- Establishing a good governance system for the Porto Metropolitan Region    click here to open paper content104 kb
by    Quental, Nuno & Silva, Margarida | Lnquental@esb.ucp.pt   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Portuguese regions are being created or reshaped under a new law approved last year. It is crucial to define their precise role and to assure that they will embody good governance principles. Specifically, this paper may provide some useful insights to the design and management of the Porto Metropolitan Region.
In November 1998 the Portuguese voters turned down a proposal to divide the country into eight administrative regions. The lack of defined competencies for the latter and the fear that those regions would only add another layer of bureaucracy were presented as the major reasons for the referendum result. The debate about decentralization, however, is not over.
A new law that comprises the voluntary creation of both metropolitan areas and urban communities (depending on the municipalities and population involved) was approved in May 2003, and can be considered an alternative to the original proposal. In the specific case of the Porto and Lisbon Metropolitan Areas, which were already in place but did not really function as such, the law allows for their reshaping, including new additions
It is to be expected that this decentralization will only be successful if these regions have defined competencies, control over their budget and if the overall structure embodies good governance principles, is democratic and stimulates participatory citizenship. However, very little has been said about this, and almost nothing has been decided.
Among others, this paper will assess the following issues: which should be the competencies of the Porto Metropolitan Area (PMA)?; which competencies should be transferred from the municipalities and which from the central government?; what kind of precautionary control should be attributed to each?; what kind of democratic structures should form the basis of the PMA?; and what level of citizen involvement should be promoted? In attempting to question and summarise these issues about PMA, this paper may provide some useful insights to the design and management of urban regions within the Portuguese context.
governance, citizenship, public participation, Porto Metropolitan Area, regions
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