning Beyond Boundaries, ICLRD Briefing Paper Series, Paper 13, International Centre for Local and Regional Development.
  2. Jacuniak-Suda, M., Walsh, C., Knieling, J., (2015) Soft Spaces in the Metropolitan Region of Hamburg. In: Allmendinger, P., Haughton, G., Knieling J., Othengrafen, F. (eds.) Soft Spaces in Europe: Re-negotiating Governance, Boundaries & Borders. Routledge, London, 45-76.
  3. Walsh C. (2014) Rethinking the Spatiality of Spatial Planning: Methodological Territorialism and Metageographies, European Planning Studies, 22, (2), 306-322.
  4. Walsh, C., & Knieling. J., (2014) Planungswissenschaftliche Ansätze für ein Nachhaltiges Landmanagement, Diskussionspapier des Wissenschaftlichen Begleitvorhabens (Modul B): Innovative Systemlösungen für ein nachhaltiges Landmanagement, BMBF Förderschwerpunkt Nachhaltiges Landmanagement, http://d-nb.info/1063755409 (Expert Discussion Paper on Planning Approaches for the Sustainable Management of Land Resources).
  5. Walsh, C. & Williams, B. (2013) Regional Governance and Metropolitan-Hinterland Relations: The Case of the Dublin City-Region, Administration, 61, (3), 133-153.
  6. Walsh C. (2012) Spatial Planning and Territorial Governance: Managing Urban Development in a Rapid Growth Context, Urban Research and Practice, 5, 1, 44-61.
  7. Walsh, C. & Allin S. (2012) Strategic Spatial Planning: Responding to Diverse Territorial Development Challenges: Towards an Inductive-Comparative Approach, International Planning Studies, 17, (4), 377-395.
  8. Williams, B., Walsh, C. & Boyle, I. (2010) The Development of the Functional Urban Region of Dublin: Implications for Regional Development Markets and Planning, Journal of Irish Urban Studies, 7-9, p. 5-30.

Please note that a number of published articles may be behind paywalls. Please contact me for a pre-print version.