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Constitutions and the Metropolis

Authors
  • Hirschl, Ran
Type
Published Article
Publisher
Annual Reviews
Publication Date
Oct 13, 2020
Volume
16
Pages
59–77
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1146/annurev-lawsocsci-051920-020619
Source
Annual Reviews
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

Extensive urbanization and the consequent rise of megacities are among the most significant demographic phenomena of our time. Our constitutional institutions and constitutional imagination, however, have not even begun to catch up with the new reality. In this article, I address four dimensions of the great constitutional silence concerning the metropolis: (a) the tremendous interest in cities throughout much of the social sciences, as contrasted with the meager attention to the subject in constitutional theory and practice; (b) the right to the city in theory and practice; (c) a brief account of what national constitutions actually say about cities, and more significantly what they do not; and (d) the dominant statist stance embedded in national constitutional orders, in particular as it addresses the sovereignty and spatial governance of the polity, as a main explanatory factor for the lack of vibrant constitutional discourse concerning urbanization in general and the metropolis in particular.

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