METROGOV - Metropolitan Governance in Spain: Institutionalization and Models
The database is one of the results of the project "Metropolitan Governance in Spain: Institutionalization and Models" (METROGOV, 2020-23), funded by the National R&D Plan 2019 of the Ministry of Science and Innovation (PID2019-106931GA-I00). Directed by Professor Tomàs, the project wants to understand the building and definition of models of metropolitan governance in Spain. There is no comprehensive work based on a common methodology that address this topic, this is why the METROGOV project seeks to cover this gap in the literature and the research. The first specific goal of the project was to create a database of metropolitan institutions in Spain, including hard forms like metropolitan governments, metropolitan sectorial agencies and consortiums as well as soft forms as metropolitan strategic plans. The database provides an updated and rigorous portrait of the institutional thickness of urban agglomerations, gathering up to 384 metropolitan cooperation instruments in the Spanish functional areas. In other words, it is a picture of the institutional reality of Spanish urban agglomerations. This database provides precious information about the model of metropolitan governance, the municipalities involved and the sectors with most and less institutionalization. As in Spain there is not an official or statistical definition of metropolitan areas, the project departed from the concept of Functional Urban Areas (FUA), considered as “densely inhabited city and a less densely populated commuting zone whose labour market is highly integrated with the city” (Eurostat). According to this definition, the commuting zone contains the surrounding travel-to-work areas of a city where at least 15 % of employed residents are working in a city. In the case of Spain, we find 45 big FUA, where the central city has more than 100.000 inhabitants. The database was structured considering these 45 Spanish FUAs, and it was necessary that at least 3 municipalities participated in the metropolitan cooperation tools. In the grid, you will find the 384 instruments of metropolitan cooperation following different criteria. First of all, the models of metropolitan governance, from hard to soft: metropolitan government, metropolitan sectoral agency, “mancomunidad”, consortium, public or public-private company, territorial plan, sectoral plan, comarca, association of municipalities, strategic plan, European project, working group. Each instrument is also classified according to the subject of cooperation: transport, waste, water, housing, urbanism, etc. Other complementary information is added, such as: the year of creation; number and names of municipalities that are part of the entity; percentage of territory covered by this tool, etc. A book has been recently published with the results of the project: Tomàs, M. (2023) (ed.). Metrópolis sin gobierno. La anomalía española en Europa. València: Tirant lo Blanch.
Steps to reproduce
The process of creation of the database was long and laborious and it was structured in three phases. The first one was the definition of the variables, following our theoretical framework. We divided them into three sections: a) characteristics of the institution (budget, year of creation, etc.), b) governance (promoters, number and type of actors, etc.) and c) issues and scope of action (specific subjects, sectorial/integral approach, etc.). Then, by using a diverse range of data sources (detailed in the table), we detected and added to the database all the mechanisms whose area of action were more than three municipalities in the FUA or, for example, in the case of public companies, that at least three municipalities of the FUA were participants or shareholders. The second phase was an intense validation of the information of each mechanism. To complete the database, an exhaustive research using DuckDuckGo and Google (to use more than one search engine) of each mechanism was delivered. Moreover, some new mechanisms were added. Looking up their websites and bylaws brought us the ability to find their budget or update the data provided by our sources. The third and last phase was the reconsideration of special cases. Those are where the FUA has just two municipalities, metropolitan areas divided in two FUAs or some specific institutional configuration. Those cases, despite not being accurate to the methodology of “at least three municipalities”, were considered as acceptable exceptions. We share on the cloud a detailed guide to manage the database with updated information of the three stages.
Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación