I wrote the paper last year while on sabbatical at the University of Toronto. I enjoyed living, working and writing the paper in Toronto. I hope you enjoy reading it.
There is a very interesting interview in the Journal de Dimanche with Anne Hidalgo, first Deputy Mayor of Paris, Socialist candidate in the Paris Mayoral election later this year, and current favourite in the polls. In the interview (which is in French) Ms Hidalgo responds to questions about the proposals for a ‘Greater Paris’ which will create a metropolitan tier bringing together the City of Paris with its surrounding 124 communes and four departments on the 1st January 2016. Ms Hidalgo is clear that this is not about ‘annexation’ but rather about recognising the sense of Parisian identity that extends beyond the relatively narrow administrative boundaries of the City of Paris: “Les habitants du Grand Paris se sont déjà approprié depuis longtemps le mot “Paris”. C’est une réalité. Maintenant, il ne s’agit pas d’annexer quelque territoire que ce soit, mais d’inventer ensemble, en respectant les communes et leur identité.” Moreover, Ms Hidalgo explicitly refers to some Anglo-Saxon rival world cities: “Il ne s’agit pas de faire le Grand Paris à l’image de Paris, mais plutôt de faire le Grand Paris à la même échelle que le Grand Londres ou New York.” She is also very careful to make clear that she does not envisage the City of Paris disappearing into the new metropolitan arrangement – and that she sees a continuing important role for the Mayors of Paris’s 20 arrondissements (boroughs). These issues – of efficiency, effectiveness, accountability and identity, and the potential trade-offs between them – are of course core to the study of metropolitan governance world-wide. It will be fascinating to see how a new system of multi-level governance for the Paris region works out in practice.
…which is just as well as it’s more than a month since I attended an international seminar in the Hotel de Ville (City Hall) in Paris on “Innovations and the Making of Metropolitan Identity”.
I spoke on London’s experience of metropolitan government, and in particular metropolitan leadership, alongside Ernesto d’Albergo of the University of Rome La Sapienza, and Gilles Pinson of the Institut d’études politiques de Bordeaux. My slides are attached here: Mark Kleinman Colloque International Paris Nov 2013.
The workshop was very well attended, with a mixture of government officials, academics and graduate students, and there was a lively discussion ranging from the specifics of how metropolitan government worked in London to some of the broader and more theoretical issues of metrop0litan governance and re-building citizen trust in government at all levels.
One participant lamented the lack of (in his view) an effective metropolitan tier for ‘Greater Paris’ comparing the City of Light unfavourably with the metropolis at the other end of the Eurostar line. I began to wonder if I had perhaps slightly over-sold London’s governance arrangements, and so pointed out that less than 20 years ago, there was no metropolitan tier in London, no popular campaign at that time for its re-instatement, and the most exciting development being the conversion of the headquarters of the former Greater London Council into an aquarium.
Metropolitan governance proceeds by fits and starts rather than on a smooth utility-maximising trajectory.