Citizen-led governance of the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara
The Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara (AMG) faces a range of environmental, social, economic and planning issues that can only be resolved through collaboration between individual municipal government bodies that comprise the area. To address this, the AMG administration established IMEPLAN (Metropolitan Planning Institute of Guadalajara Metropolitan Area) to view, assess and resolve issues from a metropolitan point of view instead of individual municipal ones.
The IMEPLAN initiative is the first of its kind in Mexico. The central idea of IMEPLAN is to involve municipalities, citizens and experts in a participatory planning process through collaborative roundtables and workshops that are supported by an educational curriculum and encourage all stakeholders to re-imagine and plan the city they wish to live in.
The Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara has experienced exponential growth without a comprehensive plan governing its expansion. There has been significant movement of the population towards the periphery, leaving city centers uninhabited, with poor infrastructure, reduced opportunities and services for citizens, high rates of vandalism, transportation issues, together with high rates of contamination and lack of green spaces. The lack of political action and decision making has generated economic, environmental, social and cultural inequalities for citizens.
Several Mexican states have enacted laws and created institutions to effect regular inter-governmental relations between the governments of states and municipalities around conurbations and metropolitan processes. Although IMEPLAN is the only body that has been developed from the efforts of the civil society and gained the support of the 9 metropolitan municipalities and the State Government. Together, they make up the Board of Metropolitan Government and work collaboratively with the Citizen Metropolitan Council.
IMEPLAN is an inter-municipal decentralized public body (OPD), with its own assets, technical and has managerial autonomy in the exercise of its power.
IMEPLAN promotes effective metropolitan management through evaluation of the provision of public services and municipal functions in the metropolitan area of Guadalajara (AMG), and the analysis and recommendations for their convergence.
The objectives of IMEPLAN are to ensure that:
- community participation will be at the center of all decision making for the city
- future Municipal plans and programs promote accessibility, equality and inclusiveness
- metropolitan services provided to citizens are of the same quality in all municipalities
- there are adequate public and green spaces for citizens
IMEPLAN’s initiative takes place through the Metropolitan Coordination Act for the State of Jalisco, which establishes the obligation of the metropolitan scheme to generate tools for city planning. All 9 municipalities must take in consideration the Metropolitan Plan of Land Use and the Metropolitan Development Program along with legal documents that are being developed and published through IMEPLAN as policy and reference for strategy, planning decisions and initiatives.
The Metropolitan Development Program is being advanced through participatory planning and addresses all areas of progress for the city. Public services are managed by metropolitan agencies that work in collaboration with the local governments under the topics defined in the metropolitan agenda. While, the Metropolitan Plan of Land Use defines the development areas at a metropolitan scope, for the first time in the history of Guadalajara. The Metropolitan Plan of Land Use follows a polycentric city model to control urban sprawl, consolidate the urban area and reduce the negative impacts of chaotic development.
These instruments use methodologies and indicators to promote the scope of Sustainable Development Goals at the local government level, along with strategies of the International Labor Organization and the Economic Commission of Latin America.
Another notable instrument is the Metropolitan Planning Guide is a tool to standardize the planning methodology.
An educational curriculum is being developed to accompany the implementation of these systems, in order for citizens to engage and participate in the process of metropolitan management. This curriculum includes workshops with children and youth, specialized conferences and talks as well as territorial data use training.
Currently, a Center of Territorial Information is being established, and includes the history of planning instruments and specific topics such as density, dispersion, consolidation and urban aptitude of all municipalities, that provides immediate specific analysis of the city.
The lead agency for the project is the Metropolitan Area of Guadalajara in partnership with the 9 municipalities that make up AGM. Funding is provided in the following ways.
- Regular contributions from the municipalities: these financial contributions are determined by the Metropolitan Fund, which aims to finance the basic functions of IMEPLAN, such as payment for professional staff and office costs.
- Complementary contributions: they are approved by the municipalities and the State Government to finance the development of research, specific projects, planning instruments and coordination mechanisms.
- IMEPLAN’s regulatory framework also allows funding through social agencies or private, national and international organisations to achieve its objectives.
IMEPLAN is the first initiative of its kind to pass through government legislation with approval of all 9 municipalities for its establishment as a metropolitan body. The public participation process has never been experienced before in Mexico.
Although the law doesn’t include the obligation of IMEPLAN to generate measurement systems, all plans and programs include strategies implemented by the 9 municipalities and assessed in their advancement by IMEPLAN.
A system of indicators that monitor the development of the polycentric model will guarantee that the centers become sustainable communities, is being developed and is the first of its kind to be used in Mexico
IMEPLAN is a key element in the implementation process of decentralized planning with emphasis on development and land use planning, risk management and systematization of metropolitan information.
IMEPLAN is a public agency responsible for inter-municipal development and proposes mechanisms and instruments for professional and transparent planning that contribute to a socially inclusive, economically sustainable and environmentally balanced metropolitan development.
Citizen-led Metropolitan Coordination Of Guadalajara, Guangzhou Award
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