Interviewing Mercè Conesa, Mayor of Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona)

Yesterday, in the “L’entrevista” program, it was the turn to interview Ms. Mercè Conesa, Mayor of Sant Cugat del Vallès (Barcelona). In this occassion, Mònica Hernàndez, the program host, was accompanied by Sara Moreno, Sociology Pofessor at UAB, Josep Gimeno, News Head at cugat.cat, and myself.

The main subjects of the interview were: economic development, employment and community aids, transportation, the undergoing local government reform, smart city and security.

Interviewing Valentí Junyent, Mayor of Manresa (Barcelona)

Today I had the opportunity to collaborate in the “L’entrevista” program broadcasted by a national TV and radio Station called Xarxa de comunicació Local along with Mònica Hernàndez, program host, Albert Sàez and Manel Rius. Today was the occasion to interview the Mayor of Manresa, Mr. Valentí Junyent.

Urban Policies in Spain

The book “Urban Policies in Spain: Big cities, actors and local governments” has just been published. I participated as author of several chapters and editor along with Joan Subirats, Mariela Iglesias and Marc Marti-Costa.

This collective work has been published by Icaria Editorial and can be found at the following link: http://www.icariaeditorial.com/libros.php?id=1265

A review has been published by Almudena  Cortés Maisonave from the Complutense University of Madrid in “Geopolitics. Journal of studies on space and power”:  download it here

New paper: Territory Political Autonomy and Metropolitan Governance: Comparing Catalonia and Quebec

This article compares the approach to metropolitan governance in Catalonia and Quebec. In the first part of the article we analyze the three main approaches to metropolitan governance: reform school, public choice school and new regionalism. Each theoretical school proposes a model of dealing with metropolitan challenges according to a different degree of institutionalization, involving key questions as the degree of public intervention or the nature of democratic legitimacy in the metropolitan area. While in Catalonia the option of mergers has repeatedly been rejected in favor of intermunicipal cooperation, Quebec has traditionally opted for the solution of municipal reforms. The second part of the article explores the reason for this difference. Our hypothesis considers that the political role of municipalities and the model of local government are the key variables to under stand the opposite models of metropolitan governance. The analysis of institutional and political factors such as the distribution of powers, the electoral system, the party system and the political culture conforms this idea. The combination of these variables leads to a different approach to metropolitan governance in Catalonia and Quebec.

Access to the paper here (only available in Catalan).

Access to the full journal in epub.

My new book is out: “Penser métropolitain? La bataille politique du Grand Montréal”

Penser métropolitain ? La bataille politique du Grand Montréal

Author: Mariona Tomàs

Presses de l’Université du Québec

What are the factors that explain the construction of metropolitan governance models and what is the contribution of local actors in this process? At the intersection of urban studies and political science, this book addresses the political dimension of metropolisation from a case study of the management model implemented in Montreal as part of the reform Harel (1999 – 2001).

Moments of institutional change leads inevitably to  areas of ambiguity creation, where the dynamics of the relationship between institutional rules (the state organization and political culture) and local actors remark exacerbated way. Montreal is revealed as a lab due to the controversial nature of its metropolitan reform.

A three-stage new model was indeed implemented, based on the creation of the Metropolitan Montreal, the fusion of all municipalities on the Island of Montreal and the creation of 27 districts. This process has revealed the existence of divergent representations of the city, making it impossible to adopt a shared metropolitan vision. Subsequent reform of the Liberal Party of Quebec, initiated in 2003, gave the spotlight the ideological dimension of the metropolitan issue, as well as the ability of some groups to present their ideas on metropolitan management to the detriment of others.

The construction of a metropolitan thinking is an ongoing process of mediation between different interests and search for compromise, and it is shown by the author-analyzing the first ten years of existence of the Montreal Metropolitan Community.

For information or to purchase the book http://www.puq.ca/catalogue/livres/penser-metropolitain-1307.html

Municipis endeutats i equipaments públics

Un vídeo de TV3 passat durant el telenotícies del 25 d’octubre em va esgarrifar. El vídeo mostrava exemples de municipis que, als darrers anys, s’han endeutat per construir grans equipaments: teatres, biblioteques, coliseus, poliesportius… Unes infrastructures ambicioses que, actualment, no poden pagar.

 

Mirat amb data d’avui, sembla evident que els ajuntaments es van equivocar. Però això també ens ho sembla amb les famílies que van destinar el 60 o 70% dels seus ingressos a pagar una hipoteca i que, en quedar-se sense feina, no la poden pagar. Tanmateix, quin habitant hagués volgut renunciar a un teatre o un poliesportiu, quan semblava que tot era possible? Així com els habitants de Ciudad Real volien agafar un avió sense desplaçar-se a Madrid, els habitants d’aquestes petits pobles aplaudien tenir un teatre o una biblioteca pròpia, sense haver de baixar a Barcelona o pujar a Girona.

 

Als anys 1980, Bohigas parlava de monumentalitzar la perifèria, fent referència a la necessitat de dotar els barris perifèrics de Barcelona d’equipaments i espais públics de qualitat per tal de reforçar el sentiment de pertinença dels veïns i contribuir a una millora de la qualitat de vida. Un fet semblant ha passat amb alguns ajuntaments, endeutant-se per finançar uns equipaments que servirien per reforçar la identitat i l’orgull de la població.

 

Què fer davant aquesta situació? Es parla de diverses opcions: condonació del deute, canvis en el sistema de finançament municipal, fusions de municipis, buscar altres usos als equipaments… Faci el que es faci, esperem que els equipaments no acabin abandonats i se’ls trobi una funció: que no esdevinguin vestigis d’una època on es volia tenir allò que no es podia pagar.

 

http://www.tv3.cat/videos/3771550/Equipaments-municipals-que-no-es-poden-mantenir