Metropolitan governance (or not!) in Poland and the United States

Marta Lackowska 1  and Donald F. Norris 2
  • 1 Department of Local Development and Policy, Faculty of Geography and Regional Studies, University of Warsaw, Poland
  • 2 School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, United States of America


In this paper, we address the issue of metropolitan governance by examining its current state and the factors responsible for that state in Poland and the U.S. We find that, despite numerous differences between the two nations, the state of metropolitan governance is quite similar in both. That is, neither country exhibits examples of well-developed metropolitan governance. What is even more interesting is that the factors responsible for this situation are quite similar in both countries. Our principal finding is that political factors (mainly having to do with citizens’ preferences and the resulting lack of support for metropolitan institutions) have prevented the development of metropolitan governance in both. Moreover, because of the strength of these political factors, the current state of metropolitan governance in Poland and the U.S. is not likely to change in the foreseeable future, even under the presumed pressure of economic competitiveness.

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