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LBJ School Professor Robert H. Wilson Teaches Course at Brazilian University on “Governance and Metropolitan Regions in the Americas”

July 29, 2009 --Professor Robert H. Wilson, Associate Dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs, taught a course from July 13 to 24, 2009 at the Escola de Administração de Empresas de São Paulo Fundação Getulio Vargas in Brazil that focused on “Governance and Metropolitan Regions in the Americas.”

According to Wilson, “A majority of the world’s population will soon live in cities. In the developed world the share increases to 75 to 80 percent. But today’s world is also witnessing the increasing presence of large metropolitan areas, where a single city achieves a population of 500,000 or more, or where a number of cities in close proximity to one another merge into a single conurbation. These various forms of conurbation not only house an increasing share of the world’s population, but are increasingly the focus of wealth generation.”

The course focused on four issues that are integral to the construction of new governance systems that are equipped to meet the challenges of collective life in the large and complex metropolitan areas.

“First is the ability of government to provide adequate public services in an efficient manner,” said Wilson. “Second is a concern with the institutional complexity of planning for and providing those services in metropolitan areas where multiple governments coexist. Third is the capacity of political systems to incorporate citizen preferences and participation in metropolitan government.  Finally, given the high levels of socioeconomic and tax-base disparities in the metropolis, is the overriding concern with the extent to which emerging practices of governance address issues of social equity.”
 
The course, which served 18 master’s and PhD public administration students, used case studies of the federalist countries in the Americas, including the metropolitan area of Sao Paulo in Brazil, and discussed the demographic, economic and policy challenges of this metropolis. Other case studies included Canada, , the United States, Argentina, Mexico and Venezuela.